Nestled in the Atlantic Ocean, east of the Caribbean chain, Barbados welcomes more than 1,000,000 visitors annually. It’s terraced landscapes and crystal-clear waters beckon travelers from around the world. Beyond its geographical allure, Barbados boasts a rich history, most notably as the birthplace of rum.
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This article shares information you need to know before going on a vacation to Barbados island.
Is Barbados a country?
Barbados is an independent island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies. On 30 November 2021, Barbados transitioned to a republic within the Commonwealth. Barbados is the wealthiest and most developed country in the Eastern Caribbean.
Where is Barbados?
Barbados is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, east of the other West Indies Islands. It is the easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles, about 168 km east of both the countries of Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It is technically an Atlantic island, but closely associated with the Caribbean.
What is the capital of Barbados?
Bridgetown is the capital and largest city (by population) of Barbados, located in the parish of Saint Michael.
How big is Barbados Island?
Barbados Island is 34 kilometers (21 miles) long and up to 23 km (14 mi) wide, covering an area of 432 km2 (167 sq mi).
What is the population of Barbados?
The current population of Barbados is approximately 282,038 as of August 20, 2023. The median age in Barbados is 39.5 years. About 92.4% of the population is black, 3.1% are mixed race, 2.7% are white, and 1.3% are South Asian, with the remaining 0.4% consisting of East Asians (0.1%), Middle Easterners (0.1%), and Jews (0.05%). The population is growing at a rate of 0.18%. The population of Barbados is predominantly of African ancestry
What is the landscape and geography of Barbados?
Barbados lies on the boundary of the South American and Caribbean Plates.The island is composed of coral roughly 90 m (300 ft) thick. The land has terraces in the west and inclines in the east. The island rises gently to a central highland region known as Scotland District, with its highest point being Mount Hillaby, 340 m (1,120 ft) above sea level.
Does Barbados have cities?
No, Barbados is split up into 11 parishes listed below:
- The Parish of Christ Church,
- The Parish of St. James,
- The Parish of St. Lucy,
- The Parish of St. Michael,
- The Parish of St. Peter, and
- The Parish of St. ThomasThe Parish of St. Andrew,
- The Parish of St. George,
- The Parish of St. John,
- The Parish of St. Joseph, and
- The Parish of St. Philip.
What things are there to do in Barbados?
Dive into a sea of adventures, savor authentic Barbadian cuisine, and indulge in the island’s rich history and vibrant culture. Whether you’re looking for thrill, relaxation, or a blend of both, Barbados promises unforgettable experiences for every traveler and family. Dive into our comprehensive guide on “Things to do in Barbados” and start planning your dream trip!
What is the weather like in Barbados?
Barbados boasts a hot and mostly cloudy climate, with temperatures ranging between 75°F and 87°F year-round. The temperature remains relatively consistent all year round.
However, Barbados experiences a clearer sky from around November 30 to April 3, with January being the clearest month. Conversely, the cloudier period stretches from April 3 to November 30, peaking in cloudiness in October. The rainy season runs from June 1 to December 5, with October being the wettest month. The island doesn’t experience snow, and the primary form of precipitation is rain. Ocean temperatures fluctuate between 80°F in February to around 84°F in September. It’s worth noting that the windier part of the year extends from November 23 to August 5, with June being particularly windy.
What is the best time to visit Barbados?
The ideal time to visit Barbados for general outdoor activities, considering clear and rainless days with comfortable temperatures, is from early January to early March, peaking in the first week of February. For those specifically looking to indulge in hot-weather activities like beach visits or swimming, the prime period extends from mid-December to early April, with the conditions being most favorable in the last week of January.
Is Barbados safe to visit?
Yes, Barbados is considered safe to visit and is frequented by more than 1,000,000 tourists a year. The U.S. State Department has rated Barbados at Level 1, indicating tourists should “exercise normal precautions.” The crime rate in Barbados is lower than in the U.S. Solo travelers, including women, should feel secure but are advised to exercise general precautions, especially at night.
What water quality does Barbados have?
Barbados has made significant efforts to protect its underground aquifers and has placed emphasis on keeping the island clean to preserve the cleanliness of the underground springs, which provide the island’s drinking water.
What is Barbados Rum?
Barbados Rum is a celebrated spirit with a rich history that traces back to the island’s early days. Often considered the birthplace of rum, Barbados has been producing this spirit for centuries.
The island boasts four main distilleries: Mount Gay, West Indies Rum Distillery, Foursquare Rum Distillery, and St. Nicholas Abbey. For visitors, there are opportunities to explore these distilleries, partake in rum punch at local festivals, savor rum-infused cakes, and join tours that delve deep into the rum-making process and history.
What language is spoken in Barbados?
In Barbados, the official language is English, which is widely used in legal matters, business, education, media, and public services. Alongside English, Barbadians also speak an English-based Creole language known as Bajan in informal settings. Bajan is recognized among the islanders as an integral part of their culture and heritage.
While English is used in formal settings like schools and is the predominant native language on the island, Bajan remains an essential part of everyday conversations among locals. Thus, there are two main languages spoken in Barbados: English and Bajan.
Is English spoken in Barbados?
Yes, English is spoken by the majority of the population of Barbados and is the primary language of instruction in schools. This is largely due to the fact that Barbados was once an English and later a British colony.
