Every country and society has its own rules, protocol and way of doing things. Barbados, of course is no exception. You have probably by now got yourself and your family, if they have traveled with you, settled into a daily routine at home, and you have decided it's time; you are now brave enough and have plucked up the courage to tackle the essential and exciting things of what Barbadian society has to offer.
In this section of Living in Barbados you will find a wealth of information, resources and wisdom you might need in order to get your self settled and acclimatized to the outdoors, Barbadian society and culture, the way we do things and make them happen.
How to Make Friends
Meeting people who you find supportive, helpful and with whom you share interests with is always important and being able to 'fit in' can always be a challenge.
A great way to meet people of course is through work, in your neighborhood, church and through social activities such the gym, sports, clubs etc... We have a list of groups and activities to get you started.
Barbadians are for the most part very friendly and helpful and enjoy social interaction. It's important however to take your time and show initiative and get to know the people around you - at work and perhaps in your neighborhood too. You will gain a whole new level of respect from them.
An infusion of both African and British influences, Barbados is very cosmopolitan yet charming all at the same time. From its history, the people, music, the arts, architecture and natural heritage amongst others, Barbados' culture is of course an experience in itself.
So take your time to gain an understanding of Barbadian culture......but get submerged, it's truly a unique experience you will be forever enlightened by!
Barbadian nightlife is of course a highlight to both locals and visitors alike. Thanks to our thriving tourism industry, there is a healthy synergy between the two parties.
Both locals and visitors alike sharing unique spaces and experiences which are not to be found anywhere else but Barbados. Live bands, shows, concerts, plays, festivals and nightclubs abound, any night of the week, any time of the year.
Barbados is certainly an exciting place to test your culinary delights. Barbadians enjoy their food and eating out as much as anyone else and of course there are many restaurants and bars in abundant supply around the island. Offering high quality, diversity and great ambience, you will be hard pressed to try them all......whether it is cafeteria style, road side, beach, waterfront or lush garden dining you are after.
You will probably have a favorite or two in no time, but remember to always keep your options open and visit somewhere different when the mood swings you or the opportunity arises.
Most nations are represented in their culinary form from India, France, Italy, Greece, America, Mexico and Britain, to name a few!
Shopping is also another favorite pastime that both locals and visitors share. There is great dutyfree shopping in Bridgetown and the tourist areas.
But what will interest you more now that you are settling into your home is the opportunity for buying things for your everyday life. These items will of course include grocery supplies and there are many supermarkets, mini-marts, outdoor markets and even a farmers market on the island.
Thanks to our booming building trade, there is also a large selection of hardware stores which stack a comprehensive variety of supplies.
Furnishings for the home have always been a bit more difficult to acquire, this mostly due to limited choice. What is available is usually of a high quality, but because they have been imported, prices can be high. It certainly pays to shop around and there have been many new shopping outlets to choose from in recent times.
Other items such as school supplies, clothing, shoes to name a few can by all means be found locally, but again, stock and selection tend to be limited even though it is improving every year. Either shop early and calmly with not too many expectations, or buy overseas.
Barbados has a dense road network and a pretty reliable transport system to cover it. On the island you will find government owned blue buses, private yellow min-buses, private white mini-vans, plus numerous taxi and chauffeur services. The service is regular and reliable and serves even the most rural areas of Barbados.
Living in Barbados also provides information of leasing and buying cars, insurance, road taxes and of course - the rules of the road!
While Barbadians can still be inclined to be courteous on the roads, a crash course on the local etiquette can be useful if not necessary in avoiding frustration, near misses and perhaps even road rage!
The literacy rate in Barbados is very high at just over 99%, due to that fact that free education is available and mandatory to all Barbadians, from the age of 4 until 16. Our educational system is of a high standard, probably the best to be found in the Caribbean.
The school year starts in early September and ends early July. There are many primary (4-11 years) and secondary (12-16 years) co-educational schools throughout the island, offering an extensive curriculum.
There are also many private schools, also offering co-educational schooling at the primary level and only a limited amount are private at the secondary level.
Barbados also has comprehensive tertiary level education spread across the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Barbados Community College, Erdiston Teachers College and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic.
Please see related articles at the bottom of this page for subjects and qualifications available at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
Finding the right type of recreation for yourself, your spouse or your kids can be a struggle, especially when you first arrive. Living in Barbados has a list of activities that you or your children might be interested in attending, from sports, arts and supplemental education, to book clubs, toddlers groups, mahjong, tennis, martial arts, learning a foreign language, volunteer work - what ever your interests are, you are sure to find something that suits you.
Prices are usually very reasonable and standards high, but of course it is always recommended that you ask around for referrals before you commit yourself. There is also information of various summer camps and suggested activities that might be of interests.
What about the Weekends?
Living in Barbados also has some suggestions of what you could do to fill your weekends and even vacation time. Whether you are planning for visitors or a weekend get-away with family or friends, Barbados is a great starting point and gateway to many other islands. Each unique in their own right, exploring around the Caribbean is an enjoyable way to relax and vacation.
You might also consider planning something right here on the island, and do when many locals have discovered - vacationing on their own soil! Here you will find a list of great ideas for you to consider!
Finding the right place to worship and practice your faith is important for many newcomers to the island. Most Barbadians are quite religious and will attend church at least once a week. The population is predominantly Anglican Christians, and there are also Roman Catholics, Jehovah Witness', Moravian, Baptists and Methodists to name a few.
Other minority religions include Judaism, Rastafarianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and the Baha'i Faith. Living in Barbados has information and contact details, and it is recommended that you phone the church to confirm.
Religious holidays and milestones are observed and celebrated. As a result, most businesses are closed on Sunday and bank holidays as it is considered a day of prayer, rest and family relaxation.
Embassies and Consulates
Embassies and Consulates are representatives of that countries government in another and Living in Barbados has a list with contact information that you might need.
It is always recommended to register you and your family with your countries' Consulate or Embassy when you first arrive. This ensures that should the need arise like a lost passport or to contact your home government, the ground work has already begun. You might also need to contact another countries' consulate should you wish to visit on vacation and might have to obtain a visa.
Planning a wedding and getting married in Barbados is also very special and exciting; this might be for your self or someone you know.
Living in Barbados had comprehensive information on all the requirements for getting married here, from the fees to the paperwork you will need to have sorted before the big day. There is also information on venues, photographers, florists, caterers, event planners - everything you might need to make that special day unique and stress free!
And don't forget the honeymoon - Barbados is the number one honeymoon destination among couples from the UK so why not discover the beauty and sophistication that others travel miles for, right at your back door.
Barbados is lucky enough to have been spared a major hurricane since Janet in 1955. Hurricane season is from June to December and even though year after year we seem to be spared the onslaught of a direct hit, the island can still be affected by heavy rains, strong winds and dangerous sea swells.
Precautions are always necessary whether it be protecting your home, making sure your insurance is up to date or stocking up on supplies.
There are many well-maintained hurricane shelters and emergency organizations throughout the island. You will probably soon be very familiar with websites that you will find useful to track the progress of any hurricane in the vicinity. And as with most people around the world, Barbadians love to talk about the weather, so make sure you are up to date on the hot topic of conversation!
By now you will be more familiar with the various aspects of the local island way of doing things and how you can either get information, get involved or get settled into the Barbadian way of life, outside of your home.