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Antigua

Getting around

Car & motorcycle

Car

There are more than a dozen car-rental agencies on Antigua including all the major brands. Most have representatives crammed into one tiny office at the airport. Agencies in the following list rent out cars for around US$50 a day, but can drop to as low as US$40 in the off-season. Many of the companies also offer basic 4WDs for the same rates, or for US$5 to US$10 more. Shop online before arriving, for the best deals.

All but the newest rental cars are generally quite beat, mostly because of the poor road conditions. Your best bet (though by no means a sure thing) for getting a roadworthy car is to book with one of the international agencies. Most car-rental agencies will deliver cars to your hotel free of charge.

Rental companies include the following:

Avis (462-2840; www.avis.com)

Dollar (462-0362; www.dollar.com)

Hertz (462-4114; www.hertz.com)

Thrifty Rent-A-Car (462-9532; www.thrifty.com)

Numerous gas stations are scattered around the island, including one just outside the airport terminal. Gas sells for around EC$10 per gallon.

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Bus & tram

Bus

Antigua’s buses are privately owned and are predominantly minivans, although there are a few midsize buses. Fares cost EC$1.50 to EC$5. Buses from St John’s to Falmouth and English Harbour are plentiful, cost around EC$3 and take about 30 minutes. They start early and generally run until about 7pm. Rush hour is particularly bustling, with lots of buses between 4pm and 5pm. There are very few buses on Sunday.

The main bus station (West Bus Station) in St John’s is opposite the public market. All destinations are allocated a number, and each bus displays a number that indicates where it’s heading. Notices are posted about with destination numbers. Buses line up in a row and don’t actually leave until they’re full. So just find the bus you need, hop on, and hope it fills up and leaves before you melt.

Buses to the east side of the island leave from the East Bus Station, near the corner of Independence Ave and High St, and go to Piggots and Willikies. The numbering system doesn’t apply here, so you’ll need to ask around to find your bus.

There’s no practical bus service to the airport, Dickenson Bay or other resort areas on the northern part of the island.

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Local transport

Taxi

Taxi fares are regulated by the government, but be sure to confirm the fare with the driver before riding away. Fares from the airport are US$12 to St John’s, US$16 to Runaway or Dickenson Bays, US$24 to Jolly Harbour and US$31 to English Harbour. Fares are for up to four persons; a fifth person costs an additional 25%. Traveling around Antigua by taxi costs about US$90 per car for a half-day tour that takes in Nelson’s Dockyard and Shirley Heights.

In St John’s there’s a taxi stand opposite the Public Market, and taxi drivers also hang around Heritage Quay.

Taxis are identifiable by number plates ­beginning with ‘H.’

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Bicycle

Paradise Boat Sales (460-7125; Jolly Harbour; www.paradiseboats.com) rents out mountain bikes from US$15 per day with discounts for longer periods.

Bike Plus (462-2453; Independence Dr, St John’s) rents out a range of bikes from US$17.50 per day.

Some hotels also rent out bikes.

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