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Island Guide

The ideal destination when traveling with your family, as it has something to offer everyone regardless of their age.

Totally Barbados

Learn about COVID-19 from Totally Barbados

View the official Barbados Air Travel Protocols – protocol changes take effect June 1st, 2022

— Barbados Removes Testing for Fully Vaccinated Travelers (effective May 25, 2022)

Ahead of the exciting summer savings season, the Government of Barbados has announced a fundamental change to its travel protocols.

Effective Wednesday, May 25, 2022, fully-vaccinated travelers to Barbados will no longer have to take a COVID-19 test to enter the country.

— Masks optional outdoors

The protocol change also states that masks will now only be mandatory indoors and on public transportation.

Outdoors; masks are optional.

Unvaccinated travelers

As of June 1, 2022, unvaccinated travelers will require a NEGATIVE pre-flight test within three (3) days before arrival here on the island.

The test may be Standard, Rapid, or Rapid Antigen. All unvaccinated travelers will be required to take a rapid antigen test on arrival at the airport. Once the result is negative, they would be allowed to continue to their accommodation.

The Travel Protocols also state that there will no longer be a quarantine requirement for unvaccinated travelers to Barbados.

Specific Requirements:

The specimen must be taken at an accredited or recognized laboratory by a healthcare provider via any of the below: nasopharyngeal sample, oropharyngeal sample, nasal sample, anterior nares sample, or mid-turbinate sample.

Please note that Barbados will NOT accept the following:

— Shallow nasal swab samples
— Saliva samples
— Self-administered tests (even if the traveler took the sample under the supervision of a healthcare provider)
— Home kits

Online Travel Form:

— Travelers unable to complete the online travel ED form can complete their travel to Barbados and use the Immigration kiosks on arrival in Barbados.
— The COVID-19 Protocols are sanctioned by the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MHW).

Before arriving in Barbados, complete your online immigration and customs form by clicking this link or going to www.travelform.gov.bb. Travelers should complete the form 24 hours before arrival.

BIMSafe is the new, easy-to-use app designed to simplify and expedite the travel experience to Barbados! Before traveling to Barbados, you can download the app from Google Play and the Apple Store. BIMSafe includes links to the online ED form required for Customs and Immigration. It also allows you to upload your negative COVID-19 test results and complete your health questionnaire, all from one centralized place.

Learn more about the Covid-19 vaccine.

How to Apply for a Welcome Stamp?

Since the Coronavirus Pandemic hit the world in 2020, the virus “has caused social and economic disruption worldwide, including the largest global recession since the Great Depression” – Wikipedia.

Many people are now working remotely from their homes around the world.

Since June 30th, 2020, the island is now offering international visitors the opportunity to work remotely on the island for up to one (1) year and possibly an extension for a second year.

The Government announced the introduction of the 12-month Welcome Stamp, which is a new remote work program that establishes a visa to allow people to work remotely on the island for a maximum of 12 months. The new visa is available to anyone who meets the visa requirements and location-independent work, whether individuals or families.

The new visa allows you to relocate and work alone or with family for up to 12 months.

With all the modern age facilities, our island is ideal for working or relaxing and staying safe.

An ideal location to work remotely, with fiber-optic networks and supporting world-class services.

Remote workers will stay in condos, villas, and hotels, and the country will provide workspaces.

With most major international management companies, accounting firms, and banks operating on the island, it is a desirable setting and lifestyle to work, play, and stay.

The island offers all tech and modern conveniences, plus professional services and excellent schools in a safe and friendly environment – come live where you are on holiday.

Barbados is the most easterly island in the Caribbean island chain, otherwise known as the Lesser Antilles. The island is east of Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – 250 miles northeast of Trinidad and Tobago.

The UNESCO World Heritage List features the world’s greatest wonders, such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and China’s Great Wall. Since 2011, the capital city, Bridgetown, and its Garrison area have been internationally recognized for their beauty, history, and significance.

Caricom

Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago were the first six to implement the CARICOM Single Market (CSM) on Jan 1, 2006. Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines followed about six months later.

