Barbados has good roads, but traffic can be heavy on main highways, particularly around Bridgetown. Be sure to keep a map handy, as the road system in the countryside can be very confusing—although the friendly Bajans are always happy to help you find your way. Drive on the left, British-style. Seat belts are compulsory, and children under five must use a child seat. Use of a cell phone while driving is prohibited unless it's a hands-free system. When someone flashes headlights at you at an intersection, it means "after you." Be especially careful negotiating roundabouts (traffic circles). The speed limit is 50 mph (80 kph) on highways, 37 mph (60 kph) in the countryside, and 25 mph (40 kph) in cities. Bridgetown actually has rush hours: 7 to 9 am and 4 to 6 pm. Park only in approved parking lots or in parking spots marked with a P sign. If you’re staying on the remote southeast or east coasts, you may want to rent a car for your entire stay. In more populated areas, where taxis and public transportation are readily available, you might rent a car for a day or two of exploring on your own.
Car Rentals: Most car-rental agencies have locations at Grantley Adams International Airport and the Cruise Ship Terminal or will arrange a hotel pickup. Most require renters to be at least 21, and some have an age limit requiring renters age 75 or older to present a medical certificate. Dozens of agencies rent cars, jeeps, or minimokes (small, open-sided vehicles). Rates start at about $65 per day during the high season. Most firms also offer discounted three-day or seven-day rates, and some require at least a two-day rental in high season. You’ll need either an international driver's license or a temporary driving permit, available through the rental agency for Bds$10.
Coconut Car Rentals. Dayrell's Rd., Rockley, Christ Church. 246/262--1115.
Courtesy Rent-A-Car. Grantley Adams International Airport, Christ Church. 246/431–4160; www.courtesyrentalsbb.com.
Drive-a-Matic Car Rentals. CWTS Complex, Lower Estate, Warrens, St. Michael, BB19025. 246/434–8440; 800/581–8773; www.carhire.tv.