Barbados Car Rental Advice: “Notorious Locals Rob Tourists In Their Cars” & “Be Careful of The Water”

A car rental website describing itself as a “partner” with Stoutes Car Rental Ltd. and New Frontier Rent-A-Car in Barbados cautions prospective tourists to Barbados that “Notorious Locals” in the North and East rob tourists who drive rental cars.

The CRX Car Rental Express website cautions…

“Be wary of strangers trying to get you out of your car. The North and East are notorious for locals trying to rob tourists in their cars.”

Oh… remember to be careful of the water, too…

“Health risks: Dengue fever, diarrhea and intestinal parasites; leptospirosis can be present in freshwater streams.”

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One cannot underestimate the importance of the internet in shaping foreign perceptions of Barbados. In the past, Barbados could count upon friendly media and the travel industry to happily promote our country while overlooking a few of the problems. In such a time, it may have been possible to keep secrets from the world at large… but the internet has ended the ability of government and business to control the flow of information.

The car rental website alleges that we have problems with tourists being robbed in their cars, and problems with serious waterborne diseases. Barbados Free Press will be looking into both these issues to learn just how serious the situation is, and whether authorities have taken any actions to rectify the problems.


Filed under Barbados, Business, Crime & Law, Environment, Island Life, Traveling and Tourism

11 responses to “Barbados Car Rental Advice: “Notorious Locals Rob Tourists In Their Cars” & “Be Careful of The Water”

  1. As a visitor to Barbados for the past ten years, and a travel agent who specializes in travel to the island, I have never had a problem with violence or the water – and neither have my clients.

    Barbados has some of the best tasting water in the world. I, along with my clients have enjoyed drinking the water with no bad results. But then we don’t drink from freshwater streams either.

    As for violence, the world is filled with criminals, but Barbados is not known as an unsafe destination for visitors. In fact as you and I know, Barbados has the most return visitors in all the Caribbean. The English and other European stay on the island up to four months with no problems.

    I have several clients who just returned from the island, and they rented cars and drove around with no one bothering them. In fact they remarked how friendly the Bajans were in helping them get around.

    I just dropped by your blog, and was shocked at what I read. I just had to respond.

  2. BFP

    Hi Linda

    I was surprised as well to see a car rental site advising prospective tourists that Barbados is “notorious” for car robberies.

    Why, I lived in the north for years and never robbed any more than a few dozen people myself. Even my dear mother who had a temper never car-jacked more than two or three times – and that was only to show my younger brother how it was done.


    In all seriousness though, we are going to look into both the robbery and water allegations. As for robbery, you say, there are good and bad people everywhere. While I often enjoy a night walk on the beach here, I sure wouldn’t want to do the same in Jamaica or Mexico!

    As for the water, we do have some long-term issues that must be addressed, especially in St. Andrews Parish. We will start to report on the water situation today, but again, tourists staying at hotels shouldn’t be concerned.

    Thanks for dropping in, Linda. We all love your blog!


  3. titilayo

    Believe me when I say that the quality of drinking water in Barbados is sound, islandwide. There may be supply problems, but the quality is good. As for contracting intestinal disease when drinking from fresh water streams, well that possibility exists just about anywhere in the world. That’s why in most countries the water supply is disinfected before it’s piped to the people. As far as I’m concerned, reports like the one you excerpted are sensationalistic and stupid.

  4. BFP

    Hi Titilayo

    I agree that one should not drink from streams no matter where you are. Shona has a friend who visited a national park in Canada and became very ill with some parasite called “beaver fever” even though the park was pristine and a hundred kms from anywhere.

    As far as the report be sensationalistic and stupid – while I have to agree somewhat, there are two points that cause us concern.

    1/ The report is out there on the net. Already public at a website that supposedly provides “expert” advice to tourists. We cannot discount negative reports on website or just ignore them. There are other sites as well.

    2/ Leptospirosis.

    None of us had ever heard the word prior to reading the car rental website – Sure, we all know not to drink stream water – but what is this leptospirosis?

    As it turns out, it is a disease with a fairly high mortality rate, and it is a “reportable” disease by law. The disease is transmitted by polluted water.

    Barbados has relatively high rates of this disease when compared to some other developed countries in the Caribbean. And some parts of Barbados have four times the national average!

    That is a big deal. Polluted water causing four times the national disease rate on some parts of the island. So you can see why we are not just writing off that website report.

    We are doing further research and will be posting later today.

  5. freshwater streams, the tourists should know better. honestly thats a trvial point to be complaining about

  6. You’ve never heard of lepto? Back when I was in primary school (and that’s some time ago now) every child in my class knew what leptospirosis was, what some of the causes were and what to do to avoid it (things like not drinking stream/spring water, not playing around in dirty/standing water and puddles, not touching animal excreta, etc.). Then there was a period where you didn’t hear much about it, but I was under the impression that the public awareness campaign had been stepped up in recent times (I think because the weather in the past year or so has been much wetter and leptospiroris is transmitted by standing water, mud, swampy areas etc.).

    Also the fact that some parts of Barbados have four times the national average obviously means that some parts of Barbados have four times less than the national average; based on what I know about lepto I would guess (correct me if I’m wrong) that the higher incidence rates are in the parishes that are wetter/receive more rainfall. Which doesn’t mean that their water is more polluted — it just means that there’s more water around for people to come in contact with, more water around to transmit the disease.

    What I’m trying to get at is that lepto is not a good indicator of pollution levels or water quality. Animals are actually the source of the disease, the main disease vector. You can get lepto from your dog. (When I was in school, the public awareness programme focussed on rats, but they are emphasizing now that domestic animals are common vectors.) If you’re a farmer you can get lepto from making skin contact with the muddy earth in your fields. If you have a dog that pees in your flowerbed and you do some gardening in that flowerbed, particularly when the ground is damp, you’re at risk for lepto.

    The reason it’s not safe to drink from streams and rivers is that all kinds of animals excrete in or near or around freshwater, and bacteria from that excreta (which, as you would imagine, contains all kinds of unhealthy stuff) can be washed into the rivers and streams. You could call that pollution, sure, but I call it nature. Your mileage may vary.

    And I understand what you’re saying about that information being out there on the net, but as a person or as a country, you can’t control what everybody says about you, particularly in this age of information. What you can do, where necessary, is counter with correct/more accurate information. I hope that’s what you’ll be attempting to do when you post more about the leptospirosis issue in Barbados.

  7. Shona

    Hi Titialyo

    Poor Robert he is the town boy writer but he dont speak for all. I know lepto an everybody know to wash hands from lil child.

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  10. Kathy

    I have an aunt who contracted lepto – we think it was from walking about barefoot. Barbados definitely has a rat problem. People should be sensible, wear shoes and stay out of standing water. Individuals and government agencies need to take rat infestations seriously.

    As for the dangers to tourist drivers, I have always found that there was more annoyance than danger. There is always some con artist trying to make a quick dollar out of the more naive tourists. But Barbados does have some violent crime, including rape. Tourists would be wise to keep their eyes open and their brains engaged.

  11. helful John

    what a rat problem in barbados!
    known for years …why do hotels change their name and say have you seen mongeese with cute tails!
    must think we came down with the rain…
    yes helpful if Barbados was honest so the problem can be dealt with