Barbados Vacation - Destination Guide For Visitors
Barbados vacation offers unforgettable experience to the visitors. Barbados is famous for its' sandy beaches, vast sugarcane plantations, great snorkeling, sea turtles, rich history and plenty of historical buildings. Read on for tips on traveling to Barbados.
Why vacation in Barbados?
Here are the top reasons that attract tourists to travel to Barbados:
So many tourists choose Barbados as their next destination for their dream vacation for many reasons. There are a lot of fascinating things to do and to see while vacationing on the island.
Take a tour to the Mount Gay Rum Distillery and experience the making of Barbados' famous and world's oldest rum that has been produced in Barbados since 1703. Don't think that drinking this delicious beverage will not get you tipsy, in fact it is a very strong drink, so if you would like to stretch out the flavour, try one of the island's popular Rum Cocktails.
Another reason you will enjoy your Barbados vacation is that you can have the opportunity to swim with real sea turtles. Most sea turtle tours are on catamarans and provide a delicious lunch, drinks and a whole day of fun in the sun, while you snorkel, tan and enjoy swimming with these sea creatures.
Barbados Wildlife Reserve is one of the most interesting destinations on the island. It harbors animals like elusive green monkeys, snakes, caiman, herons, shy deer and many others. All animals except snakes and caimans run or fly without any restrictions. When you step into the reserve please be on the lookout not to step on the animals, and keep your hands to yourself, those animals are wildlife and do not appreciate to be touched.
Ever wondered what it's like to visit Harrison's Cave during the Barbados vacation? Well, this is one of Barbados' most popular and often-visited attractions. When you arrive you will be taken on an hour-long underground adventure in an electric tram. You will discover a 40-foot underground waterfall, subterranean streams and stalagmites, which are a very rare find in the Caribbean. This is such a well-loved attraction, so book your tour early to avoid long line-ups and wait times.
Locals in Barbados are extremely friendly, welcoming and heart-warming. They will offer your their help and hospitality. So it's always pleasant to come back to the island knowing that you will be greeted with opened arms.
Best time to go to Barbados
The busiest time in Barbados would be when the island experiences its' high season, which is from mid-December to about mid-April. The weather in Barbados is nice and warm pretty much all year around, so whether you go for your Barbados vacation during the peek-season or off-peak season, the climate will sure please you.
During the high season in Barbados, depending on the hotel and/or resort, some might require guests to purchase a meal plan, which becomes not necessary during the low-season. If you are looking for a more budget vacation then book your stay during the off-season, when the prices are significantly lower. In case you decide to visit this paradise island sometime between July and November, please check the weather forecast prior to booking. Barbados is more prone to experience rainy days during this time frame, but nice and sunny weather with a light breeze is still in effect. The island's dry season is set for January to June, so lots of sun and warm days are guaranteed then.
Either way, the weather permits to go on Barbados vacation all-year round, just remember that the slowest months of the year are in September and October. During that time some hotels and restaurants might close temporarily for their yearly maintenance and reopen again in November.
Where is Barbados on the map?
Barbados is a Caribbean island, although it stands apart from the chain of other Caribbean islands. It's located approximately 300 mi (483 km) north of Venezuela, and 108 mi (174 km) southeast of St.Lucia. Its' land area is calculated to be at 166 sq mi (430 sq km) and the island is surrounded by the Atlantic ocean along with many white velvety sandy beaches all throughout.
Capital city of Barbados
Many resorts are located in the island's capital city - Bridgetown. Bridgetown's population is almost 110,000 and it is the most vibrant and energetic commercial center of Barbados. Bridgetown is located on the island's southwest coast and is considered the largest city in Barbados. Some people call Bridgetown a "city"; however, the correct reference for it would be "town".
Bridgetown is located 18.8 km from the island's main airport Grantley Adams International Airport that has regular flights to major cities in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. The main and central road in Bridgetown is called Broad street. It passes through major shops, establishments and a Parliament building. Other major traffic corridors are Swan street, Roebuck street and Tudor street.
Bridgetown is located near the water on the coast of the Carlisle Bay. It has a variety of tourists' attractions you can visit during your Barbados vacation, including boat and sailing tours, snorkeling, deep sea fishing and catamaran tours.
Bridgetown is the most modern town in Barbados, with multi-storey offices, financial institutions and shopping centers. You will discover colour-painted buildings and vendors selling their goodies on the streets. This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a tour, walking around the island's most historical sites or engage in some entertaining water activities at the Bridgetown Harbor on Carlisle Bay.
