We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Should we rent a car?

New York City
Level Contributor
12 posts
5 reviews
Save Topic
Should we rent a car?

If I could get a local experts opinion on this matter, I would greatly appreciate it. We will be going to Antigua for the first time in mid-February. We will be staying at an all-inclusive resort on Jolly Beach. Being that we're only there for five full days and staying at an all-inclusive, I'm wondering if it'll be worth it to rent a car, or try to get by with whatever is available.

Mrs, or Mr, local expert, what would you do? Inquiring minds need to know!

Also, any feedback on Jolly beach would also be appreciated.

Windsor, Canada
Level Contributor
72 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Should we rent a car?

Well Im not a local expert but I can give you my two cents.... We just came back from Antigua on Monday where we had every intention on renting a car for 2 days in which we changed our minds on the way to the resort... The roads are horrible... speed bumps set up randomly.. and the locals (sorry if locals read this) but they drive excessive speeds around blind corners and pass people all over.... the donkeys, goats, horses, dogs, and other wildlife were roadside some crossing roads in bad spots... If you are very confident Im sure it would be fine but for us it was opposite side of the road traffic coupled with all that I mentioned that changed our minds.

Fallston, MD
Level Contributor
1,872 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Should we rent a car?

I think that much depends on why you're visiting the island. If it's to relieve stress and "chill out" while soaking up the sun's rays .... don't bother considering the car rental. 5 days will fly by very quickly and the quality of each and every hour becomes very precious.

IMO, at the very most, you might consider sacrificing one full day to take a circumnavigation tour around ANU on a Cat or other vessel.

Pay close attention to your ride from the airport to your resort .... keeping in mind that the taxi driver KNOWS where he's going. I think your "gut feeling" will answer your own question.

In conclusion, for a 5 day stay, it's probably best to donate to the taxi drivers .. than to the car rental agencies, IMO.

Cheers,

Lake District, UK
Level Contributor
851 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Should we rent a car?

Given that you'll probably want to spend most of your time on the beach, (that IS why you're going, right?) I wouldn't bother renting a car on such a short visit. You'll have to drive on the left and pay $20 for an Antigua driver's permit. You can easily arrange an island tour, either as an excursion with your hotel, or with the local taxi drivers, who double up as tour guides. A day's driving would cover most of the island to give you a flavour of the place.

From Jolly Beach you can get to a lot of interesting locations by using the bus (they're minibuses actually). For a couple of dollars you can get to the great beaches down the coast, St Johns and even English Harbour. It's a great way to get involved with the real Antigua.

As for Jolly Beach, it's a long beach with Coco's at the south end, then Jolly Beach Resort, then Castaway's beach bar. The rest of the beach to the north is mostly used by the residents of the Jolly Harbour villas. There is plenty of room for all. The beach shelves gently and is great for swimming, but zero visibility means no snorkeling.

Windsor, Canada
Level Contributor
72 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Should we rent a car?

I definately agree with Terry about a circumnavigation tour... We did one through Treasure Islands Tours... It was all day.... 9 to just after 5 but I think it was the best thing we did... about $100 pp but it took us all the way around the island on the catamaran, with a stop for lunch and snorkeling... You see EVERYTHING!!!

I have to laugh at Terrys "gut feeling" comment about renting the car... You will understand when you get there LOL.

Bonaire
Level Contributor
5,944 posts
135 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Should we rent a car?

I would rent a car. My first trip 20 years ago we did for 3 days and whilst it took awhile to learn the left hand drive, we saw SO much of the island and had a blast.

New York City
Level Contributor
12 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Should we rent a car?

Thank you one and all for your response. I've been to many of the islands so I'm familiar with the switchbacks, blind corners, speed bumps and random animals in the road. I usually have a ball driving on the islands. Last year, on Vieques, we witnessed more then a few locals travel on horseback, at speed- like a car. That was a new one for us. I hope I wasn't a jerk when I passed without beeping (I didn't want to startle the horses.) We were also on Tortola- which has some interesting roads, to say the least.

I suppose we'll wait until we get to the island to make a decision. Are there any issues regarding getting a car on short notice in high season? I hate it when getting a car turns into a big deal on vacation.

Also, we will definitely be interested in a day long cruise. Can anyone recommend a specific company? As we all know, some of them are great and some of them are awful.

Once again-thanks for the time and energy

Mentioned in this post
Tortola
Tortola
British Virgin Islands
Lake District, UK
Level Contributor
851 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Should we rent a car?

You'll get a good idea of the local availabilty of car hire, cruises etc. on this site:

www.antiguanice.com

Nottm UK
Level Contributor
9 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Should we rent a car?

Hi we have just returned on 23rd jan from a 12 night stay at jolly beach.

The roads are very bad with pot holes etc and car hire is very expensive at about 100 us per day. There is a local bus that you can get into st johns the stop is near the casino in jolly harbour just 3 mins walk away at a cost of 3 us return. the hotel also run a shuttle bus to Shirley Heights at a cost of 22 us return per person If you are going on a sunday evening leave it untill 6.30pm onwards as things do not start hotting up until then.

We went on the rainforest canopy tour which we would not have missed for the world. There is also a cat. tour that takes you all around the costline of antigua and points out places of interest.

The food at jolly beach was extreamly good in the main restaurant, the indian , and the seafood. We did try the italian but was not impressed, dress code was very strict , in the italian, and if you were not dressed correctly you were sent to the duty manager for them to inspect you I think they like public humiliation. We had a king size superior room and it was fine, but most people that had booked a basic room were very dissapointed

UK
Level Contributor
1,094 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Should we rent a car?

Not sure where you rent your car from, but we have rented regularly a 4 x 4 for US$40 per day, plus 15% tax, so someone is taking you for a ride! Roads in Antigua are not that bad, just take it slowly, and be aware of goats, sheep and donkeys, and sleeping policemen (speed slowing bumps). You will see much more of the place if you rent a car, and it is fun.

Nottm UK
Level Contributor
9 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Should we rent a car?

Hi we enquired at 3 car hire places and all quoted the smallest car 50 us per day basic + 17 us per day insurance + 15 % tax = aprox 77 us plus 20 us dollars for a local licence then of course fuel

Get answers to your questions about Antigua