Boasting good infrastructure with an advanced network of roadways, getting around Barbados is reasonably straightforward. However, while the capital Bridgetown is walkable with major streets of Broad Street, Swan Street and Roebuck Street connected by secondary streets and alleyways, for attractions further afield on the island, it may be best to consider car hire (car rental).

After all, Barbados is more than its city, and arguably the most exciting sights are outside the capital. Indeed, attractions such as Animal Flower Cave and Hunte’s Gardens are located in the more far-flung corners of the island and are best enjoyed on a leisurely island drive. 

Not to mention another excellent incentive for hiring a car to get around is the free car parking at any beach with public parking, as all of Barbados’ beaches are free to the public.

Furthermore, for some travellers like the true adventurer who does not want to feel bound by the itinerary of a bus tour or for the family with many tacklings and picnicking/beach equipment, a car rental will provide the freedom, comfort and flexibility required.

But before going into detail about car hirel options, here are a few critical ‘need-to-know’ driving tips for Barbados:

  • We drive on the left-hand side of the road in Barbados, a hold-over from past British rule.
  • For such a small country, there are a lot of roundabouts in Barbados. Therefore, it is essential to know that persons coming around the roundabout from the right-hand side have the right of way.
  • Barbados does not have an aggressive driving culture, with drivers usually opting to “give way” to pedestrians and will often “let out” other drivers from side roads as a sign of courtesy and consideration.

Car rental Car hire Barbados

Car Hire Companies in Barbados

Drive-A-Matic Car Rentals

Drive-A-Matic is a car hire company under the Sun Group group of companies which also houses Island Safari tours, several hotels and a large travel agency. Which is all to say – they know travel! 

Drive-A-Matic offers several different vehicle types, whether for the adventurer who will want to explore rougher terrain on the east coast in a jeep and those content with the standard sedans and even for those who prefer luxury vehicles such as the Mercedes Benz. 

They also have convenient locations right outside the Grantley Adams International Airport departure hall, a central location in St. Lawrence Gap on the South Coast, and another branch in Lower Estate, St. George.

Stoutes Car Rentals

With a location outside the departure hall at the airport and its head office only minutes away in Kirton’s St. Philip, its proximity to passengers arriving on-island is undoubtedly a plus. 

Stoutes Car Rentals is a family-owned company that offers sedans, the typical mini-mokes, and jeeps and vans. They are especially well-known for their professional service and attentive team. Even better, Stoutes Car Rentals head office is in the same complex as a handy gas station as well as its convenience store, just in case you need to stock up on a few essentials before setting off on your island drive.

Courtesy Rent A Car

Established in 1975, Courtesy Rent-A-Car is a tried-and-tested option with decades of experience. The car hire company is a division of Courtesy Garage Ltd, a car sales company that is the official agent for Hyundai, Fiat and Nissan on the island. Courtesy grew from a small fleet of 30 vehicles to become one of the most prominent car rental companies in Barbados, offering a wide range of types of cars.

Go Rent A Car (also known as Go Car Rentals)

Compared to the other well-established stalwarts of the car hire sector listed above, Go Rent A Car is a relative newcomer who has become known for a high level of service in a short time. This is clear by the satisfied clients who rave about the timeliness of car delivery, staff efficiency, and the vehicles’ cleanliness upon delivery – no less during a pandemic. In addition, Go is also an affiliate of notable international car rental brands Alamo and Enterprise Rent-A-Car for those who need added assurance.

These are just some of the reputable options for car hire on the island, and it is by no means an exhaustive list. After selecting a car for hire, your next question will undoubtedly be ‘what are the best places to visit for an island exploration by car?’ We’ve given that some thought too.

Our top places to visit with a rental car in Barbados

East Coast Road, Bathsheba and Cattlewash

No island tour is complete without a drive along the picturesque East Coast Road. This coastal tour offers up majestic views of Chalky Mount, while Bathsheba and Cattlewash are excellent beach spots to stop and admire the Atlantic surf or have a picnic.

Hunte's Gardens Barbados

Hunte’s Gardens

Located deep in the verdant parish of St. Joseph, Hunte’s Gardens is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. Meticulously looked after, the transformation of the gardens is a feat of majestic proportions, lovingly created by Anthony Hunte. This lush oasis is bursting with gorgeous flora and fauna that will call to mind an Edenic paradise.

Animal Flower Cave Barbados

Animal Flower Cave

The Animal Flower Cave is located right at the tip of the island, in the northernmost parish of St. Lucy. It is a cave with a natural rock pool that visitors can swim in, depending on the strength of the waves and the tide. The beautiful Cave restaurant is just above the cave and offers food and refreshment, which are usually in order when your sightseeing-filled island drive reaches St. Lucy!

The best way to experience these sights and more is by car. Fortunately, several car rental companies can be taken advantage of, some of which were listed above. Which one would you choose? We’d love to hear your experiences and suggestions. Just email us at contact@residencebarbados.com.

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