Island Guide

Barbados is a beautiful island with a population of approximately 284,000 people. It has the rugged East coast on the Atlantic side with big waves and surfing competitions and then the quieter, calmer West coast Caribbean sea which is turquoise and clear enough to see the wonderful many colourful fish when snorkelling. Here you can swim with the turtles, dive around shipwrecks and even see blue whales on occasions as well as the many flying fish when out on a boat. There are various boats you can hire for a few hours or a whole day. There are nature reserves and plantation house to wander around and explore as well as museums. There are many wonderful restaurants to visit including the famous 'Cliff' restaurant which is quite a dining experience. Mullins Beach restaurant turns into an a la carte fine dining restaurant in the evening and is well worth a visit.

General information

Below is some general information about the island of Barbados, listed in alphabetical order.

  • Airport Transfers

    Taxi's are well regulated at the airport and plentiful. You will be directed to the taxi rank on leaving the airport.

  • Alcohol Limits

    Drink Driving laws do exist, although there are no explicit limits and breathalyser tests are very rare.

  • Animals

    Animals in Barbados are often wild or poorly cared for. It is not recommended to pet or play with any animals on the island.

  • Banking

    8.00am - 3.00pm Monday to Thursday and 8.00am - 5.00pm on Fridays are typical banking hours. The RBTT bank is open on Saturday mornings from 9.00am - 12.00 noon.

  • Business Hours

    8.30am to 5.00pm are the usual business hours for offices and shops. However, you can find several supermarkets and tourist shops that will stay open for longer hours. In Bridgetown, shops will be closed on Saturday afternoons and throughout Sunday.

  • Car Hire

    For car hire, call Stoutes on 416 4456/57

  • Chemists

    The majority of pharmacies in Barbados will be open from 9.00am - 4.00pm, Monday to Friday. Some do open on weekends.

    • Speightstown Pharmacy 422 1908
    • Speightstown Roach Noel and Sons 422 2473
    • Holetown Jamestown Pharmacy 432 5592
  • Churches and Religion

    Barbados is predominantly Anglican but has approximately 125 different denominations.

  • Climate

    Light, prevailing North Eastern winds bring a refreshing breeze, which helps keep the average temperature to a perfect 28 degrees Celsius. At night-time, the temperature will drop to around 22 degrees C. Rain is intermittent and usually very short lived. Overall, Barbados has a great climate all year round.

  • Credit Cards

    Most credit cards are widely accepted, but it is always worth checking before you buy. If any cards are lost during your trip, you can phone the following numbers for assistance:

    • Visa 1 800 847 2911
    • Master card 1 314 275 6690

    Both Visa and MasterCard can be used at banks’ cash points. However, they will only dispense local currency.

  • Currency

    The Barbados dollar (BBD) is tied directly to the US Dollar at a rate of US$1.00 equals $2.00 (BBD). Currently, £1 is approximately $3.20 (BBD). Conversely, $1 (BBD) is worth about 30 pence.

  • Diving

    There are some superb dive sites around Barbados, with instructors and opportunities for all levels. It is worth noting that you final dive must take place a minimum of24 hours before your return flight.

  • Doctors

    There are several clinics available on the island. It is common practice to pay the doctor directly and then reclaim the costs on holiday insurance on arrival back home. Travellers are recommended to refer to their individual insurance policies for more information.

    • Jamestown Clinic, Holetown, St. James 432 1772
    • Speightstown Medical Centre, St Peter 422 5023
    • Sandy Crest 24hr Medical Centre, Holetown, St. James 419 4911
    • FMH Emergency Medical Clinic St Michael 228 6120
  • Dry Cleaning

    There are several dry cleaning companies scattered around the island. The nearest to Jus Chillin can be found in Holetown.

  • Electricity

    Electrics are US/Caribbean and require the 2 flat pin type adaptors.

  • Festivals

    • Barbados jazz festival

      This Jazz festival takes place in January of every year. It lasts for a whole week and features some superb music from international jazz artists. It is a must see for any Jazz fan.

    • International Festival and Fair

      This festival takes place every year on the first Saturday in and is hosted by the multi-national women’s group at Government House. There are several large tents, each representing different parts of the world. There are plenty of arts crafts and different foods for visitors to try.

    • Holetown

      The festival is a celebration of the first European settlers arriving at Holetown. This is typically around mid-February and includes a street parade, a local craft market and plenty of dancing.

    • Holders Festival

      Holders Festival is an open air extravaganza of international music and dance. It is one of the main highlights of the year and attracts thousands of visitors, artists and performers.

    • Oistens Fish Festival – Easter week

      The fish festival is a celebration of the island’s fishing industry. It is a very lively festival with a lot of music and dancing as well as art exhibitions.

    • De Conga line Carnival

      The De Conga Line Carnival is centred around Dover playing field in St. Lawrence Gap. It has plenty of free entertainment to captivate people of all ages. In addition, there is an all-day arts and crafts exhibition.

    • Crop over Festival

      The end of July marks the end of the sugar cane harvest in Barbados. This is followed by a popular festival, which includes music and dancing, displays of local art and culture and even a calypso competition. On the first Monday of August; the festival finishes in style with “Radiomen Day”, which is a national holiday and the biggest party day of the year. Here you will witness some spectacular outfits, a superb parade and some outstanding calypso music.

  • Library

    The public library is on Coleridge Street in Bridgetown.

  • Holders Festival

    Held in the month of March it is an open air extravaganza of international music and dance. Attracting thousands of visitors and artists alike it is one of the highlights of the year. Pavarotti once performed here.

  • Medical

    There are plenty of medical doctors in Barbados. The Queen Elizabeth is the closest hospital and it is located in nearby Bridgetown. Additionally, there is the excellent private hospital ‘Bay View’, which may be covered under your travel insurance.

  • National Flower

    The national flower of Barbados is known locally as “The Pride of Barbados”. The flowers themselves are typically red, orange or pink and come from a shrub like plant. They can often be seen in the public and private gardens on the island, being used to form hedgerows and borders.

  • Newspapers

    The Advocate and The Nation are the two local newspapers in Barbados and they are published daily. British newspapers are also available. For same day delivery of newspapers, phone 436 1314.

  • Photography

    Whilst there is a wealth of beautiful scenery to photograph, visitors are reminded that many people do not like being photographed without their permission, and many adults do not like to be photographed at all.

  • Plant Life

    The plant life in Barbados is truly beautiful and there is no better place to see it than the Andromeda Gardens or the Flower Forest. These are both highly recommended if you want to see the most beautiful plants that this tropical island has to offer.

  • Post Office

    The post offices on the island can be a little elusive. In Holetown, you can find the post office next to the police station, which is also opposite the Sunset Crest Supermarket. Stamps can also be bought at most places that sell postcards. Posting a letter or postcard back home typically takes about a week, although times have been known to vary from as little as three days to as long as two weeks.

  • Restaurants

    See our Restaurants section for more information.

  • Security

    Although Barbados is a relatively safe island, we recommend taking the following precautions:

    • Use the provided safes to store any valuable items.
    • Ensure that car doors are locked when unattended and do not leave valuables in clear site.
  • Telephones

    To make a call to the UK, you will need to enter the country code: 0044 (then your area code without the first 0).

  • Tipping

    Tipping should be left to the shopper to decide. However, it is common practice to tip in Barbados and it is worth noting that wages are very low, despite the relatively high living costs on the island. Tips, therefore, are always greatly appreciated.