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Barbados Travel Guide

Barbados is a deservedly world-famous tourist destination. Home to the popular cruise port of Bridgetown, the island has a breath-taking coastline and some of the world's finest diving, surfing and snorkelling conditions.

Often referred to as the Platinum Coast, the pear-shaped island's western half is dominated by deluxe beach resorts. The central highlands have some interesting cultural sights (including distilleries and plantations), picturesque villages and some amazing walking and hiking trails. The east gives way to the Atlantic Ocean and is commonly referred to as the 'Soup Bowl' because of its big waves. Surfers and backpackers tend to relish the region's assortment of lively beach-side bars and low-cost accommodation.

Barbados's strong ties with English culture have bequeathed it a genial atmosphere and good infrastructure. The sun shines year-round, and the famously friendly locals only enhance the island's glorious ambience. Barbados is rightly one of the most popular winter-sun holiday stops in the world.

Best Time To Visit Barbados

Barbados is sunny and fair, and can be visited at any time of year. The best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from January to June, making it the perfect winter-sun holiday destination for travellers from the northern hemisphere. The hurricane season in Barbados runs from June to October, but the island is not generally prone to these natural disasters. Visitors are far more likely to experience short and spectacular tropical rainstorms during this time.

What to see in Barbados

-Head to the Platinum Coast and drink in the sight of the azure water gently lapping at the golden sands.

-The scent of tropical flowers hangs heavy in the air in Andromeda Botanical Gardens.

-Capture some memories by taking photos of the spectacular coastline of Bathsheba.

-Take a tour of the Foursquare Rum Distillery and Heritage Park, located on the site of an old sugar plantation.

What to do in Barbados

-Try surfing in the 'Soup Bowl' on the island's eastern coast.

-Explore sunken ships in the clear depths of the Caribbean Sea.

-Socialise with travellers from all over the globe in the backpacker bars that line Barbados's east coast.

-Indulge in some authentic island food, such as breaded flying fish and the Barbadian speciality known as 'pepperpot'.

Getting to Barbados

Travellers can find direct cheap flights to Barbados from the US and the UK.


The Polished Hoe by Austin Clarke


Hit for Six (2007)


Breaded flying fish, served with spicy yellow sauce made from Scotch Bonnet peppers; 'pepperpot' (spicy pork stew served in a dark brown sauce), the island's national dish.


Drink rum cocktails, and sample the local Banks Beer.


Haggle with beach vendors for handmade jewellery, colourful fabrics and folk art; and be sure to pick up a bottle or two of the excellent Mount Gay Rum.

Pack for Barbados

Pack plenty of sunscreen for a holiday in Barbados, as well as some effective insect repellent. A lightweight rain slicker is a good idea, in the event of a storm.

What's on in Barbados

Surfing competitions are held throughout the year in Barbados's 'Soup Bowl' area, on the island's east coast. Witness an island-style cultural celebration at the Holetown Festival, held just north of Bridgetown. The Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival is a delight, featuring top cuisine from world-renowned chefs and the best produce from the island's many rum distilleries.

Some random facts

-Barbados's Mount Gay rum is the oldest still-functioning rum distillery in the world.

-The island's literacy rate is 99.60 percent.

A final word

A quintessential Caribbean paradise, travellers to Barbados can anticipate a relaxing, sun-soaked holiday, full of idle hours spent in perfect tranquillity.


English is the official language in Barbados.


The Barbados Dollar (BBD) is fixed to the US dollar at a rate of BBD 1.98 to $1 and does not fluctuate. Its rate is relative to other currencies fluctuations based on the particular currency's relation to the US dollar. US dollars are also widely accepted on the island, and well-known international credit cards are accepted in most stores and restaurants. Banks and ATMs are freely available and cash withdrawals can be made.


Electric current in Barbados is 115 volts, 50Hz.


Tipping in Barbados is not necessary if a service charge has already been included in the bill. Otherwise it is generally about 10 to 15 percent. Tipping is normal in bars.


As in most places, crime is not unknown in Barbados, though violent crime doesn't usually affect travellers. Normal safety precautions should suffice, meaning travellers should watch out for pickpockets in Bridgetown, and hustlers at the entrance to St Lawrence Gap, as well as around south-coast nightlife venues.

Otherwise, beach-goers sometimes encounter Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish in Bajan waters. Fortunately, they're usually large, slow and easy to spot. Poisonous manchineel trees grow on a few beaches; tropical storms and hurricanes may occur between June and November.


