Why visit Barbados?
Barbados is a must-visit destination in 2023, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that sets it apart from other Caribbean islands.
With its pristine beaches, lively nightlife, and UNESCO World Heritage capital, there is something for everyone on this island paradise. Visitors can explore the island’s natural wonders, indulge in local cuisine and rum, and experience the vibrant Crop Over Festival.
Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, Barbados has it all, making it the perfect choice for your next vacation.
Use these Top Travel Tips and discover why Barbados is the ultimate Caribbean getaway.
Barbados Travel Tips - Things to Know Before You Go
Barbados has a year-round mild climate with temperatures rarely dropping below 70°F (21° C). The island experiences two main seasons: the wet season from June to November and the dry season from December to May.
The wet season brings patchy rain and occasional hurricane threats, but the island is located outside the principal Caribbean hurricane zone.
The best time to visit is November through June, with clear skies and sunny days attracting the majority of visitors. Christmas and New Year see a peak in occupancy and higher prices.
July and August offer discounted rates and the opportunity to take part in festivals like Crop Over Kadoonment Day.
May is perfect for those seeking a blend of price, weather, and activity, with most attractions open and the winter crowds dispersed.
Visitors should pack light clothing, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Activities such as snorkeling, diving, fishing, sailing, and golf are popular year-round.
When it comes to booking airfare to Barbados, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you get the best deal possible.
The best time to book your airfare is typically between 2-3 months before your desired travel dates.
In terms of airlines, JetBlue and American Airlines are known to offer competitive rates to Barbados. However, it’s always worth checking prices on Google Flights and Skyscanner. After you know the best deal, you can book directly with the airline.
Lastly, be flexible with your travel dates and consider traveling during the off-season. This can often result in significant savings on airfare.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to booking affordable airfare to Barbados.
If you want to extend your journey, you can also choose a Cruise Ship Itinerary.
Citizens of the US, Canada, EU, and UK do not require a tourist visa to stay in Barbados for less than three months.
All travelers will need a passport with at least 6 months of validity in order to be allowed to board their flight.
All other visitors should double-check entry requirements from their countries before booking flights and hotels. If a visa is required, the application process will depend on the specific type of visa needed and how busy the local embassy is.
Barbados offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. There is something for everyone, from regular hostels, hotels, and small 1-bedroom villas to sprawling vacation homes in flashy resorts.
For hostels, you can use Hostelworld, and regular hotels can be found on Booking. Also check Airbnb, you can find some really good deals, especially when traveling with kids and you need more space and a small kitchen.
If you have a bigger budget, one of the best places to find top-notch villas is Top Villas, which offers a variety of condos and villas at top spots across the island. These homes typically boast beautiful indoor and outdoor living areas, private swimming pools, and great amenities.
The best areas to stay in Barbados include the West Coast, which is known for its luxurious resorts and stunning beaches. The South Coast is also a great option for those who want to be close to nightlife and restaurants.
The average cost of accommodation varies depending on the accommodation type and location. Expect to pay $100-300 per night for regular rooms and $1000-$3000+ for large villas and multi-family rooms.
Establishing a budget and sticking to it is key to any successful trip, so I always start with that. Once you have your budget, deduct the airfare, and allocate the rest for accommodations, activities, food, and drinks.
I prefer to allocate more for activities and choose a budget hotel. I also keep a small emergency fund locked in the hotel’s safe in case of theft, loss, or medical emergency.
If you’re planning a trip to Barbados on a budget, there are plenty of ways to save money without sacrificing the island’s beauty and charm.
One of the best ways to save money is by visiting during the off-season, which runs from mid-April to mid-December. During this time, you can find great deals on accommodations and flights.
When it comes to food, you can save money by eating at local restaurants and food trucks, which offer authentic Bajan cuisine at a fraction of the cost of touristy restaurants. On average, a meal at a local restaurant will cost around $10-$15 USD.
For accommodations, there are plenty of affordable options, including guesthouses, apartments, and budget hotels. On average, you can expect to spend around $50-$100 USD per night for budget accommodations.
Transportation can also be affordable if you opt for public transportation such as buses or shared taxis, which cost around $2-$5 USD per ride. Renting a car can be more expensive, but if you plan on exploring the island on your own, it may be worth the cost.
