Barbados is an island nation within the Commonwealth governed by Great Britain. This means that officially the head of Barbados is the British queen, while the real head of state, the governor general, is considered her representative on the island. This country is often called “Little England” – here the British traditions are honored and protected almost more than in Britain itself.
Barbados is located in the eastern archipelago of the Lesser Antilles, washed by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Caribbean Sea to the west. The popularity of vacations in Barbados is due both to its climatic features and unspoiled wilderness, and “pirate romance” and sights preserved from that time.
The capital of Barbados, Bridgetown, is the island’s largest city. It received the status of the capital only in 1966, although it has been the “main” city of the island since its foundation, and in general was the center of the slave trade of the whole West Indies.
Population There are about 290 thousand people on the island, who call themselves “Bajans”. Most of Barbados’ population is black, descended from slaves brought to the island to work on the sugar cane plantations. About 67% of the population is Anglican. About 4% of the inhabitants are Catholics, and 17% are atheists. The remaining 12% practice Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. The official language of Barbados is English, but in fact the islanders speak a local dialect, which is a mixture of English, Creole and Spanish.
Barbados’ currency is the Barbados dollar (BBD). It is relative to the U.S. dollar at a ratio of 2:1, that is, two Barbados dollars are equal to one U.S. dollar. Currency exchange can be done at special exchange offices and commercial banks, as well as in the hotels. In the capital and resort areas it is possible to pay with credit cards, in the provinces it is still problematic.
Barbados has a tropical humid climate strongly influenced by sea breezes. The air temperature during the year varies little; the daytime temperature ranges between +28 ° … +31 ° C, at night the thermometer rises to +21 ° … +26 ° C. The hottest months are August and September, when the temperature rises to +30 ° C during the day and +26 ° C at night, and the coldest are January and February, when the air heats up to +27 ° C during the day and +22 ° C at night. At the same time, the heat is not exhausting thanks to the influence of steady northeasterly trade winds blowing from the Atlantic.
The weather in Barbados is predominantly sunny – it is believed that the number of sunny hours on the island exceeds 3,000. Between January and June, the weather is relatively dry, with an average monthly rainfall of less than 60mm. “Rainy period” – from July to December, the rate of precipitation is about 200 mm, but prolonged showers are extremely rare. Due to its geographical position, Barbados is protected from hurricanes, and serious storms near its shores are rare.
The most popular resorts in Barbados are on the south and west coasts. The white coral sand beaches here are surrounded by palm groves. The most popular of the “family” beaches are Brandons, Butts Rock, Fitts Village near the capital, Mullins near Speightstown, and the beaches belonging to Folkestone Park near Holtown. “Party” beaches are on the south coast, the best resort for youth holidays is considered St. Lawrence Gap, the best beaches here are Dover Beach, Long Bay and Crane Beach.
All beaches in Barbados are municipal, which means anyone can use them absolutely free.
For lovers of active recreation on the island of Barbados suit more the west coast, popular with divers and snorkelers, as well as east and southeast, which due to the trade winds are popular with fans of surfing. The island also attracts fishing enthusiasts: barracuda, tuna, dorado and blue marlin are caught here.
Attractions of the island
On Barbados, there are many sights worth seeing even if you have come to the island for a beach holiday. First and foremost is Harrison Cave, a complex of underground caves, lakes, and waterfalls. There are other caves on the island, but access is less civilized. Almost as popular with tourists rum factories, of which there are many near Bridgetown, the most famous of them is Mount Gay Rum Factory, which has a museum. Not far from the capital is the Tyrol Cottage, owned by two important politicians, the Adams father and son, and there is a historic village around the estate that you can take a trip to if you stay at a hotel that has a sightseeing program.
Also interesting to see the National Heroes’ Square (it used to be called Trafalgar Square), the Fire Tower, dating back to 1818 (it houses a small military museum), the Parliament building, St. Michael’s Cathedral and Museum of Barbados, the Flower Forest Botanical Gardens, St. John’s Church, the sugar factory and its museum in Morgan-Lewis, the wildlife sanctuary and St. Nicholas Abbey in St. Peter’s County, the flower sanctuary in Batsheba, Andromeda Gardens, the Pottery House and Lazaretto Gardens in St. James.
Where to stay.
Barbados has hotels of different classes, the most prestigious are located on the west coast, hotels with more democratic prices, which are chosen by young people who come on vacation, are mainly in the south of the island. Fans of windsurfing often stay on the southeast coast, where the big waves prevent a normal beach vacation.
