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.
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.
View the table below which shows the many different local vehicle rental agencies.
|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.
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.
A typical rental will cost between just $30 and $40(USD) a day, though this price can rise quickly if you decide to rent a car with a lot of extra features. The most common rental is a small Toyota Tercel, which is a fine vehicle if you plan to stick to the paved roads, but if you'll want to do some off-road exploring, it is best to ask for a jeep or sports utility vehicle. Most vehicles will come in light colors to keep the interior cool, and will have air conditioning but no heat – not that you'll need it. When you pick up your vehicle, make sure to inspect it thoroughly before you leave the facility. Cars have been known to take off with no brake lights or working signals, and may not have the proper amount of air in the tires.
As you can see below, rates vary, depending on the season and type of vehicle. The lowest rates in each table are typically only available from the least expensive agencies when plenty of cars are on hand. The high rates are what you can expect during the peak season.
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Economy Car||$ 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|
|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|
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.
Due to the fact that there are only a few gasoline stations within the area, it is a good idea to view the table directly below to get a feel for where some are located.
|--||Downtown St. John's|
|--||Jolly Harbour Marina & Boatyard - Jolly Harbour|
|(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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