The most remarkable fact about Antigua’s bus system is the lack of a system. Well, it’s not that bad, but surely not comparable with european/north american standards. If you have travelled on mini-buses in Africa or South America, you may surely find it easier to get used to the buses in Antigua. There are several bus-lines running across the island, although there is no place to find something like a line grid or a schedule. Watch out for the few signs on the two main stations in St. John’s or ask the drivers. Then hop onto the bus, take a seat and pay your fare (you may pay your fare also when leaving, but it is more usual to pay when you get in). As there’s no schedule, the bus usually leaves when it’s full. The line number of the bus can be found on the upper left corner (from the driver’s perspective) of the window. Believe me, it is not that easy to find at first. Prices start from 2.00 EC$, depending on route - US$ are not accepted. Before you get out, yell out the place where you want to be left (usually: “BUS STOP”). Please note that buses stop almost everywhere to drop out passengers, but you are only allowed to step in at the bus stops.
There are two bus stations in St. John’s, East and West. For tourists, the most important rroutes are 17 (St. John’s West station to English Harbour) and 33 (St. John’s East station to Willikies/Devil’s Bridge). Of course, depending on where you stay, other routes might be important too…
In Antigua, tourists are rarely seen on public buses, so it is a way to get in touch with locals. Especially when you are sitting in the rear and have to ask the people sitting in the alley to stand up for you to get out of the bus.
Van taxis are cheap (about $5) and easy t use. They will take you around Antigua and to Antigua from the airport. The drivers will answer questions and are very interesting and helpful. They do like to have their loads full before traveling though.
Also, I suggest if you take a taxi into ST. John's, dont' buy buy the return trip too because we were ready to go before the time our driver and us had agreed on. It would have been really easy to find a different taxi to take us back to the hotel. There were lines of them waiting.
There are plenty of tours and trips on offer through your travel companies, but we found one of the best ways of seeing the island (which is small, after all) was to join up with another couple and hire out a taxi for the day. We negotiated a private deal with the guy who had driven us to Shirley Heights and he was very happy with a hundred dollars for the day (split four ways made it cheaper than a tour!)
He picked us up early and drove us into St Johns and let us do an hour's shopping, then he took us to the English harbour and left us there for a couple of hours, we then had a tour of the middle of the island, looking at old windmills, before heading over to Devil's Bridge. He would answer all our questions, point out interesting things, stop to let us take photos whenever we said and was chuffed to be earning a lot more than he normally would in a day!
Buses cost minimum 1 USD or 2.50 EC. They do run most everywhere on the Island, but not on any time schedules of course. The West Bus Station in St. Johns is the central location where buses arrive and depart throughout the island.
When I was in Antigua I was a passenger in a car driving around the island. The problem was in Antigua you drive on the right hand side of the road (same as in USA). But strangely, most of the cars in Antigua also have the steering wheel on the right hand side (same as in Australia). This meant that I, the passenger, faced the oncoming traffic with little regard from the driver (himself new in Antigua) as he veered over the road. A scary & hairy experience.
It is a good idea to hire a local cab driver. Negotiate your price up front, telling him where you wish to go, sights you want to see and how long you want to be gone. They are very knowledgable and friendly, will take you to off-touristy places and share many interesting facts, tips and customs about their home. Ask them anything and you will be pleased with the answer. It is a great way to see the island and learn to appreciate it and it's people all at teh same time.
If you wish to go to a beach, let them know. They will drop you off and pick you up again when you ask them to....honestly.
Being an ex-British colony, they drive on the left in Antigua. If that's not bad enough, the roads are very narrow. So when no traffic was coming the other way, the driver would use the center of the road. When an oncoming car approached, the driver would move to the left half of the road. Each time he did this, it threw me for a loop and I knew my reaction in the same situation would have been to move to the right. Watching him turn corners in traffic also was unsettling. I'd have had a dozen accidents before I got to the resort.
In addition to the narrow roads and driving on the left, road signs were practically non-existent. Then there are speed bumps everywhere, although I never did figure out why they were placed where they were. There were people walking in the street, goats everywhere (more on them later), and the occassional cattle grazing along the roadside. So much concentration would have been necessary to drive, that I wouldn't have been able to see any sights while doing so and am sure I'd spend half the time being lost.
Plane . . . Landing strip is fine, no landing through mountains or strips that end right before you go into the ocean . . . Airport is quite large and very organized
If you like adventure, rent a car . . . Otherwise, beware, roads are extremely narrow and you drive on the opposite side of American roads as the island is British . . . Look out for those goats . . . Mr. Graham was our driver while we were there . . . Ask for him by name at the Siboney Beach Club
Mini buses transport you from the airport -no problems at all.
Suggest the taxis, cheap, reliable (from your hotel or apartment is best!) They even wait for you, without charge sometimes. Also they recommend places of interest. So friendly.
Look on auction sites for really good value fares and package holidays.
The local busses are quite regular and come in the form of transits with seats. You can get these all over the island except on sunday's, when the church services are running and sometimes for the rest of the day. Taxi's are quite cheap and some of these run on Sunday's, you can also pre-order them.
Plane for us, you can get a cruise ship too, but this island is worth a long relaxing stay.
Taxi service.We were quite scared on the scooters with the local drivers (and you are on the left side of the road),the taxi drivers a quite nice -yet very aggressive drivers, you are safer being on the inside of one... and you can negotiate fares -there is no meter. Farm animals were among the roads with no fences, seemed weird.
We flew on US Airways & they were wonderful! We had to fly to Philadelphia from Raleigh (strange), but then it was a direct flight to Antigua. Then we had to stay over in Philly on Saturday night though b/c there were no late flights from Philly to RDU.
We rented a car & it was fine. However you *must* know how to read a map. No road signs, every village looks the same. Even the people who live there don't know the names of the roads, but they are very helpful. The steering wheel is on the left side of the car & you drive on the left, but it didn't take long to adjust.
We have gone there several ways and you just have to figure that it will take most of a day from the States. Our best trip from Chicago was up to Canada-Toronto and then directly into Antigua. we have also used Liat from San Juan and had no problem regardless of the comments made about this island airline.
We have been there many times and we find that the driving on the opposite side of the road requires some getting used to and the rentals are expensive. You can arrange to use the services of a cab driver for the week for about the same price as a car and they know where they are going. When we first went, there were no road signs and lots of potholes. There are more signs and less potholes but it is still confusing to get around at night. We also have become friends with the driver who is assigned to Trafalgar-we recently met another couple who had been there and they raved about the place, the island and Charles the wonderful cab driver. We call down before we go and ask him to pick us up at the airport. He stops by the grocery store with us and we're set for the first day to go out and have fun!
Antigua's VC Bird Airport is extremely small and has very little facilities. Nothing more than you would expect from a small island.
LIAT offer daily flights into Antigua & Barbuda from the Caribbean islands that include Puerto Rico.
Taxis are an excellent option for touring.
The Yepton Beach Resort is where we were married in July 1994 and was a small privately owned hotel...more
Five Islands P.O. Box. 305, Antigua Island, ag
Good for: Business
Indian Town Rd, Saint Philip, Caribbean
Good for: Couples