Motto: "Each Endeavouring, All Achieving"
Currency: East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Airports: V C Bird Int'l (ANU), Codrington (BBQ)
Known for: Beaches, Birds, Watersports
Official Tourism Website: ab.gov.ag
Drives on the: Left Side
Calling Code: +1 268
The expansive, winding coastline of Antigua is a tremendous wealth of secluded, powdery soft beaches. The coral reefs attract snorkelers and scuba divers from all over the world. And the fascinating little island of Barbuda — once a scavenger's paradise because so many ships wrecked on its reefs — is now home to one of the region's most significant bird sanctuaries. More and more people are getting married while on vacation, and it's now easy to do so in Antigua and Barbuda. Even cruise ship visitors can now get married.
If it is peace and quiet you are after, then head to drowsy Barbuda, the lesser known of the two islands. It feels untouched by progress with the principal inhabitants being the graceful frigate birds.
Things To Do in Antigua & Barbuda
Great Beaches: Antigua and Barbuda are one of the best beach destinations in the Caribbean; they have over 365 beaches each with its own personality with features such as rock pools filled with tiny crabs, aerial displays by diving pelicans or organized watersports. Usually you will be alone on the beach, except on the hotel beaches. Most beaches are not equipped with facilities so it is important to remember to bring water and sun protection. On holiday weekends the beaches often fill up with local Barbudans picnicking.
Diving: Get an experienced dive guide to show you around the coast of Barbuda as there are many wrecks from different periods of the islands history and a rich coral reef.
Cricket: This national game is played to the highest international standard as well as by enthusiastic amateurs in villages all over the islands. Antigua produced one of the finest cricketers the game has ever seen, Viv Richards.
Frigate Bird Sanctuary: Barbuda's Frigate Bird Sanctuary is located in the island's northwestern lagoon and is accessible only by boat. The sanctuary contains over 170 species of birds and is home to over 5,000 frigate birds. Fregata magnificens, the most aerial of waterbirds, possesses the largest wingspan (four to five feet) in proportion to its body size of any bird in the world.
Fig Tree Drive: is a 32km (20-mile) scenic route along winding roads through the lush tropical hills and picturesque fishing villages along the southwest coast. Fig is the Antiguan name for banana.
Yachting and Sailing: Antigua hosts many international yachting events and regattas throughout the year.
Cuisine of Antigua & Barbuda
There are numerous restaurants covering all price ranges. The more upscale restaurants require jackets for the men and appropriate attire for women. Tipping is usual 10% if not included in the bill.
The national dish of Antigua and Barbuda is fungie (pronounced "foon-jee") and pepper pot. Fungie is a dish very similar to the Italian Polenta, and is almost completely made from cornmeal. Other local dishes include ducana, season rice, Saltfish and lobster (from Barbuda). There are also local confectionaries which include: sugarcake, fudge, raspberry and tamarind stew and peanut brittle.
Although these foods are indigenous to Antigua and Barbuda and to some other Caribbean countries, the local diet has diversified and now include the local dishes of Jamaica (e.g. jerk pork), Guyana (e.g. Roti) and other Caribbean countries.
Marriage Requirements for Antigua & Barbuda
If either of you have been previously married, then bring along the original divorce decree or, in the case of a widow or widower, the original marriage and death certificates. Both parties must be over 15, if under 18, written authorization from your parents or guardians is required.
It is important that all documents presented are original or certified original by the issuing departments or offices. Ensure that all documents are in your legal name, and provide affidavits in cases where you are known by another name. Your marriage must also be solemnized or celebrated in the presence of two or more witnesses, apart from the Marriage Officer. (Just ask a guest or two to do this for you). There is no residency requirement for the special license.
Cost: There is a registration fee of US$40 that must be paid at the courthouse in the new government buildings on Queen Elizabeth Highway. The application fee for the special marriage license is US$150, and the Marriage Officer's fee is US$50. You will need valid passports as proof of citizenship.