We compare a huge range of one-way and return car hire deals from over 20 leading rental companies
The tropical island of Barbados sits on the eastern edge of the balmy Caribbean and is a prime spot for some sunshine in 2022. Exploring its pristine coastlines and vibrant towns by car is the perfect way to soak up the exotic scenery and culture, and hiring a car for all or part of your Barbados trip couldn’t be easier from Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI).
Language: English | Currency: Bajan dollar (BBD) | Avg. Flight time: 8 hrs 45 mins
You’ll most likely be arriving via Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI), which sits 25 minutes from Bridgetown and just over half an hour's drive from the popular beach resorts at Paynes Bay. If you want to see more of the island beyond your hotel, picking up your cheap rental car from here is ideal.
There are a few big brand hire car companies as well as some good local ones to choose from at Barbados’ international airport, so there is scope to shop around for good deals before you travel. You’ll find pick-up locations just outside or across the road from the arrivals hall. Some operators will deliver your hire car to your hotel upon request.
Car hire companies at Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) include:
Sixt (Tel: +1 246 434 8440)
Drive-A-Matic Car Rentals (Tel: +1 800 581 8773)
Stoutes Car Rental (Tel: +1 246 420 2926)
Driving around Barbados is fairly easy thanks to its good network of roads. You may find some routes, especially in more remote areas, can be quite narrow and dotted with potholes, so be cautious if you go off exploring.
People drive on the left side of the road in Barbados, although the majority of the cars are right-hand drive. Speeds limits are easy to follow, with 50mph on the highways, 37mph on country roads and 20mph in towns and cities.
As the island is so compact, you’ll find it easy to explore without much risk of getting lost. That said, it's a good idea to bring along a satnav or a map in case of emergencies. If that fails, you can also always ask the friendly locals for directions.
Due to Barbados’ balmy climate, hiring a car with air conditioning is recommended. Rental cars will usually also be marked with an H on their number plates so local drivers know to be more patient. In some cases you might need to be patient too – the pace of life in Barbados is slow, and at times that goes for the pace of driving too.
This is Barbados’ highest point and it sits in the wilder interiors of the island near the village of Carrington. Mount Hillaby is the best place to go for panoramic views of both lush jungle and the ocean beyond. It can be quite tricky to get to if you don’t know the way, so make sure you map out your route beforehand and drive slowly along the winding mountain road.
Sunbury Plantation House
Barbados was once famous for growing sugar cane, and there are even still a few working plantations on the island today. Sunbury Plantation House in the south is more of a museum nowadays, and is one of the best places to learn more about the nation’s history. It was built in the 1660s and currently houses a collection of antiques, artwork and horse-drawn carriages, as well as a restaurant that serves up tasty local cuisine.
Located on the east side of the island – known for its wilder, more untouched landscapes – Cattlewash Beach is the country’s longest stretch of coastline. It gets its name from the days when cattle were brought to its waters to be washed down, although now you’re much more likely to see people than cows along its sands. The sea is usually too rough to swim in but you’ll find natural rock pools along the shoreline that are perfect for a refreshing dip.
Besides your driving licence, you’ll also need a visitor’s driving permit to hire a car in Barbados. These are cheap – under £5 in British money – last for two months and are available through car hire companies and at police stations.
Top up on petrol before heading to the north and east of the island. Petrol stations are plentiful near the resorts and busier towns, but you will find fewer options in the quieter regions.
Seatbelts are compulsory in Barbados for both drivers and passengers. Children under five will need a child seat, which you can hire from your car rental company or bring yourself.
All rental deals compared on TravelSupermarket include mandatory fees (for example, one-way and young driver surcharges) in your rental quote at the time of booking, meaning you’ll know the full price of your car hire upfront.
What age do I need to be to hire a vehicle in Barbados?
You typically need to be 21 years of age to hire a car in Barbados, although terms can vary according to each car hire company. You also need to have held your licence for at least one year.
What do I need to hire a vehicle in Barbados?
In order to hire a car in Barbados you will need a personal ID, such as a passport, a valid driving licence, an International Driving Permit, and a local driving permit. The required permit can be obtained from all authorised car hire companies. You will also need a credit card to provide security for the booking.
Do I need car hire excess insurance in Barbados?
Taking out car hire excess insurance can provide valuable peace of mind when hiring a car, but it’s not a legal requirement in Barbados. That’s because your hire car will have a level of insurance already included in the price. However, you’re still liable to pay the excess if you have to make a claim – and this can be expensive. Optional excess insurance can be purchased from your car hire operator or more cheaply from a third-party policy provider.
Can I rent a car with a debit card in Barbados?
Many car hire companies in Barbados require you to book by credit card. If you wish to pay by debit card, you may still be required to provide credit card details as security. Always check with the hire car company in advance if you wish to pay with a debit card.
Which rental companies are available at Bridgetown Grantley Adams International Airport?
You can rent a vehicle from both international car hire operators and local providers at Bridgetown Airport. Ace, Alamo, Bajan Car Rentals, Courtesy Rent-A-Car, Direct Car Rental, Drive-A-Matic, Europcar, Sixt and Stoutes Car Rental all provide hire car services at the island’s airport.
Is it cheaper to rent a car at the airport or off site in Barbados?
It can work out cheaper to rent a car off site, as this avoids a premium being applied at the airport. Prices fluctuate according to demand across the year – peak time rentals are likely to be more costly.
Can you rent a car in one Bajan city and drop it off in another?
Yes, it’s possible to pick up a car in one town or city in Barbados and drop it off in another, although a relocation fee typically applies. Car hire companies will not allow you to take a vehicle off the island.
Can you rent a car the same day in Barbados?
Yes, you can find same-day rentals in Barbados. However, you may end up paying a higher rental fee, particularly at peak times. Also, you may have a more limited choice of vehicles.
Can I hire a vehicle at 21 years of age in Barbados?
Yes. You can hire a car at 21 years of age in Barbados providing you have held your licence for a minimum of one year. Some operators may apply a ‘young driver fee’ to customers under 25.