Currency

The Barbadian dollar is divided into one hundred cents. There is also one (1) dollar coin. Robust, stable, and secure, the dollar has been pegged to the U.S. dollar (USD) at 1.98 (BBD) to 1 – since 1975.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

As Published by H. Plecher, Nov 26, 2020 – the statistic shows the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita from 1985 to 2019, with projections until 2025. GDP is the total value of all goods and services produced in a country in a year.

It is considered a significant indicator of a country’s economic strength, and a positive change is an indicator of economic growth. In 2019, the GDP per capita amounted to around 18,139.48 U.S. dollars.

Food

Known as “The Land Of The Flying Fish,” the national dish is cou-cou and flying fish and “The Birthplace of Rum.”

With over 300 years of experience, Mount Gay distillery is the oldest rum distillery globally. Mount Gay Rum is infused with the quality, sophistication, and classic style achieved through a long history of excellence and tradition.

Sugar cane was introduced to the island by the early settlers in the 15th century and provided Britain with sugar, rum, and molasses.

While our island boasts several elevated areas, it is not considered mountainous. However, near the island’s center, just west of the Scotland District in St. Andrew (on the island’s east coast), one will find the highest point – that of Mount Hillaby.

Government and Legal System

Our island has one of the oldest Westminster-style parliaments in the western hemisphere and one of the oldest constitutions In The Commonwealth. The Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, is the head of the government of Barbados, and you can view the official website here: https://www.gov.bb/. The House of Assembly has 30 members (MPs), and the political party that has the most members, currently the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), constitutes the government.

The public votes every five years, and Members of Parliament are appointed by The Governor-General (G.G.), who acts as the domestic representative for the Chief or Head of State (Queen Elizabeth II).

Official Language

The local language is often referred to as the Bajan dialect. Although our native language here on the island is British English, the dialect can often seem like a whole other language in itself.

Life Expectancy

  • The current life expectancy in 2020 is 79.27 years, a 0.16% increase from 2019, and is higher for women at 80.1 years compared to 77.6 years for men, making the island the highest-ranking in the region.
  • The island ranks as the 34th top country with the highest life expectancy of 184 countries (source The United Nations Human Development Report 2019.)

Religion

Anglican is officially the national religion; however, various denominations of Christianity and non-Christian religions are practiced throughout the island.

Tourism

Barbados is one of the most sought-after tourism and vacation spots in the Caribbean.

Tourism has come out above the rest of the world and has landed the number one spot in the 2017 Destination Satisfaction Index (DSI) by “The World Economic Forum.” The DSI is a metric that measures the overall valuation of a holiday destination based on the factors travelers find most attractive.

Our island was named the highest-ranking destination in the West Indies and the world’s 58th most innovative nation within the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017 Report.

The island has attracted many West Indian and visitor arrivals from significant markets and cruise ship passengers. Sports and health tourism are viable economic options for bringing more visitors to the island seeking sports, fun, entertainment, and health-related treatment.

The best part about the tropical island is that you do not need to be a tourist to experience all it offers. As a country of deep historical foundations, you can always learn more about the island, whether you are a local or a visitor on vacation.

Many of the hotels and apartments listed offer exclusive deals and special packages to locals and visitors on vacation.

As a Bajan at heart, you can learn exciting facts about the island while recognizing and appreciating the culture and its unique flavor.

With so many great things to do, see, and experience, many have become excited and have chosen to LIVE, STAY, WORK, and have FUN in this island country paradise.

Water

The natural spring water found on the island is among the purest in the world.

The state-run Water Authority Limited (BWA) is the exclusive supplier of potable water on the island.

Water supplied by the BWA is pumped from wells within natural coral aquifers. The result is a freshwater source of naturally high quality.

Despite this, to comply with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, The Water Authority treats its potable freshwater with chlorine.

According to one BWA survey, groundwater has always provided the most significant supply source, providing nearly 90%. Around half was drawn from just two wells, both of which were operating at near-total capacity.

Weather and Climate Change

According to the United Nations Development Programme, “Of the numerous impacts of climate change expected, increases in atmospheric temperature, sea-level rise and changes in weather patterns are expected to pose problems to the island in the future.

