|Area:||166 sq. miles (430 sq. km)|
|Language:||English, Barbadian dialect|
|Religion:||Anglican (33%) Pentecostal (25%)|
|Time Zone:||4 hours behind GMT|
|Currency:||Barbados Dollar (BDS$)|
BDS$1.98 = US$1, fixed rate
|Electricity:||110 volts AC, 50 cycles, two-pronged US-style plug|
The population is about 70 percent black, 20 percent mixed and 7 percent white, another 3 percent are recent immigrants from around the world.
Barbadians (or Bajans) will surprise you with their warmth, casual charm and sophistication. They are by nature open, thoughtful and generous. They love a party and will have time for anyone.
It is warm and sunny all year round with an average daytime high of 28-30°C. The nights are slightly cooler. The prevailing northeast trade winds blow steadily so that although it is bright and sunny, it is not unbearably hot. The rain usually comes in quick showers. The best weather is from mid-December to mid-April when it is slightly cooler and less humid.
It is best to get Barbados Dollars but US dollars at a fixed rate of BDS$1.98 to US$1 are accepted at most major stores and hotels, and by many taxi drivers. Major credit cards and international travellers cheques (not Eurocheques) are accepted at most hotels, restaurants and shops.
Hours for most banks are 8am-3pm Monday to Thursday, Friday 8am-5pm. A number of banks may be open 9am-noon on Saturday.
In general, shops open between 8 and 9am Monday to Saturday and close between 5 and 6pm Monday to Friday and between 2 and 4pm on Saturday. Some shops are open on Sunday but for limited supplies only.
On Arrival in Barbados
Just prior to landing in Barbados you will be asked to fill in an immigration form. You will need to complete both arrival and departure details. The purpose of your visit is a holiday. At the airport there are baggage handlers to assist you. They charge BDS$1 per item.
On Departure from Barbados
If you are leaving by plane, be at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight time. On leaving Barbados, everyone will be required to pay a BDS$25 departure tax if this has not already been included in your ticket price.
Security & Crime
Use common sense in Barbados as you would anywhere in the world. Place valuables in the hotel safe; do not leave them unattended in your room or at the beach. Lock your hotel room at all times. Avoid walking alone after dark on deserted streets and beaches.
In Barbados taxis do not have meters, but charge pre-determined fares, based on location and mileage.
You can travel to any part of Barbados by bus - either by the larger Transport Board Buses, smaller privately operated minibuses, or ZR vans. All cost BDS$1.50 for any journey. You can get a bus at numerous bus stops on most major thoroughfares. Bus stops will be marked "In to City" or "Out of City".
You must present a driver's licence from your home country along with a fee of BDS$10. Driving licences for visitors are available at police stations and from car rental companies.
Driving is on the left in Barbados. Barbadians blow their horns either as a warning of their presence, or as a greeting. Wearing seatbelts is mandatory.
What to Bring
Light, casual wear made of cotton, linen or other natural fabrics. Evenings can be slightly more formal. Swim wear is unacceptable except at the beach. Don't forget books and sunscreens.