Barbados Health and Safety Tips

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 a safe country to visit; however, as with any overseas travel, you must 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 mainly if you are a woman. We advise you 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 permitted 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 sun rays occur between 12 pm and 3 pm. It is advisable to apply sunscreen evenly 30 minutes before 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 dark 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!

Swimming Safety

— 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 never to swim alone.

Road Safety

As is the case in most other parts of the world, drinking and driving is an offence in Barbados. If you have been drinking, we advise you to be responsible and call a taxi, catch a van, or walk home.

Tip: Barbados’ roads can be quite narrow, and driving is on the left-hand side of the roadway. Please ensure you are aware 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

About Totally Barbados (Edit profile)

Brett Callaghan is the founder and managing director of Totally Barbados. I specialize in writing content for the tourism industry for my island home of Barbados. I help companies build strategies to grow online businesses with SMART marketing, advertising, and social media goals.