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Why carry an IDP while driving in Barbados?

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world – it is understandable to most of the local officials and authorities of the countries you visit.

It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. Barbados highly recommends an International Driving Permit.

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How to get your IDP

We’ve streamlined the application process down by creating a platform that guides you so you know exactly what you’ll need to successfully complete your application

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1. Apply Online

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Top Destinations of Barbados

It is highly recommended to rent a vehicle instead of taking public transportation in Barbados. Public transport may be sparse, especially in rural areas, and you wouldn’t want to miss the sought-after Barbados driving experience!

Bridgetown

You can kick off your Barbados driving itinerary at the capital of Bridgetown. This 38km2 urban center introduces the perfect blend of Bajan culture and business.

When is the best and worst time to visit Bridgetown?

All sights and activities in Bridgetown are open and available all year round. If you want to experience Barbados’ most celebratory atmosphere, the best time to travel to the country would be during the Crop Over Festival. This is a three (3) - month-long festival dubbed as the carnival season. People from all over the globe visit Barbados for this.

What can you do in Bridgetown?

If you want to go shopping for Bajan souvenirs, Bridgetown is full of exciting custom shops and restaurants. You can drive over to the Cheapside Street Market within Cheapside Road for the freshest fruits in the Caribbean. Stalls that sell bags, hats, clothes, and other unique goods can also be found in the market.

After a day of shopping, unwind at the Richard Haynes Boardwalk. The 1.6-kilometer walkway between Accra Beach and Camelot offers stunning, romantic views of the southern coast.

What makes Bridgetown famous?

Bridgetown is the capital city of Barbados. The downtown area was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012. If you’re fond of exploring old architecture, downtown Bridgetown is your place to be.

The city is also the center of different festivals in Barbados throughout the year and the port of call for most cruise ships. You might want to expect that this is the busiest area in all of Barbados.

How do I get around Bridgetown?

Since Bridgetown is the capital of Barbados, public transportation is abundant. Other visitors prefer to do a walking tour. But why walk or spend more hopping from one (1) public transportation to the next when you can rent a car for a cheap rate? All you need is just your native driver’s license and an international driving permit in Barbados to apply for a visitor’s driving license.

Harrison’s Point Lighthouse

Located on the northwestern tip of Barbados, Harrison's Point Lighthouse is located about 28.6 km north of Bridgetown. It was built during the mid-1920s and is considered one of the four(4) historic lighthouses in Barbados.

When is the best and worst time to go to Harrison’s Point Lighthouse?

The best time to go to any lighthouse would be during the day. Harrison's lighthouse is nestled within a vast empty region of Saint Lucy. You can go up the tower and have 360-degree stunning views of the entire northwest area.

Husband's Road, however, is not paved. A lot of travelers also hesitate to proceed because of its narrow width. This is another reason why it would be best not to go to the lighthouse when it's raining, especially when you're not used to the Barbados driving side for cars.

What is there to do in the lighthouse?

The lighthouse is open for tourists to go up to the top of the tower. If you have a penchant for landscape photography, Harrison’s Point Lighthouse is an excellent place to take some. This is one of the favorite spots for drone filming.

Can you drive to the lighthouse?

The lighthouse is about a 35-minute drive from Bridgetown. It is within the church of Saint Lucy and can be accessed via Husband's Road.

  • From Bridgetown, make your way to Highway 2A and drive until you reach the Charles Duncan O’Neal Highway’s junction.
  • Turn left and proceed until you reach Highway 1B.
  • Make a right turn to Husbands Main Road, then left to Husbands Road.

Animal Flower Cave

If you're planning to go to Harrison's Point Lighthouse, you can also proceed to Animal Flower Cave, located in the same church (Saint Lucy).

When is the best time to go to Animal Flower Cave?

Visit Animal Flower Cave during the winter months, and you might get the chance to see the humpback whale. It is one of the main reasons why people flock to the site. Guided cave tours are offered every 15 minutes, and it would be best that you take this considering the potentially slippery terrain of the cave.

After the tour, you can wind down at the nearby cliffside Animal Flower Cave Restaurant overlooking the Atlantic.

What is there to do in the Animal Flower Cave?

The name itself was derived from the anemone-like organism that grows inside the cave. The area has a viewing point for the humpback whales, a restaurant for when guests get hungry after the drive, and a playground for children.

You can also swim in the cave should you wish to. Huge waves replenish water inside the cave, so it’s certainly clean.

Can you drive to the cave?

The cave is about a 12-minute drive from the lighthouse and about a 40-minute drive from the capital of Bridgetown.

