Travel guide to Barbados

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Travelers who love sunshine and summer life have no choice but to love Barbados. The West Coast offers white sandy beaches and a turquoise blue ocean, whilst the East Coast is less tamed - perfect for water sports such as wind surfing.

Facts

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Local name
Barbados
Capital
Bridgetown (7500)
Size
430 square kilometers
Principal Languages
English
Principal Religion
Christianity is the most common religion, but Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam are also represented.
Inhabitants
266,110 (1997)
Government
Constitutional monarchy
Geography
The island is 34 kilometres on one side and 23 kilometres on the other. Of all the Caribbean Islands it is the furthest east - and even though the island is small, the landscape is highly varied. The west coast of the island possesses long white sand beaches and coral reefs - whilst on the east coast the terrain is rougher and the ocean is wilder. Barbados is relatively flat - the highest point being Mount Hillaby at 340 metres. The impressive coral reef surrounding the island acts as a natural filter for the ocean water so Barbados has the cleanest waters in the world.

Travel preparation

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Best time to visit

Barbados can be visited at all times of the year. When it comes to the weather the best time to visit the island is between December and May - when the temperature is slightly lower and it is less rainy. If visiting then you should note that this is the peak season for tourists - which means that there are lots of people, and prices are more expensive than usual.

Literature

Rough Guide Barbados Frommer's Jamaica & Barbados

Local conditions

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Currency

Barbados Dollars (BBD)

Net cafes

There are several net cafés in the capital of Bridgetown.

In case of emergency

To get help in case of emergency at Barbados, dial the following emergency phone numbers: Police (112) Fire (113) Ambulance (115)

Tipping

Many restaurants and hotels add 10 per cent to the price, so tipping anything extra is up to the customer to decide. It is an idea to check if a tip is mentioned as "service" on the bill. If this is not the case it would be a good thing to add 10 per cent to the price when paying.

Timezone

Barbados is 4 hours behind GMT.

Weight and Measures

On Barbados the metre is used as unit of measurement.

Photography

Photographing is not subject to rules, but if you wish to take a photo of people, obviously it is polite to ask first.

Drinking water

The drinking water on Barbados is famous for being incredibly clean - so no problems there.

Electricity

On Barbados, the following power source is used: 110 volt AC, 50 Hz.

Behaviour

There are no strict common rules on behaviour, but when dining in town you should dress smartly.

Business Hours

Post offices are open from 8 a.m. till 3.15 p.m. (Monday to Friday). Banks are open from 8 a.m. till 3 p.m. (Monday to Friday). On a few days some banks are open till 5 p.m., just as some banks are open at Saturday mornings. Offices are open from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m. (Monday to Friday).

Food and drink

Restaurants at Barbados are renowned for their excellent cooking. It consists of a blend between European/British cuisine from the colonial period and African cuisine - influenced by enslaved Africans imported by the British settlers. Boiled, baked, roasted, or steamed flying fish constitute one of the specialties of Barbados - served at most restaurants. When it comes to drinking, good wine, beer and most of the usual popular drinks are served. Many of the drinks served are based on local rum.

Disabled travellers

Facilities for the disabled are poor on Barbados. If you want to visit the Island it is recommended that you contact those particular places that you want to visit. Often the staff in hotels and at attractions are helpful and informative.

Holidays

New Year's Day, January 1st Errol Barrow's Day, January 21st The Day of the Heroes, April 28th May Day, May 1st Liberation Day, August 1st Kadooment Day, First Monday in August Independence Day, November 30th Christmas Day, December 25th Boxing Day, December 26th

Accommodation / Hotel

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Camping

Barbados does have a few camping areas. The general rule is that outside these areas it is rarely allowed to camp unless participating in an organized tour.

Hotels

There are different varieties of hotel - everything from smaller family hotels to huge international luxury hotels. Expensive first class hotels are often situated on the west coast, whilst the cheaper ones are largely situated on the south west coast.

Bed og breakfast or guesthouse

Along the south coast and on the eastern side of the island there are several guesthouses. They are usually completely furnished and can be rented at a reasonable price.

Other Accommodation

The most affordable accommodation is an apartment. Everything from beautiful completely furnished apartments to single room bedsits with a single hotplate. Most of the apartments are situated on the south coast, but there are also a few on the west coast. Another option is renting a villa. There are lots of villas along the west coast - and they often have communal areas with facilities such as swimming pools and tennis courts.

Local transport

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Planes

Barbados is such a small island that there are no domestic flights. There are often departures for the islands around Barbados.

Bus

The easiest and cheapest method of transportation is going by bus. There are three different types of bus on the island: state buses which have detailed routes, a privately owned system of mini buses, and route taxis.

Trains

There are no passenger trains on Barbados.

Taxi

It is easy to get a taxi on Barbados, especially in the capital Bridgetown. The price for a ride is decided by the state, but still it is a good idea to settle a price with the driver in advance.

Car rental

There are quite a few car rental services on Barbados, so it is easy to find a place to rent a car at a reasonable price. A temporary permit which can be obtained at all car rental services is needed to be allowed to drive.

Boat or Ferry

There are plenty of possibilities to go on tours out to sea from the capital Bridgetown. There are big cruise ships as well as smaller boats for single day-trips.

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