Having your own transportation during any vacation can be a pleasant experience. A moped or a bike is perfect to explore sites that aren't easily reached by car (ask your rental agency about guided tours of the island). Conversely you can rent a vehicle and see the island in the comfort of a car or van, but drive carefully on the left, watch out for pedestrians and note that some roads are quite narrow, turns can at times be sharp and though the island is relatively flat, quite a few steep inclines can still be found. You can find rental companies at the airport or online bookings can be delivered, ready and waiting when you arrive at the airport or at your hotel. If you do decide to rent, then you will also need a road map. These can be collected from various locations island wide or you can download a map for your phone or GPS.
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NOTES ON DRIVING IN BARBADOS
Driving in Barbados can be a pleasant experience and a great way to see the island. Obtain a valid Barbados license for $5 US (for two months) or $50 (for a maximum of one year), by carrying your valid national or international license to a police station or authorized car-rental company (ask when booking your trip if they can manage this for you before you arrive). Also, remember to drive on the left side of the road.
Most Bajans will know and be able to refer you to a reliable taxi man but your hotel or accommodation may have a recommended driver. Taxis in Barbados are all marked with a “Taxi” sign on top and carry “Z” license plates. Flag one down or consult the phone book and be sure to ask the Taxi service what the rate will be before leaving. These rates are also at the airport if you need to catch a taxi from there.
Getting around on the bus is an easy way to save money while on holiday. Public transport is only $1.00 (USD) and it is a convenient way of traveling to the beach, the mall, other places of interest or simply sightseeing.
Barbados has two major types of public transportation available:
Blue buses with yellow stripes:
These buses run mostly according to the day’s schedule found here. This schedule is largely reliable and these buses provide a comfortable and relaxing ride. However, they only stop at marked bus stops and will require exact change (US $1.00 or BDS $2.00).Upon boarding, the bus may be crowded, but this depends on the time of day and the route. Several routes are long and perfect for daily sightseeing, however specially organized Scenic Bus Tours take place every Sunday for your convenience. Buses depart from three points: Bridgetown, Oistins in the south, or Speightstown in the north. For more information about routes and schedules, contact the Barbados Transport Board at 246-535-3500 or the Tourist Board at 246-427-2623.
There are two types of privately owned buses or vans:
Yellow buses with blue stripes: These pass frequently, arrive at their destinations quickly and may be quite crowded depending on the time of day. These buses are predominantly seen on mid length routes, 30 - 45 minutes from beginning to end.
White buses with burgundy stripes: (also known as ZR Vans or route taxis) These minivans also pass frequently, are very popular with the locals but are not as comfortable a fit as larger buses. Leg room can be limited at times and buses are often filled to capacity. A conductor (or the driver) typically collects the fare and some drivers may at times drive quite briskly. These buses are predominantly seen on short length routes, 10 – 40 minutes from beginning to end and they usually pass quite frequently some every 10 - 15 minutes. This bus ride can be interesting and fun and can make an excellent conversation starter for later, so feel free to try it out. All in all, buses are a valuable resource for getting around Barbados, running from as early as 6:00am, to as late as midnight.
See the Caribbean Dreams Article about the various types of transportation in Barbados below:
Photos originally sourced from omnicarslanzarote.com, itkoch.at and flikr.com/photos/bajanfuhlife/