Barbados is the ideal destination when traveling with your family, as it has something to offer everyone regardless of their age.

If you are going with elderly relatives such as grandparents or a tiny baby, don’t worry, the island is a suitable vacation spot.

If you travel with children under ten (10), it is advisable to book an all-inclusive resort. They offer buffet-style lunch, so children can eat as much or as little as they like, and they usually have a barbecue serving burgers and hot dogs. This way, you can relax and enjoy yourself and not worry about the children wanting to eat at different times or organize where to go for snacks, lunch, or dinner.

Are you traveling with teenagers? They will love St. Lawrence Gap, abundant with bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. There is always something to do in the Gap, with live music playing and many bars and restaurant options.

Holetown was the first town discovered in 1625 by an Englishman called Henry Powell, who was blown off course and found the island by accident.

The town is located on the “Gold Coast” and has the coast road running through it with luxury hotels and restaurants. You can go Duty-free shopping at Sunset Crest Shopping Center. The Chattel House Village complex has many quaint boutiques selling designer clothes, tourist souvenirs, and luxury items.

You will also find the West Coast Mall; you will find some fast-food restaurants and supermarkets here. So head to the “Gold Coast” if you fancy shopping.

Each year on the second weekend in February, the Holetown Festival is held, a weeklong carnival of song and dance with English and African influence to celebrate its heritage. You can enjoy live music, stage performances, historical presentations, and street parades.

The island is usually a very safe place for tourists, and you can let your teenage children wander around the Gap, where they can play pool and hang out.

Oistins is a historic fishing and market town in Christ Church parish on the south coast. It is our smallest city, but what it lacks in size makes up for in character. It is a popular entertainment venue for locals and tourists for its thriving fishing community and infamous Friday night Fish Fry.

Bridgetown, St. Michael is the capital of Barbados and is rich in culture and history. You can visit many historical places with souvenirs and duty-free shops nearby. It is one of the oldest cities in the Caribbean region with continuous occupation since 1628.

Families will find Harrison’s Cave, one of the world’s most popular and beautiful natural formations. The active cave is just over two (2) kilometers long and was first mentioned in historical documents in 1795. Having been rediscovered in the early 1970s and renovated and re-opened in 2008.

Families can also enjoy the beautiful tropical gardens such as the Flower Forest, Hunte’s Gardens, Andromeda Gardens, or Orchid World.

Swimming with the turtles is a popular activity for both locals and visitors alike. The island is one of the few places in the world where you can interact with these sea turtles in their natural environment. It makes for an excellent experience and a must-do opportunity during your time on the island.

Snorkeling is a must-do sporting event. With several colorful reefs to explore and plenty of fascinating marine life to see, “going under the sea” is a popular pastime for locals and visitors alike.

Snorkel equipment such as life jackets, masks, snorkels, and fins can also be easily rented or purchased from several local shops or beach-side kiosks. Or, why not join a guided tour or book a trip on one of the many local cruises that operate daily island-wide.

Not only is it a fun and exciting activity, but it’s also relatively easy to do – unlike scuba diving, it involves little training or expertise, so it’s something the whole family can enjoy.

The parish of St. John is located on the east coast and has quite spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the cliffs. In this parish, you will find historical churches, tourist attractions, and picture-postcard sandy beaches.

The most famous stop in St. Joseph (Saint Joseph) is Bathsheba, which is well known to surfers as the Soup Bowl. The international Reef Surfing Competition is held here every year in November, with some of the world’s top-class surfers showing off their talent as they ride the huge waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Crane Resort is located in the parish of St. Philip (Saint Philip) which was the first hotel on the island. It has been refurbished to a high standard, and afternoon tea in the cliff-top restaurant is a pleasant way to pass the day. From here, you have a stunning view of the world-famous Crane Beach below, which has been voted as one of the top 10 beaches in the world.

With many places to eat and drink, you can enjoy some fantastic meals at the best fining dining restaurants in the world. Or perhaps the family would enjoy afternoon tea at the world-famous Sandy Lane Hotel.

Athletic activities and lifestyle choices are rising, and our ‘no stress’ policy is essential to a healthy balanced lifestyle. With multiple spas, gyms, and health clubs, you can enjoy a healthy lifestyle by staying happy and relaxed while on vacation.