By following these tips, you can enjoy the best of Barbados while staying within your budget. Remember to plan ahead and book early to get the best deals on flights and accommodations.
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Activities are the ones you will remember from your trip, so plan them well. Here are my top recommendations in Barbados:
- Snorkeling: Barbados is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the Caribbean, making it a fantastic destination for snorkeling. Some of the best spots include Folkstone Marine Park and Carlisle Bay. Snorkeling gear can be rented for around $15 per day.
- Surfing: Barbados is known for its world-class waves, attracting surfers from all over the globe. The best time to surf is between November and April when the swells are highest. Some popular spots include Soup Bowl, Bathsheba, and Freights Bay.
- Harrison’s Cave: This natural wonder is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Barbados. The cave system is over 2.3 kilometers long and features stunning stalactites, stalagmites, and underground streams. Admission costs around $30 per person.
- Oistins Fish Fry: Every Friday night, locals and tourists alike flock to the Oistins Fish Fry for a night of food, music, and dancing. Freshly caught fish is grilled and served alongside traditional Bajan sides like macaroni pie and coleslaw.
- Mount Gay Rum Distillery: Barbados is the birthplace of rum, making a visit to the Mount Gay Rum Distillery a must-do activity. Visitors can take a tour of the distillery, learn about the history of rum-making in Barbados, and sample some of the island’s finest rum. Tours cost around $25 per person.
- Bridgetown: Barbados’ capital city is a vibrant hub of culture, history, and shopping. Visitors can explore landmarks like the Parliament Buildings, St. Michael’s Cathedral, and the Barbados Museum and Historical Society. The city also has plenty of shops and restaurants to explore.
- Catamaran Cruise: A catamaran cruise is the perfect way to experience the beauty of Barbados from the water. Many cruises include snorkeling stops, a chance to swim with sea turtles, and a delicious lunch on board. Prices vary but expect to pay around $100 per person.
- Animal Flower Cave: Located on the northern tip of the island, the Animal Flower Cave is a unique natural attraction. Visitors can explore the cave system, swim in the natural pools, and take in the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Admission costs around $15 per person.
- Crop Over Festival: Held every summer, the Crop Over Festival is a celebration of Barbadian culture and heritage. The festival includes music, parades, and street parties and culminates in a grand finale called Grand Kadooment. The festival lasts for several weeks, with events happening all over the island.
- Beaches: No trip to Barbados would be complete without a visit to its stunning beaches. Some of the most popular include Crane Beach, Miami Beach, and Accra Beach. Many beaches have facilities like restaurants, bathrooms, and showers. Note that some beaches may have strong currents, so be sure to check the conditions before swimming.
For a complete list, also read My Top Things to Do in Barbados.
Barbados offers various modes of transportation for travelers, such as taxis, buses, rental cars, and boats.
Taxis are available at the airport, but fares are not metered, so it’s best to negotiate the price beforehand to avoid overcharging. You can also contact your hotel in advance and arrange airport pick-up to avoid surprises.
Government-owned blue buses and privately-owned yellow buses are available, and their routes go one of two ways to or from the capital along the three major routes on the island.
The privately-owned Zadar taxis are also an option, but make sure you know the price before you start your ride.
Rental cars are the most convenient way to get around the island, and it’s best to rent one instead of taking a taxi.
The cost of a taxi ride from the airport to various parts of the island ranges from 13 to 83 Barbadian dollars ($6.50 to $41.50), while rental car prices vary depending on the rental company and the car model.
If you choose to rent, keep in mind that they drive on the left. Travelers should keep to the left and be mindful of the twists and turns on the roads. A rental also means a lot of freedom, and taking a road trip is an excellent way to explore the island.
Barbados is a safe destination for travelers, but it is essential to remain cautious. The island has a low crime rate, but visitors should keep their valuables close and stay aware of their surroundings.
Pickpocketing and theft are the most common crimes, and travelers can avoid being targets by remaining vigilant. It is also advisable to avoid displaying expensive items in public and not leaving belongings unattended.
Travelers should also take precautions against mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika and dengue fever by using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing.
These safety measures allow travelers to enjoy a worry-free and safe trip to Barbados.