The best hotels in Barbados are 3* Coral Sands Beach Resort and 5* Hilton Barbados Resort in Bridgetown, 4* Ocean Two Resort & Residences and 3* Yellow Bird Hotel in St Lawrence, 3* Sugar Cane Club Hotel & Spa and 5* Cobblers Cove in Speightstown, Tropical Sunset Beach Apartment Hote in Holtown. The Sandy Lane Resort is considered the most upscale hotel, and celebrities often stay there.
Culinary traditions of Barbados present a fantastic combination of African, Indian, Creole and British national cuisines. The extensive use of seafood (especially flying fish) is characteristic of the locals. The traditional dessert, rum cake, is a must-try.
Some of the island’s best restaurants include Fisherpond Great House in St. Thomas for “planter-style” dining, Bajan Blue at Sandy Lane in St. James, Wispers On The Bay in Bridgetown, Bliss-Café in Dover Beach, Nishi Restaurant in Holtown, Island Plates in Speightstown.
Festivals and other events
The main festival of Barbados is the Crop-Over, a festival celebrating the sugar cane harvest. It is celebrated in July for three weeks on a grand scale. There are also other festivals, like the Jazz Festival in January and the Oistins Fishermen’s Fair in February.
There are classical music and art festivals in March, a Celtic Festival and Carnival of the Assemblies in May and a Folk Festival in November. In addition to festivals, Barbados also hosts competitions: the Sandy Lane Cup Races, the International Triathlon Tournament, and the Caribbean Surfing Championships.
The main “souvenir goods” of Barbados are rum and mahogany products. Tourists also buy fabrics, metal and glassware, souvenirs made of paper and shells, and jewelry. You can buy them in a gift store at any of the resorts or by going to a specialized store in Bridgetown, where the choice is much greater.
On the island is a very interesting system tax-free: the cost of tax refund is not at the airport, and directly in the store – on presentation of passport.
Safety in the country
Barbados is a country with a fairly low crime rate. However, it is better to leave valuables and large amounts of money in the hotel – in a special safe. Security hotels are monitored by security services, and no one suspicious gets into their territory. But you should watch your belongings in crowded places (airports, train stations, etc.) carefully – pickpockets may “work” there. But it is better not to walk along the wild beaches at night.
To avoid some natural dangers, you need to follow some simple rules:
- Going to the island, make vaccinations against hepatitis and tetanus.
- Use bottled water, and fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly.
- People with allergies should refrain from visiting the island during the sugarcane harvest.
- Do not forget to use sunscreen and buy protection against mosquitoes.
- Swimming in the open sea is dangerous because of strong currents and rocks near the shore, so rest only in specially designated areas.
Telephone numbers of emergency services:
- ambulance – 115;
- fire department – 113;
- police – 112;
- 119, Single Rescue Service.
- You can not take out of Barbados local currency.
- The mains voltage is 110V, sockets and plugs are of American design. If you stay at a 4* or 5* hotel – you will get an adapter for free, at a lower class hotel you will have to pay extra for it.
- Cabs don’t have meters. The cost of travel must be negotiated with the driver in advance.
- There are no nudist beaches on the island – it is forbidden by law to sunbathe naked.
- Tipping at a restaurant is usually included in the bill. If not – it’s better to leave about 10%-15% of the order.
- The hotel “surcharge” for service is also often included in the bill, but if it’s not made out, it’s better to leave a tip of 1 USD per day for the room.
- Traffic on the island is left-handed.
How to get to Barbados?
You can get to the island by plane. Barbados has one airport, it is located 14 km from the center of Bridgetown and is named after Grantley Adams. The airport accepts flights from the U.S. and many European countries. Excluding docking time, the flight to the island takes about 14-15 hours.
To visit Barbados, a visa is required, but if you intend to stay in the country no longer than 28 days, it can be obtained by a simplified scheme – right at the airport. To do this you must have a passport valid for at least six months, an invitation (private, business or travel), proof of hotel booking and ability to pay, the return ticket.
Transportation within the country
Transport on the island is carried out by buses. There are 3 varieties: public, private and shuttle buses. Public buses are painted blue and run according to a fixed schedule. Private buses are yellow. Most of them run from 6 am to 9 pm.
Renting a car on the island is expensive and troublesome: in addition to international rights, you must get a Barbados license. It will cost about 10 Barbadian dollars. Renting a yacht – rather, the pleasure of the rich, but still this service is popular here.
