Bumpy 90-minute catamaran rides operated by Barbuda Express link St John's with the River Wharf Landing in southern Barbuda. Boats leave at 9am (noon on Sundays) and return from Barbuda at 4pm. There is no service on Mondays.
In peak season, it's best to make reservations or buy tickets in advance. Inclement weather may cancel service, so call ahead to confirm departure times and take precautions if you’re prone to seasickness.
The company also operates guided day tours to Barbuda (from US$129).
Antigua has a decent network of private minivans traveling along the main roads. Buses to the south, northwest and west leave from the West bus station opposite the Public Market in St John's; buses to the northeast, the east and southeast leave from the East bus station on Independence Ave. Fares cost EC$2.25 to EC$4, with a small surcharge between 10pm and 5am. Bus Stop Antigua (www.busstopanu.com) has details.
Buses don’t leave until full and generally run from about 6am until 7pm; there are very few buses at night and on Sunday. Buses to English Harbour may run as late as midnight, but do confirm this with the driver.
There are no public buses on Barbuda.
Car & Motorcycle
A local driving permit, available from car-rental agencies, is required for driving on Antigua or Barbuda. It costs US$20 or EC$50 and is valid on both islands for three months.
International car-rental companies with outlets at the Antigua airport include Avis, Dollar and Hertz. Big's Car Rental is a local outfit in English Harbour. Car rentals on Barbuda are all local and very limited as most visitors prefer to get around by taxi. Ask at your hotel for a referral.
Most agencies will deliver cars to your hotel free of charge. Daily rates start at about US$40 for a compact. Gas stations are scattered around the island, including a handy one for refueling just outside the airport.
Because of the poor road conditions, most vehicles have dents and scratches. Make sure that the car-rental agent records all damages and hands you a copy before taking over the car. In addition, take photographs of all existing damages.
If the agent is not present when you return the car, take another set of photographs before leaving it. Some companies, including presumably reputable international ones, may claim that you added additional damage and charge your credit card for bogus repairs. With your photographs, you should be able to prove the scam.
Antigua’s roads range from smooth to rough to deadly. You’ll be cruising along when suddenly a hubcap-popping pothole or a speed bump appears. Smaller roads are often narrow with poor visibility, particularly on curves. If you plan to get off the beaten track (especially in the remote eastern part of Antigua), it’s best to hire an SUV or 4WD.
Driving at night is even more dangerous since roads are narrow, street lights or reflector posts are nonexistent and most people use their blinding brights. Also be aware of people, donkeys, dogs, goats and other animals by the side – or on – the road.
Finding your way around Antigua can prove difficult at times. The island is randomly dotted with green road signs, but they peter out the further away you get from the main centers. Private signs pointing the way to restaurants, hotels and a few other tourist spots are far more frequent. Beyond that, locals are always happy to offer advice – at times an adventure in itself.
Navigating by Google Maps generally works but can be erratic in rural areas where you may also occasionally lose the GPS signal.
Driving is on the left, the steering wheel is on the right. The speed limit is generally 20mph in built-up areas and 40mph on highways.
If you have an accident, call the police and don't move the vehicle.
Taxis on Antigua have number plates beginning with 'TX.' On both Antigua and Barbuda, fares are government regulated with one tariff applying to up to four passengers. However, it's best to confirm the price before riding away.
|Airport to St John's||US$11|
|Airport to Dickenson Bay||US$16|
|Airport to English Harbour||US$31|
|St John's to Dickenson Bay||US$12|
|St John's to English Harbour||US$24|
|St John's to Half Moon Bay||US$28|
Private island tours are charged at US$24 per hour with a two-hour minimum. Waiting times cost US$5 per 30 minutes. See www.antigua-barbuda.org for a full list of official rates (link to ‘Transportation’).
Taxis wait at the airport or the ferry dock, but you may prefer to prearrange a transfer or an island tour through your hotel, the Barbuda tourist office or by contacting a driver directly. See www.barbudaful.net for a list, or try Lynton Thomas at 268-721-2796, John Taxi Service at 268-788-5378 or D&D Taxi at 268-724-2829. There is usually a minimum charge of US$20, no matter where you're going.