Barbados is a tropical paradise that offers more than just pristine beaches. The island’s rugged terrain provides a unique hiking experience that should not be missed.
Here are the top hiking trails to explore in Barbados:
- Jack-in-the-box Gully Trail: This trail is located in the heart of Barbados’ rainforest and offers a challenging hike through lush vegetation and a gully. Hikers should bring sturdy shoes and plenty of water.
- Bathsheba Beach to Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill: This trail takes hikers through the scenic east coast of Barbados, with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Hikers should be prepared for some steep climbs and bring sunscreen and insect repellent.
- Welchman Hall Gully: This trail offers a unique hiking experience through a tropical forest filled with exotic plants and wildlife. Hikers should wear comfortable shoes and bring a camera to capture the beauty of this area.
- Harrison’s Cave to Cherry Tree Hill: This trail takes hikers through the lush interior of Barbados, with stunning views of the island’s countryside. Hikers should bring plenty of water and be prepared for some steep climbs.
Overall, hiking in Barbados provides a unique opportunity to explore the island’s natural beauty. Hikers should be prepared for challenging terrain, bring plenty of water and sunscreen, wear sturdy shoes, and take caution when hiking in remote areas.
With its diverse trails and stunning scenery, Barbados is a hiker’s paradise that should not be missed.
Barbados is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, each with its own unique charm. Here are the top beaches to visit in Barbados:
- Accra Beach: Located on the southern coast, Accra Beach is the perfect destination for families. It boasts calm waters and soft, white sand, making it ideal for swimming and sunbathing. The beach has plenty of amenities, including public restrooms, showers, and changing facilities. There are also several restaurants and bars nearby.
- Batts Rock Beach: Situated on the western coast, Batts Rock Beach is a secluded spot that offers stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. The beach has public facilities, including restrooms, showers, and changing rooms. There is also a small parking lot nearby.
- Crane Beach: Located on the southeastern coast, Crane Beach is known for its pink sand and turquoise waters. The beach is perfect for surfers, with waves that are ideal for both beginners and experienced surfers. There is a restaurant and bar on the beach, as well as public restrooms and showers.
- Miami Beach: Miami Beach, located on the southern coast, is a popular spot for both locals and tourists. The beach has calm waters, making it perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The sand is soft and white, and there are plenty of amenities, including public restrooms, showers, and changing rooms. There are also several restaurants and bars nearby.
- Mullins Beach: Situated on the western coast, Mullins Beach is a great spot for water sports enthusiasts. The beach has public facilities, including restrooms, showers, and changing rooms. Beach rentals, including jet skis, paddleboards, and kayaks, are also available. Parking is available nearby.
Remember, all beaches in Barbados are publicly accessible, so be sure to explore and discover your own little piece of paradise!
You will also enjoy reading my article on The 11 Best Beaches in Barbados.
When packing for your trip to Barbados, it is important to consider the island’s tropical climate and cultural norms.
The weather in Barbados is generally hot and humid, with occasional rain showers. Therefore, it is recommended to pack light, breathable clothing such as cotton shirts, shorts, and sandals. It is also important to avoid wearing camouflage designs as they are strictly used by the military government.
For beach activities, make sure to pack swimwear, a towel, and sunscreen. A sun hat, aqua shoes, and cover-ups such as long dresses are also recommended. Don’t forget to bring a mask and snorkel for underwater adventures.
For evening activities, dress codes vary depending on the venue, but wearing casual attire such as sundresses and sandals is generally acceptable.
If you plan on visiting more upscale restaurants or clubs, wearing dressier attire such as slacks and a button-down shirt for men and a cocktail dress for women may be appropriate.
Finally, dressing modestly when visiting cultural and religious sites is important. Women should cover their shoulders and wear skirts or pants that cover their knees. Men should also avoid wearing shorts in these settings.
Overall, the key to packing for Barbados is to prioritize comfort and practicality while respecting the island’s cultural norms.
Related article: Barbados Ultimate Packing List.
12. Food and Drinks
Barbados offers a diverse gastronomy that includes both fine dining and casual street food.
Visitors should try the national dish of flying fish and cou cou, traditionally eaten with spicy gravy. Another local favorite is pudding and souse, pickled pork with spiced sweet potatoes.