Fitness groups are standard on the island. A variety of sports such as swimming, squash, tennis, sailing, windsurfing, polo, rugby, and football (soccer) are great ways to get involved in the community and keep active and healthy in your life.

The island has multiple first-rate spas for your health and fitness to assist you in getting relaxed. Most major hotels have world-class resorts, boasting massage therapies, manicures, pedicures, facials, and waxing.

Most beauticians, masseuses, and aesthetics on the island have been highly trained overseas, in England, the United States, and Canada, and are real professionals.

Another healthy activity is to visit the infamous Oistins Fish Fry on a Friday evening. Get your daily dose of omega-three fatty acids from the freshly grilled fish served with various stalls in the quaint south coast fishing village.

Another part of a healthy lifestyle is finding time for your family and friends. Locals are sure to see relatives and friends on Sundays for their weekly picnic by the beach.

The island’s capital city is situated on Carlisle Bay and is a popular spot for scuba diving and swimming with marine life, with the ability to see underwater shipwrecks. Anchors, cannonballs, and relics from ships and coral reefs are found on the ocean floor in Carlisle Bay.

As with most of the beaches on the south end of the island, it’s an excellent place for swimming and has a long stretch of calm water for shallow dipping as well as deeper swimming.

Carlisle Bay is home to the historic Needham’s Point Lighthouse.

Are you looking for a great holiday destination? Learn all about the island in our travel guide, suitable for locals and visitors.

Visit Barbados

Come for the holidays and enjoy the sunshine and cooling breezes with our warm, friendly people.

Within our island guides, you can be sure of staying up-to-date with helpful information about our island.

Both travelers and locals will find insider tips and advice about local events, including crop over, relevant facts and information, and an insight into the rich culture and heritage of the island.

With our white-sand beaches, hotels, fine dining restaurants, and exciting nightlife, visitors will always experience people’s charm and friendliness.

Helpful Top 10 Guides will ensure you have the best experience on this island located in the Lesser Antilles and the Leeward Islands.

Learn about the most popular amenities at the top beach resorts, hotels, and other accommodation options. Take advantage of exclusive special offers, discounts, and coupons to save on your holidays.

Plan your time with our local events calendar to ensure you get updated schedules, dates, and times of important events and activities.

Are you on a cruise and looking for a one-day shore excursion?

Sightseeing tours will pick you up from the cruise terminal and take you on island tours to see and experience our island’s beauty.

The central town in St. Peter is Speightstown and is the second-largest city. Founded in 1653 and named after William Speight, a wealthy merchant who owned the land in that area, it is relatively quiet and relaxing, with Queen Street being the main road that runs through the town. You will find a few shops, corporate offices, supermarkets, the fishing complex, and some good restaurants catering to the passing tourist trade.

Speightstown is one of the only places where you can see some of the original architecture and some of the town’s once very grand townhouses that belonged to the wealthy merchants.

St. Nicholas Abbey was built in 1650 by Benjamin Berringer in the parish of St. Peter. The house is one of only three remaining Jacobean properties in the western hemisphere – the second Jacobean property is also home in Drax Hall in St. George. The house sits amongst 225 acres of cane fields, is in excellent condition for its age, and is full of antiques. While it is a privately-owned residence, it is open to the public on occasions.

Choose to go on a catamaran cruise and swim with the sea turtles. You can join a group for a casual lunch at two or three selected attractions. All visits ensure you get back in time for the ship’s departure.

Should you wish to stay longer than your projected holiday, you will find helpful information on our website. View the immigration requirements, working regulations, and information about renting a property and other real estate options to help you get started.

You can find the most highly recommended locations and businesses within the World Travel Awards, including the World’s Leading Travel Destination Website.

Education and training are accessible to all Barbadians from age five to university.

The government allocates the most significant chunk – nearly a quarter – of its annual billion-dollar budget to funding close to 100 primary and secondary schools, plus four tertiary level institutions.

State financing covers actual tuition, free bus fares to and from school, and free books and meals for all primary students who need them.