The international access code for Barbados is +1, in common with the US, Canada, and most of the Caribbean, followed by 246. The outgoing code is 011, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 01144 for the United Kingdom). No outgoing code is needed to call the US. Tourists can purchase local prepaid SIM cards; WiFi is available in cafes, restaurants and hotels.


There are no mandatory requirements regarding vaccinations for visitors to Barbados. However, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age coming from infected areas, and hepatitis A vaccinations are recommended for unvaccinated travellers who are one year old or older. There has been an increase in the outbreaks of dengue fever and mosquito repellent is strongly recommended; everyone 5 years of age and older should get fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before visiting. Medical care is good but very expensive and serious cases are usually transferred overseas (usually to the USA). Health insurance is therefore strongly recommended.

Public Holidays

New Year's Day1 Jan1 Jan
Errol Barrow Day21 Jan21 Jan
Good Friday10 Apr2 Apr
Easter Monday13 Apr5 Apr
National Heroes Day28 Apr28 Apr
May Day1 May1 May
Whit Monday1 Jun24 May
Emancipation Day1 Aug1 Aug
Kadooment Day3 Aug2 Aug
Independence Day30 Nov30 Nov
Christmas Day25 Dec25 Dec
Boxing Day26 Dec26 Dec


Bridgetown is generally the centre of business in Barbados. Business protocol is fairly formal, including greetings (use Mr or Ms) and dress, which is smart. Handshaking between both men and women is expected and business cards are handed out on introduction. Punctuality is expected at meetings. Business hours are generally 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Banks and post offices close at 3pm.

Passport & Visa

Tourists don't usually require a visa for stays of up to six months but they do require a return or onward ticket, proof of sufficient funds, and documents for onward travel. Passports must be valid for the period of intended stay. However, it is recommend that passports always be valid for six months after departure from the destination.


It is an offence to wear camouflage clothing in Barbados as it is reserved for the military. Topless bathing is frowned upon and nudism is illegal.

Duty Free

Travellers to Barbados do not have to pay duty on 1 litre of wine or spirits, or souvenirs up to a value of BBD 100. All fruits, vegetables, plants and products may require an import permit and a phytosanitary certificate issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Plant Quarantine.


Barbados Tourism Authority, Bridgetown: +1 246 427 2623 or

211 (Police), 511 (Ambulance), 311 (Fire).

Entry Requirements

US nationals require a valid passport but do not require a visa for a stay of up to 6 months.

British nationals require a valid passport, but do not require a visa for a stay of up to 6 months.

Canadian nationals require a valid passport, but no visa for stays up to six months.

South African nationals require a valid passport. No visa is required for stays of up to six months.

Irish nationals require a valid passport, but no visa for stays of up to six months.

New Zealand nationals require a valid passport, but no visa for stays of up to six months.

Embassy Consulates

Embassy of the United States of America, Bridgetown: +1 246 227 4000.

British High Commission, Bridgetown: +1 246 430 7800.

Canadian High Commission, Bridgetown: +1 246 629 3550.

South African High Commission, Kingston, Jamaica (also responsible for Barbados): + 1 876 620 4840.

Mission of Ireland to the UN, New York, United States (also responsible for Barbados): +1 212 421 6934.

New Zealand High Commission, Ottawa, Canada (also responsible for Barbados): +1 613 238 5991.

Embassy Consulates

Embassy of Barbados, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 939 9200.

Barbados High Commission, London, United Kingdom: +44 (246) 431 2200.

High Commission of Barbados, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 236 9517.

Barbados High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 421 7500

Consulate of Barbados, Auckland, New Zealand: +64 09 473 5949.


Barbados has a lot to offer visitors regarding beach life and sightseeing. Resorts in St James and St Peter are dream settings from which to appreciate this tropical paradise, and guests will also find luxury, relaxation and a touch of hedonism on the island's renowned west coast. On the sightseeing front, Harrison's Cave and the Jacobean Mansions are certainly worth visiting, as is the little fishing village of Bathsheba, which is favoured by surfers and photographers. Graeme Hall Swamp has even more in the way of unusual sights. The island is indeed an irresistible option for that perfect, sunny, coastal vacation.


The weather is mostly fair and sunny in tropical Barbados, with daytime highs averaging between 75F and 85F (24C and 29C). These hot conditions are tempered by cool, northeast trade winds.

The dry season occurs from January to June and the hurricane season extends from June to October. Hurricanes, however, usually miss Barbados. Instead, the island experiences some spectacular tropical rainstorms. These usually last for short, heavy spells that dry up quickly.

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