Photo by Loozrboy
How easy is it to get to Barbados
Several international airlines fly to Barbados non-stop from Atlanta, New York, Miami in the US, Toronto, Canada and London in the UK. They fly constantly to the Barbados island and operate on a regular schedule. If you are going on Barbados vacation from another city or another country outside of the 3 countries mentioned, then a transit stop will be made. There are small/charter carriers that provide their service for passengers travelling to Barbados from other Caribbean and south American areas.
Nothing is more pleasant and enjoyable than having your next vacation in Barbados. You can start enjoying the beautiful Caribbean views while still on your way to the island. When travelling to Barbados, planes usually fly on the west coast of the island, so this is the perfect time to get that first glimpse at the wonderland.
Once you arrive at the Barbados' main airport - Grantley Adams International Airport in the island's capital Bridgetown, you will be greeted with a very friendly and welcoming service. This is where your true Barbados vacation begins. Bajan people are very nice, calm and are always ready to help you. When stepping on the Bajan soil, you will feel sun touching your cheeks, a light breeze going through your hair and a feeling of being right where you belong.
Barbados vacation options
What's great about Barbados is that it provides vacation options to suit any preferences and any budgets. Guests can choose between all-inclusive resorts, optional all-inclusive, adult-only resorts, couples-only resorts, non all-inclusive resorts, cottages and villas for rent. Most of the non all-inclusive hotels will require its' guests to purchase a meal plan, but that happens only during the peak season from December to April. Some hotels include breakfast in their plans, some do not include any meals, in such cases meals are needed to be purchased separately.
When booking your accommodation keep an eye on what package you are selecting and make sure if you want the all-inclusive deal to select same. This is just to avoid being left empty handed and having to purchase your meals separately while on your vacation.
Condos and private villas are also available for those who are looking for a group Barbados vacation. The privately owned villas are mostly located along the west coast of St. James and St. Peter. These villas contain one to eight bedrooms and are fully furnished. Depending on the size of those villas, guests can arrange on the staff that work there six days per week. Keep in mind, if you order the service staff, prices for the villas will be calculated accordingly. Everything, except groceries and gratuities is included in the price. For that, guests will be responsible for covering on their own.
If you are looking for a more affordable option or are planning on staying in Barbados for a longer period of time, then an option of renting an apartment or a condo complex is available for your convenience. You might find a big selection of apartments for rent along the south and west coasts. They are not fancy, in fact fairly simple, but very economical.
Weather in Barbados
The weather in Barbados does not vary a lot. It stays relatively the same all-year long at the temperatures locked in from 21 to 31 °C (70 to 88 °F) during the wet season, to about 21 to 31 °C (70 to 88 °F) during the dry season, with a light windy breeze throughout the year.
Since Barbados has a moderate tropical climate, there are 2 seasons: a dry season that comes from January to May, and a wet season, that hits from about May/June to November/December.
The rains rarely fall during the entire year, but if they do come (during the wet period) they fall in very quick showers, and the sun shines through again so you can fully enjoy your Barbados vacation. Nights are a little cooler, which gives the opportunity to unwind from the daily bright and sunny days.
Average yearly Weather for Barbados by Holiday Weather
Public Transportation in Barbados
Public transportation in Barbados is widely available through the entire island. Buses and taxis run very often so it is never a long wait if you need to get to a specific destination during your Barbados vacation.
There are public and privately owned buses, as well as taxis for your convenience. Buses are very affordable at about $2 (BBD) for one destination, and public buses run on the exact fare rule, where they do not provide change. Privately owned buses most times even carry a conductor and can provide change in U.S. currency. Taxis, even though they are not metered, have fixed rates set by the government. Before entering a taxi make sure you agree on the price with the driver to avoid misunderstandings after you complete your trip.
Public and privately owned buses are available on your Barbados vacation - they are painted with different colours for the public to tell the difference between the two. You will find a blue with a yellow stripe bus to be public and yellow buses with a blue stripe are privately owned. Vans that contain letters "ZR" on their license plates are privately owned as well, but their rates are similar to public buses. However, they drive faster than regular buses and try to pick up as many passengers as possible to make more money. In that case it can get a bit crowded and since these buses make frequent stops, the ride can get bumpy.
Public buses run on a fairly firm schedule, and you can expect them to be at a certain stop every 10-15 minutes. If you are standing at a stop and see a bus, the best advice would be to flag it down, otherwise it might not stop to get you aboard. Rush hours are from 7:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., so if you are not in a rush to get somewhere, try to go in between these times as things can get hectic on the roads.
Rent a car in Barbados
The legal age in Barbados to rent a car is from 21 to about 75 years old, and requires an either international driving license or a temporary driving permit, that can be obtained through the rental agency. Check for specific rates with the rental agency of your choice, but just to give you an idea, car rental rates start at about $50 per day.
