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Safety Travel Safety: Americas: Antigua & Barbuda

Antigua & Barbuda: Antigua and Barbuda
Capital: Saint John's
Population: 67,448
Currency: East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Languages: English (official), local dialects
Religions: Anglican (predominant), other Protestant, some Roman Catholic
Borders: 0 km

Antigua and Barbuda is a dual island nation known for its beaches, and is a favorite destination for yachtsmen. Tourism and yachting facilities are widely available. English is the primary language. Banking facilities and ATMs are available throughout the island.

Petty street crime does occur, and valuables left unattended on beaches or in hotel rooms are vulnerable to theft. Violent crime takes place, but tends not to be directed towards tourists. As everywhere, visitors to Antigua and Barbuda are advised to be alert and maintain the same level of personal security used when visiting major U.S. cities.

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Antigua and Barbuda laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Antigua and Barbuda are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Areas of detention are very uncomfortable. There are no beds, access to sanitary facilities is limited and food is substandard. Persons arrested on a Friday or Saturday are likely to remain in detention until regular working hours resume on Monday.

There are many qualified doctors in Antigua & Barbuda, but medical facilities are limited to a public hospital and a private clinic and are not up to U.S. expectations. There is no hyperbaric chamber; divers requiring treatment for decompression illness must be evacuated from the island. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services, and U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicate and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.

Like all Caribbean countries, Antigua can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from June to the end of November, but there have been hurricanes in December in recent years. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Antigua and Barbuda is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Driving in Antigua and Barbuda is on the left. Major roads are generally in good condition, but drivers may encounter wandering animals and slow moving heavy equipment. There is relatively little police enforcement of traffic regulations. Buses and vans are frequently crowded and travel at excessive speeds. Automobiles may lack working safety and signaling devices, such as brake lights. More detailed information on roads and traffic safety can be obtained from the Antigua Tourist Board, telephone (268)462-0480, or the Director General of Tourism, telephone (268)462-1005.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at For specific information concerning Antigua and Barbuda driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Antigua and Barbuda national tourist organization offices in New York via the Internet at

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Antigua and Barbuda 's civil aviation authority as Category 2 �- not in compliance with international aviation safety standards for the oversight of Antigua and Barbuda 's air carrier operations. While consultations to correct the deficiencies are ongoing, the Antigua and Barbuda air carriers currently flying to the U.S. will be subject to heightened FAA surveillance. No additional flights or new service to the U.S. by Antigua and Barbuda 's air carriers will be permitted unless they arrange to have the flights conducted by an air carrier from a country meeting international safety standards.

For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. In addition, DOD does not permit its personnel to use air carriers from Category 2 countries for official business except for flights originating from or terminating in the U.S. Local exceptions may apply. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.

Please also refer to the separate Worldwide Caution Public Announcement.

March 4, 2004

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