Thursday, 23 June 2016

Hiring a Jeep And Driving Around Antigua.

The day we visited Stingray City we hired a Jeep from the car hire place at our hotel, St James's Club, and drove around exploring the island. I was the driver for the day, and was terrified of damaging or crashing the car! Thankfully all was OK, and we has the BEST day driving around Antigua and seeing everything we wanted to see on our list.

You see to see everything on our list, we would have had to of paid around £400 each on various group excursions and private tours. Which is a little bit ridiculous for group things. So we decided to go it alone and do it all in one day by ourselves. Luckily I take my drivers license everywhere with me as a form of ID, so we went down to the Lion's car rental at St James's Club and asked about hiring a car.

We decided to hire a jeep for a day for just $120 including insurance, so only $60 each! It was quite an old jeep, and I was super nervous because it was an American car with the steering wheel on the left hand side...and as it was Antigua I was driving on the left hand side...let me tell you it is CONFUSING and scary not being on the same side as the middle of the road and trying to figure out how far away you are from it.

So we started off by driving over to Half Moon Bay, an absolutely stunning crescent shaped beach that really reminded Claire and I of Western Australia! Everything about it from the beach to the ocean, the rocks, landscape, and all looked like the South-West area. However, enroute we did get a little lost as I took a wrong turning, but thankfully we passed a lovely local man who told us where to go! Seriously, every single person we met in Antigua was SO friendly.

We had a quick run on the beach and then we drove over to Devil's Bridge via Pineapple Beach/Long Bay. We actually ended up there by accident - again I took a wrong turn (the map was confusing OK), and suddenly I saw the entrance to the Pineapple Beach Resort. I actually stayed there for a week with my family in the nineties, back in Pineapple Beach's heyday. We had such an incredible week, and I have so many amazing memories from our stay there. It's a bit run down now, but Elite Island Resorts who own St James's Club, Galley Bay, and Palm Island have literally just bought it! So it should be getting spruced up pretty soon.

Naturally I had to jump out and take a quick pic though, so here's one from 1998, and one from 2016...but taken from opposite directions on the beach... (and can we all just have a little giggle at my Dad's haircut?! Also clearly I've always had a thing for breton stripes, as I currently have about 8 breton stripe tops in my drawer)

After a quick photo to show my parents, we drove back the way we had came and then took the correct turning. Well, let me tell you. You probably definitely nee a 4WD to get to Devil's Bridge. I would not feel comfortable driving a hire care up there that isn't a 4WD - the road is so rocky and horrible to drive over. It was a pretty cool place though! It's a natural rock arch that has several blow holes around it. I really wanted to walk across the bridge...but chickened out. Standard.

After Devil's Bridge it was time to go to Stingray City for our Stingray experience, which you can read all about on my Hanging Out With Stingrays in Antigua blog post!

After changing into fresh clothes after swimming with stingrays, we jumped back into our Jeep and drove over to Betty's Hope. By this point I was pretty confident driving the Jeep, and we stopped off at a gas station and sweet-talked a guy into letting us park across an entry way quickly while we just ran in to get some snacks. I bought some coconut biscuits and they were basically the best thing ever.

We then hopped back into the Jeep and drove to Betty's Hope Plantation. Now, I'm a bit of a weirdo...and get weird creepy feelings in certain places. The first time I had a weird 'feeling' was in the chapel at Ham House...I was only a child but felt physically sick and had to leave the room.

This happens quite regularly when I go to really old buildings, but the worst was at Hack Green Nuclear Bunker a few years ago. I didn't know it was haunted, but we sat down in the theatre to watch a film about the history of the place, and as soon as I entered the room I just didn't feel right. But I sat down anyway. A few minutes later I had to run out of the room; I felt this huge wave of nausea and dizziness come over me, and this awful feeling right in the pit of my stomach. So I got outside and asked a member of staff whether the place was haunted, and they told me the theatre is the most 'active' area and people quite often become really ill in there.

So we get to Betty's Hope and as soon as I get out of the car I get this feeling. It was silent and eerie, deserted, with just a few goats roaming around, and I get that feeling in the pit of my stomach and the wave of nausea. Claire happily wandered off to have a look around, but I just had this awful feeling that we needed to GTFO. I went to find her and after taking a few photos of the refurbished sugar mills we left.

To be honest before we went to Betty's Hope I knew nothing about it, but after doing a bit of research since we got back from Antigua, I found out it was a sugarcane plantation established in 1650, and played a huge part in the slave-trade in Antigua. Anyway, enough about my weirdness. After Betty's Hope we were both starving hungry, so we headed towards Fig Tree Drive to find somewhere for a late lunch.

We found a tiny 'snackette' in the little village of Swetes at the start of Fig Tree Drive. We each got a hot dog with onions and sauce for a very cheap price, and after befriending two high Rastafarians who were just hanging out there with a whole load of fresh mangos (which they ate with the skin on!) while we were waiting, we politely humoured them and declined their invitation to get in their car with them, and instead accepted two fresh mangoes and got back into our own car with our hot dogs. Which were the smallest hot dogs ever, but so good! Sometimes you just can't beat a frankfurter sausage.

We started the drive down Fig Tree Drive, and it was nothing like I remembered. It was far more lush and much longer. We meandered through the volcanic hills of Antigua, and it was incredible seeing how different the landscape changed from fairly flat to very hilly and lush.

We passed through tiny villages, and ended up at Turners Bay - one of the most beautiful beaches we saw on Antigua, and again it really reminded us of a beach in Western Australia.

After a quick paddle we then drove back up Fig Tree Drive to St James's Club, stopping off near English Harbour for gas. They fill up the car for you at the gas stations in Antigua, and I hilariously asked the guy how much it would cost to fill it up halfway. He said $ mouth dropped and I shrieked "FIFTY DOLLARS FOR HALF A TANK?!" he looked super confused and I said "Ok...that's fine..." then I realized he might not mean US I asked if he meant USD (£34) or East Caribbean Dollars (£12). Turns out he meant $50 East Caribbean. Phewf! Much MUCH cheaper than I thought haha.

Our final stop before driving back to the hotel was Catherine's Cafe for a quick photo. Sadly it was closed, otherwise we would have stopped for a drink.

We had such a fun day driving around the southern part of Antigua, and are so happy we hired the car and did it ourselves instead of spending money on over-priced excursions with loads of other people. Having the car meant we could go at our own pace and do what we wanted when we wanted!

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My trip to Antigua was in partnership with Elite Island Resorts and Hayes and Jarvis, with my accommodation and flights complimentary. This does not effect my opinion in any way and as always I am 100% honest in my reviews. You can book a holiday to St James Club in Antigua via Hayes and Jarvis.


  1. Good call on the Jeep hire! There's nothing so exhilarating as the freedom to come and go as you please (the terror of driving on the wrong side of the road is a price I'd happily pay - even though once in Spain I drove the wrong way into a ROUNDABOUT). And it shows: what a wonderful day of lovely sights you had! x

    Posh, Broke, & Bored

  2. Looks like such a great day although how you coped with a left hand drive on a left hand road I don't know!! That's so weird about how you get affected by haunted places, I definitely believe in things like that but have never been physically affected by it - it must be terrifying for you! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Food, Travel, Italy

  3. Sometimes getting off piste can be so rewarding!

  4. How lovely that you were able to get back to Pineapple Beach, I bet your family would love to return too

  5. Leanne - Broke in the big Smok29/06/2016, 15:57

    I hate driving but it really does open doors for you to do what you want with your time. Definitely a good call x


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