Barbados St. Lawrence Gap at Night

Barbados – Travel Information

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The following travel information will provide you with everything you need to know if you are traveling to Barbados.

9th Hole Barbados Golf ClubBarbados St. Lawrence Gap at Night

Banking

Banks open:

8.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. (Monday – Thursday)

8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. (Friday)

Capital

Bridgetown is the capital of Barbados and is located in the parish of St. Michael.

Climate

Barbados has a tropical climate, cooled by sea breezes. Average annual rainfall varies from 3.3 inches (1,000mm) on the coast to 7.6 inches (2,300mm) on the central ridge with the lowest precipitation in February and March, and the highest in June to November.  Water temperature in Barbados averages 78 degrees F (25 degrees C) year-round.

Credit Cards

Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept major credit cards. Traveler’s checks in U.S., U.K. and Canadian funds can also be used at many outlets. There are numerous Banks in Barbados and most have ABMs that accept credit cards and Interac.

Currency

The Barbados dollar is tied to the US dollar at a rate of $1.00US = $1.98 BDS

US dollars are accepted everywhere and most stores and restaurants accept major credit cards and travelers checks.

Dress

Swimsuits should only be worn on the beach, the swimming pool or when sunbathing.

In the evening restaurants are casual but elegant.  Shorts are acceptable except in very exclusive restaurants, if in doubt phone ahead.

Any style of camouflage gear is illegal in Barbados.

Drivers License

You can obtain a Barbados drivers license for $10.00 BDS by bringing a valid national or international license to a police station or authorized car-rental company.

Driving

Driving is on the left, so visitors from the UK will be completely at home, everyone else needs to pay extra attention and take care.

Drugs

Drugs are illegal and penalties are severe, up to 20 years in jail even for softer drugs like marijuana.

Electricity

115/230V 50Hz

Emergencies

Emergency numbers:

Police – 211

Ambulance – 511

Fire – 311

Hospital – 246 436 6450

FMH Emergency Centre -246 228 6120

Immigration and Customs

Passports
Everyone who enters Barbados, including all North American citizens (Americans and Canadians), must have a valid passport and return ticket.

There is a departure tax of $55.00 BDS $27.50 US payable in cash (no credit cards) at the airport when leaving.

Medical

Barbados is a safe place to visit with no severe tropical diseases.  Make sure your polio and tetanus shots are up to date.  There is no malaria, but very occasionally, after very heavy rains there is an outbreak of dengue fever, which is a mosquito-borne disease.  Take normal precautions against mosquito bites, and make sure to use insect repellent.

Shopping Hours

Stores are normally open from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., or 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 8.30 a.m. to 1.00 or 2.00 p.m. on Saturday.

Most stores are closed on Sunday.

Taxes and Gratuities

15% VAT is included in quoted prices at stores and restaurants.

A 7.5% VAT and 10% service charge will be added to your hotel bill.

Gratuities are normally 10% – 15%

Telephone and Internet

To place a call to anywhere in North America or Canada, simply dial 1 plus the area code and number.

For calls to the UK, dial 011 44 the area code, minus the 0, and the number.

Time

Barbados time is GMT minus four hours in winter and minus five hours in summer.

It is one hour ahead of EST in the Fall/Winter, the same as EST during the summer.

Transportation

Buses

Traveling by bus is one of the best ways of seeing the island and meeting the locals.  Although often crowded and chaotic, the drivers are helpful and the routes scenic.  There are three different bus systems, all run seven days a week, and the cost is only $1.50 BDS per trip. The smaller buses from the two privately owned systems “ZR’s” (pronounced Zed Rs) and “minibuses” can give change; the larger blue buses from the government-operated Barbados Transport Board system cannot.

Most buses depart from Bridgetown in the south or Speightstown in the north.  Competition for riders is intense, and the ‘ZR’ bus conductors often engage in spirited altercations with other drivers and conductors while escorting you to their vehicle.

Mopeds and Bikes

Mopeds and bikes can also be rented to explore sites that aren’t easily reached by cars.

Rental Cars

A third option is to rent a car for the day or week, and there are several locally owned and operated vehicle rental agencies renting everything from Mokes to Mercedes.

If you drive yourself, be aware, driving is on the left, the roads are generally quite narrow with sharp turns, steep inclines, and although paved, they are often quite bumpy.  Many roads do not have sidewalks, so you will also be sharing them with pedestrians.

Water

The water in Barbados is naturally filtered through the island coral and is amongst the purest water in the world.  It is safe to drink directly from the tap.

When to Go

With a consistent average temperature of 80 – 87 degrees F, (27 – 30 C) Barbados is beautiful any time.  The rainy season runs from June to November (although the Bajans refer to it as liquid sunshine).