Play It Safe In Barbados
Barbados has a relatively low crime rate and a lower rate of violence than many other countries in the Caribbean region. Barbados is definitely a safe country to visit however, as with any overseas travel, it’s important that you always pack your ‘common sense’.
We’ve listed some health and safety tips below that might help you during your travels in Barbados.
General Health and Safety Tips
— Lock all hotel room/accommodation doors overnight and when you’re not around.
— Do not entertain strangers in your hotel room/accommodation.
— Use available hotel/accommodation safety deposit box/safe for valuables and travel documents.
— Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
— Do not leave valuables unattended at the beach (or don’t take valuables with you).
— Do not walk back to your hotel/accommodation alone, especially after dark, and particularly if you are a woman. We advise to travel in groups or take a taxi.
— Swimwear should be reserved simply for the beach. You’ll notice many establishments have strict ‘no bareback’ policies and some official buildings even require you to cover your shoulders before you are given permission to enter.
— Mosquitoes and sand flies traditionally make themselves known at sunset and throughout the evening. Take the necessary precautions such as applying insect repellent and sleeping under a mosquito net to help prevent being bitten.
Remember: Barbados is no stranger to dengue fever. This mosquito-borne tropical disease has no cure so it’s best to take the appropriate preventative measures to avoid getting hit with it on your vacation!
— Be careful of the infamous ‘rum punch‘ – it can be very potent and creep up on you. Totally Barbados advises drinking alcohol in moderation at all times.
Note: It is illegal to wear any form of camouflage clothing in Barbados and is strictly reserved for the Barbados Defence Force.
Beach Health And Safety
— Drink lots of water to ensure you stay hydrated in the hot sun.
— Regardless of your skin tone, the sun can damage your skin. The most damaging rays are found between 12pm and 3pm. It is advisable to apply sunscreen evenly 30 minutes prior to venturing outdoors and at continuous intervals throughout the day.
— Barbados is surrounded by a series of coral reefs and as a result, spiny sea urchins are commonly found on rocks close to shore. These can be very painful if you step on one, so keep your eyes peeled when swimming and snorkelling.
Hint: Should you happen to step on one, do not try to remove the spines from beneath the skin as this can lead to infection. Seek medical advice.
— Many west and south coast beaches are fringed by shady foliage called Manchineel Trees that carry what look like small green berries/apples. These are poisonous. Some hotels have labelled these trees or placed red bands around the trunks, but not all have chosen to do so.
Tip: Be particularly careful when seeking shelter from the rain under a Manchineel – when the water drops from this tree it can create uncomfortable blisters on your skin.
— Be careful when parking your car or sitting under coconut trees. They are not always cleaned in time to prevent coconuts dropping from great heights – the last thing you need on vacation is a concussion!
— Barbados’ beaches are not all patrolled by lifeguards. Always use your discretion when venturing out into the water for a swim.
Note: It is always advisable to stay within your depth when swimming anywhere on the island.
— The west and south coasts of the island are generally calmer waters for safe swimming. Nevertheless, there may be days when you see flags on the beach indicating dangerous currents. Yellow means proceed with caution and red is a strong warning that you should stay out of the sea.
— The east coast of the island is home to the Atlantic Ocean and is extremely dangerous for swimming. The sea here is unpredictable with strong undercurrents and large waves. We recommend you always ask where it is safe to swim and to never swim alone.
As is the case in most other parts of the world, drinking and driving is an offense in Barbados. If you have been drinking, we advise to be responsible and call a taxi, catch a van, or simply walk home.
Tip: Barbados’ roads can be quite narrow and driving is on the left hand side of the road. Please ensure you’re informed of the island’s road rules before getting behind the wheel of any vehicle.
Drugs And Narcotics
All drugs are illegal in Barbados and severe penalties are imposed if you are caught in possession of any banned substances.
Emergency numbers in Barbados:
— Police 211
— FMH Emergency Medical Clinic (246) 228-6120
— Queen Elizabeth Hospital Ambulance 511
— Private Ambulance (Island Care Ambulance) (246) 435-9425
— Fire 311
Author: Brett Callaghan