Discover Barbados

Discover Barbados

Feel the doors of your imagination open wide when you discover Barbados for therein lies the magic of our island, where you are limited only by your dreams and fancies. With every precious pearl of experience, your Barbados vacation will be one to remember. There is just so much to do – so many treasures to uncover - as you soak up the warmth and enjoy the comforts of our beautiful island. Land lubbers and sea farers alike can have their pick of surf and turf activities appropriate for all ages and stages of calm or daredevil delight!  Singles, lovers, friends and families also have rich and plentiful options to choose from.  Whether you want to swim or sunbathe, party and play hard or enjoy art, culture and cuisine at its best, it's right here waiting for you.  Discover Barbados.  Lose yourself.  Find you!

Activities & Attractions

Barbados welcomes you with something special to discover and enjoy for the duration of your stay. There’s always something happening in Barbados at any time of the day or night. Here you are free to indulge your passions and enjoy whatever ’floats your boat’. Barbados caters to everyone, every day,  from the intellectually inclined in search of history, heritage and a deeper understanding of Caribbean ethos, to the connoisseur of the sweet life seeking excitement through music, dance, song, culture and epicurean extravagance. Barbados welcomes you with something special to discover and enjoy for the duration of your stay. If after you got your groove and it’s still not enough, remember, the beach is open 24-7!

Beaches & Activities

Travel makes us richer, so live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, and drink in our balmy Caribbean breeze. Our coral island of Barbados offers you more than 80 pristine white-sand beaches, including many that are recognised as the most beautiful beaches in the world. Between the beach and the ocean, we offer unlimited ways to have fun! Add to the wealth of your travel experiences with our many island adventure watersports including jet-skiing at the ever-lively Mullins Beach, boogie boarding and paddle boarding at Pebbles Beach, surfing at the Soup Bowl and on Atlantic Shores, and high-octane kitesurfing at Silver Sands. Visit the east coast to picnic under shady trees at Bath or Bathsheba, and beachcomb on Cattlewash, one of the longest beaches of Barbados. On the south and west coasts, a multitude of small boats offer short trips to swim with the turtles. You can skipper a Hobie Cat or kayak, try your hand at spearfishing, take a deep-sea fishing charter, or spend a day aboard a luxury catamaran, cruising crystal-clear seas like a celebrity. Life's a beach. Keep calm and visit Barbados.

Nature & Wildlife

A unique natural encounter could be one of your best holiday experiences ever. For a memorable wildlife holiday or even just an afternoon of exploring, Barbados will amaze you. Swim with our leatherback and hawksbill turtles. Listen out for the crick-crick of our tiny, translucent whistling frogs. Witness a shoal of glistening flying fish breaking the surface to glide across a tranquil sea. Watch a cheeky green monkey munching on a stick of sugar cane. Wander through a lush natural gully, immersing yourself in indigenous tropical flora and fauna…or go wild and cross those forests on a zipline adventure!

Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29814022

Barbados is an unspoilt haven for some of earth's most precious creatures and landscapes. One of the best places for wildlife is the internationally acclaimed Barbados Wildlife Reserve. You can also discover the limestone stalactites and stalagmites of Harrison's Cave, join a half-day hiking adventure with the Barbados National Trust, and experience a riot of colour and scent in our many world-class botanical gardens. Make sure you take time to explore. Lose yourself in the magic of nature. Find yourself in wild Barbados.

Birthplace of Rum

Your Barbados experience is incomplete until you've sampled our oldest and greatest export, rum. Discover the story, the mysteries and the secrets behind our finest and most celebrated spirit. Make sure to book a Barbados rum tour - you'll be glad you made the journey from beach to bottle.  Barbados is considered the birthplace of rum, and Mount Gay distillery - founded in 1703 - is believed to produce the oldest rum found anywhere in the world. Today's connoisseurs always appreciate a gift bottle of Mount Gay Rum Extra Old. Rum is the essence of this Caribbean nation's culture. It ignites the gossip in our bars and sometimes even binds our business deals. It is celebrated by every sector of our society, from farm workers to property tycoons. Barbados rum is the best rum in the world and it's the spirit of our island culture and history.

Culinary

Memories are made as we gather our loved ones and friends around the table to share a meal. Your Barbados travel experience will include some truly special meal-time moments to treasure forever. You're on holiday so try everything - locally caught fish, home-grown grass-fed meats, sweet plantains, rice and peas, tasty West Indian curries and rotis. Explore our delicious Caribbean cuisine.

Wake up to a Barbados menu of freshly prepared tropic fruits and juices, omelettes with your choice of filling, delicious homemade breads and pastries. Lunch and dinner can be as formal or as laid-back as you like. On this small island, we have amazing restaurants and cafés to suit every need, serving familiar international dishes and Caribbean food. Staggeringly beautiful top-notch restaurants perched on clifftops above the sea include The Cliff, Cin Cin and The Animal Flower Cave Restaurant. Beachfront shacks where the dress code is swimsuits and bare feet include Bombas, Bo's Plaice and JuJus. Great food in Barbados is also served in fine hotel dining rooms and waterside restaurants, bijou cafés tucked away in shaded shopping malls, and of course our famous rum shops and outdoor pop-up caterers - pick the one with the longest queue (the locals know who cooks the best!). Also for those 'need-it-now' moments, kids and snackers will find food served island-wide 24-hours a day.

