How to Avoid Scams in Antigua and Barbuda

From bad hair braiding vendors to the famous soccer team donation rip off, here are the top tourist scams to avoid in Antigua and Barbuda.

Tropical beach on Antigua Island Photo © Getty Images/Nellmac

Beach Vendor Scams

Antiguan beaches tend to have a lot of vendors selling all types of things. Unlike many countries where vendors can be incredibly pushy, a polite “No“ generally leads to the vendor moving on to someone who'll be more interested instead, or easily pursuaded to buy their goods.

If you do want to buy something from a vendor, check carefully that it's what you think it is and avoid showing large amounts of money when you pay for it.

Hair Braiding Scams

Among the vendors, hair braiding is very popular. If you want to have your hair braided, first specify exactly how many you want, as braiding tends to cost around US $2 per braid, and it may be easier than you think to end up with fifty braids in your hair, with an unexpected US $100 price tag.

Not all braiders are of the same quality however, and some people have reported headaches and painful scalps following the braiding, which means that the braids have to be removed.

This generally happens when the braid is yanked too tightly and the beginning of it stretching the scalp and basically causing your head to become permanently stressed until the braids are removed, which accounts for the fairly painful headache.

The Soccer Team Scam

There is a reasonably interesting conman in Antigua known as Kevin. Kevin wears an English soccer (football) team's kit and runs around asking for donations for the local youth soccer team. Usually the donations are supposedly for soccer or to fund their trip to the UK, and amazingly, the money never seems to reach the local youth.

Shocking, absolutely, that someone would try and con money out of travelers. But, nonetheless, it does happen.

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