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  • Last Updated: 06th October 2016

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Antigua lifestyle and culture

The people of Antigua have fused African traditions, brought over by West African slaves, a European colonial heritage and the colours and laid-back Caribbean lifestyle; resulting in a vibrant culture that’s unique to the island.

English is Antigua’s official language, but the strong West African influence on the island’s culture can be heard in the unique Antiguan Creole spoken by many local people. The language borrows heavily from various West African languages and is quite distinct from the Spanish and French influenced dialects found elsewhere in the Caribbean.

The European influence on Antigua is clear in the island’s 18th Century forts and buildings, and of course in English Harbour – previously a British naval outpost. Also due to European influence, the majority of people on Antigua are Christian.

The other “religion” on Antigua is cricket. The island has produced a number of legendary cricketers, including Viv Richards, Curtley Ambrose and Ritchie Richardson.

Antigua 03

Antigua and music

African rhythms resonate through the calypso, steel drum and reggae that’ll fill your ears on a visit to Antigua. Calypso and the use of steel drums date back to Antigua’s colonial days, and are among the contributions that West African slaves made to the island’s culture. Reggae is a more recent but equally popular addition.

Every year during July and August, Antiguans pour into the streets for the Carnival, ten days of festivities held in celebration of the abolition of slavery in 1834. Officially started in 1957, Antigua’s Carnival will enthral visitors with its lively colours, daily parades, live music and tasty barbecues.

Nightlife on Antigua

When the sun sets in Antigua the night clubs come alive with both local and international dancehall, calypso and reggae beats, hip-hop and R ’n’ B, and hits from around the world. If dancing isn’t for you, savour some live music in the smaller bars and clubs dotted around the island.

Most of the numerous resorts on the island offer their own entertainment in the form of popular bars and clubs. You’ll even find two casinos brimming with Vegas sparkle if you feel like trying your luck.

Antigua restaurants

For the foodies, Antigua offers a range of fine dining establishments, offering everything from Italian food to local seafood specialties and Caribbean favourites like jerk chicken. You can also sample traditional local foods such as the national dish, fungie (foon-jee), which is a cornmeal-based porridge dish similar to polenta, and duncana, or sweet potato dumplings.