Roads in Barbados are in a very good condition, no potholes, no severe bumps and uneven pavement, but can sure get busy in certain areas of the island, especially around the capital city Bridgetown. Remember driving in Barbados is on the left-hand side. The speed limit, unless there's a sign, is set to be at 60 km/h (37 mph) in the countryside, 30 km/h (20 mph) within city limits, and 72 km/h (45 mph) on the highways.
Parking is available only in designated spots labelled with a "P" and costs approximately $1 (BBD) for 1 hour of parking. Driving in a car on your Barbados vacation lets you explore all the beautiful scenery and enjoy a specific view for as long as you like without the rush feeling. Happy driving!
Money in Barbados
The currency used in Barbados island is called the Barbados Dollar (BBD). The currency symbol is $, same as the U.S. dollar. Barbados Dollar has been in use on the island since 1935. It is fixed to the U.S. dollar; therefore, it does not fluctuate. The rate of the Barbados Dollar fluctuates to other currencies daily, whenever they fluctuate based on the U.S. dollar.
You will discover that ATM machines are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week, throughout the entire island. U.S. currency is accepted everywhere as well and a lot of stores accept major credit cards, making your Barbados vacation stress-free.
Tipping in Barbados
Tipping is very common in Barbados. In almost all places a 10% service charge is added to your hotel or restaurant bill. In case a service charge was not added to your bill, please tip the waiters 10% to 15%, maids $2 per room per day and taxi drivers and tour guides will be thankful for a 10% tip. Even though tipping taxi drivers and all other personnel (where the tip is not added to the bill) is at your own discretion, it would be appreciative to thank them for their service.
Solicitation in Barbados
Even though Barbados is a very safe island and harassment is not common for the most part, take into account some of the safety measures to prevent unpleasant consequences. Sometimes you might be approached by the local vendors on the beach, they would want to either sell you their merchandise or are just looking to pester tourists for money. If you are not interested, firmly say "no thank you" and do not engage in further conversations.
General safety precautions should be followed at all times to ensure a pleasurable and enjoyable vacation in extravagant resorts and on their beautiful white sandy beaches in Barbados.
Safety in Barbados
Barbados is a very safe place to be, but that does not mean you do not need to take your regular precautions during Barbados vacation. As in any other foreign place, you are advised not to walk alone or on unlit streets, always have someone with you. Do not leave your valuables unattended, best of all lock them in a safe in your hotel room. If you walk outside of your resort, please know, that Bajan people are known to be extremely nice and welcoming, that is one of the reasons tourists keep coming back to Barbados.
When driving on the road, please remember to drive on the left-hand side and in case someone flags you (which is very rare) just continue driving, do not stop.
Barbados has a lot of Turtle Nests, please do not disturb them, and if you do come across the nest just report it to the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, that monitors the restoration of marine turtle masses to get them to certain levels so the turtle population can achieve their ecological roles.
Sunbathing topless or nude is illegal in Barbados, if you are found tanning without your clothes or if someone complains you will be reported to the police, because it is against the law. Wearing camouflage clothing is illegal as well as lighting bonfires on the beach, please avoid it.
The last but not least thing to keep in mind in regards to staying safe during your Barbados vacation is to avoid coming around a Manchineel tree. It is a very toxic plant, with its' milky looking sap containing a toxin called phorbol. Even one small drop will be enough for the skin to start irritating and causing severe dermatitis. Standing under the tree during rain is as dangerous. Once a small drop of the milky substance is mixed with rain it will make the skin go in blisters. Fruits that the Manchineel tree produces are fatal to eat, avoid the entire tree altogether. These trees can be found on many beaches not only in Barbados, but on all Caribbean Islands and South America, so in case you decide to hide away from the sun, just use your umbrella.
Barbados vacation Tips - Potable Water
Water in Barbados is known for its' purity, cleanliness and good taste. Barbados vacationers without a doubt can drink tap water in Barbados. The water does not smell nor has any foreign particles in it. Barbados was the first out of all Caribbean islands to install piped water. Fill up your bottles with tap water before going to the beach and you will sure quench your thirst when needed with crystal clear, pure water.
Barbados vacation Tips - Electricity
Electricity in Barbados is at 110-120 volts. If you are travelling from the United States or Canada, then all you need to pack with you is your electronics and their chargers. For those that are travelling from UK or Europe, they might require plug adapters and transformers. Your own hair dryers will definitely work; however, most resorts provide their own small appliances, so no need to worry about them.
Time in Barbados
Barbados operates under the Atlantic Standard Time Zone, although it does not fall under daylight-saving time.
See also: Barbados People