Photo: By Imjustmatthew CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9564446

Some tips:

  •  Flying fish, the icon of the islands is found on coins, bills, and menus. Flying fish is usually served lightly breaded and fried, with a yellow sauce. Be warned that this yellow sauce consists of very hot Scotch Bonnet peppers with onions in a mustard sauce.
  • Pepperpot, a must, a dish of long tradition and great pride among the Bajans, a pork stew in a spicy dark brown sauce.
  • Try cutters, a local sandwich made using Salt Bread (not regular sandwich bread). Varieties include flying fish cutters, ham cutters and the popular bread and two (two fishcakes in a salt bread).
  • Visitors seeking fast food will probably be disappointed; the burger chains of the US failed miserably upon introduction to Barbados (Bajans eat nearly no beef). However, chicken and fish sandwiches are wildly popular, so KFC and the local chain Chefette are ubiquitous. Try the rotis at Chefette.
  • Bajan cuisine is a strange mix of spicy, flavorful treats along with traditional English fare. So be prepared for meals where fiery stews sit side-by-side with beans on toast.
  • Every Friday night the place to be is the town of Oistins (on the south coast) for the "fish fry". This is a market where you can buy fresh fish cooked according to local recipes. Locals stay there late and dance until the early hours of the morning. This is now the second most popular tourist attraction on the island, after Harrison's Cave.
  • Fish cakes, BBQ pig tails, fresh coconut, and roasted peanuts are offered by the many street vendors.

Bon appetite!

Shopping

Barbados offers you a glorious diversity of shopping experiences. Exquisite local craft and international designer brands are all here, and the duty-free shopping makes your favourite label that much more affordable. Barbados offers you a glorious diversity of shopping experiences, and some of the best shopping in the Caribbean. Our island is renowned for duty-free shopping - you can buy expensive jewellery and designer goods with discounts of 30-50% compared with Europe, the USA and other parts of the world. It's easy to claim your savings - just present your passport and travel documents at the point of sale.

There are many different shops in Barbados. Choose bustling downtown locations such as Broad Street and Swan Street in the centre of Bridgetown, and cheerful suburban shopping centres such as Sheraton Mall and Sky Mall, or even indulge your luxury spending habits all the way up to world-class shopping experiences available in our new Limegrove Lifestyle Centre in Holetown. For local shopping culture, immerse yourself in some bustling markets. You'll have to wake up early to join discerning housewives as they select exotic fruit and vegetables at Cheapside Market, and ask for fresh fish to be filleted on the slab at one of our many famous fish markets. There are also several farmers' markets offering farm-to-fork sustainability and organic produce, along with unique arts and crafts which make perfect gifts and keepsakes to take back home. Barbados is a haven for shoppers - everything is here and priced to entice.

 

The local currency is the Bajan dollar (BBD), but US dollars are accepted in almost all shops and restaurants (you will get your change back in BBD.) The exchange rate is fixed at about 2 Bajan dollars to the US dollar. Keep in mind that exchangers in hotels and banks may take an additional percentage of the exchange (typically 5%). ATMs are widely available, although many banks ATMs charge up to 5 USD fee to withdraw cash using international cards. The only bank chain that does not seem to charge is the Republic Bank, which advertises its "Blue Machines" which are easy to spot.

Many "duty free" shops cater to visitors: from cruise ships. Bridgetown's main street hosts numerous jewellers, most frequently Colombian Emeralds and Diamonds International. Cave Shepherd department store offers a wide range of mercantile, while Harrison's offers premium gifts, leathers and cosmetics. Other smaller stores offer virtually everything a visitor or resident might need. A small mall at the harbour also offers decent prices and selection (for rum and UK liquors), but goods produced in Barbados may be slightly more expensive there than elsewhere on the island. Barbados has a well-deserved reputation for producing excellent rum, e.g., Mount Gay. Rum distilleries are usually open for tours, and typically offer samples and product for sale at prices often equal to the best found anywhere else. (See also "Drink" below) Barbados has a great variety of street vendors. Haggle aggressively. Don't stop until you are at about a third of the original price.

Weddings & Romance

Get ready to be swept away by the travel experience of a lifetime. What could be more romantic than a wedding in Barbados? It's your big day, so choose every detail of getting married in Barbados - your romantic getaway can include a beachside ceremony at sunset with spectacular views as the backdrop to your special moments, or a tropical garden wedding in a sea of colourful blossoms. Invite all of your family and friends, or maybe make your union a small and intimate event. Everything you need for a perfect wedding is here on our cherished Caribbean island. This is the perfect place to say "I do" and our island offers some of the best honeymoon places in the world. Discover how to get married in Barbados by exploring our Wedding & Romance guides. We hope this information will help you to plan and prepare your dream wedding.

