Located very near the capital city of St. Johns, Jolly Harbour is a popular tourist destination in its own right, known for its beaches, harbors, shopping areas, and restaurants. Your trip to the area will probably be pretty laid back, but filled with plenty of trips outside of your hotel, so deciding on your local transportation – as well as how you'll get to the town in the first place – are important.
While Jolly Harbour is especially known for its plentiful sailing opportunities, you don't have to brave the seas on your own to get here. Flying, taking a ferry from Montserrat, and even stopping as part of a cruise are also very valid options.
Choosing your ground transportation is a huge part of planning your trip to Jolly Harbour. Here, your options range from a small bus to getting yourself around in a rental car.
As you review the chart on this page, you'll notice that most airlines offer flights to Antigua that connect elsewhere in the region. Although V.C. Bird International Airport is an international airport, most airlines still prefer flying into a regional hub and then making their final journey to this smaller airport. This isn't a very big concern, however. Visitors from North America will still be able to fly to Antigua daily, usually via the San Juan Luis Munoz Marin International Airport on Puerto Rico, while those from Europe and Asia can fly through the Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten a few times a week.
Set on the west coast of the island, Jolly Harbour is easily accessible by tourists planning a sailing adventure from the east coast of the United States. Not only will you be able to dock your boat at the very popular, but this location is also an official port of entry. Make sure to fly in with your yellow “Q” flag up to let officials know if your first time stopping on the island. They'll check to ensure that all of your paperwork is on the up-and-up, and charge you a port fee.
Antigua's cruise terminal is located a few miles north, in the city of St. Johns, so it's easy for cruisers to deboard and make their way to the famed Jolly Harbour. A good portion of tourism in this town comes from cruisers who have arrived for a day on the Land of Sun. Carnival, COSTA, MSC Italian, Disney, and Princess are all lines that frequently offer itineraries with stops in Antigua, so be sure to check with them first if you have big plans for touring Jolly Harbour.
...Local drivers are often friendly...
In order to rent a car in Jolly Harbour, you must first purchase a $20(USD) temporary Antiguan driver's license, even if you are in possession of an international driver's license. This can be done directly at the rental car agency, and once you've done that, you'll be able to get behind the wheel and take off on your exploits of the area. View here for information about renting a car as well as what driving on the island is like.
Taxi services in Jolly Harbour come well recommended. Local drivers are often friendly and knowledgeable – so much so that oftentimes tourists will hire them to lead a tour of the area. Whether or not you go that far, you can feel confident hiring a car in these parts thanks to heavy regulations and fares that are set well in advance. Our guide to Taxis in Jolly Harbour will give you more insight into what it is like to hail a cab here.
If you need a ride in Jolly Harbour between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., why not give the bus a try? They are not to be relied upon to get you to an appointment at a specific time, but this privately run service can certainly be a great way to get around and see the area's sites at a laid back pace. Find out more by clicking here.
Not far from Jolly Harbour is the town of English Harbour from which you can hop a ferry to the French island nation of Montserrat or more commonly, Antigua's sister isle of Barbuda. Ferries are a great way to save money when you've looking to visit either destination, but services are limited to only several times a week. Make sure the boat's are available when you need them by checking out our guide to Jolly Harbour Ferry Services.
Now that you have gone over all of your options, it is time to begin making decisions. The most popular way to get to the island is to fly, and then getting around is usually done in a rental car. But just because it is popular doesn't mean it is right for you. Go with the move convenient, affordable, and comfortable method for you, and you will never be wrong.
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