Jolly Harbour Rental Cars

Whether you choose a local agency or a big name in the industry, Jolly Harbour rentals are affordable

Photo credit: © James Gale

If you prefer to be in charge of driving yourself between your accommodations and shops, restaurants, beaches, and the golf course in Jolly Harbour, or if you'll be exploring other areas of Antigua, you may find renting a car to be the best option available to you. Rental cars on this island are inexpensive and a much more affordable option than hailing a cab every time you want to be out and about.

Renting a Car

Depending on traffic, it takes about a half an hour to get from the airport in St. Johns to Jolly Harbour, which is good incentive for many tourists to pick up their rental car right at the airport and begin the adventure that is driving on Antigua. However, what many don't realize is that a good number of accommodations in town offer free airport transfer, so make sure to check with your hotel first. This could save you on gas, and then you can pick up your rental car in town if you still plan on renting.

Take a look at this table which lists many of the local vehicle rental agencies.

Vehicle Rental Companies
Name Phone Location
Avis Antigua (268) 462-2840 Powell's Estate - Redcliffe Quay
Dollar Jolly Beach (268) 462-0362 Jolly Beach - Jolly Harbour
Hertz Heritage Quay (268) 481-4400 Heritage Quay Terminal - St. John's
Hertz Main Office (268) 481-4440 Sir George Walter Highway - Redcliffe Quay
Hertz Royal Antiguan (268) 481-4457 Grand Royal Antiguan Beach Resort - Five Islands
Scrubo's Pineapple Rentals (268) 771-9422 Jolly Harbour
Tropical Rentals (268) 562-5180 Valley Road - Redcliffe Quay

... come and go as you please...


When it does come time for you to rent your car, you will first have to purchase a temporary Antiguan driver's license. You can do so right at your rental agency for less than $20(USD). Some agencies will even throw in the cost of the license as a part of your rental, but you'll need to confirm this is the case before you arrive. Once in your hand, the license will be valid for three months, and you have the option of renewing it two times before you will be required to apply for a permanent license.

Driving in the Area

What you experience on the roads of Jolly Harbour is most likely going to be different than what you've learned how to manage back home. Driving here is done on the left side of the road, like in Europe, and you'll quickly learn that road signs, street lights, and traffic signals are sparsely used. The roads in Jolly Harbour do have some pot holes, dips, and cracks – and some back roads are not paved at all. Driver's are known to use the 20 to 40 mile per hour speed limits as a suggestion, and are seemingly always in a hurry. It will not be uncommon for you to experience tailgating and locals overtaking you on narrow roads. Even when it's busy, if a space opens up for them to zip passed you, you can expect it to happen. In order to remain safe, remember your driving training. If you feel comfortable going slowly and obeying traffic laws, do it. Locals will recognize the “R” on your license plate which indicates you are driving a rental car, and know you are not quite used to local driving customs.

The Cost of Renting a Car

A typical rental will cost between just $30 and $40(USD) a day, though this price can rise quickly if you decide to rent a car with a lot of extra features. The most common rental is a small Toyota Tercel, which is a fine vehicle if you plan to stick to the paved roads, but if you'll want to do some off-road exploring, it is best to ask for a jeep or sports utility vehicle. Most vehicles will come in light colors to keep the interior cool, and will have air conditioning but no heat – not that you'll need it. When you pick up your vehicle, make sure to inspect it thoroughly before you leave the facility. Cars have been known to take off with no brake lights or working signals, and may not have the proper amount of air in the tires.

Different companies can charge widely different rates so it pays to contact several firms. The lowest rates shown only apply to the lowest cost firms when plenty of cars are on hand. The high end of the range is what you might need to pay during the peak season.

Vehicle Rentals, Daily Rates
Rental Type Low Rate High Rate
Economy Car $ 40.00 $ 45.00
Mid Size Car $ 50.00 $ 60.00
Compact Car $ 55.00 $ 60.00
Light SUV $ 60.00 $ 80.00
Standard SUV $ 60.00 $ 120.00
Full Size Van $ 85.00 $ 100.00
Vehicle Rentals, Weekly Rates
Rental Type Low Rate High Rate
Economy Car $ 240.00 $ 270.00
Mid Size Car $ 300.00 $ 350.00
Compact Car $ 312.00 $ 350.00
Standard SUV $ 370.00 $ 480.00
Light SUV $ 375.00 $ 480.00
Heavy SUV $ 480.00 $ 700.00
Full Size Van $ 525.00 $ 550.00

Gas Stations

One of the great things about driving in Jolly Harbour and around Antigua is that there are plenty of gas stations, and they are all full service. This means that an attendant will pump your gas and probably wipe your windows and check your tires. You shouldn't even have to get out of your vehicle, because the attendant will typically accept payment through your window. Make sure to have local currency on hand for a smoother transaction.

Since you may have difficulties finding gas stations, take a look at the chart that follows for a picture of where some of them are located.

Gas Stations
Name Phone Location
Chandler's Gas Station -- Downtown St. John's
Golden Grove Service Station -- St. John's
Jolly Harbor Fuel Dock -- Jolly Harbour Marina & Boatyard - Jolly Harbour
Rubis Percival Gas (268) 462-1464 Fort Road - St. John's

Once you've mastered driving in Jolly Harbour, you'll be glad you decided to opt for a rental. This option allows you to come and go as you please, control the route you take, and saves you money. For most people, this is just what they are looking for as they choose their local transportation.


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