Barbados is the most easterly of the Caribbean chain of islands. It lies well to the east of the West Indies, making it the most windward of the Islands. To the west, beaches are made of fine white sand and there are natural coral reefs. Along the east coast, the shoreline tends to be rockier.
Barbados is predominantly flat with only a few gently rolling hills to the north. The coral structure of the island acts as a natural filter and the waters of Barbados are amongst the purest in the world. The people of Barbados, known as Bajans, take great pride in their tiny island of 430 square kilometers and 250,000 people.
Tourism is big business on the island of Barbados, and most visitors who come to the island are looking for that comfortable mix of the familiar combined with just enough local flavour to feel ‘exotic.’ The capital Bridgetown is a lively place to visit, with an excellent national museum and great nightlife in its bars and clubs, some of them located right on the beach. But, if you want to, it’s easy to visit more remote areas.
Jump in a rental car and see the rest of the island: the sugar-growing central parishes, the thinly populated and little-explored north, and the ruggedly beautiful east coast, where you can hike for miles along the beach with only seabirds and the occasional surfer in sight. If you’re looking for a Caribbean island with plenty of amenities, such as water sports and nightlife, Barbados is the ideal location.
Barbados Restaurants and Food
There are plenty of fine restaurants on the island that offer local cuisine, seafood and continental cuisine. There are a great many restaurants offering both international and traditional Bajan cuisine at a variety of prices. Local specialties include; flying fish, lobster, and crane chubb. The sea urchin or sea egg is a particular specialty. An exchange ‘Dine Around’ system is operated between some hotels of the same class and guests can eat at other hotels for no extra cost. In restaurants or nightclubs, tips are usually 10-15 percent.
Dine out! Barbados is the place to go if you love food with so many restaurants available to choose for romantic dinners or lazy lunches. To name but a few; Daphne’s Barbados for lazy lunches, The Cliff Barbados for romantic dinner or create your own picnic or boat lunch from the Gourmet Shop Barbados.
Accommodation in Barbados
Accommodation includes many luxurious, first-class hotels. Hotel prices range to suit all budgets. In general the luxury hotels are in the west, while the medium-priced ones can be found along the southwest coast. The east coast, because of its exposure to the trade winds and wild Atlantic Ocean, has only a small number of hotels and guest-houses. However, it is this area that is chosen by the Bajans for their own holidays. There is a hotel inspection and grading system, as well as standard services, the main ones being European Plan (EP), which is room only, and Modified American Plan (MAP), where breakfast and dinner are included with the price of the room. In addition, the Tourist Authority information gives full details on facilities.
Guest Houses: There are small guest-houses throughout Barbados, particularly in Christchurch. Some offer self-catering facilities.
Self Catering: There are a large number of Apartments, Cottages and Villas available for rent, and a number of modern complexes are being built on the northwest coast. Older buildings, with a more local character, are available on the less popular east coast. There are also smaller, family-run Apartment Hotels and many apartment-style hotels that leave the visitor with a choice of self-catering or restaurant eating.
Weather in Barbados
It is warm and sunny all year round with an average daytime high of 75 – 85F. The nights are usually slightly cooler. The prevailing northeast trade winds blow steadily so that although it is bright and sunny, it is not unbearably hot. The rain usually comes in quick showers. The dry season lasts from January to June. Hurricane season in the Caribbean is between June and the end of October, however, Barbados has managed to avoid the hurricanes of the last 60 years.
What to do in Barbados
Ziplining – Spring Plantation at Jack in the Box gully in St Thomas has a Zip-Line course with eight platforms built amongst the tree line. The highest platform is over 100 feet and the longest stretch runs near to 300 feet. A great day out for all the family swinging in the trees.
Jeep tour – take a jeep tour of the island visiting the small villages on the East coast and a visit to St Nicholas Abbey which is over 350 years old and is home to a rum distillery where you can get bottles of rum personally engraved.
Banks and Currency in Barbados
The Barbados Dollar is converted at the rate of $1.98 BDS to $1.00 U.S. The BDS Dollar is fixed to the U.S Dollar and does not fluctuate. Its rate to other currencies fluctuates daily based on their fluctuations relative to the U.S. Dollar. Most establishments will accept travelers >cheques, U.S., and Canadian currency. There are many commercial banks that will change most currencies.
Most of the hotels, restaurants, and commercial establishments will accept credit cards. Travellers cheques in U.S., U.K., and Canadian funds are also cashable at many outlets. There are many Banks in Barbados (mostly British and Canadian). Most have ABM that will accept credit cards
Weddings in Barbados
Getting married in Barbados is a wonderful experience and one for anyone that wants to say their vows with the Barbados sand between their toes. There is no minimum stay required and a license can be obtained from the court in Bridge town allowing you to marry anywhere on the island. Many hotels offer excellent wedding packages or go easy travel can find something very different to suit your wedding dreams.
Honeymoons in Barbados
Honeymoons in Barbados offer the bride and groom a wide range of accommodation to choose from. Hotels in Barbados also offer specials such as room upgrades or complimentary fruit in the room on arrival for those on honeymoon in Barbados.
Driving in Barbados and Barbados Car hire
Barbados is an easy country to drive in and distances are small. The road journey from Bridgetown to Speightstown takes about 30 minutes and to Holetown or Oistins about 20 minutes. Driving is on the left. There is a speed limit of 60kph (37mph) and 80kph (55mph) on the highway. You can obtain a Barbados driver’s license for $10.00 Bds on producing a valid National or International License. Book online Holiday Car Rental with go easy travel
Calling Home from Barbados
Hotels have telephones available to both residents and non-residents. There are card phones at the airport, the seaport, the university campus, in Bridgetown and at the offices of Barbados External Telecommunications (BET) in Wildey and Bridgetown. Payphones exist throughout the island, although it may be better to use cardphones for overseas calls. Local calls are free when calling from a residence. Outgoing international code: 011, Emergency Numbers: Police – 211, Fire – 311, Ambulance – 511
Events in Barbados
The island’s top event is the Crop-Over Festival, which originated in colonial times as a celebration of the sugar cane harvest. Festivities stretch over a three-week period beginning in mid-July. There are spirited calypso competitions and fairs around the island. The festival culminates with a Carnival-like costume parade on Kadooment Day (the first Monday in August).
In February, the Holetown Festival celebrates the 1627 arrival of the first English settlers on Barbados. Holetown’s week-long festivities include street fairs, a music festival at the historic parish church and a road race. The Oistins Fish Festival, held over Easter weekend, commemorates the signing of the Charter of Barbados. It’s a seaside event focusing on boat races, fish-boning competitions, local foods, crafts and dancing. The National Independence Festival of Creative Arts, held throughout November, features talent contests in dance, drama, singing and the like. Performances by the finalists are held on Independence Day (30 November).
There are also a handful of international sporting events, including the Barbados Windsurfing World Cup, held at Silver Sands in January, and the Caribbean Surfing Championship, held in early November at Bathsheba.
Essential facts about Barbados
Capital City – Bridgetown
Language – English
Currency – Barbados Dollar
Electricity – 110v
Flight time 8.5 hours from the UK
Time difference GMT -4
See also the official Barbados Website for more information
Visa requirements Visas are required for citizens from the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Pakistan, non-Commonwealth African countries and all South American countries except Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. Citizens of Britain, Ireland, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand can enter Barbados without a visa and stay for up to three months.
Everyone except North Americans needs a passport valid for at least six months after the date of departure; North Americans can use a birth certificate and some form of photo ID. All visitors are officially required to be in possession of a return ticket or proof of onward travel.