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Barbados – General Overview

Barbados, the pearl of the Caribbean, is the eastern-most Caribbean island, enjoying 340 days of sunshine a year. 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 white sandy beaches are beautiful both on the east coast (Atlantic) which is less developed and naturally beautiful, and the west coast (Caribbean) which is more elegant and attractive. The Caribbean waters are warm, calm and clear, with colorful fish and vibrant coral reefs. While there visit the underwater caves, lush tropical gardens, sugar cane factories, rum distilleries and plantation houses. Nightlife is lively with floorshows of limbo dancers and reggae music, accompanied by tropical fruits and vegetables, spicy seafood, and cocktails made of rum and fresh fruit juices.

Barbados Most Popular Beaches

ACCRA/ROCKLY BEACH is one of the most popular among locals and visitors. It is the longest and widest stretch of beach on the south cost. BATH is the “safest” swimming beaches along the Atlantic side as there is usually a lifeguard. There are parking, changing and eating places. BATHSHEBA is known for its big and powerful waves and has great pools in the reefs for those that don’t surf. There are many restaurants and hotels in the area. It is also known as the “Soup Bowl.” BOTTOM BAY is protected by jagged cliffs and is lined with coconut palms. It is located just north of the famous Sam Lord’s Castle. BRIGHTON BEACH is calm most of the year with very little undertow and has an exceptionally long stretch of beach with minor breaks of rock and reef. CATTLEWASH is the longest beach on the island and a popular sightseeing and relaxing spot. This beach is long and deserted and waves and undertow currents are very strong. A lifeguard station is on the beach, so be sure to ask advice if you are unfamiliar or have questions. CRANE BEACH is considered one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous rated it as “one of ten best beaches in the world”.   DOVER BEACH is at the south end of the St. Larence Gap strip. There are a number of facilities nearby and the waves are medium in size. FOLKSTONE BEACH has many water related activities, fresh water showers, and shops. MULLINS BAY has many facilities a picture perfect bay with a perfect beach almost all year and is also good for snorkeling. NORTH POINT COVE is a great place for the strong swimmer. It is beautiful but has rough seas and serious undertow. Large waves dominate this beach most of the year so again, only for the strong swimmer. PAYNES BAY is a popular west coast beach with water sports, eating and parking facilities and a beach that is always calm with no undertow.


Traveler Facts

Travel & Transportation

Barbados possesses one airport, the Sir Grantley Adams International Airport

Getting around

The ZRs, privately-owned mini-vans, are plentiful in Barbados and travel to most points on the island. The vans generally having a color-scheme of white with maroon, and they often play loud music or use a musical horn. A black circle on the van carries the number of the route. Routes served are often more scenic than those served by other modes of transport.

There are also buses found frequently in many parts of Barbados. Buses run seven days of the week, although services are less frequent on Sundays. Buses, typically in blue, are government operated.

Most public transport services require a connection through Bridgetown, although some services run directly to other destinations. Some hotels also provide visitors with shuttles to points of interest on the island. Taxis are available but tend to cost more depending on what the destination is.

Barbados offers car rental and is provided by many vehicle rental places. Foreign drivers in Barbados must have a temporary driver’s license in addition to an international driver’s license.

Entry Requirements

Every person entering Barbados, including all North American citizens (Americans and Canadians), should be in possession of a valid passport and a valid return ticket.   All visitors with the exception of the citizens of the Caribbean Community, the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom are expected to obtain a visa before traveling to Barbados.

Languages Spoken / official language - The official language is English but the Bajan dialect is often spoken

Currency – The official unit of currency in Barbados is the Barbadian dollar. Foreign exchange transactions are also done in EC (Eastern Caribbean) dollars, US dollars, Pounds, Canadian and Euro dollars.

Tipping - Many restaurants will add a percentage of gratuity to your bill, after checking to make sure you don’t tip twice 10 to 15% is acceptable. Bartenders receive a customary tip of $1 per round unless the order was large and then at tippers discretion. Hotels generally add a 10% gratuity to the final bill. Maids should be tipped $2 per day and bellhops $1 per bag. Tipping at an all-inclusive resort is generally prohibited, check with your resort policies. Taxi drivers usually receive a 10% tip and $1 per bag for luggage. Airport porters usually receive $1 per bag for handling.