Several institutions are available to support children with special educational needs and disabilities.

For the more academically inclined, post-secondary education is available.

For the more technically minded, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP) provides both day and night hands-on courses, therefore, and it’s not surprising that this 166 square mile island of approximately 274,000 people boasts a literacy rate of nearly 98%.

View our Google Maps and explore places of interest, shopping areas, beaches, churches, and major roads.

Interactive Maps are available for various needs, including directions and locations of recommended attractions, hotels and accommodation, beaches, restaurants, and eating places.

A land of contrasts, part of the unique charm, comes from the old world happily coexisting with the new. Glass and marble offices stand next to brightly painted rum shops. Luxury vehicles are parked outside traditional wooden chattel houses, and high-tech SUV drives alongside donkey carts.

Bordered by the eastern Caribbean Sea’s calm waters on the coast and by the tumultuous Atlantic Ocean on the east coast, just driving from one side to the other is an experience with breath-taking scenery.

The island is divided into 11 parishes, each with its distinct character. The ABC highway is the main artery, starting at the Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) in Christ Church and running through the island’s center, connecting the island from south to north.

Affectionately known as ‘Little England,’ a certain British-ness permeates daily life, from places named Clapham, Dover, Hastings, and Lancaster to driving on the road’s left-hand side, roundabouts, and afternoon tea.

Are you trying to find an ideal place to stay or purchase on our famous island?

Buying real estate, buying a villa, or vacation rentals can all be supplied to you within our Real Estate and Property Guide.

You can search for all types of property and real estate for the ideal sale or rental. You can find information on investment opportunities with realtors and agents of many real estate agencies, especially in the parish of St. James (Saint James), otherwise known as the “Gold Coast.”

With its temperate climate, endless beaches, colorful culture, and friendly people, there is little wonder why our island has an ever-expanding and lucrative real estate industry.

Visit our sister site to learn about Real Estate – Property Specialists and view listings by agents and brokers offering sales and rentals.

If you are passionate about sports, be sure to come prepared with your athletic gear when you visit this famous island.

Sports and activities available on the island range from cricket to horse racing to all kinds of athletic and non-athletic games.

Whether you like to participate actively or want to be a spectator, you can choose from many sporting activities on the island.

World-famous for its excellent surfing conditions in ‘Soup Bowl,’ Bathsheba provides a hub of activity all year long, as surfers from around the world congregate here for some of the best surfing action.

Are you looking to get around the island? For transportation to suit your vacation needs, you can use many different methods to get around the island.

It’s a small island – just 21 miles (34 kilometers) long by 14 miles (23 kilometers) wide, and the terrain is relatively flat, so nowhere takes too long to get to, and there’s a wide choice of transport options to suit both your lifestyle and budget.

Car Rentals

From luxury vehicles with air conditioning to four-wheel drive jeeps to the smaller, open-top mini mokes, you’ll indeed find one that will help you get around during your vacation experience.

Just remember to bring your driver’s license from home, as the car rental company requires this to get you insured and issue you with a local driving permit.

Hint: People drive on the left-hand side of the road on the island. Make sure you are comfortable with this before booking a car rental.

If having the freedom to drive yourself around the island sounds appealing, why not check out the local car rental companies for more information.

Taxi Rentals

There are many taxis on the island to choose from when you wish to get around. Taxi drivers are more than happy to drop you from point A to B or even take you on a full island tour once you’ve settled yourself and are in full vacation mode.

Tip: Taxis are not metered, so make sure you agree on a fixed fee with the driver in advance before setting off to your destination.

Licensed taxis have number plates starting with ‘Z .’ The larger minibus taxis have ‘ZM’ number plates.

Note: If you get into a ZM taxi, you will be charged a taxi fare, not the BBD 3.50 you would pay on a ZR.

Limousines

It’s not too complicated to find a reputable limousine company to get around the island. If you want a luxurious start to your holiday, a limo might be the way to go!

Bus

Government-owned buses frequently run on schedule and can be caught from any bus stop, as well as the bus terminals. They have painted the national colors of blue with a horizontal yellow stripe.

