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Car Rental in Barbados

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Popular car rental cities in BARBADOS

Barbados

Car Rental in Barbados: Gem of the Caribbean Sea

One of the gems of the Caribbean, Barbados is a wonderfully warm and welcoming island. The island offers even more than some of the world’s best beaches, including the UNESCO World Heritage capital of Bridgeport, fabulous nightlife, gorgeous and wild interior landscapes, and excellent and secluded surfs along the east coast. Make the most of your visit by renting a car and exploring the island thoroughly!

There isn’t really a bad time to visit the island. Most tourists flock to Barbados during the cooler season between December to mid-April, when good weather is guaranteed, but many insist that the best time to visit is during the Caribbean’s hurricane season. Unlike the island’s neighbors to the north, Barbados rarely receives the brunt of hurricanes, making July to November excellent months to visit as well – and a great time to take part in the island’s many festivals!

English is the official language of Barbados, though most locals speak Bajan, an English-based creole that incorporates some West African, West Indian, and African words and phrases. Visitors with basic English skills should have no problems communicating.

The currency is the Bajan dollar, though the US dollar is also widely accepted. The Bajan dollar is more or less fixed to the US dollar at two Bajan dollars to one US dollar. ATMs are widely available in all tourist locations. Many shops offer their goods tax free, for the small inconvenience of filling out a form for tax-free shopping.

Whether you arrive by air at the Sir Grantley Adams International Airport or by cruise ship, you’ll enter Barbados in the country’s largest city and capital, Bridgetown. You can rent a car directly from the airport and in close proximity to the harbor.

While Barbados is crisscrossed by numerous roads, the major highway connects Ebworth in the north with the airport in the south by way of Bridgeport; this highway takes only 45 minutes to travel in its entirety in good traffic conditions.

Driving in Barbados

While bus infrastructure is quite good in Barbados, automotive hire is your best ticket to the most beautiful and secluded sights of the island country. Roads are typically quite narrow, so be alert while driving and expect sharp turns and steep drops on road shoulders. There aren’t many sidewalks on the island, so also be aware that you’ll be sharing the road with pedestrians.

Left-Hand Driving

  • Traffic drives on the left-hand side of the road in Barbados.
  • Give way to vehicles approaching from the right in roundabouts or traffic circles.

Speed Limits

  • Typical speed limits are:
    • 40 km/h in city areas
    • 60 km/h in rural areas
    • 80 km/h on the major highway
  • Keep your eye out for speed limit signs to ensure you are driving the limit in areas that are exceptions to these general rules.
  • You can expect traffic congestion throughout the island during rush hours, from 7:00-8:30am and 4:30-5:30pm.

Other Regulations

  1. Paid parking lots will be available in Bridgetown, but parking across the rest of the island is typically unregulated. Make sure you park in well-lit areas, ensure that other cars can pass if you park on main roads, and remove all your valuables from sight.
  2. You will use your domestic driver’s license to apply for and receive a local Barbados driving permit, allowing you to navigate the island roads.
  3. You must be at least 21 years old to rent a car in Barbados, and drivers under 25 are likely to be charged extra. Most rental agencies require at least two and sometimes up to five years of driving experience. Many rental agencies in Barbados also have age maximums; if you are over 65 years of age, you may be required to show documentation proving your are still fit to operate a motor vehicle.
  4. Visitors from many nations require no visa to enter Barbados. If you are required to apply for a visa, do so at a Barbadian embassy before booking your travel. You may also be able to apply at a British embassy.
  5. Emergency phone numbers in Barbados are: Police 211, Ambulance 511, Fire Service 311.

Other Tips

  • Car tires are typically not covered by the rental car company insurance, so take the sharp curbs and narrow roads slowly or budget for some tire damage costs.
  • Local drivers honk or beep their horns in greeting. Flashing headlights indicate that other drivers are giving right of way to you.
  • Road signs are few and far between, so be prepared to get lost in Barbados – and enjoy it! Just make sure you keep your tank over halfway full and keep your eyes peeled for beautiful and unexpected sights. GPS is also a great way to navigate the island, so ask your rental company if their cars are fitted with navigation systems.
  • Local drivers honk or beep their horns in greeting. Flashing headlights indicate that other drivers are giving right of way to you.
  • Road signs are few and far between, so be prepared to get lost in Barbados – and enjoy it! Just make sure you keep your tank over halfway full and keep your eyes peeled for beautiful and unexpected sights. GPS is also a great way to navigate the island, so ask your rental company if their cars are fitted with navigation systems.

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