Taxes – Barbados has a VAT (Value Added Tax) of 15% that is a sales tax charged on all goods and services.

Electricity –110 volts 50Hz with standard plug ins. Converters are provided by most hotels for European and Asian appliances. Converters are not necessary for Americans.

Immunizations Health Issues - While no vaccinations are necessary for travel to Barbados it is highly recommended to have a Hepatitis A Vaccine, and a Hepatitis B vaccine if there will be intimate contact with local residents. Two doses of MMR (measles mumps rubella) are recommended for all travelers born after 1956, and if travelers are from yellow fever infected areas in Africa or the Americas then a yellow fever vaccine is required.

The drinking water in Barbados is safe to drink and is managed by the Barbados Water Authority, a government statutory corporation.


Barbados Marriage Requirements, Licenses & Wedding Information

No advance notice is required to get married in Barbados, and the law allows an official ceremony to be performed as soon as the license is obtained. Both parties must be present to apply for a marriage license at the office of the Ministry of Home Affairs in Bridgetown.

Your wedding coordinator or Hotel management will be able to help you in making the arrangements to secure your license.

FEE: The marriage license fee is $200BBD with $25BBD Barbados postage stamp, and $10 for the marriage certificate.

BASIC REQUIREMENTS:

Valid passports for each

Original Birth Certificate for each

Proof of divorce or death certificate if previously married

Copies of marriage certificate with letter from Marriage Officer

Parental consent is necessary for those under 18

The Marriage Officer is a Magistrate or a Minister of Religion, who has agreed to perform he ceremony and should be present when the application is filed.


Tourism Office Information

Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association

Head Office

4th Avenue, Belleville

St. Michael, Barbados, W.I.

Mailing Address:

P.O Box 711C

Bridgetown, Barbados, W.I.

(246)426-5041 Telephone

(246)429-2845 Fax

Email: info@bhta.org

Website: http://www.bhta.org/


Other Barbados Related Websites

http://www.barbados.org/travel.htm

http://www.barbados.org/HotelsandResorts.htm

http://www.gemsbarbados.com/home.asp

http://www.barmot.gov.bb/

http://www.visitbarbados.org/


Climate Information (When is the Best Time to Travel)

Sun shines 340 days of the year in Barbados with an average day time temperature of 80-85 degrees. Night time temperatures usually average 76 degrees. Afternoon rain showers are common during the months of June to November, and are a welcomed aide in cooling down from the hot sun usually only lasting a few minutes. The dry months in Barbados are December to May.


Map of Barbados

http://www.barbadosbymap.com/

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/maps/caribbean/barbados/


Local Attractions & Must Do’s

Barbados offers a wide variety of things to do from cave climbing at Harrison’s Cave or swimming with the Sea Turtles which is a favorite amongst kids! The Atlantis Submarine offers a 45 minute tour of the undersea world.

The outdoor adventurist will enjoy the 4x4 Safari Tours and other scenic tours viewing the sites of the island. Along with the natural landscapes and seascapes, there are many historic homes and buildings as well.

Because of the small size of the island renting a car provides a great way to see all that the island has to offer. Depending on your interests, your days can be filled with things to do.

Nightlife is prime in Barbados where Bajan rum and dancing to live Reggae music run all night long! Nightclubs, dinner cruises and seaside dinners provide singles, marrieds, and newlyweds with many entertainment options!

Barbados is a shopper’s delight from chattel villages to air conditioned malls. There are a vast amount of souvenir shops and duty free shopping.


Most Popular Hotels in Bardados

The Crane Resort: http://www.thecrane.com/

This is a popular resort for those on their honeymoon or in Barbados for their marriage ceremony. The balconies are private and face the ocean.

Little Arches: www.littlearches.com

Little Arches offers an adult only luxury getaway. Their rooftop balcony offers splendid views and the quaint little upstairs café adds to the intimate experience.

Barbados Hilton: http://www.hiltoncaribbean.com/index.php

Barbados Hilton is located right on the beach away from the road. The hotel is quiet and clean and has an excellent buffet offered.   This is a five star resort and offers anything your heart desires! Wedding packages are available.

Meridian Inn: www.meridianinn.com

The Meridian Inn is located at the end of the Gap which offers its guests a quiet retreat from the music and nightlife that Barbados is known for. It is steps away from the beach and is a clean and airy hotel with the majority of rooms facing the beach offering its guests a private balcony.