Barbados

Barbados is the most easterly of the Caribbean Islands with beautiful white palm fringed beaches and a variety of hotels and resorts. Easy to get to with daily Virgin Atlantic or British Airways flights.
Island Guide
Barbados island guide
Often described as the Jewel of the Caribbean, Barbados attracts more stars per square mile than almost any other island. Not everybody will be able to rub shoulders with the likes of Claudia Schiffer and Steven Spielberg, but there are certainly enough great hotels and restaurants to choose from.

Jutting out into the Atlantic, with an enviable year round climate the island is not the cheapest in the Caribbean and nor is this the untouched Caribbean. There are no rainforests, few rivers and no volcanoes - just rolling hills covered in sugar cane, plenty of white sand beaches and brightly painted villages.

Barbados island guide


Getting to Barbados
Barbados is of the best islands in the Caribbean to get to for a holiday, with daily UK flights. Onward connections from Grantley Adams Airport are excellent with many other islands only a hop or two away. The new airport is a great place to transit through, waiting areas are large and spacious with and air-conditioned lounge upstairs and a reasonable Duty Free selection.

All airlines from the UK vary in route, but most direct flights are from 8 to 9 hours, making it an ideal destination from the UK with departures from London and Manchester.

Barbados hotels
With place names like Worthing, St James, Hastings and Brighton you would be forgiven for thinking you had stayed in the UK for your holiday! But choose carefully as there are significant differences between resorts and coasts. In a nutshell, if you want superior hotels, upmarket restaurants and great golf courses head to the famous West Coast near St James. If you want plenty of nightlife, affordable restaurants and hotels go south. It's worth knowing that South coast beaches can get heavy surf so families might be better heading for the more sheltered West Coast resorts. With everything from cheap self catering to luxury hotels, Barbados has it all in terms of accommodation choices.

Out and about
Getting to Barbados


Getting around is easy although taxi fares can be pricey. Buses and minibus taxies (painted yellow) are pretty good and very cheap. You have less chance of getting lost on the West Coast where buses generally run up and down the coastal road. Hire cars are available and thankfully driving is on the left but it won't come cheap. Scooters and bicycles can be rented too. Make a noise buzzing around in a helicopter to get a bird's eye view of the island

Sightseeing in Barbados
Barbados Sightseeing


Although a perfect destination for limin (lying around), there are plenty of things to see and do. Take a walk in Welchman's Gully where you will be surrounded by Vervet monkeys, see underwater marvels from the Atlantis submarine, sail on the Jolly Roger rum cruise, try the pan fried Flying Fish at Oistins fish market or go off-road in a Landrover 4-wheel-drive island tour. Bridgetown, though not the prettiest capital in the Caribbean, has a selection of good restaurants, bars and even a jazz club. History buffs won't be disappointed especially around Garrison Savannah, which has nineteenth century barracks, stone fort, impressive cannon collection and the Barbados Museum.

Barbados beaches and activities
With almost every activity imaginable under and on the water, Barbados is a watersports enthusiasts paradise. Into surfing? The dramatic East Coast offers a number of great spots and windsurfers will revel in the wind conditions found on the south-eastern tip of the island. SCUBA diving is easily arranged and wreck divers will appreciate so many submerged hulks to explore. Because it's sheltered from prevailing winds, the West Coast offers the safest swimming and snorkelling conditions. But bear in mind these beaches tend to suffer erosion and are generally smaller and narrower than the South Coast beaches. Hot spots include Mullins, Paradise, Rockley and Worthing beaches.

Barbados beaches


Barbados has more choices than most other island and some of the finest golf in the Caribbean. While a round at Sandy Lane might break the bank balance, teeing-off is more affordable at the new Barbados Golf Club in Christ Church near the South Coast. Anyone for the races? Horseracing at Garrison Savannah is a fun day out but only during the winter months. Bajans love cricket and take it very seriously. Watch a local village game or get tickets for the inter-island Red Stripe Series played at the Oval. Most hotels offer tennis and two hotels have squash courts. The weekly publication Sunseeker lists every club, sport and society on island - even clay pigeon shooting is available!

Shopping
Barbados is not the cheapest place to go shopping, but you can buy just about anything. Broad Street in Bridgetown is home to several large jewellery shops and all manner of arts and crafts can be bought from upmarket boutiques in St James. The street and beach vendors can be persistent but they are always friendly - even when you refuse their wares.

BARBADOS FACT FILE
Capital
Bridgetown

Population
285,000

Currency

Barbados Dollar, US$1=BBD2 (rate varies)

Official Language
English

Status

Independent nation; Member of the British Commonwealth

Business

Banks open Mon to Thurs 8am-3pm; Fri 8-5pm.

Shops open Mon to Fri 8am-5.30pm and Sat 8am-12noon.

Credit cards widely accepted.

Electricity

110 volts AC 60 cycles with 220 volts in some areas. Most hotels have 220 AC.

Time

-4 GMT - Barbados Time does not operate UK Daylight-Saving Time.

Local airport departure tax

Barbados Dollars: BD$25 (approx £12) to be paid when you depart Barbados.
The Grantley Adams International Airport

Barbados Wedding Information


Minimum stay

24 Residence before applying for a License. Ceremonies are conducted Monday to Friday excluding Public Holidays.

Minimum age

18 or over

Documents Required

  • Birth Certificate
  • Valid 10 year Passport.
  • Letter from both of you, stating your intention to marry in Barbados
  • If divorced, you need the Decree Absolute
  • If widowed, you need the Death Certificate of former spouse and previous Marriage Certificate.
  • If you name has been changed by Deed Poll, you need legal proof.
  • You must take originals (not copies) of all required documents with you on holiday.
Note local laws and customs

  • You should be aware that it is an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing.
  • Further travel advice from www.fco.gov.uk
Eating and drinking
Local fresh fish is excellent and Flying Fish is the island's speciality - so special that it even adorns the national flag and you can try it at Oistins famous fish fry. For something hot, try the excellent Bajan Pepper Pot and then cool down with an ice cold Banks beer. For more sophisticated cuisine try some of the wonderful West Coast restaurants which offer internationally-rated food using the freshest local produce. Locals enjoy a cold Guinness, although the Bajan rum is probably the best in the Caribbean, and you can even tour the Malibu or Mount Gay distilleries. If staying over Christmas and New Year, try the specially produced Sorrel. Go local and visit a rum shop - Baxters Road and Oistins are probably the best places to explore - although they only sell drinks by the bottle.

Weather in Barbados
Barbados is warm and sunny all year round with an average daytime high of 75 - 85 degrees. The prevailing northeast tradewinds blow steadily so that although it is bright and sunny, it is not unbearably hot and the nights are usually slightly cooler - some people actually put on a sweater in the cool night winter time breezes. Barbadians complain that the sea is cold when its 78 degrees. The rainy season is from July to December and rain usually comes in quick showers followed quickly by sunny skies and within minutes everything will be dry. Tropical rainstorms sometimes occur in the hurricane season and while these are spectacular because the island is very porous even the heaviest rains quickly drain away.

Hurricane season is from June to November and affects Florida, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Although the odds are pretty small that a hurricane will hit a particular Caribbean island while you're on holiday, they are higher in hurricane season than for stays from December to May.
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