Helpful Barbados Tips you can use on your Caribbean vacation
Barbados Tips to help you have a great time during your vacation in Barbados. I have put together some helpful tips to make your visit more enjoyable.
Banking Hours - An important Barbados Tip
Banks are open from 8.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. (Mon. - Thu.) and 8.00a.m to 5.00 p.m. (Fri).
There are several ATM's on the South and West Coasts, and in Bridgetown.
Stores normally open from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. or 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. (Mon.- Fri.), and 8.30 a.m. to 1.00 or 2.00 p.m. (Sat.) They are normally closed on Sundays.
There is a 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) charged in stores and restaurants, and 7.5% in hotels. There is a good selection of tax free shopping, especially in Bridgetown.
Currency of Barbados
Barbados has it's own currency the Barbados Dollar which is fixed to the US dollar at the rate of BBD $1.98 = 1 US dollar.
US dollars are accepted island wide also most stores and restaurants accept major credit cards and travelers cheques.
Swimsuits are for the beach and it is not good etiquette to go shopping or into a bank without covering up a bit.
Restaurants are casual but elegant and shorts are acceptable in most - except the very exclusive ones.
Illegal Drugs - A very important Barbados Tip
The penalties for illegal drugs are severe, even for softer drugs like marijuana - that helpful fellow making an offer to you might be an undercover cop - don't take the chance.
Electricity in Barbados is 110 volts/50 cycles. The electricity supply is reliable with only occasionall outages.
An alternative source of power is provided by solar panels which are getting more popular.
Emergency Telephone Numbers - An important Barbados Tip
Police - 211
Ambulance - 511
Fire - 311
A good private clinic is FMH Emergency Medical Clinic - 228-6120.
Collins Ltd. in Bridgetown is an excellent pharmacy in case of illness.
The islands water supply is extremely clean and safe to drink as it is filtered by coral and captured in underground aquifers.
Please conserve water as the islands water supply is limited.
The General Post Office is in Bridgetown at Cheapside, and there are seventeen district post offices island wide.
Stamps can be bought easily from most hotels and a variety of stores.
Size of Barbados
The island is 21 miles (34 km.) long and 14 miles (22.km.) wide and the area is 166 square miles (424 square km.).
It is divided into eleven parishes.
Government of Barbados
Barbados is an independent country (since 1966) with it's own flag and coat of arms. The head of state is the Prime Minister.
As it's based on the British system there are two parliamentary houses - the House of Assembly and the Senate.
The country is still a member of the British Commonwealth.
The official language of Barbados is English, but the Barbadians frequently speak in "Bajan", a dialect that is difficult but understandable.
The population of Barbados is approximately 270,000, the ethnic mix is as follows:
92% African descent
3% European descent
4% Indian and Asian descent and a good number of mixed races.
Religion in Barbados
The main religion is the Anglican religion, but there are over a hundred different religious denominations. Barbados remains a very religious society.
Safety - One of the most important Barbados Tips
Serious crime in Barbados is not common, but common sense rules as in your home country should be followed.
Do not leave valuables in rental cars
Stay in well lit areas at night
Remember to lock your hotel doors
Swimming on the east coast is very dangerous and should be avoided.
Manchineel trees found along many Barbados beaches are poisonous they bear a fruit that resembles a small apple that is extremely dangerous if eaten. Do not shelter under these trees when it's raining the water running off the leaves can cause blistering of the skin.
Barbados driving is on the left hand side of the road.
When approaching a round about always give way to the vehicle on the right.
Sun Care - An important Barbados Tip
Barbados is very close to the equator so the sun is extremely strong and precautions need to be taken.
There's nothing worse than the pain of a bad sunburn - it can spoil your vacation.
The sun is strongest between 10:00 a.m and 3.00 p.m.so be sure to use strong sunscreen during these hours.
You can still get burned in the morning and the afternoon and overcast days are deceiving the ultraviolet rays penetrate the clouds and cause sunburn.
Beware of Mosquitoes at any time of the year. Although Barbados island has no Malaria risk, Mosquitoes can ruin your holiday by biting your ankles and legs particularly.
Always take a good mosquito repellent and use it before 10am and after 4pm or when you are in a dark shaded area (all day).