Travel to the island of Barbados
Travelers who prefer to relax on beaches with white, fine sand, washed by bright blue waves and eager to enjoy a holiday in an endless series of fun festivals and colorful festivals, should be advised to go to the beautiful faraway island of Barbados. It has everything the most demanding vacationer could need.
Information about the island of Barbados . Barbados is located almost half a thousand kilometers from Venezuela, near the islands of St. Lucia and the Grenadines. There are many plains in the island’s topography, but the center of Barbados is more mountainous. The island is surrounded on all sides by beautiful coral reefs, washed by the waters of the Caribbean Sea from the west, and the Atlantic Ocean from the north and east. The length of the island is small, only thirty-four kilometers long and twenty-three wide, despite this he is recognized as one of the most favorable places of residence on the planet. By the way, Barbados boasts a record number of long-livers, according to this indicator, the island is even ahead of the world’s leaders in longevity – Japan and Sweden. Scientists explain this phenomenon not only by the favorable climate, but also by the positive perception of life of the local population and their love for physical labor. It is not surprising why various high-ranking officials of the planet have homes on the island of Barbados and members of royal families prefer to vacation. And also travel to Barbados love surfers, they especially like to vacation on the south side of the island, because there are a mix of ocean and sea waters, creating a steep wave, as well as the concentration of most hotels.
History of the island . The local population are the descendants of black slaves, in the old days, engaged here in the cultivation of sugar cane. The island of Barbados used to be under the Spanish crown. It got such a strange name because of this: at one time, its beauty and the large number of fig trees covered with lichens and orchids and huge banyan trees with roots similar to a beard aroused the scientific interest of explorer Pedro Campos, and, naturally, was associated with the “beard”, as a result, the island was called “Bearded” – “Barbados”. The Spaniards ruled here until the beginning of the sixteenth century when in 1620 their overseas possessions were encroached upon by the British, who had undivided rule over Barbados until 1966. The former British colony gained independence as a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The natives in all their manifestations try to prove their isolation from European traditions, carefully preserving the richness of musical, cultural and culinary traditions of their ancestors. Black citizens are an absolute majority – ninety percent of all residents of the island, but they call themselves “Bajans. The official language is English, but the local population prefers to communicate in the local dialect – “Bajan.
How to get to the island of Barbados? All travelers who decide to vacation in Barbados arrive at Grantley Adams International Airport, located half an hour from the island’s capital, Bridgetown. Unfortunately, due to the high cost of the tour to the island, trips there by our compatriots – a rarity. Therefore, there are no direct flights from Russia to the island of Barbados yet, but it is possible to do it through connection flights of foreign airlines, for example, through connection in London with the company “British Airways”, “Virgin Atlantic”, “British West Indies Airways”, flight time is eight hours, or through connection in Frankfurt airlines “Lufthansa” and “Condor”. The duration of the flight without docking time is about fifteen hours. In general, the bulk of the flights arrive on the island from the United States: if you have the opportunity, you will fly to Barbados from Houston in seven hours, from Miami in three and a half hours, from New York in four and a half hours, from San Francisco in nine and a half hours.
Visa to Barbados . As for the visa to the island of Barbados, if a Russian enters here for a period of less than twenty-eight days, it is not necessary. The main thing is that the validity of your passport, expired in at least six months at the time of entry into the country. And you must also have a return air ticket and hotel reservation. If there is a desire to rest here longer, you need a Barbados visa can be obtained at the British Embassy, representing the interests of the island in Russia. The tourist should know that departing from Barbados they should pay airport tax – 25 Barbados dollars, the exchange rate is constant and equals 2:1, the amount in American dollars is 12,5. It is worth mentioning the local wonderful climate. The average annual temperature ranges from 24 to 29 degrees plus sign. It is always warm here. The rainy season runs from June to October inclusive. Tropical storms are very rare here.
There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency you may bring into Barbados, but it is definitely worth declaring the amount. In terms of crime, this country is safe, although, as in other countries, you should not carry stacks of money at night and flash gold jewelry. Well, it’s like everywhere else: “God takes care of the careful”.
