Do you want to learn about the island Barbados? You can find all of the insider information into everything you need to know about this little island paradise.
Don’t let the fact that Barbados is a small island fool you. What Barbados lacks in size, it makes up for in charm.
In fact, the island ranks highly in most global population indexes. Notably, the literacy rate is close to 100% (one of the highest in the world), and according to the 2014 Global Innovation Index, Barbados is the most innovative country in the Caribbean, and the world’s 41st most innovative nation.
Barbados – the jewel of the Caribbean
Barbados is the most easterly island in the Caribbean island chain, situated above South America, northeast of Venezuela and north of Guyana. The Atlantic Ocean sits to the east of the island, and Caribbean Sea to the west. The capital city is Bridgetown, located in the parish of St Michael.
Barbados is made of limestone and the land area of the island measures 166.4 square miles (431 km2). It is 21 miles (34 kilometers) in length and 14 miles (23 kilometers).
The terrain is relatively flat in comparison to other Caribbean islands however there is a gentle rise to a central highland region of the island – Mount Hillaby in the parish of St Andrew being the highest point, measuring approximately 1,115 feet above sea level.
Because Barbados is nested just north of the equator, the climate is considered to be moderately tropical and temperatures typically range from between 80-86 degrees Fahrenheit (27-30 degrees Celsius) and 70 – 76% humidity for most of the year.
December to May is considered the dry season in Barbados, and also considered the ‘winter’ period.
The wet season begins in June and runs until November, the ‘summer’ months for the island. This season also brings with it the Caribbean hurricane season, although Barbados continually tends to be spared the direct hit of any major hurricane.
Want to know more? Visit our Barbados Weather and Hurricanes, Tropical Storms and Depressions for more information.
The People – Best Asset of Barbados!
According to the 2010 Barbados Population and Housing Census, the population of Barbados is approximately 280,000 people.
The Barbadian population is a diverse melting pot of people, the majority of whom are of African descent. However, Barbados is also made up of people who are of mixed race, Caucasian or European descent, East Indian, Oriental and Middle Eastern.
Barbadians are renowned for being very friendly, and with tourism being a major contributor to the economy, it’s obvious that the people of Barbados are this little island’s best kept asset.
For a more in-depth look at the people of Barbados, learn about the Population and People.
British English is the official language of the island
In more formal settings, British English is both spoken and written, however in most casual settings, Barbadians speak a unique Bajan dialect – a version of broken English, or pidgin (a simplified version of) English, mixed with very distinctive ‘Bajanisms’.
This local language can be a bit tricky to follow at times, especially for visitors to the island, however you’ll soon pick it up and be speaking like an honorary Bajan in no time!
Want to talk the talk? Read about our Language and Dialect.
There’s something in the water…
The water in Barbados is very safe to drink as it filtered naturally through coral limestone rock. In fact, over 85% of Barbados is made up of coral limestone, meaning the water of Barbados is of a very high quality.
Swimming in Barbados is safe on both the west and south coasts, however we recommend you exercise caution swimming on the south east, east and north coasts, due to the unpredictable nature of the currents of the Atlantic Ocean.
Water sports are extremely popular in Barbados with waves on the south coast excellent for activities like wind and kite surfing. Bathsheba on the east coast is famous for the ‘Soup Bowl’ – a hot spot for experienced surfers.
When choosing your holiday accommodation there’s no doubt you’ll be spoilt for choice in Barbados.
You’ll find there really is something for everyone – from luxurious hotels and condominiums to self-catering apartments, guesthouses and beach cottages. For a comprehensive guide to the island’s accommodation, see our Accommodation guide and local hotel listings.
In terms of Sightseeing, there are tourist attractions galore.
Would you like to tour the island on an organized tour? Or grab a map, hire a car and explore for yourself.
You can visit tropical gardens dotted all over the island or spend a day at the beach, each with their own unique character and atmosphere.
If art’s your thing, Barbados also has a thriving art community with lots of local work for sale at various galleries across the country.
Don’t know where to start? See our tourist attractions guide to help you decide where to visit first.
I love the nightlife!
The nightlife in Barbados is not to be missed.
Some of the best restaurants in the world are located right here in Barbados, so be sure to dine in a local restaurant.
You can read all about Barbados’ restaurants in our Dining Guide which also links you to restaurant contact details – essential when making your dinner reservation.
After dinner, you may wish to party the night away and again there are lots of places to choose from. One of the most popular nightspots is St. Lawrence Gap on the south coast, where there are numerous bars (karaoke included) for you to check out. For more information, learn about St Lawrence Gap.
Maybe you’d like to put your dancing shoes on and venture to one of the island’s leading nightclubs like Harbour Lights, conveniently located just outside Bridgetown.
Combining dinner with a show is another popular option at Harbour Lights.
For a more rustic night out, you could go along to a local fish fry and sample the catch of the day while enjoying the local rum. One such place, and a popular venue for both locals and tourist alike, is the infamous Friday night Oistins Fish Fry. For more information, you can read all about the quaint little fishing village of Oistins, located on the south coast of the island.
Need more nightlife options?
Learn all about the entertainment districts and nightlife options in Barbados.
And the best part is…
The best part about Barbados is that there really is something for everyone.
The island caters to suit all styles, tastes and budgets so your holiday can be as busy, relaxing, high end or low end as you please. Book your ticket today – the island awaits you!
By: Brett Callaghan