Antigua and Barbuda: Local Travel Info
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Internal Flights and Major International Airport in Antigua and Barbuda
The V.C. Bird International Airport is the only airport in Antigua located in the north east of the island approximately 10 minutes drive from the capital St. John's. There are regular direct flights from the U.K., flight time approximately 8 hours. U.K. carriers are British Airways, Caribbean Airlines, and fares range from £400 return off season (June to November) to treble that during peak season (December to May). Barbuda has a small landing strip to take light aircraft. Carib Aviation operates scheduled flights, twice daily, flight time 20 mins, fare ECD 200 return trip. There are also scheduled flights to the neighbouring islands. Inter island carriers are, LIAT, Air St. Kitts and Nevis, Caribbean Airlines, Montserrat Airways and Caribbean Star Airlines. An international departure tax of ECD 50 is charged at the airport for persons over 12 years. Arrivals at peak hours in the afternoon may experience delays especially if entry documents have not been correctly completed. Entry visas are not required for British passport holders. Taxis are plentiful outside Arrivals. Hire cars can be collected and returned at the airport.
Getting to and from the Airport at Antigua and Barbuda
There is no public transport from the airport. Hotels will collect you as part of your holiday package otherwise taxis (minibuses) are plentiful and are booked from the taxi stand just outside the airport. The rates are regulated by the Government. Sample taxi fares from the airport are: to St. John's (capital) USD 12, to Runaway Bay or Dickenson Bay USD 16, to Jolly Harbour USD 24, to English Harbour USD 30. Fares quoted are for 4 persons; add 25% for a fifth person. A large number of rental car companies have a collection and return point at the airport. Journey times from the airport: St. John's (capital) – 10 mins. Dickenson Bay - 15 mins. Jolly Beach – 20 mins. English Harbour – 30 mins. Shirley Heights – 35 mins. Getting to Barbuda will involve a short flight or a 90 minute ferry crossing. There are a few local taxis when you get there.
Renting Cars in Antigua and Barbuda
There are over 20 car rental agencies in Antigua including Avis, Hertz, Budget, Dollar and Thrifty. You must be over 18 to rent a car in Antigua. Rates are about USD 40-50 per day inclusive of VAT. 4WD's cost USD 10 per day more. Cars can be pre-ordered and collected at the airport or delivered to your hotel free of charge. Roads are not well maintained, which explains the condition of rental cars. Rental agencies will arrange a temporary Antiguan driving license for ECD 20 valid for 3 months. There is no mileage limit on rental cars. The speed limits are 40 mph (65 kph) and 20 mph (32 kph) in built up areas. Driving is on the left. Seat belts must be worn and be careful driving at night as roads can be potholed, there are no road markings and few direction signs and few street lights. There are no rental cars in Barbuda.
For discounted rates on car hire in Antigua, see our car hire section above. We have searched the net to provide all of our readers with the best car rental prices online.
Drivers License Requirements in Antigua
Rental agencies will arrange a temporary Antiguan driving license which is valid for 3 months and cost ECD 20. Home driving licenses or an international license must be produced. The age limit for driving is 18.
Antigua by Bus
Antigua has a privately owned bus service which are small buses or minivans. Routes do not cover the whole of Antigua and there is no bus service to the airport or to the north of the island. Buses are plentiful on routes between St. John's and English Harbour on the south coast and along the west coast between St. John's and Old Road. Fares are ECD 1.50 to 5. Few buses operate on Sunday. Buses for west coast routes leave from the West Bus Station at St. John's opposite the market. Each bus has a destination number and notices are displayed giving destinations and numbers. Buses do not leave until full. For east coast routes buses leave from the East Bus Station at the junction of Independence Avenue and High Street. Buses are not numbered so you will have to ask which bus to board. Buses start early and generally run until 7.00 pm.
Antigua by Taxi
All taxis are licensed and fares are regulated by the Government. There are no unlicensed taxis. They are mostly minibuses identified by an H on the number plate. Taxis do not have meters so you should agree the price before getting into the taxi. Fares from the airport: St. John's US Dollars 12, Dickenson Bay USD 16, Jolly Harbour USD 24, English Harbour USD 30. These fares are for a maximum 4 persons; add 25% for a fifth person. Taxis can be hired by the day or half day for private excursions around the island, drivers will be pleased to offer their guide services. A half day tour will cost USD 90-100 and a full day USD 160-200. Taxis can be hired from the airport, St. John's at the taxi rank opposite the market and Heritage Quay and of course booked from hotels, restaurants and bars. Barbuda has no public transport.
Cycling and Scooters in Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua is a small compact island and the country is fairly flat with few hills. With the abundance of superb beaches, secluded bays and off-road trails, Antigua is the ideal place to discover by bicycle or scooter. Bikes and mountain bikes are available to rent at hotels or from hire shops in St. John's and Jolly Harbour for USD 15 per day, USD 70 per week. Scooters around Antigua are also great fun. Scooters are usually 50cc to 150cc and rentals are USD 30 per day, USD 200 per week plus USD 20 for the local driving license. Charges include insurance and helmets. Delivery to your hotel is an extra charge. Rental agencies in Antigua for bikes and scooters are: Cycle Krazy, St. Mary's Street, St. John's, Cheke's Scooter and Car Rental, St. John's, Paradise Boat Sales, Jolly Harbour and Shipwreck in Parnham. It is advisable to lock your bike or scooter and leave it in a conspicuous place. There are no cycle or scooter rentals in Barbuda, but you can take them on the ferry from Antiqua.
Water Transport in Antigua and Barbuda
There are many companies who run sailing tours and charters around Antigua and to neighbouring islands. Wadadli, Sentio, Jabberwocky and Miramar are sailing catamarans and yachts which operate from St. John's Harbour, English Harbour and Jolly Harbour. Prices depend on the number of persons and the destination. Barbuda, 30 miles north of Antigua is an interesting day tour if you would like to add a bush safari to your Caribbean island experience and check out the wildlife. You may sight deer and wild pig. Barbuda has the largest sanctuary of frigate birds in the world and over 170 different species of birds, a twitchers paradise. Ferries run twice a day from St. John's Harbour in Antigua to Codrington, 90 minutes each way, the fare is USD 200 return trip. You must check the schedule and departure times as the ferry service is unreliable.
Hitch Hiking in Antigua
Hitch hiking is not recommended in Antigua as the island is easy to get around without the risks of hitching. There is a cheap and reliable bus service and taxi sharing is common.