Cities and attractions of the island . The capital of Barbados is Bridgetown – a place of concentration of museums, monuments of colonial architecture and the main port, where numerous cruise ships are moored. Needless to say, the city exists and develops only because of the endless flow of tourists? By the way, travelers love Bridgetown for its excellent duty-free stores, as well as interesting cultural and historical sites. It was founded in the early seventeenth century and for a long time existed as a major center of the slave trade in the West Indies. Bridgetown is the seat of the Barbadian government and the headquarters of major companies. Bridgetown, pleases the eyes of vacationers, its colorful streets and houses in the colonial style, there are many stores selling the world-famous rum and lots of cozy cafes. The main square of the capital is Trafalgar Square, with a monument to the British hero – Admiral Nelson. This is the beginning of the shopping area where you’ll find boutiques and stores with all kinds of goods from all over the world. The main church, St. Michael’s Cathedral, is definitely worth a visit. It’s a grand building from the beginning of the seventeenth century in the traditional English style. The city is proud of its wonderful Royal Park, with a theater on the territory. Guests of the city always try to take a picture in the city landmark – a huge baobab, which is over a thousand years old, this is the true symbol of the city. In the city’s shops are definitely worth buying souvenirs: an unusual form of shells, interesting trinkets, ubiquitous magnets. Visit the nearby Morgan-Lewis Sugar Mill, with its authentic four-winged mill – the last stone wonder in Barbados. It is a rare piece of architectural work dating back to 1727. The Sugar Cane Museum is located here, but since 1999, the mill has been reopened. During the harvest season, on Sundays, tourists can see how this marvel works, go inside and see old photographs and other artifacts of the time.
St. Nicholas Abbey, one of the Seven Wonders of Barbados, is a must-see. It sits beside the Wildlife Reserve. The building was erected in 1660 for Colonel Benjamin Berringer. It is a stately and austere structure, framed by tall spires of carved coral stone, gracefully curved pediments, powerful angular chimneys and a marvelous Chinese staircase. A tour of St. Nicholas Abbey is a great way to soak up the island’s colonial past, learn about its English architecture and examine pieces of historic furniture. You can buy Barbados rum or other local products from the county’s sugar plantations at the mansion’s gift shop. By the way, you can save on visits to museums and other historical sites by buying a special document – “Heritage Barbados Passport”, which gives a discount on the purchase of tickets to museums up to fifty percent.
It is worth talking about shopping on the island of Barbados: there are a lot of commercial centers, stores “Free shop”, where visitors can save from twenty to forty percent. Prices in the island’s capital are much lower than for the same goods in the resort towns, and the choice is richer. Travelers buy here the products of precious metals, watches, which is relatively cheap, since they are sold without VAT. There are many shops with handicrafts, selling the famous local batik, ceramics, seashells, and well rum, the island is nowhere without it.
Many unique natural places on the island of Barbados, which should definitely be seen. Tour hit with tourists – “Harrison’s Cave” – Barbados miracle, discovered in 1795, which was formed naturally by the water erosion of the rock over the millennia. This underground tour is guided by a specially equipped streetcar, which takes visitors to the most beautiful places: the “Great Hall,” the height of the vaults of which exceeds 30 meters, and the “Village” – a unique cave with magnificent waterfalls and unusually growing stalactites and stalagmites. Tourists during the stop can walk and take a closer look at this miracle of nature, admire the clearest streams, scoop up water in the mirror-pure underground pool, listen to an interesting story about stalactites and stalagmites guide. Nearby are two other no less interesting natural attractions: the Environmental Heritage Museum and the amazing Flower Forest.
Of course, fans of underwater diving will not be bored either, in Barbados there is a lot of underwater treasures, which you can get acquainted with the representatives of the local travel agencies. You will be offered a huge range of different marine excursions on water transport: ships, catamarans, submarines, from which you can dive into the wonderful underwater world of Barbados. First place in the ranking of underwater excursions is a visit to the wreck of the ship “Pamir”. which sank in the last century in the northwestern part of Barbados, near the beach “Maycocks Bay, just fifty meters from the shore. The ship was carrying a team of cadets from Buenos Aires to Hamburg, but it sank when a hurricane suddenly struck, causing a violent storm, and of the eighty-six crew members, only six were lucky enough to escape. Dive to the remains of the ship, instructors allow even novice divers. In general, the waters of the Caribbean are replete with shipwrecks, this is a “field of wonders”, for local amateur divers. Around their obrossed with shells and seaweed islands, snood cheerfully multicolored flocks of tropical fish, who are not afraid of people, so they got used to this constant neighborhood curious divers.
