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Barbados - a bay - s.t. photo

“We really liked Barbados. What kind of place is it? The eastern coastline is quite exposed, and you basically can't swim there, but because of the strong, steady winds it’s good for surfing,, and the scenery is also very attractive. We visited many wonderful sandy beaches on the western and southern coastlines. The sea water on these coasts is calm, and the bottom shelves are gradual. A real Caribbean sight.

We went on an organized rainforest tour in the interior of the island, which we’d highly recommend There are many sugarcane plantations, some of which can be visited. You can see how the famous Barbados rum is made. You can also see pottery makers in small villages. It's quite touristy and artificial, but you can chat with the locals, and that's an experience in itself. We had already visited the Dominican Republic, and in comparison, Barbados is more picturesque, more peaceful, and not so touristy. It’s best to rent a car because it’s nice to be able to explore the small island on your own. There are some tourist places that are a bit of a joke, such as the ‘Flower Forest’, where they offer a small experience for a big ticket price. The capital, Bridgetown, is pleasant but not exactly spectacular.

The local people are friendlier than those of the few Caribbean islands we have visited so far. They are very helpful, and not pushy. They have not been spoiled by mass tourism in the same way that Cubans, Dominicans, and Jamaicans have. Still, almost all the locals here live from tourism. I liked their patience. Of course, in Barbados, as it is a former British colony, the traffic drives on the left, which is a problem for those not used to it. My partner Karcsi was almost paralyzed at the beginning, but thankfully the other motorists, by which I mean the locals, didn't shout or shake their fists impatiently, they just smiled understandingly. There are potholes in many places on the roads and they don't put much effort into putting up traffic signs, but overall there was no serious problem with driving.

We ate well. Whenever we didn't want to sit in a restaurant, we ate a fish or meatloaf sandwich on the street, very cheaply just about 30 US cents each). It is more expensive to eat in restaurants, and they charge a surprising amount for fresh fish. The breakfast in the hotel was English, and in many ways, you can feel that it was a British colony before the sixties. Barbados is largely peaceful and well-ordered, and we had no problems with public safety.

Our top experiences: the beaches, the catamaran trip (Good Times), the rest, the relaxation, and the peaceful, relaxed Caribbean feeling. Two of our favorite beaches: are Crane Beach and Bottom Bay. The beaches are comprised of blindingly white, powdery sand, and the color of the sea is turquoise blue. It's like a dream. One day we walked for miles along the wonderful coastline and looked at the magnificent villas and the abandoned, dilapidated beach huts. I can’t imagine a more stress-free activity.” (2018)

Practicals

Transport

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Barbados - public bus - g.a. photo

Accomodation

British TV personality, Simon Cowell has been known to stay at Sandy Lane resort and also likes to rent villas such as Cove Spring House, which is found on the same strip of West Coast.

Barbados - Beach at the Rostrevor Hotel - c.s. photo

Shopping

Pelican Village located near the Bridgetown Port has shops run by local artists. They sell e.g., paintings and prints of the old chattel houses, market scenes, etc.

Barbados - red snappers and bonitos

Barbados - Bridgetown - Swan Street - k.a. photo

Barbados - street vendor - k.a. photo

Fun

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Barbados - prices - m.s. photo

Public safety

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Barbados - the policewoman is watching vigilantly - s.t. photo

Barbados - fire service - r.k. photo

Health

You can drink tap water in Barbados.

Others

1. Local maps are mostly incomplete. Tourists using these, may get on the island at some point during their holiday and especially if they leave the central area. Tourists should better ask for directions from the hotel to their place of interest to be sure.

Background

Destination in brief

Barbados got the name from the bearded Fig trees which at the time looked like beards, moreover like bearded men standing on the shore: Los Barbados (Bar-ba-dos) which means the Bearded Ones.

Size: 431 km² (166 mi²)

Capital city: Bridgetown 

Population (in 2021): 287,711

Language: English is the official language - In the everyday, informal communication an English based Creole (Bajan Creole) is spoken

Religions: 95% Christians (mostly Anglicans)

Political system: parliamentary democracy, constitutional monarchy - Barbadian politics is dominated by two parties: Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and Democratic Labour Party (DLP).

