ABOUT BARBADOS

Bar­ba­dos is an inter­est­ing and excit­ing vaca­tion spot, with options for every­one, fun activ­i­ties, crazy adven­tures, romance and relaxation.
IMPOR­TANT ISLAND INFORMATION

BANK­ING INFORMATION

Mutual Building Bank in BridgetownBanks open from 8:00am to 3:00pm Mon­day – Thurs­day, 8:00am to 5:00pm on Fri­day and are closed on all National Hol­i­days. Con­versely you can eas­ily use your credit card at most busi­nesses island wide or with­draw up to $500 USD per day at hun­dreds of ATM Machines. ATM machines can be found island wide out­side banks or at most 24hr gas stations.

Exchange Rates
The US dol­lar typ­i­cally has an exchange rate of $1.00 US — $1.98 US dol­lars. (Roughly two to 1)

Major credit cards and US dol­lars are accepted island wide. Traveler’s checks in U.S., U.K. and Cana­dian funds can also be used at many outlets.


BEACHES

The island has amassed count­less beaches for you to enjoy and explore but note:
  • On the East Coast of the island large waves and strong cur­rents can make swim­ming dangerous.
  • On the west Coast the sea is typ­i­cally calm and relax­ing but be sure to look out for red flags as they indi­cate strong cur­rents, rough waters and big­ger waves on that day.
  • Carry along your sun block to pro­tect your skin.
  • Be mind­ful of Manchi­neel trees some­times found on the beach (usu­ally marked with red paint) they carry a small fruit sim­i­lar to a crab apple – DO NOT touch/​eat this fruit! it is poi­so­nous! In fact even stand­ing under this tree dur­ing the rain can be haz­ardous as drip­ping rain from the tree can blis­ter the skin and eyes.

See Bar­ba­dos Beaches


BUSI­NESS HOURS

Open for Business Mon­day to Fri­day busi­nesses and stores in Bar­ba­dos are nor­mally open either from 8:30/9am and close at roughly 4:30/ 5:00pm Mon­day to Friday.
Sat­ur­days are shop­ping days in Bar­ba­dos how­ever stores typ­i­cally close between 1pm and 2pm in Bridgetown, but shop­ping malls and super­mar­kets open till 9:00pm. On Sun­days, some large gro­cery stores such as super cen­tre will open until 7pm while the small gro­cery stores will close between 12 noon and 2pm. Notably Cave Shep­herd, a pop­u­lar store in Hast­ings is also open until this time.

CAP­I­TAL
The cap­i­tal of Bar­ba­dos is Bridgetown and it is located in the parish of St. Michael. Bridgetown is the most pop­u­lar shop­ping loca­tion on island and Broad Street is the main shop­ping avenue there. There are four other major towns on the island, Hole­town, in the parish of Saint James; Oistins, in the parish of Christ Church; and Speight­stown, in the parish of Saint Peter.

DRESS

Summer clothes on a line With this warm weather pack your sun­dress, shorts, swim wear, trop­i­cal shirts and slip­pers for the day but at night most restau­rants and clubs require you to be ele­gantly casual. You can’t go wrong if you remem­ber the following:

1. It’s ille­gal to wear cam­ou­flage gear of any kind.
2. No bare feet or bare backs in most stores.
3. Sneak­ers are frowned upon at some clubs & restau­rants
4. Try ele­gantly casual for fine din­ing – Call before hand if you need to be sure.
5. Shorts of a rea­son­able length are mostly accept­able in this cool cli­mate but if again if in doubt call ahead.


DRINK­ING WATER

The island’s water sup­ply is clean, tasty and per­fectly safe to drink straight from the tap. The coral for­ma­tion of the island acts as a nat­ural fil­ter for the island water and ensure that it is amongst the purest in the world.

DRI­VING IN BAR­BA­DOS


Fowl Bay  St Philip 1600x1200 5334527218 102915951fDri­ving in Bar­ba­dos can be a pleas­ant expe­ri­ence and a great way to see the island. Sim­ply remem­ber to drive on the left and obtain a valid Bar­ba­dos license for $5 US, by car­ry­ing your valid national or inter­na­tional license to a police sta­tion or autho­rized car-​rental com­pany (Ask when book­ing is they can man­age this for you before you arrive).


EDU­CA­TION

Accord­ing to UNESCO Bar­ba­dos’ edu­ca­tion level is ranked within the top 5 coun­tries in the world par­tially because the lit­er­acy rate which is esti­mated to be very close to 100%. A Large part of the island’s GDP is spent on edu­ca­tion and all chil­dren under the age of 16 must attend Pri­mary and Sec­ondary Schools. Notably a large per­cent­age of the pop­u­la­tion also attends one of four Ter­tiary Level Intu­itions on island.

ELEC­TRIC­ITY

The volt­age is 110 volts, 50Hz cycle. Con­sider bring­ing your con­verter if nec­es­sary (Espe­cially Asian & Euro­pean vis­i­tors) or ask your travel agent if your hotel pro­vides one as many of them do.

EMER­GENCY

Police T: 211
Fire T: 311
Ambu­lance T: 511
FMH Emer­gency Med­ical Clinic T: 2462286120
Sandy Crest Medical T: 246419-4911(Open 24 hours)
Spar­man Med­ical Center T: 246624-3278(Open 24 hours)
Hos­pi­tal T: 246436-6450(Open 24 hours)


GEOG­RA­PHY


Map of Barbados Located just out­side of the Caribbean Island Chain to the East is Bar­ba­dos. It is a 166 square mile island (21 x 14 at its longest point) which is divided into 11 parishes with only two of these parishes St. George & St. Thomas not touch­ing the ocean. The island is typ­i­cally described as flat though its high­est point Mount Hill­aby, in the Scot­land Dis­trict rises 340 metres (1,120 ft) above sea level.

