How To Travel Around Barbados

North AmericaBarbadosHow To Travel Around Barbados

Driving is on the left-hand side. The bus system is extensive, cheap and fast if you are travelling anywhere on the main route, but a car (or mini-mobile) is the only way to see many of the more remote sights. Many drivers will book you a bus when they see you are coming from out of town, reflecting the typical welcoming atmosphere. Buses are operated by the Barbados Transport Board (blue) and are quiet. Private operators include yellow buses, which play loud music, and private minibuses (white), which tend to be cramped and crowded. Both types of private transport are often driven very fast and recklessly. All charge the same fare (B$2). Yellow buses and minivans give change and even accept US dollars. BTB buses accept Barbados dollars and do not give change.

There are also more than enough taxis to take you anywhere on the island at reasonable prices. They do not use meters and it is best to negotiate the price before you get in. However, most taxi drivers are honest and you are unlikely to be overcharged. Ask the hotel management or friendly locals for the price of a taxi ride to your destination.

Renting a car is expensive. If you are travelling by car, be aware that the island’s roads are generally quite narrow, with the exception of the ABC Highway, where extensive works are being carried out on several long sections to the west coast to widen the road and create additional lanes. Extreme caution is advised as many of the roads on the island have sharp curves and steep inclines and are generally quite bumpy, although most are paved.

Many of these “highways” have no pavements, allowing pedestrians to share the roadway. Many bus stops are also on the side of the road where there are no pavements. Also beware of improvised passing lanes, as slow drivers on two-lane roads are often overtaken by drivers behind them. Road signs can be quite confusing (they often show the two nearest towns/villages in reverse order – i.e. starting with the furthest one), so be prepared to get lost: just ask for directions as people are always willing to help you.

With most local car rental companies, comprehensive insurance is automatically included in the rental price, except for damage to the car’s tyres, reflecting the poor condition of the back roads and the tendency of foreign drivers to misjudge the lanes and drive into curbs.

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It is also possible to rent mopeds and bicycles to explore places that are difficult to access by car. However, this is not recommended due to the poor condition of many side and service roads. With the exception of the main road, all other roads are dangerous for cyclists due to the lack of pavements, frequent potholes, sharp bends and the speed of local buses.

Another fun way to get around is to rent a moke (open car/buggy), which is available at many local car rental agencies.