Update: In November 2021,  II. Elizabeth will no longer be head of state of Barbados, as the island country will be a republic.

Currency: Barbadian (or Bajan) dollar (BBD)

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 1400 USD

Most common surname: Clarke

Rihanna, the world-famous singer, is from Barbados. She is black with some Irish ancestry on her father’s side as her mother is from Guyana. Her grandfather was Irish.





Barbados - national flag featuring Neptune's trident- c.g. photo

Barbados map

Geography

Barbados is flat land. Locals don't like to be reminded of that. Don't ask them where the mountains are.


Climate

  • On average, the temperatures are always high.
  • On average, the warmest month is August.
  • On average, the coldest month is January.
  • The average annual maximum temperature is 29.0° Celsius (84.2° Fahrenheit) - The average annual minimum temperature is: 22.0° Celsius (71.6° Fahrenheit)

Nowadays

In Barbados, health care is free (including pharmaceuticals) education is also free (from nursery to university). Taxes are high. Most people own their own homes. 

The tourist sector accounts for more than 50% of Barbados' GDP; it hosts large data processing centers mostly employed by insurance corporations to hold their masses of statistical data. Barbados, so far, is a relatively unique example of a Caribbean country that manage to prosper without offshore banking. Prosperity has gradually been weakened by big corporations' strategy to keep relocating their operations (including data processing) into those countries outside of Barbados where the average salary is lower.

Barbados - Bridgetown - m.s. photo

Barbados - Bridgetown - Swan Street - j.i.

Barbados - Bridgetown - off the tourism track - k.a. photo

Barbados - Bridgetown - city center - k.a. photo

People

Locals, the Barbadians like to call themselves Bajans.  

A local's opinion:
We spend more than we earn.
We spend way too much money on importing food instead of growing. We have become a buy-and-sell society instead of an emphasis on industry/production and product creation.
We have become lazy
We believe we are better than other Caribbean islands
.

Barbados - Fashion changes, but style endures

Barbados - in festive attire - c.s. photo

Barbados - National pride - c.y. photo

Barbados - She loves her country

Tourist etiquette

1. People in Barbados are very conservative. Please don't run around half-naked.

2. Locals don't like to waste food. Local staff in the hotels disapprove guests who fill their plates and leave most of it

3. Local girls don't like foreign tourist guys who try to chat them up for sex. They prefer to do the picking - if they feel like - but they do it discreetly.

4. Locals drink quietly and don't like tourists getting drunk and run around making noise.

5. Don’t drink to excess and don’t be rude.

6. In most restaurants, you would see men with fitted trousers and a long or short sleeve tropical weight shirt. Women wear nice lightweight dresses. Coat and tie are not necessary.

6. Don't wear any camouflage military clothing, as it is illegal in Barbados



Attractions


Hackelton's Cliff - Located in the parish of St. Joseph, about 300 meters (1000 ft) above sea level. It overlooks the east coast of the island, offering panoramic views.

Slave Gate - That historical monument is in Bridgetown (upper Broad Street). The slaves passed that gate when they were brought to the slave market. They were displayed there to be selected for purchase by the White Plantation owners.

Jewish Synagogue - This synagogue in Bridgetown was built in the 17th century.  The Jewish community restored it in the 1980s.

Beaches

Barbados has about 80 beaches.

Barbados - Dover Beach - s.f. photo

Barbados - Carlisle Bay - Brownes Beach - p.j. photo

Barbados - Bridgetown - beach - k.a. photo

Bridgetown

Barbados - Bridgetown - Parliament buildings - g.a. photo

Barbados - Bridgetown - Swan Street - the main old-style Caribbean shopping street - p.j. photo

Barbados - Bridgetown - The Parliament Building - previously the center of the colonial administration - p.j. photo

Barbados - Bridgetown - 17th-century St. John's Parish Church - k.a. photo

Barbados - Bridgetown - Constitution River k.a. photo

Barbados - Bridgetown - Old Town - k.a. photo

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