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. When someone flashes headlights at you at an intersection, it means "after you." Be especially careful negotiating roundabouts (traffic circles). The speed limit is 45 mph (72 kph) on highways, 37 mph (60 kph) on minor roads in the countryside, and 20 mph (30 kph) in town. 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; downtown parking costs Bds$1 per hour.

Car Rentals: Most car-rental agencies require renters to be between 21 and either 70 or 75. Dozens of agencies rent cars, jeeps, or minimokes (small, open-sided vehicles). Rates range from about $50 per day for a minimoke to $65 per day for a four-wheel-drive vehicle and $85 or more for a luxury car (or $225 to $400 or more per week) in high season. Most firms also offer discounted three-day rates, and many 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.

Car-Rental Contacts

Coconut Car Rentals (Bayside, Bay St., Bridgetown, St. Michael. 246/437–0297.

Courtesy Rent-A-Car (Grantley Adams International Airport, Christ Church. 246/431–4160.

Drive-a-Matic Car Rental (CWTS Complex, Lower Estate, St. George, BB19025. 246/422–3000 or 800/581–8773.