Don’t forget to bring your visitor’s driving license, native driver’s license, and track if you have an international driving permit in all Barbados travel destinations.

  • From Bridgetown, best to take Highway 1C. Specifically:
  • Drive to Charles Duncan O’Neal Highway via Highway 2A and turn left until you reach the next roundabout.
  • Turn right and drive until you reach the second street corner to your right.
  • Turn right to Highway 1C.
  • Turn right at Animal Flower Cave Road.

Paynes Bay Beach

Experience sunset under towering palm trees like no other. Paynes Bay Beach is just a 12-minute drive north of Bridgetown.

When is the best time to go to Paynes Bay Beach?

The best time to visit the area would be during the dry winter months (January to April). Although temperatures can be quite cold for the beach, especially during the late afternoon, the sun’s warmth will blanket you comfortably.

What is there to do in Paynes Bay Beach?

The beach is a popular swimming area because of calm, clear-blue waters. You might even get a glimpse of turtles and rays when you swim! The area is filled with beachside lounge sets for people who want to chill, wine, and dine.

If you want to explore, there are also many gift shops and farmers' markets nearby where locals, even celebrities, are constantly seen out and about.

Can you drive to the beach?

Paynes Bay Beach is highly accessible. If you’re within Bridgetown:

You can reach the beach about 5km from the entry of Highway 1.

  • Drive towards Spring Garden Highway.
  • Continue to drive north towards Highway 1.

Barbados Wildlife Reserve

If you are an animal lover, the four(4)-acre, mahogany-sheltered Barbados Wildlife Reserve will satisfy your soul. Explore this reserve and learn more facts related to it.

When is the best time to go to the Barbados Wildlife Reserve?

The reserve is open during the day, seven (7) days of the week. You can visit the reserve anytime throughout the year. Hazards-wise, the trails are paved and well-maintained to walk on, even during rainy days.

What is there to do in the Barbados Wildlife Reserve?

If you want to see the green monkeys, visit the Reserve between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm. That's their feeding time.

What makes the Barbados Wildlife Reserve famous?

Apart from the different species of non-violent reptiles, birds, and mammals that freely walk (or crawl) around the reserve grounds, the site is also the 1982-born Barbados Primate Research Center’s location. This is where the protection and conservation of the green monkey stem from.

Can you drive to the reserve?

The reserve is located near the boundary of Saint Peter and Andrew, about 18.1km from Bridgetown. It will take you approximately 28 minutes to drive from Bridgetown to the reserve.

Other activities you can do within the reserve include:

  • Visiting the aviary and see the macaws, parrots, brown doves, bananaquits, sparrows, pelicans, peacocks, and flamingos
  • Stroll through the shaded pathways and see the brocket deers, agoutis, armadillos, and even otters
  • From Bridgetown, drive towards Highway 2A.
  • Turn right at the Charles Duncan O’Neal Highway.
  • Turn right again at Highway 2, then turn left after 300m.

Mount Gay

Located at S. Lucy’s church, Mount Gay is the original authentic maker of the world-renowned Barbadian Rum. There is also a visitor's center at Bridgetown, but there's nothing more genuine than experiencing the rural distillery’s rawness.

What is Mount Gay famous for, and what can you do in the area?

Mount Gay has been around since 1703, and it is the world’s oldest rum distillery. Visit and learn about the exquisite process that concocts the world-famous Mount Gay Rum. Beyond the taste and sophistication, this 280-acre estate locks in a heritage of the finest rum crafting methodologies you can experience first hand.

There is a guided tour around the plantation, the original well, the molasses house, the fermentation house, the distillation house, and the bonds. Likewise, you can also go for their rum-tasting tour, where you can enjoy the distillery’s best signature cocktails.

Can you drive to the area?

Driving from Bridgetown will take you about 32-minutes to reach the Mount Gay Distillery.

You can taste all the rum you want, but don't forget that alcohol driving should be practiced with utmost responsibility in Barbados.

Experiencing the island nation might take more than just bringing along a Barbados driving map. It will be best to prepare a Barbados driving itinerary before flying to the country to not miss all the exciting destinations and unique activities within your time frame. There are several Barbados driving routes for vehicles in each destination. Planning everything out will maximize your stay in the country.

  • Drive towards the Charles Duncan O’Neal Highway via Highway 2A.
  • Turn left and drive for 2km.
  • Make a right at Luke Hill Road.
  • Drive straight for about 2.5km.