The islands unique geog­ra­phy was cre­ated by both the rough Atlantic Ocean to the east and the gen­tle Caribbean Sea to the west as a result of this sea bathing is quite dif­fer­ent on both sides of the island.


GOV­ERN­MENT
Bar­ba­dos was once an island under British rule and as a result the island’s gov­ern­ment and gov­ern­men­tal prac­tices are a result of our for­mer British rule, in fact the island is a con­sti­tu­tional monar­chy and par­lia­men­tary democ­racy, mod­eled on the British West­min­ster system.

In 1966 Bar­ba­dos gained its inde­pen­dence from Britain and today the island main­tains a Prime Min­is­ter and 2 par­lia­men­tary houses – The House of Assem­bly (30 min­is­ters) and The Sen­ate, with Eliz­a­beth II, as the head of state but she is rep­re­sented locally by the island’s Gov­er­nor Gen­eral. Bar­ba­dos, notably, has the third old­est par­lia­ment in existence.


HEALTH & SAFETY

While you may be on vaca­tion safe guard your health as you would at home, remem­ber­ing to wash hands, and be sure to pro­tect your­self from mos­quito bites by using Insect Repel­lent. This will help to avoid itchy insect bites & wails and pro­vide pro­tec­tion from the pos­si­bil­ity of dengue fever.

While Bar­ba­dos is rel­a­tively safe, it is always wise to take pre­cau­tions when tra­vers­ing the island, don’t leave your valu­ables unat­tended, lock your car and hotel room doors and stay within the areas that are well lit or are heav­ily trafficked.

ILLE­GAL DRUGS

Hav­ing an Ille­gal drug in Bar­ba­dos is a seri­ous offence and the penal­ties can be severe. In fact a per­son caught with even mar­i­juana can be sen­tenced to as much as 20 years in prison.

LAN­GUAGE

The lan­guage of Bar­ba­dos is British Eng­lish, how­ever Bajans have a ten­dency to speak quickly in a heavy dialect affec­tion­ately called ‘Bajan’. At times this may sound quite for­eign how­ever its sim­ply ENG­LISH island style with the flavour of gen­er­a­tions of dialect mixed in.

POP­U­LA­TION

Yellow bus The pop­u­la­tion of Bar­ba­dos is roughly 285,000 with an eth­nic mix as follows:
  • 90% African Descent
  • 4% Euro­pean Descent
  • 6% Asian & Mixed/​Other

POSTAL SYS­TEM

You can eas­ily obtain stamps from the hotel front desk or hotel bou­tique, how­ever the Gen­eral Post Office is located in Cheap­side, Bridgetown and there are 17 other district post offices islandwide.

TAXES & GRA­TU­ITIES

VAT — Value Added Tax (VAT)-17.5% is charged on most items
Tax on your hotel or accom­mo­da­tion is 8.5% and at some loca­tions another 10% is added for ser­vice charge.

Gra­tu­ities are nor­mally 10% — 15% and at some loca­tions this may be auto­mat­i­cally added to your bill.

TELECOM­MU­NI­CA­TIONS

Lime logoWant to check in with your fam­ily or the office at home?
Make a Direct Call to:
  • North Amer­i­can /​Canada territories-​Dial: 1, the area code, and the tele­phone number.
  • United King­dom – Dial: 011 44, the area code (Omit the usual 0 before the area code), and the tele­phone number.

Digicel Logo JpegLocal Calls: Feel free to rent a cell phone locally or utilise your “unlocked” inter­na­tional cell phone by pur­chas­ing a LIME Smart Card /​Dig­i­cel SIM card from marked retail out­lets’ island wide.


From The hotel/​Accom­mo­da­tion – Check to see if any fee is attached to this before you dial.


TIME

Bar­ba­dos is GMT
I.e. From The UK
4 hrs behind in Win­ter
5 hrs behind in Summer
From the US – Win­ter to Fall 1hr ahead of EST
EST dur­ing Day­light Sav­ings Time in the Summer

WHEN TO VISIT


Batts Rock Barbados With a con­sis­tent aver­age tem­per­a­ture of 8087 degrees F, (2730 C) it means that any time of year is per­fect to visit the island of Bar­ba­dos. In fact just imag­ine the Caribbean and that is the weather in Bar­ba­dos, its warm, sunny and beau­ti­ful all year round with cool island breezes and clear blue skies. Note how­ever that the island does have a rainy sea­son between June and Novem­ber, where brief scat­tered show­ers or bad weather may be expe­ri­enced. Cur­rent Weather in Barbados


RELATED ARTI­CLES
Fun Facts About BIM Local Trans­port
His­tory of Barbados Weather in Barbados
Travel Infor­ma­tion Busi­ness
Cur­rent Edi­tion of Caribbean Dreams Magazine




Arti­cle © Caribbean Dreams Mag­a­zine
Photo #1 orig­i­nally from Bar­ba­dos Tourism Author­ity — UK
Pho­tos #2 & 3 orig­i­nally from shut​ter​stock​.com
Photo #4 orig­i­nally from pure​beachre​sort​.com
Photo #5 orig­i­nally from bar​ba​dos​-guide​.info
Photo #6 © Caribbean Dreams Magazine

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