How to get around Barbados

Barbados is a small island, measuring just 34km (21mi) long and 23km (14mi) wide, and is easily explored by car, bike or on foot.

Roads in Barbados are generally quite narrow, with the exception of the ABC highway.

Care should be taken, especially when driving after dark, as many many of the secondary and residential roads are unpaved with no sidewalks, frequent pot holes and sharp corners. Local buses tend to speed.

Pedestrians also share the road with general traffic. Many bus stops are also on the side of roads where there are no sidewalks.

Traffic drives on the left-hand side of the road. Seat belts are compulsory. Speed limits are 40kph (25mph) in built-up areas and 60-80kph (37-50mph) outside urban areas.

Transport options in Barbados

Car hire: Hiring a car is the best way to explore Barbados. You can hire anything from a mini moke to a limousine at the airport, at offices in Bridgetown or at the major hotels.

Drivers must be between 21 and 65 years of age to hire a car in Barbados, with a minimum three years' driving experience.

A Barbados driving permit is required, which is easily obtainable from car hire companies, the airport and some police stations. A valid national licence or International Driving Permit is required plus a small registration fee.

Hire cars are easily identifiable by the 'H' number plate. Locals are usually accommodating and make allowances for any confusion.

Taxi: Taxis are unmetered but charge fares regulated by the government, which are based on the distance travelled. Check the rate before travel – it can be in US Dollars as well as Barbados Dollars.

It's best to negotiate the price before you get in. However, most taxi drivers are honest and you are unlikely to be overcharged. If in doubt, ask the hotel concierge what the going rate is for a taxi ride to your destination.

Special deals may apply for a full-day hire.

Bike: Scooter hire is available - you will need to pay a small deposit and wear a helmet, as required by law.

Bus: Barbados has a modern, reliable bus network, which operates from 5:00am to midnight. The bus system is extensive, cheap and fast if you are headed to somewhere on the main route.

Licensed minivans, identifiable by their 'ZR' licence plates, operate around the island and can be flagged down. There are no fixed schedules, but service is frequent. Rates are the same as for buses, although minivans tend to be quicker.

Private operators include the yellow buses, which play very loud music, and private mini-vans (white), which are usually cramped and crowded. All charge the same fare. Yellow buses and minivans offer change and even accept US dollars. BTB buses accept Barbados dollars and do not give change.

Latest update: How to get around Barbados: 6 May, 2022