For drinks, Barbados is known for its rum, which can be enjoyed in cocktails, punches, or neat. Visitors can explore the island’s rum legacy at one of several distilleries or neighborhood rum shops.
13. Cultural events
Barbados is a vibrant island with a rich cultural heritage, and plenty of festivals and events take place throughout the year.
The most popular event is the Crop Over Festival, which runs between July and August and celebrates the end of the sugar cane harvesting season. Visitors can expect lively street parades, colorful costumes, and raucous partying, culminating in the Grand Kadooment parade.
The Holetown Festival, held in February, commemorates the arrival of the first settlers in Barbados in 1627 and includes street fairs, live music, and historical reenactments.
The Oistins Fish Festival, which takes place over Easter weekend, celebrates the island’s fishing heritage with fish markets, cooking competitions, and live music.
Other noteworthy events include the Holders Season, a performing arts festival in March, and the Barbados Food and Rum Festival in October.
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When it comes to exploring Barbados, there are plenty of sights and attractions to choose from. Here are the top attractions to visit in Barbados:
- Harrison’s Cave: One of the most popular attractions in Barbados, Harrison’s Cave is a stunning natural wonder that boasts an underground network of caves and pools filled with crystal-clear water. Visitors can take a tram tour through the cave system and marvel at the stunning rock formations and waterfalls.
- Welchman Hall Gulley: This nature park is a must-visit for nature lovers. It features a lush, tropical forest filled with exotic plants and wildlife, including monkeys, birds, and reptiles. Visitors can take a guided tour or explore the park on their own.
- Barbados Wildlife Reserve: Home to a variety of animals, including green monkeys, peacocks, and tortoises, this reserve is a great place to get up close and personal with the local wildlife. Visitors can take a guided tour or explore on their own.
- Folkstone Marine Park: This coral reef is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving, thanks to its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life. Visitors can also enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking on the nearby beach.
- Andromeda Botanic Gardens: This stunning garden is home to a wide variety of exotic plants and flowers, including orchids, palms, and cacti. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
- St. Nicholas Abbey: This historic plantation house dates back to the 17th century and offers a glimpse into Barbados’ colonial past. Visitors can take a guided tour of the house and grounds, which includes a rum distillery.
- Animal Flower Cave: This natural cave system is located on the northernmost point of the island and is home to a variety of marine life, including sea anemones. Visitors can explore the caves and enjoy stunning views of the ocean.
- Oistins Fish Fry: This popular Friday night event is a must-visit for foodies. Visitors can sample a variety of fresh seafood dishes and enjoy live music and entertainment.
In conclusion, Barbados has plenty to offer visitors in terms of natural wonders, wildlife, history, and culture. From the stunning underground caves of Harrison’s Cave to the exotic plants of Andromeda Botanic Gardens, there’s something for everyone.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or just looking for a relaxing beach vacation, Barbados has it all.
Barbados is a shopper’s paradise with plenty of options for retail therapy. There are shopping malls, gift shops, and duty-free stores scattered throughout the island.
The Barbados gift shops are a must-visit for unique local crafts that are quite affordable. You can also find local vendors selling beach wraps and jewelry, and they are usually willing to haggle over prices, especially if you are buying more than one item.
One of the best places to shop in Barbados is Bridgetown, the capital city. It has a variety of stores selling everything from designer brands to local handicrafts.
- Cave Shepherd is a popular department store that offers duty-free shopping.
- Limegrove Lifestyle Centre is another shopping destination that features luxury brands, restaurants, and a cinema.
- If you’re looking for souvenirs to take back home, the Pelican Craft Centre is a great place to start. It has over 20 shops selling handmade crafts, clothing, and jewelry.
- Another popular spot for souvenirs is Earthworks Pottery, where you can buy locally-made pottery and ceramics.
In conclusion, Barbados has plenty to offer when it comes to shopping. From local handicrafts to luxury brands, there’s something for everyone.
Some stores are closed on Sundays and public holidays, so check their open hours on Google Maps before going.
Remember to bring cash, as some places don’t accept Credit Cards, and enjoy the experience of shopping in this beautiful Caribbean destination.
Barbados is home to a variety of wildlife if you enjoy nature. The island’s most famous creature is the green monkey, which can be seen all over the island, especially in the early morning.
