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Country Reports

Antigua and Barbuda Country Report

Overview

INTRODUCTION

Despite certain risks, the popular tourist destination of Antigua and Barbuda (population 93,500) is a generally safe country. The archipelago, located in the eastern Caribbean's Lesser Antilles, is composed of two principal islands; Antigua, the larger of the two, is home to the country's capital, Saint John's (population 22,000).

NATURAL RISKS

Hurricane season extends from June to November, with peak activity in mid-September. Powerful storms can cause significant material damages as well as disruptions to transportation. If a storm is forecast, follow any instructions issued by the local authorities; storms are systematically tracked by the US-based National Hurricane Center, which publishes forecast storm trajectories and associated warnings on its website

The eastern Caribbean region, where Antigua and Barbuda is located, is in a seismic zone and earthquakes may occur.

CRIME

Crime, while not as high compared to regional standards, is still a risk and tends to rise during the Christmas/New Year's holiday season as well as during Carnival (late July/early August). Most crime is opportunistic (and generally non-violent) and visitors should take basic precautions such as:

  • avoid isolated areas (e.g. beaches) at night;
  • conceal signs of wealth to avoid attracting the attention of would-be thieves;
  • only use official taxis;
  • when in vehicles (taxis or private cars), drive with doors locked and windows rolled up.

HEALTH

All travelers are advised to take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance (covering emergency evacuation) prior to departure. It should be noted that local medical resources and facilities are limited and that healthcare can be expensive.  

Several mosquito-borne diseases are present in the country:

  • Dengue fever is present year round, including in urban and semi-urban areas; approximately 100 cases were reported in 2016.
  • Chikungunya may also be present but only a few dozen cases were officially reported in 2016.
  • The Zika virus was first detected in the country in late July 2016. As of mid-2017, transmission levels have been classified as "widespread." While the virus is usually relatively benign (and asymptomatic in 80 percent of cases), links between the Zika virus and severe birth defects as well as the potentially fatal neurological disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) have been established.

Yellow fever is not present in the country. However, travelers over one year of age arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission are required to present a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

TRANSPORTATION

Roads are often narrow and winding and many are poorly maintained, making driving conditions relatively hazardous; be particularly vigilant on tertiary and rural roads. Visitors should note that cars travel on the left-hand side of the road and that visitors are required to obtain a temporary Antiguan driver's license before driving.

Taxis do not have meters; fares should be decided on prior to departure.

Public transportation is safe and inexpensive.

POLITICS

Demonstrations and labor union-related protests are occasionally held, particularly during electoral periods, but major unrest or political violence does not occur. The next legislative elections will be held in 2019.

LEGAL

Be aware there are severe penalties for drug offenses, both for personal consumption and trafficking. When traveling, pay close attention to bags.

Some homosexual acts are technically illegal in the country.

Climate

The climate is tropical with temperatures mitigated by trade winds that blow all year long (with the exception of September) across the island nation. Humidity is low and days are sunny throughout the year, with temperatures the highest between May and November.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: 1 268 Police: 911 Fire Dept.: 911 Ambulance: 911

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 60 Hz

Outlets:

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