Getting

Once upon a time, locals and tourists alike got around the Caribbean island of Barbados on horse-drawn trams that ran on tracks. The capital city of Bridgetown its locus, this became the largest, longest-running, most colorful horse-car tram system in the Caribbean with 25 tram cars on 5 lines running on 10 miles of track.  The system operated for 40 years, until 1925. 

Today, transportation on the 14-by-21-mile island offers more – and faster – ways of getting around, although I personally would love the romance of traveling the glorious Barbados coastline in a horse-drawn tram. 

1. Rent a Moke. Of course, you can rent a conventional car, but the open-sided little Mokes are a lot more fun to zip around in. Like all rental cars in Barbados, they have right-hand drive. Mokes, around $ 75US a day, have manual transmission and air-conditioning courtesy the whole of outdoors. Beware: if it rains, you’ll get soaked!

2. Hop a route taxi. Called Zed-R vans because their license plates begin with the letters ZR. At 75 cents a head, the Zed-R vans often cram more than the 15 passengers they’re designed to hold. There are no regular stops; people flag down a Zed-R van anywhere they happen to be.

3. Flag down a taxi. There are taxi companies and there are individuals who are licensed to drive their cars as taxis. The license plate of both types begins with the letter Z. They have no meters; always ask the price for a ride to your destination before getting into a Barbados taxi.

4. Take the bus. The Barbados Transport Board runs the official bus service of Barbados. Bus stops are plentiful and are noted by round signs reading, “To city” and “Out of city.” The city referred to is Barbados’ capital, Bridgetown, where many buses take you so you can board another bus going to your specific location. The bus system in Barbados is quite good and the buses are clean and very popular with tourists. The fare is an exact-change of 75 cents, Barbados currency (about 37 cents in US currency).

Exploring the island is fun because the geography varies from white sandy beaches to the lush “Little Scotland” to the plentiful sugar cane fields. Be prepared, though, to be detained by a man pushing a cart full of coconuts ahead of you. But then, who’s in a hurry in Barbados?

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