What currency is used in Barbados?
The currency of Barbados is the Barbados Dollar (BBD), often symbolized as BD$. At the time of writing in August of 2023, the conversion rate is fixed at about $1.98 BBD to $1.00 USD.
Are US dollars accepted in Barbados?
While the Barbados dollar is the primary form of currency, US dollars are widely accepted across the island. When it comes to electronic transactions, major credit cards are accepted in most establishments, but it’s advisable to check if digital payment platforms like Cash App, Venmo, and PayPal are accepted beforehand.
Is it better to use dollars or Barbados dollars in Barbados?
While many shops and restaurants happily accept US dollars, paying in Barbadian dollars often provides better value, and any change is usually given in BBD. Thus, for the best value, it’s recommended to use Barbados dollars during your stay.
What are the travel requirements to go to Barbados from the USA?
U.S. citizens traveling to Barbados require a valid passport for entry, and it’s recommended that the passport not expire for at least six months after the return date. Additionally, visitors should have a return ticket which may be presented to immigration upon arrival. A traditional passport is essential for air travel.
There’s no visa requirement for U.S. visitors staying in Barbados for less than six months. If you’re in Barbados and lose your passport, you can apply for an emergency passport through the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown.
Does Barbados have an airport?
Yes, Barbados has an international airport named Grantley Adams International Airport (IATA Code: BGI). It is a modern facility situated in the southeast of the island, about 13km (8 miles) from the capital city of Bridgetown. This airport not only serves Barbados but also acts as a hub for the Eastern Caribbean islands.
What airlines fly into Barbados?
Travelers have multiple airline options when considering a trip to Barbados, with carriers from North America, Europe, and the Caribbean providing regular services. Here’s a breakdown of airlines operating to the island:
From the US:
- American Airlines
Latin American and Caribbean Carriers:
- Air Antilles
- Copa Airlines
- Air Canada
- WestJet (from Toronto)
- British Airways
- Virgin Atlantic
- Lufthansa’s Eurowings (from various European cities)
What are some popular hotels in Barbados?
- Sandy Lane
- Fairmont Royal Pavilion
- Eco Lifestyle Lodge
- The Sandpiper
- The House by Elegant Hotels
- Sandals Barbados
- O2 Beach Club & Spa
- Coral Reef Club
- Cobblers Cove
- Colony Club by Elegant Hotels
What are some popular beaches in Barbados?
The popular beaches in Barbados are located along the western coastline in the parishes of St. Peter, St. James, St. Michael, and Christ Church. These beaches are ideal for relaxation and leisurely swimming.
As you head further south, the waves become more vibrant, offering great opportunities for various watersports. However, travelers should exercise caution on the eastern and northern coasts, where small bays are present, due to strong currents.
Do you need a car to get around Barbados?
No, you don’t need a car to get around Barbados, as the island boasts a robust public transportation system.
For those who prefer private transport, taxis, and personal drivers are available. There are many car rental companies operating on the island as well. If you’re keen on a convenient and customized travel experience, hiring a personal driver for your stay might be ideal. Short distances in central areas are also walkable.
What is the history of Barbados?
Barbados was inhabited by Kalinago people since the 13th century, claimed by Spanish navigators in the late 15th century, and later by the Portuguese. An English ship took possession of the island in 1625. The first permanent settlers from England arrived in 1627, and Barbados became an English and later British colony. It had a plantation economy dependent on African slave labor. Slavery was phased out by 1833. Barbados gained independence in 1966 and became a republic within the Commonwealth in 2021.
What is the main religion of Barbados?
The main religion in Barbados is Christianity, with the majority of the population identifying as Christians. In 2010, Christians made up approximately 95.5% of the population.
What kind of government structure does Barbados have?
As of 2021, Barbados is a republic within the Commonwealth. The president is Sandra Mason and the Prime Minister is Mia Mottley.
Does Barbados have a military?
Yes, Barbados has a combined armed force known as the Barbados Defence Force (BDF), established on 15 August 1979. It is responsible for the island’s territorial defense and internal security. The BDF consists of the Barbados Regiment, the Barbados Coast Guard, and the Barbados Cadet Corps, with headquarters at St. Ann’s Fort, The Garrison, Saint Michael.
Is Rihanna from Barbados?
Yes, Rihanna was born on February 20, 1988, in St. Michael parish, Barbados. For avid fans traveling to Barbados and hoping to catch a glimpse of the star, her $22 million home in Barbados residence still stands in her homeland.
What is the Barbados flag?
The Barbados flag is a triband design with the outermost stripes colored ultramarine, representing the sea and sky, and the middle stripe colored gold, representing the sand. Within the middle band is displayed the head of a trident, which symbolizes the breaking of colonial rule and Barbados’s independence from the British Empire.
What are the major schools or universities in Barbados?
Here’s a bullet point list of major schools or universities in Barbados:
- University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus\
- The American University of Barbados, School of Medicine
For-profit Medical Training Schools:
- American University of Integrative Sciences
- Bridgetown International University
- Ross University School of Medicine
- Victoria University of Barbados
- Codrington College
Teacher Training College:
- Erdiston Teachers’ Training College
Community College/Institute of Technology:
- Barbados Community College
- Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology
- Washington University of Barbados