Barbados - Abbey Travel, Ireland



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Welcome to Barbados


Barbados, known as the 'pearl of the Caribbean', is the eastern-most Caribbean island, and is actually an enormous and ancient coral reef that was formed approximately one million years ago. It has been dubbed 'the real fantasy island', an appellation that points to its exotic resorts and glorious beaches. Enjoying 340 days of sunshine a year, numerous well-developed amenities, a throbbing nightlife and friendly inhabitants, it is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Caribbean.

Barbados islanders, calling themselves 'Bajans', are West Indian by descent, although largely shaped by English customs and culture. These influences pervade much of the island, most evident in the Anglican stone churches (the island is divided into numerous parishes) and in the many cricket games played on the village greens. The 'Little England' legacy dates back to colonial days when the sugar industry reigned supreme. Barbados gained self-government in 1966, and now tourism, rather than sugar, is the mainstay of the local economy.

The island is a pear-shaped, 20-mile (32km) stretch of soft coral, which is permeated by water and over time has formed fascinating underground caverns. The coral reefs enveloping most of the island entice tourists to its picturesque shores for activities like snorkelling, scuba diving, and watersports.

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

Barbados has a lot to offer visitors in the way of beach life and sightseeing, making this a superb holiday destination for anyone. When not lazing on the beach, a visit to Harrison's Cave could prove rewarding and the Jacobean Mansions are also worth seeing. The little fishing village of Bathsheba is favoured by surfers and photographers alike, while Graeme Hall Swamp has even more to offer in the way of unusual sights. Tropical Barbados boasts sunny and fair weather, and the friendly locals also make this an irresistible option for that perfect coastal vacation.


Bridgetown is generally the centre of business in Barbados. Business protocol is fairly formal, including greetings (use Mr or Ms) and dress, which is smart. Handshaking between both men and women is expected and business cards are handed out on introduction. Punctuality is expected at meetings. Business hours are generally 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Banks and post offices close at 3pm.


The weather is mostly sunny and fair in tropical Barbados, with an average of high daytime temperatures of 75 to 85°F (24 to 29°C). These hot conditions are tempered by the prevailing cool northeast tradewinds. The dry season occurs from January to June and the hurricane season extends from June to October. Hurricanes, however, usually miss Barbados. Instead the island experiences some spectacular tropical rainstorms. These are usually short and heavy spells that dry up quickly.


The international access code for Barbados is +1, in common with the US, Canada and most of the Caribbean, followed by 246. The outgoing code is 011 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 01144 for the United Kingdom), no outgoing code is needed to call the US. Mobile phones operate on a GSM network. Cell phones can be rented through a number of companies. Internet cafes are widely available.


It is an offence to dress in camouflage clothing in Barbados as it is reserved for the military. Topless bathing is frowned upon and nudism is illegal.

Duty Free

Travellers to Barbados do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 227g of other tobacco products; 750ml spirits and 750ml wine; perfume up to 118ml perfume or 237ml of eau de cologne; and souvenirs to the value of Bds$100. Prohibited items include rum, matches, fresh fruit, and articles of clothing or accessories made from camouflage material.

Electric current in Barbados is110 volts, 50Hz. Most hotels provide adaptors and transformers for hairdryers and other appliances.

There are no mandatory requirements regarding vaccinations for visitors to Barbados, however a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age coming from infected areas, and Hepatitis A vaccinations are recommended for those aged over two years. There has been an increase in the outbreaks of dengue fever and mosquito repellent is strongly recommended. Medical care is good but very expensive and serious cases are usually transferred overseas (usually to the USA). Health insurance is therefore strongly recommended.

English is the official language in Barbados.

The Barbados Dollar (BBD) is fixed to the US Dollar at a rate of Bd$1.98 to US$1 and does not fluctuate. Its rate is relative to other currencies fluctuations based on the particular currency's relation to the US Dollar. US Dollars are also widely accepted on the island, and well-known international credit cards and travellers cheques (best carried in US dollars to avoid additional charges) are accepted in most stores and restaurants. Banks and ATMs are freely available and cash withdrawals can be made.

Passport Visa

All tourists require a return or onward ticket, proof of sufficient funds and documents for onward travel. Passports must be valid for the period of intended stay.


There are no extremist groups or areas of instability in Barbados. Some drug-related organized crime exists, but does not generally affect tourists. There has been a small increase in the incidence of tourists being robbed, and visitors are warned to be especially vigilant on the beaches at night. There has been an increase in attacks and rapes against foreigners and visitors should be alert at all times. Tropical storms and hurricanes may occur between June and November.

Local time in Barbados is GMT -5.

Tipping in Barbados is not necessary if a service charge has already been included in the bill, otherwise it is generally about 10-15%. Tipping is normal in bars.

Located on a cliff overlooking the town of Bathsheba, the Andromeda Botanic Gardens make a great day out for the whole family. With plenty of space to run around for the kids, adults will also be very impressed with the wonderful flowers here, such as orchids, hibiscus and heliconia. The magnificent palm trees are also something to marvel at, as well as the bird life that frequents the gardens.

The waters around Barbados are a treasure trove of marine life. Barrier reefs, situated about 1.5-2 miles (2.5 to 3km) from shore, are home to numerous schools of tropical fish, corals, turtles, rays and barracudas, while fringe reefs are found closer to shore with smaller coral formations and more plant life. These are home to marine life such as seahorses and eels. Barbados is also good for wreck diving; historic Carlisle Bay has numerous wrecks and is a popular dive location, as is Folkestone Marine Park, where the artificial reef was formed by the deliberate sinking of the Greek freighter Stavronikita in 1976.

This wonderful attraction is a fantastic place for families to take the kids for the day. The beautifully-coloured tropical plants are spectacular and flowers such as hibiscus, heliconia, roses and begonias can be enjoyed while the children run around discovering more of this beautiful garden.

Combining a museum and an aquarium, the Folkestone Marine Park and Visitor Centre features an artificial reef around a purposely-sunken ship where some of the most incredible tropical marine life lives. The marine park is fantastic for snorkelling and has equipment available for hire. The museum features a visitor interpretation centre for public education as well as an aquarium displaying some fantastic and rare marine life. A great day out for the whole family.

Families travelling in Barbados will absolutely love Ocean Park, where over 26 displays of Caribbean marine life can be enjoyed, including touch pools, tropical aquarium and even a walk-through underwater tunnel. There is not much shade, so remember the sunscreen.

Being a coral island, a coral reef stretches all around Barbados' coastline, providing for unlimited surfing conditions all over and is guaranteed to have surf somewhere along it's shores at almost any given day of the year. The east coast boasts the most powerful and biggest waves and the foaming surf of the 'Soup Bowl' is a favourite spot that is internationally recognised and the venue for the annual surfing contest. Surfboard lessons and rentals are available, as well as surf tours for the more experienced.

Small kids love nothing more than the sheer size of airplanes and seeing a real-life world-famous Concorde will be no different. British Airways Concorde G-BOAE or Alpha Echo for short, which used to fly between London and Barbados, is now housed in this museum dedicated to everything about the Concorde. Visitors can even get a chance to hear what the engines sounded like. A must for all aviation enthusiasts!

Looking for something a bit different?  Check out our selection of cultural & adventure holidays or if you're looking to go it alone then see our selection of solo holidays.

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