Most Important Driving Rules

Before 2011, the Barbados driving experience was more of a challenge than it is now. With a lot of rough roads and unlit streets, getting into an accident was usually apparent. But due to the government’s proactive response, experiencing Barbados driving nowadays has become a must-do activity even among the locals.

The most favorable Barbados driving weather occurs between January to April when roads are not drenched in the rain. Nonetheless, driving year-round in the country is still doable as long as you observe all Barbados driving rules recommended by the Barbados driving authority.

Why do you need to know about these rules?

For one, driving in Barbados is not just either left or right. A lot of people have a misconstrued impression that Barbados is rural throughout. And because of this, there are no strict road rules that could implicate you like driving on the wrong side of the road. Second, there are Barbados’ drinking and driving laws. Even though rum is the most celebrated drink in the country, you still have to practice responsible driving.

Know the Driving Side

One of the most frequently asked questions among foreign drivers is, “Is driving in Barbados left or right?” The answer to that is left. Many foreign drivers who are used to driving on the right side of the road even choose to commission a bit of training when they arrive just to make sure.

Obtain a Visitor’s Permit

If you plan to drive in Barbados, you will have to get a local Barbados driving permit. For you to do this, you should get an international driving permit. Barbados' government requires applicants to present their native driver’s license upon application. Since the Barbadian government authorities seek an international driving permit, you need to carry it with you as it serves as a translation of your native license. This will streamline your application process.

You can apply for an IDP upon arrival. When applying for an international driving permit, Barbados offices are usually open between 8:00-3:30 pm, Monday - Friday. This is also true for Barbados Licensing Authority offices when you apply for a Barbados visitor’s driving permit.

To save you the hassle of physical appointments, you can apply for an IDP online from us, the International Driver’s Association (IDA), and wait for about two(2) hours for confirmation. Standard delivery takes about 7-10 working days. However, if you need an IDP in the soonest time possible, we offer worldwide express shipping.

Once you get your international driving permit, Barbados schedules tests for obtaining a visitors’ driving permit regularly. You can inquire from the different Licensing Authority offices around the island.

Use Driving Hand Signals

In case your car falls short with its signaling system, you can use Barbados driving hand signals to guide other motorists.

The following are helpful Barbados driving hand signals:

  • When turning left, extend your left arm out with your palm facing forward
  • When turning right, extend your left arm out with your palm facing forward, and bend your elbows 90 degrees upward
  • When stopping, extend your left arm out with your palm facing forward, and bend your elbows 90 degrees downward

There are multiple videos online that demonstrate these hand signals. You can look them up, or you can ask local drivers around to make sure.

Always Follow the Road Driving Signs

If you look at a Barbados driving map, you will see that almost the island corners have a tourist attraction, including the center regions. There's no such thing as a perfect Barbados driving route. Because it is a road trip destination, in Barbados, driving signs are seen just about everywhere.

Road signs in Barbados adhere to international standards. You can also purchase the Barbados' Highway Code Booklet in all Licensing Authority Offices if you want to review them. This is also most useful in keeping the nerves down for new drivers who are not used to driving on the left side of the road.

Adhere to the Drinking and Driving Laws of Barbados

In Barbados, alcohol driving is not condoned. Apart from the unsafe Barbados driving weather during the rainy months, drunk driving is among the major causes of road traffic accidents.

The prescribed limits of alcohol in Barbados are as follows:

  • 35 micrograms in 100 milliliters of breath
  • 80 milligrams in 100 milliliters of blood
  • 107 milligrams in 100 milliliters of urine

First offenders are liable to a fine of 5,000USD or two (2) years imprisonment, or both. Likewise, second offenders are subjected to a fine of 10,000USD or five (5) years imprisonment or both.

This is where reviewing all of Barbados’ driving rules becomes essential. After all, you wouldn’t want to give a bad first record and get Barbados’s driving authority’s attention the first time you drive in the country.

Observe Proper Etiquette When Driving in Barbados Driving Zones

To avoid causing inconvenience to the public, maintain all driving activities within the designated Barbados driving zones. This includes staying on actual roads and not going inside wide walkways. Likewise, it includes giving the right of way to the public in pedestrian lanes and not stopping or parking in designated services areas unless you are in an emergency.

Suppose you prefer to talk to a local authority regarding Barbados’ driving rules and getting an international driving permit. In that case, Barbados' offices for local licensing can be reached via phone.

However, when getting an international driving permit, Barbados’ schedules may take a lot of time. If you want to know more about obtaining an international driving permit for Barbados quickly, contact us, the International Drivers’ Association.

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