Currency and prices in Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda

What currency do I pay with in Antigua and Barbuda? How much do goods cost in a regular supermarket and how much in a restaurant? And how much does a week's stay on the island cost? Find out in this chapter...

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Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD)

The official currency of Antigua and Barbuda is the East Caribbean dollar, which is used in 7 other countries and dependencies in the Caribbean.

  • International currency code: XCD (numeric code 951)
  • Currency symbol: EC$

Coins of 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, $1 and notes of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 are used for the Eastern Caribbean dollar. 1 dollar = 100 cents.

The Eastern Caribbean dollar is pegged to the US dollar at an unchanged rate:

  • 1 US dollar = EC$2.70

Because of this fixed peg, the US dollar (USD) is also used as a means of payment in everyday life. If you arrive in Antigua and Barbuda with cash in US dollars, there is no need to exchange them at all.

You can pay with US dollars everywhere in Antigua. They are commonly accepted at supermarkets, all shops, hotels, sports and water activities. In short, everywhere. Perhaps only for bus transport is the East Caribbean dollar the preferred currency, but you can easily find it without exchange.

In fact, if you pay in US dollars anywhere, you will always be reimbursed in East Caribbean dollars at the aforementioned exchange rate of 1:2.70.

Amount in XCD or USD?

Because of the de facto dual currency, there is often confusion when buying goods or services.

In particular, tourist services such as excursions, diving or beach equipment are usually listed in US dollars, while price tags in regular supermarkets, petrol stations or transport are always in East Caribbean dollars.

Always make sure in advance what currency the price is quoted in by asking "EC or US"?

Currency exchange, ATMs and card payments

A currency exchange office is located at the airport, but you just need to carry US dollars to change in shops. As mentioned above, the exchange rate of the East Caribbean to the US dollar is fixed, so you don't have to worry about paying in USD.

If you already have US dollars from home, it is slightly more convenient to pay with cash. Withdrawals from all ATMs are charged at around 10 xcd regardless of whether or not your bank charges for withdrawals in foreign countries.

ATMs can be found in all major cities and in virtually all supermarkets (always inside).

Paying by card

Card payments are quite common here. You can pay by card in all the larger supermarkets, better restaurants, at petrol stations and at monuments. Card payments are also accepted by most tourist agencies offering various organised tours.

On the other hand, you definitely can't pay by card on the bus or at street stalls and cheaper restaurants. You are unlikely to be able to do without cash in Antigua and Barbuda unless you spend all your time in a hotel resort.

How much does it cost - prices in Antigua

Because the economy lives mainly on tourism and most goods have to be imported, it's expensive.

You can't control the prices in supermarkets, but you can in local restaurants. For example, at Jolly Harbour - Restaurant Jose. Here they don't even have prices listed, but we know from locals that for example chicken with side dish costs 15 xcd and pork 17 xcd - large portion. You pay at the cash register in the shop next door. If you ask how much the meal cost, they will try to charge you for example 20 usd, so we recommend just asking that reassurance question at the checkout: "Fifteen EC, ah right?!"

Examples of prices

Accommodation in a double room (prices per night):


  • A hot main meal in a regular restaurant for tourists - 50 xcd to 100 xcd
  • Fast-food menus - 30 xcd
  • A hot meal at a local stand or restaurant - 20 xcd
  • Espresso or Cappuccino in a café - 13 xcd
  • Water 0.33 l - 3,50 xcd
  • Fanta/Coca Cola/Sprite 0.5 l - 6 xcd
  • Draft beer - 8 xcd

Food in a supermarket:

  • Water 1.5l - 3 xcd
  • 5l water barrel - 20 xcd
  • Packed baguette - 20 xcd
  • Coca Cola (and other sodas) 2l - 5 xcd
  • Milk 1l - 20 xcd
  • Apples - 11 xcd / kg
  • Bananas - 3,50 xcd / kg
  • Rice - 3 xcd
  • Chicken 1 kg - 21 xcd
  • Beef 1 kg - 42 xcd
  • Canned tuna - 10 xcd


  • Bus ticket - from 2,25 xcd to 3,75 xcd depending on distance
  • Price of gasoline 1 gallon - 13 xcd (1 liter so roughly 3,50 xcd)
  • Car rental for the day - from 33 eur
  • Taxi - fixed government prices (approx. 25 xcd per 5 km)
  • compare car hire prices at St. John's Airport

Alcohol and cigarettes:

  • Bottle of wine in the shop - 30 xcd
  • Can of local beer - 6,50 xcd
  • Cocktails at the bar - 15 xcd
  • A pack of cigarettes - 12 xcd

Tipping and bargaining

Restaurants that list prices on the menu sometimes add a 10% service charge and sometimes a government tax that can be as high as 15%, so it's best to either eat from stock or go to really small restaurants where you can ask for prices as you enter and haggle over how much you'll pay for your favourite burger and fries.

Bargaining, however, is not a normal part of life and is more in the form of asking for a price.

You can bargain for some goods at market stalls, but even there it is not very common.

How to save

Staying in Antigua and Barbuda is probably never going to be downright cheap, yet here are some tips on how to knock prices down a bit.

  • On transport around the island - the cheapest way to get around is by bus, but you'll miss out on many beaches that can only be reached by car
  • On food - shop at local shops and supermarkets
  • On accommodation - staying in smaller guesthouses and apartments will save you up to 90% of your total budget compared to beach resorts

Daily budget

Travelers' needs vary widely, so here's just a general example of how much money to budget for a day in Antigua. We calculate the prices in case you are travelling with 2 people and the resulting value is for 1 person.

You can get accommodation for 1 night in a 2-bed room in a decently rated 3* hotel for an average price of 128 eur. So for a day when travelling in 2 you will spend about 64 eur.

Most travelers will rent a car for the entire length of their stay. On average, the daily rental fee with insurance comes out to 44 eur. If you drive around 30 km a day, you will pay about 2 eur per day for gas. In total, transporting 1 person per day works out at around 23 eur.

For one hot meal a day you will pay around 30 xcd, and together for breakfast, lunch and various snacks you will pay another 30 xcd.

During your stay, go swimming with stingrays in Stingray City, rent a snorkel or buy some souvenirs. These purely tourist activities, when budgeted per day, can work out to about 15 eur.

In total, the average traveller will pay around 155 USD for a day in Antigua and Barbuda.

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