Car rental for the day in Antigua??

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#1
149 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
Has anyone done this, was it easy and stress-free? Is there even a car rental place close to dock?
Hubby and I are torn as to what to do; we're not a big fan of organized tours (plus they get so expensive!!) and we'd love to just drive around and stop where the fancy takes us, but on the other hand, dealing with rental cars can be stressful...And if the weather is inclement, we'd be stuck with a reservation, I guess??
#2
North Bay, Ontario
10 Posts
Joined Jun 2015
My wife and I rented from Hertz. The company is right there so we just walked to get our car. Make sure you get an International Drivers License, it makes it easier. You drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car, so that was fun. Hertz gave us a map with places to see. We drove all over the island and it was fantastic, no stress. You have to go to Shirley Heights. It overlooks English Harbour and is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. Here's a picture of it.
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File Type: jpg English Harbour from Shirley Heights.jpg (13.4 KB, 89 views)
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#3
Toms River, NJ
76 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
Originally posted by mizrad
My wife and I rented from Hertz. The company is right there so we just walked to get our car. Make sure you get an International Drivers License, it makes it easier. You drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car, so that was fun. Hertz gave us a map with places to see. We drove all over the island and it was fantastic, no stress. You have to go to Shirley Heights. It overlooks English Harbour and is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. Here's a picture of it.
How do yo get an international drivers license?
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#4
Vancouver, BC
830 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
No need for an 'international drivers licence'. When you rent a car in Antigua, the rental company will sell you the local temporary licence on the spot. They all do it, but it's a requirement. I think it costs USD $20. It's good for 90 days. Inclement weather is highly unlikely!
#5
North Bay, Ontario
10 Posts
Joined Jun 2015
In the United States you get one from any AAA store. They are around $10-$15. The rental company can sell you one a temporary, but it's a little bit more. That's why I said it's easier if you already have an IDL. And the IDL last for a year, I think.
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#6
37 Posts
Joined Jul 2016
I rented a car on St. Maarten and it wasn't too bad because they drive on the right side of the road. But after going to Antigua and the rest of the islands, I wouldn't rent a car on any of them. The roads are narrow and people tend to pull out in front of you so you have to be really attentive. We paid only $3 per person for a taxi in Antigua, so the low cost plus no stress was great for me because I'm the family driver.

I think the decision should be based on the kind of person you are. If you're very care free and you might invite the challenge of driving on the wrong side of the road and don't mind maybe getting a little lost here and there, then if the cost is reasonable maybe you could give it a try. But if you want the lowest stress possible, would enjoy looking out the window rather than focus on the road, and you know where you want to go, there will be dozens of cab drivers willing to take you. Just get the rate up front.
#7
nj
572 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
My husband and I have just completed a 4 day stay in antigua and had no problems driving. Wheel on right. Drive on left. Get a gps or download the island of antigua to your phone and drop a pin of where you want to go. The maps at rental car places are useless. We went all over anrigua and still didn't get to everything. They are a little crazy drving here and there are potholes. But it's such a beautiful island that if you like to ecplore, and not plop on one beach all day, then by all means rent the car.
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#8
Finger Lakes area, NY, USA
245 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
Sorry to dredge up an ancient thread, but here goes.

We were in Antigua for the day in April and found that Hertz doesn't actually staff an office downtown or at the port, even though they have office addresses online. Apparently they have an office at the airport and if you make reservations ahead of time should bring the car down to the port to meet you. However we were unable to make a reservation online when we tried just the day before ...and another couple on the ship *did* have a reservation but Hertz never showed up with the car...

However, it was easy to rent a car near the pier - if you have no reservation, stop at the visitor information booth (just outside the pier security) and ask them to direct you, there are a couple of nearby local operations and they may even walk over to the visitor booth to collect you.

The place we rented from was co-located with a snack bar, on High Street (behind/north of Heritage Quay, toward the Post office, across a parking area/driveway from the King's Casino). I don't have the name and there doesn't seem to be Google Street View, but the approximate GPS coordinates are 17°07'17.5"N 61°50'44.3"W according to Google. The supplied map (and directions/suggestions by Vere, the owner) worked fine!
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#9
4 Posts
Joined May 2017
For person's who are not familiar with driving on the left side of the road, or driving in a right hand drive vehicle, i'd recommend them using a motor scooter, since it's much smaller. most of the roads in Antigua are very thin, and they are in dire need of repair. drivers are usually caught in a maze maneuvering through the pot holes, causing them to sometimes be on the wrong side of the road since their side (left side) is bad. Most visitors usually only pay attention to their driving lane, while it's a known yet unmentioned fact that to drive in Antigua, you must study both sides to anticipate if a driver will swing on your side steering clear of a pot hole.
Since a scooter is smaller, i think it's a better choice for visitors. I've never been on a scooter, but i will still recommend it above a car in Antigua.
If it's for the experience, then Hertz all the way. Don't forget to visit Shirley's height, Interpretation Center, Nelson's Dock yard, these places are usually the best historical attractions. If you are looking for more locked away romantic areas, then i can recommend other areas to visit; however, if you're not familiar with Antigua, you might need a guide.
#10
Vancouver BC
78 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Just found out our cruise is now heading to Antigua, and we'd like to rent motorcycles or scooters for the day to do some exploring on our own. Are there operations close to the port that have 2 wheeled options? Any idea how much? The only operator I could find on-line is Cheke's and it gets pretty horrible reviews. No issues driving on left or narrow roads, as we've done it on other islands in the past.
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#11
Vancouver, BC
830 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
I'm afraid I advise against two wheels on Antigua. I'm a motorcyclist at home and have rented a scooter on Bermuda but Antigua is very different. Roads are narrow, no sidewalks, lots of potholes and plenty of stray dogs, pigs, cows, goats, chickens, pedestrians and kids. Having said that, at least speeds are low. It's hard to find any stretch of road where you could get up to 50mph. There's virtually no street signs and any map I've seen is pathetic. You'll get lost but how lost could you be? The island is only 10 miles by 10miles. Stop and ask - the locals are friendly and helpful.
#12
nj
572 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
Originally posted by dawnvip
Just found out our cruise is now heading to Antigua, and we'd like to rent motorcycles or scooters for the day to do some exploring on our own. Are there operations close to the port that have 2 wheeled options? Any idea how much? The only operator I could find on-line is Cheke's and it gets pretty horrible reviews. No issues driving on left or narrow roads, as we've done it on other islands in the past.
I agree with prior poster regarding the road conditions. I would not rent anything 2 wheeled there. We went with Avis which is outside the airport and it was really easy. They picked us up and brought us over but a cruise stop may be different. Download google maps and drop some pins and you should have no problems. This way you can explore so many beaches and areas. I absolutely love Antigua. The one beach that is really far from the cruise port and one you really need a car for is Half moon bay. Great snorkeling. Beautiful beach. There was a shack there selling food last October. Free parking. Its an adventure getting there but once you get there you will love it. About 45 to 50 minutes from cruise port.
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