Many of Antigua's most popular tourist attractions are located in the southern settlement of English Harbour, which means you'll have a lot of exploring to do when you stay in this area. A great way to save money as you do this is by renting a low-priced vehicle to get you around, rather than hiring a cab at every turn.
When you arrive in English Harbour, you may notice numerous Toyota Tercel's in white and silver with the letter “R” on the license plate to let people know that they are rentals. Tercel's are the most popular rental car issued on the island, and always in light colors to help keep the interior from overheating in the hot sun. These rentals will cost between $40 and $50(USD) a day, though discounts may be issued for anyone who rents for more than a week. Of course, renting a Tercel is not necessary. A variety of other vehicles are available upon request and a jeep is recommended for off-roading opportunities.
Most rental car agencies can be found at the V.C. Bird International Airport or nearby, but others are available.
The chart below lists the rental agencies in this general area.
|Ats Car Rental||(268) 562-1709||Freeman's Village|
|Big's Car Rental & Taxi Service||(268) 562-4901||English Harbour|
|(268) 460-6551||English Harbour|
|(268) 460-1241||0.9 mi. (1.5 km) Northwest of Falmouth Harbour|
|(268) 562-5968||Shirley Road - English Harbour|
|Titi Rent-a-Car||(268) 460-1452||Falmouth Harbour|
|Vernon's Car Rental||(268) 560-5123||Freetown|
...renting a car makes sense...
When you pick up your vehicle, make sure to do a complete check of all of the functions. It is not uncommon for tourists to get their rental out on the road to discover that the air conditioning, brake lights, signals, and other things are not in working order.
Because English Harbour is such a popular spot, your margin of error as you practice driving in a foreign locale is slightly less than elsewhere on the island. Because of this, there are a few things you should be aware of before you get behind the wheel.
The most important factor to know about driving is that traffic moves on the left side of the road – which is the complete opposite of the United States, where people drive to the right. You'll quickly become aware of locals tailgating you as if you aren't going fast enough, even if you're going 10 miles above the posted speed limit of between 20 and 40 miles per hour. Locals use these limits as a sort of suggestion, and drive in order to get to their destination as fast as possible. Don't take this as a sign of disrespect, it is simply how things go on the island.
Outside of the speed limit signs, you'll rarely come across a road sign, and traffic signals and street lamps are rarities as well. If you do happen upon a sign, it will usually have been placed there by a local business wanting to draw guests in. If you ask a local for direction, be prepared to follow landmarks rather than street names. Another thing to be aware of is the abundance of free-roaming livestock you'll have to contend with. You'll probably run into a group of cows crossing the street at some point, and have to wait for them to complete the crossing before you can continue on your way.
On top of renting the vehicle, you will also have to purchase a local temporary driver's license. The cost is $20(USD) and lasts for three months, though it can be renewed for up to two times. Most local agencies will issue the licenses, and some will even do so free of charge. Some tourists arrive on the island with an International Driver's License expecting to be able to use that as their legal license, but in Antigua the International License is not valid.
Visitors my find that car types and prices to be overwhelming. Feel free to take a look at the chart below to help understand what to expect when you visit.
As you can see, the prices can vary a bit. Generally, the lower prices will be available during the off-season while the higher ones are in place during the tourist months and holidays.
One of the nice things about Antigua is the full service gas stations. Attendants will come pump your gas for you, and take your money from your car so you never have to get out. Some will even wash your windows and check the air in your tires as the gas pumps.
happens to be the only gas station that we have we have information on. They are found on St. John's, 8.2 mi. northwest of English Harbour.
There are several options that will allow you to get from place to place in English Harbour, but the most affordable and convenient is to rent a car. Still, the choice it up to you. Learn all of your options and then decide if renting a car makes sense for your vacation.
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