Other notable animals that can be spotted include giant turtles, agoutis, deer, iguanas, parrots, flamingoes, and pelicans. Travelers should also keep an ear out for the whistling frogs, whose charming musical chirps can be heard all over the island.
To get the best wildlife experience in Barbados, travelers should visit the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, where they can see green monkeys, turtles, armadillos, and exotic birds up close during feeding sessions.
When it comes to the water, there are snorkeling, scuba diving, and glass-bottom boat tours that offer great opportunities to spot colorful fish, coral, and sea turtles in the Caribbean Sea.
When interacting with wildlife in Barbados, travelers should remember to be respectful of their environment and not try to touch or interact with them. Feeding animals should also be avoided, as it can disrupt their natural diets and behaviors.
Additionally, travelers should avoid taking souvenirs made from animal parts or products, as this can contribute to the illegal wildlife trade and harm the animals’ populations.
By following these guidelines and respecting the natural habitats of Barbados’ wildlife, travelers can have a safe and enjoyable experience while appreciating the island’s unique biodiversity.
What is the currency used in Barbados?
The official currency of Barbados is the Barbados dollar (BBD), which is pegged to the US dollar at a fixed exchange rate of 2:1. US dollars are widely accepted, but visitors may receive change in Barbados dollars.
Major credit cards and traveler’s checks are also accepted, and banks can exchange USD, Canadian dollars, Euro, and British pounds for cash. Banknotes are issued in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars, while coins come in 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, and 1 dollar pieces.
Pay with your Credit Card as much as possible, but carrying some cash for small purchases is recommended.
What is the best time to visit Barbados?
Barbados boasts a year-round temperate climate, with temperatures rarely dropping below 70 degrees.
The peak tourist season runs from mid-December to mid-April, with clear skies and sunny days attracting the majority of visitors. Christmas and New Year see a peak in occupancy, and prices soar.
For a more affordable escape, consider visiting in July and August when rates are discounted, and you can enjoy some of the island’s famed festivals.
May is also an ideal time to visit, with lower crowds and still lovely warm weather.
What are the best beaches in Barbados?
Barbados offers a variety of beaches, from calm waters perfect for swimming to remote beaches with rugged shores.
- The best family-friendly beaches are located along the western and southern coasts, with Accra, Dover, Miami, Maxwell, Batts Rock, Folkestone, Mullins Bay, and Brighton being popular choices with public facilities, beach rentals, and restaurants nearby.
- For picturesque destinations, Carlisle Bay offers wonderful beaches and crystal-clear water, with Pebble Beach, Brownes Beach, and Bayshore Beach being the top spots.
- Sandy Lane Beach, Alleynes Beach, Brandons Beach, and Reed’s Bay are renowned for their clear warm waters and golden sands.
- Crane Beach and Bottom Bay Beach are perfect for those seeking a more remote location.
Visitors can also find their own secret beach, as all beaches in Barbados are public.
What is the Crop Over festival?
The Crop Over Festival in Barbados is a cultural and historical celebration that marks the end of the sugar cane harvesting season.
The festival, which began in the 1780s, takes place over three months during the summer, with the Grand Kadooment Day parade as its grand finale.
Today, the festival has a Carnivale-esque feel with live music, colorful costumes, and thousands of partiers. The festival is a key highlight for Bajans and visitors alike and a great way to experience the local culture and traditions of the island.
What is the best way to get around Barbados?
Barbados offers several transportation options for visitors:
- The best way to get around is by renting a car, which allows for flexibility and ease of travel.
- Taxis are available but can be expensive. Negotiating a rate beforehand is necessary.
- Uber is not available, but similar apps exist.
- Public transportation is affordable and reliable, with buses and privately-owned taxis available.
What is the best way to find accommodation in Barbados?
Barbados offers a wide range of accommodation options for travelers of all budgets and preferences.
Websites like Booking.com have a wide variety of budget-friendly and luxury hotels all around the island. For hostels, check Hostelworld.com.
To find the best deals, consider visiting during the off-season from mid-April through early December or booking in advance for peak season.
Popular areas to stay include:
- Oistins for a laid-back vibe,
- Speightstown for families,
- and St. Lawrence for nightlife.
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Top Barbados Travel Tips
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