Antigua and Barbuda, situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, is a sovereign state forming part of the British Commonwealth. Antigua, the main island, is said to have a beach for every day of the year, packed into a land area of just over 100 square miles. Whether you prefer the more crowded beaches, or relish having a spot to yourself, renting a car is an excellent way of reaching the different locations and making your way around the island. Barbuda is even smaller with a very limited population and is best reached by ferry from Antigua. It is most famous for its pink and white sandy beaches, as well as offering a secluded and relaxing atmosphere, but is also popular with divers who go to explore the shipwrecks and reefs. Barbuda is also home to one of the largest frigate bird colonies in the world.
Antigua’s capital, St John, accounts for most of the permanent population and offers opportunities for sightseeing and visiting museums to delve into the islands’ colonial past. With its deep-water harbor, it constitutes the main entry point for commerce, as well as for cruise liners and passengers. There are a handful of other towns such as Potters Village, Boland and English Harbor. Locations such as Runaway Beach and Green Island Beach are popular with snorkelers. Sport fishing is also on the cards, with charter companies to take you to the excellent fishing grounds where one can catch marlin, barracuda and other big game fish in the Atlantic.
Driving in Antigua can be a bit of a rough and ready experience. Most of the main roads are in relatively good condition, but minor roads often have to be shared with slow-moving vehicles as well as with goats and other domestic animals. Opting for a 4 x 4 rental vehicle will be a wise decision. Potholes and lack of street lighting can make driving after dark a challenge. Driving standards are poor and it is not uncommon for vehicles to lack functioning signal and brake lights, so that your full attention is called for when navigating the roads.
Signposting on roads is inadequate and maps are often inaccurate, so visitors will often have to rely on GPS or similar assistance to get around. However, due to the small size of the island it is difficult to get truly lost and one will usually encounter a main road without too much trouble. Barbuda only really has one road, so visitors tend to avail a taxi service on the smaller island.
Car rental prices in Antigua are a little on the high side and it may be difficult to find anything for less than $28 per day, even when renting for a week or more. The daily cost can be even higher for shorter rental periods. Prices do not vary significantly from month to month. A good tip to avoid extra costs is to make sure the tank is full when you return your vehicle, as if not, you will be charged for the fuel you have used at a rate well above the standard cost. Budget, Hertz and Thrifty all have desks at the airport, which is the most secure and convenient place to get your rental. Check out our list below for some great deals currently available in Antigua.
The official language of Antigua is English.
The currency is the East Caribbean dollar (XCD), but US dollars are widely accepted. The exchange rate is fixed at $1 US to 2.7 XCD.