Nightlife

If you love to party, then this Caribbean island is one of the best places for nightlife. Barbados wakes up when the sun goes down, and you'll find the best nightlife in the world beckoning. Just choose your pleasure. From world-renowned and opulent high-energy nightclubs to thriving local bars and pubs, your Barbados travel experience will reach for the stars from dusk till dawn. Sophisticated VIP venues can be tracked down across the island, perhaps starting your evening with a cocktail at the Limegrove bar in Holetown. You could find yourself mingling with some famous faces, so dress to impress!

Photo: Stefan Giesbert , CC-BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40654194

Less formal and hugely popular nightlife locations can be found in St Lawrence Gap for drinking, dining and live music especially on weekends. Other key venues are Mullins Beach Bar, First Avenue Holetown and Harbour Lights - check what's on so you catch them at their liveliest. Barbados at night - our party never ends. So just say yes to that first rum punch, and you'll soon ease into the spirit of island life. As the saying goes, time flies when you're having rum......

Get in

Citizens of the following countries will not need visas to enter Barbados: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Federated States of Micronesia, Moldova, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

If you require a visa, you can obtain one from a Barbadian embassy, high commission or consulate. The form for a visa must include 2 passport size photographs. The visa costs BBD50 for single entry and BBD60 for multiple entry.

By plane

Sir Grantley Adams International Airport (IATA: BGI) is a large international airport for Barbados's size and boasts dozens of flights arriving in the high season from the UK and Canada, as well as the United States. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have many flights from the United Kingdom, while American Airlines is the dominant carrier from the United States (Dallas, Miami, and New York). Air Canada and Westjet fly from Canada. The airport is 13km (8 mi) east of Bridgetown. Buses and minibuses run from a stop across the road from the airport up the coast to Bridgetown, Holetown, and Speightstown for BBD2 per person, but a taxi is the most convenient way to get to your hotel on arrival.

Photo: By Hansueli KrapfT CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25791899

By boat

Many cruise ships dock in the Bridgetown deep water harbor, just expanded to accommodate even more vessels. The terminal is served by an army of taxis, as well as shuttle "buses" to/from downtown Bridgetown for BBD2 each way per person. Private moorings are available around the island. Note that stiff penalties prohibit the dropping of anchors on coral reefs.

Get around

Driving is on the left. The bus system is extensive, cheap and fast if you are headed to somewhere on the main route, but a car (or mini-moke) is the only way to see many of the out-of-the-way sights. Many drivers will hold a bus for you if they see you are from out of town, reflecting the typical welcoming spirit. Buses are run by the Barbados Transport Board (blue) and are quiet. Private operators include the yellow buses, which play very loud music, and private mini-vans (white), which are usually cramped and crowded. The two privately run means of transport are often driven very fast and recklessly. All charge the same fare (BBD2.00). Yellow buses and minivans offer change and even accept US dollars. BTB buses accept Barbados dollars and do not give change. There are also more than enough taxis to take you wherever you need to go on the island for reasonable prices. They do not use meters and it is best to negotiate the price before you get in. However, most taxi drivers are honest and you are unlikely to be overcharged. Be sure to ask the management of the hotel or the friendly locals what the going rate is for a cab ride to your destination.

Renting a car is expensive. If you are driving, be aware that the roads on the island are generally quite narrow, with the exception of the ABC highway. It is advisable to be extra cautious as many roads on the island have sharp turns, steep inclines, and are generally quite bumpy, although most are paved. Many of these "highways" do not have sidewalks, so there can be pedestrians on the street sharing the road. Many bus stops are also on the side of roads where there are no sidewalks. Additionally, beware of impromptu passing lanes as slow drivers are often passed by others behind them when on two lane roads. Road signs can be fairly confusing, so be prepared to get lost: just keep your petrol tank topped up and keep asking the way as people are always eager to help.

Photo: By regani - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2065264

Stay safe

Although it is generally a safe place to travel, there is some crime that appears more significant because of its comparative rarity. It's wise for tourists to avoid certain high-risk activities like walking on secluded beaches, day or night, and walking in unfamiliar residential neighbourhoods or secluded areas away from main roads. The most common kinds of crimes against tourists include taxi fraud, robbery, and shortchanging; however, rape and assaults are becoming more common. Most Bajans are by nature friendly, especially in the earlier part of the tourist season (November and December).

A special area of concern for visitors to Barbados is drugs. The country's strict antidrug policy is made apparent to visitors coming through Customs. In practice, however, Europeans and Americans in Barbados are offered marijuana or even cocaine frequently. Sellers will often roam the beaches selling aloe vera or other such innocuous goods as a pretense to begin a conversation about "ganja," "smoke" or "bad habits." As a result, many hotels and resorts now ban the use of aloe vera under the pretense that it "stains the towels." Regardless of one's inclination to use drugs, it is not advisable to accept these offers. Marijuana is considered bad and is not accepted by Bajan police. While Bajan police are not frequently encountered, they prosecute drug crimes easily. Care should also be taken going into the sea. Many people underestimate just how powerful the currents can be and rip tides have claimed lives over the years. Always look out for warning flags.

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Bridgetown
Barbados

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