Actinia Cave, Barbados’ most interesting site and natural wonder, is located in the district of Checker Hall. It is located near the shoreline, or rather at the foot of the cliffs, washed by the Caribbean Sea. In the caves are wonderful pools, at the bottom and walls of which, grow graceful flowers of sea anemones – actinia – is a picturesque species of large corals. Underwater lakes with “sea flowers” are shallow and medium-depth, usually, guides give tourists a half-hour to take a dip in a wonderful warm sea bath. A coral staircase, built at the beginning of the last century, leads to the cave, which is absolutely unique in its kind.
Folkestone Underwater Park is visited by travelers to Houltown. It covers a wide area of land and sea. It’s a great place to visit. To experience and explore the inexpressible beauty of the deep sea. Almost off the coast at thirty-seven meters deep you can see the shipwreck of the Greek ship Stavronikita, sunk in 1976. You can dive it under the guidance of experienced instructors. In the park is no less interesting to snorkel and see a lot of interesting inhabitants of the warm Caribbean Sea: sea animals and plants. By the way, the local coastal waters are inhabited by flying fish – the symbol of Barbados.
Resorts and Beaches of Barbados . Most tourists prefer to live in hotels in small towns on the south coast of Barbados, or settle in resorts near Spagetown and Houltown, in the west. But start with the resorts around the capital. Particularly popular with travelers to the island of Barbados are the beach areas – Gibbs Beach, just sixteen kilometers from the capital, the fashionable Mullins Bay area – a favorite and preferred by divers, Paynes Bay and Sandy Bay. On the southwest coast, relax in Carlisle Bay or the beach areas of Sandy Beach and Dover Beach. The east coast, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, is a favorite of windsurfers because of the high waves and spectacular views. The southeast coast, famous for its amazing pink sand, offers relaxation at Crane Beach Resort. The west coast is the site of the most fashionable resorts. Sandy Lane Resort in the western part of the island, relating to the “platinum” coast – a very prestigious vacation spot by Sandy Lane Bay. There are a great many chic villas of small but fashionable hotels. The place, where weddings and extravagant celebrations of film and pop stars of the world are often held, besides, it is a favorite golfing place for European millionaires. The atmosphere of Sandy Lane is simply impregnated with luxury and respectability. Sandy Lane beaches are miles of white sand and excellent service, while the well-equipped piers are dotted with expensive speedboats. At this resort it is difficult to see a cheap car, mainly limousines, sports supercars and fly private helicopters, which are equipped with landing strips everywhere. The city and its streets correspond to the mood of wealth: no matter what boutique, then jewelry or exclusive clothing, luxury mansions, perfect lawns, great tennis courts. By the way, this is the place where singer Rihanna was born. At this resort at every turn you can meet the world-famous celebrity. On the south end of the island, between the airport and the capital, is the gorgeous Silver Sands Beach, a popular vacation spot. It has everything a discerning vacationer could possibly need, whether for passive relaxation on the beach or for active recreation. This is a great place for water sports, especially in reverence here diving and surfing. And the places around are truly picturesque and unique. Crane Beach – one of the top ten world beaches by popularity among holidaymakers, it has everything: and beautiful waves, and a safe, gentle descent, so important for families who come to rest with children. Crane Beach is located on the Atlantic coast of Barbados. It has amazing white sand and hotel guests are provided with free towels, umbrellas and sun loungers. Police patrol the beach around the clock. Honeymooners prefer to stay here.
The locals love to have fun, so the island is famous for its merry festivals and celebrations. A very interesting show is organized at the end of the harvest of sugar cane – the festival “Crop Over” – lasts for five weeks, during which time the picturesque carnival processions alternate with each other, there are musical concerts in the unique local style “calypso”. The culmination of the festival is the coronation of the king and queen of the carnival. No less striking is the international festival “Holders Season”. Held in March, this festival delights islanders and locals with opera and theater productions and interesting musical performances. The local Barbados Jazz Festival features live jazz music all week long, even at night. January also sees the Jazz Festival, which attracts famous musicians from around the world to the island. The last two weeks of May see the Celtic Festival – quite surprisingly, this hotspot is alive with Northern Scottish and Welsh tunes. In October, there is the Youth Jazz Festival. As you may have realized, the festivities on the island of Barbados last all year round, with one show moving into another, and everyone around dancing and singing.
Travel to the island of Barbados, despite all the difficulties of the way to the island and the financial costs are certainly worth it: they will pay off with amazing memories of a wonderful holiday on this island-sun, song, love and beauty.