Caribbean: Car Rental
Fun in da Sun wit lots'a Rum!
Local Travel Info in Caribbean
Internal Flights and major international airports
Each of the Caribbean islands has an international airport, so you should have no problems with getting there, nor should you have any difficulty arranging flights from one island to another should you wish to do so. Small "island-hopper" planes leave frequently to get you from one island to another. You may also have the option to use a quick ferry service during high season if you prefer to enjoy the views and travel by sea. Airports across the Caribbean have recently been upgrading systems and services, enabling their IT and infrastructure to become them become more efficient, secure and passenger-friendly.
Travel Costs in the Caribbean
In many regions of the Caribbean, travelling by bus can be expensive, so it may be a good idea to hire a car if you plan to do a lot of exploring. There are several major international car hire companies operating in the Caribbean. If you travel by taxi, these are not usually metered, so you shouldn't have to pay by the mile. Fares are often regulated by the governments of each individual island and drivers will often have rate cards. Be sure to agree on a rate as well as currency before you get into the car, and don't be afraid to negotiate if the driver is not bound by standard government rates.
Renting cars in the Caribbean
In all Islands except Barbados the minimum age to hire a car is 25. In Barbados the minimum age is 21 years. Drivers over 65 years of age require a medical certificate from their GP for insurance purposes confirming they are fit to drive a vehicle. In St Lucia, a $5 tax is added to the cost of hiring a car. Drving in the Caribbean islands is on the left, but in the Bahamas cars are imported from the US meaning that the drivers seat is also on the left.
Buses in the Caribbean
Travelling in the Caribbean by bus can be either very good or very bad, depending on which island you are in. Some have a very good bus service, some have none at all. As you might expect, the larger cities and developed countries tend to have the best bus service in the Caribbean. Generally speaking, buses in the Caribbean run from 6am to 8pm Monday to Saturday, and a more limited service (or no service at all) on a Sunday. Buses are not expensive, costing around $0.50 - $3.00 (USD). Sometimes drivers may be willing to make undesignated stops, and most will stop to let passengers on if you are standing on the safe side of the road, You can signal one to stop in the same way you would a tax in the Caribbean - by holding your hand palm down and patting the air.
The Caribbean by taxi
On most Caribbean islands the best way to find a taxi is to visit a hotel, as they tend to wait for passengers outside the hotels' front doors. If not, the hotel front desk can call a cab for you. On some islands taxis may charge an additional fare from airports or hotels. Many taxis in the Caribbean look like all the other cars and are only identifiable by their license plates, so you may have to look quite closely to find one. Taxis are not always well kept by their owners, and roads are often rough in the Caribbean, so taxi rides may be uncomfortable for long journeys although they are safer and quicker than other modes of transportation. Taxi drivers are generally knowledgeable and helpful so they will be able to tell you best places go to and perhaps even take you on a tour of the island if you wish. Average tips for taxi drivers in the Caribbean are about $2. Caribbean axis are available 24 hours a day and can be hailed by holding your hand palm down and patting the air. Always be careful not to use an unlicenced taxi driver.
Cycling in the Caribbean
A lot of people do not think of the Caribbean as a cycling destination, but many of the islands are actually very good for cycling in. Barbados, for example, has a number of excellent bike routes and tracks. Bikes and scooters are widely available for hire on the island, costing approximately $50 for a bike and $100 for a moped. And the beauty of the landscape is surely one of the main reasons to enjoy a bike ride in the Caribbean.