The island’s bus stops are marked ‘To City’ (towards Bridgetown) and ‘Out of City‘ so that you can gauge which direction you are heading in.

Since April 16th, 2019, the standard bus fare is $ 3.50, and it applies to any single/one-way trip on these buses, as well as on the privately-owned ZR vans and minibusses detailed below.

Tip: The bus drivers do not carry money, so you must pay your fare with the correct change.

Need to know more? See our Government-owned Transport Board page for all the details.

There are two other types of buses to choose from:

Mini-Vans

These privately-owned mini-vans are smaller than the big blue Transport Board buses, and other coaches are privately-owned. Mini-vans are painted bright yellow with a blue stripe. These are identified by a “B” at the beginning of their license plates.

You can also catch these buses from bus stops all over the island and the island bus terminals.

Fares on all buses are fixed at $ 3.50 per trip, regardless of how far you go.

ZR Vans (pronounced Zed-R’s)

These are white privately-owned minibusses or vans that work specific routes and do not operate according to a schedule.

You’ll recognize them from their license plates’ letters’ ZR.’

You may find these are more frequent and get you into the local way of life – there’s generally music playing, and you may even see yourself squeezed in tight between two total strangers.

This mode of transport is said to be a genuinely Bajan experience!

Sound like your kind of thing? See our ZR Vans page for more information about this infamous form of island transport.

Airport Transport

Several transportation options get you to your next destination when you arrive on the island.

Again, depending on your budget and taste, you can choose from transport such as a hire car, local bus, taxi, tour coach, and even a Rolls Royce Bentley!

Are you looking to get around the island?

Tourists visiting have various transportation methods to choose from, including car rentals, limos, taxi rentals, and our renowned public transportation system of transport buses and VR vans.

You can also rent bicycles and electric bicycles on two wheels by renting a scooter, bike, motorcycle, or Segway machine.

Note: Some accommodations offer complimentary airport transfers, so you may wish to check this out before committing yourself to any of the options above.

Cruise Terminal Transport

Passengers arriving at the cruise terminal have many options for exiting.

You can cruise from Saint Kitts (St. Kitts – Port Zante) on several cruise ships in normal cruise conditions.

Click the above title for further options, with some great tips on spending your time on the island.

Get Around with a Tour Operator

Some great tour companies operate on the island, each with various offers.

May you like to try one of the more adventurous tours in an off-road 4×4 vehicle? Or, maybe you would prefer a quieter and gentler experience on an air-conditioned coach?

Either way, the possibilities for touring the island are endless!

Find tour operator and sightseeing contact details here.

Happy traveling!

Whether you plan to use the public transport buses, taxis, or rent a car while visiting the island, you will find the various transportation options for getting around very convenient.

Use our Business Guide to find essential information, including statistics, business articles, as well as links to the most relevant and helpful business websites.

Learn why many foreign investors and business people who visit our island fall in love and find a way to become part of this small but affluent country.

Overseas investors, mainly from Europe and North America, jump at the island’s array of real estate opportunities. Constantly rising property prices have been producing a significant return on investment. You can invest in an extra home, a tourism enterprise, or a property to rent – short or long-term – to locals or visitors.

You also have the option to set up – as many have – an International Business Company (IBC), a captive insurance company, or an offshore bank to take advantage of the tax benefits or to trade on the Barbados Stock Exchange.

Our Business Guide is your comprehensive information resource for doing business on our island.

The island provides a suitable environment for business and investment and is one of the most successful international real estate markets globally.

With many international tax and investment protection treaties and a long history of democracy, social and economic stability, the quality of life on the island (as ranked by the United Nations) strengthens its position globally.

The past Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, remarked after visiting in 2005 that the island punches above its weight.

For decades past, Sugar production was the island’s economy’s backbone and is now mainly in decline. They grew the cane stalks, ground it on-site, extracted the juice, processed it, and shipped the raw sugar to Britain to be refined into various products.

The island’s stated goal is to become the world’s smallest developed nation and be the Number One (1) Place to Live, Work, Play and Invest.

We invite you to take some time to discover the island – one of the most significant and successful small countries in the world.

Visit our island and acquaint yourself with the places and the people who make it unique.

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