21 miles x14 miles
Mainly flat; some hills; highest hill is 1,115 feet
Bridgetown, population: 97,000
independent nation within the British Commonwealth
Tourism, sugar production, oil production
Atlantic Time Zone. Daylight saving time not observed. During the time the US is on daylight saving time, the time in Barbados matches Eastern daylight time in the US. Otherwise, time in Barbados is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
Average Temperatures (In Fahrenheit):
Barbados is warm and sunny all year round with an average daytime high of 75 - 85oF. The nights are usually slightly cooler.The prevailing northeast tradewinds blow steadily so that although it is bright and sunny, it is not unbearably hot. Rain usually comes in quick showers. The dry season lasts from January to June. Barbados is not in the direct hurricane path.
|January - March
|April - June
|July - September
|October - December
January 01 - New Year's Day - National Holiday
January 21 - Errol Barrow Day (Prime Minister at time of independence, honored on his birthday, January 21st. )
April 13 - Good Friday - National Holiday
April 16 - Easter Monday - National Holiday
April 28 - National Heroes Day - National Holiday
May 01 - Labor Day - National Holiday
June 04 - Whit Monday - National Holiday
August 01 - Emancipation Day - National Holiday
August 06 - Kadooment Day - National Holiday (The finale to the Crop Over Festival)
November 30 - Independence Day - National Holiday
December 25 - Christmas Day - National Holiday
December 26 - Boxing Day - National Holiday
The little green apples that fall from the branches of the manchineel tree are poisonous to eat and toxic to the touch. Even taking shelter under the tree when it rains can give you blisters. Most manchineels are identified with signs. If you do come in contact with one, go to the nearest hotel and have someone there phone for a physician.
The water on the island is plentiful and safe to drink in both hotels and restaurants. It is naturally filtered through 1,000 feet of pervious coral.
Sunburn or sunstroke can be serious. A long-sleeve shirt, a hat, and long pants or a beach wrap are essential on a boat, for midday at the beach, and whenever you go out sightseeing. Use sunblock lotion on nose, ears, and other sensitive areas, limit your sun time for the first few days, and be sure to drink enough liquids.
Electric current on Barbados is 110 volts/50 cycles, U.S. standard. Hotels have adapters/transformers for guests from the United Kingdom or other countries that operate on 220-volt current.
Bridgetown offices and stores are open weekdays 8:30-5, Saturday 8:30-1. Out-of-town locations may stay open later. Some supermarkets are open daily 8-6 or later. Banks are open Monday-Thursday 8-3, Friday 8-5 (some branches in supermarkets are open Saturday morning 9-noon), and at the airport the Barbados National Bank is open from 8 AM until the last plane leaves or arrives, seven days a week (including holidays).
Coast Guard (246/427-8819; 246/436-6185 for non-emergencies)
Police (211; 242/430-7100 for nonemergencies)
English is the official language and is spoken by everyone, everywhere. The Bajan dialect is based on Afro-Caribbean rhythms, with the addition of an Irish or Scottish lilt. The African influence is apparent in names of typical Bajan foods, such as cou-cou and buljol.
The general post office, in Cheapside, Bridgetown, is open weekdays 7:30-5; the Sherbourne Conference Center branch is open weekdays 8:15-4:30; and branches in each parish are open weekdays 8-3:15. When sending mail to Barbados, be sure to include the parish name in the address.
Automated teller machines (ATMs) are available 24 hours a day at bank branches, transportation centers, shopping centers, gas stations, and other convenient spots throughout the island. You can use major credit cards to obtain cash advances (in local currency) using your usual PIN.
The Barbados dollar is tied to the U.S. dollar at the rate of BDS$1.98 to $1. U.S. paper currency, major credit cards, and traveler's checks are all accepted island-wide. Be sure you know which currency you're dealing in when making a purchase. Prices quoted here are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted.
A 71/2% government tax is added to all hotel bills. A 15% VAT is imposed on restaurant meals, admissions to attractions, and merchandise sales (other than duty-free). Prices are often tax inclusive; if not, the VAT will be added to your bill. At the airport, before leaving Barbados, each passenger must pay a departure tax of $12.50 (BDS$25), payable in either currency; children 12 and under are exempt.
A 10% service charge is usually added to hotel bills and restaurant checks in lieu of tipping. At your discretion, tip beyond the service charge to recognize extraordinary service. If no service charge is added, tip waiters 10%-15% and maids $1 per room per day. Bellhops and airport porters should be tipped $1 per bag. Taxi drivers :a 10% tip.
Passports & Visas:
U.S. and Canadian citizens can enter Barbados for visits of up to three months with proof of citizenship and a return or ongoing ticket. Acceptable proof is a valid passport or a birth certificate with a raised seal and a government-issued photo ID; a voter registration card or baptismal certificate is not acceptable.
The best time to apply for a passport or to renew is during the fall and winter. Before any trip, check your passport's expiration date, and, if necessary, renew it as soon as possible.
The area code for Barbados is 246. Local calls are free from private phones and some hotels. From pay phones the charge is BDS25ยข for five minutes. Prepaid phone cards, which can be used in pay phones throughout Barbados and other Caribbean islands, are sold at shops, attractions, transportation centers, and other convenient outlets.
Directory & Operator Information:
For directory assistance dial 411.
The country code for the United States and Canada is 1; for Australia, 61; for New Zealand, 64; and for the United Kingdom, 44.
Direct-dialing to the United States, Canada, and other countries is efficient, and the cost is reasonable, but always check with your hotel to see if a surcharge is added. To charge your overseas call on a major credit card without incurring a surcharge, dial 800/744-2000 from any phone.
Don't fly within 24 hours after scuba diving.
The Barbados dollar (BD$) is the official currency, available in $5, $10, $20, and $100 notes, as well as 10ยข, 25ยข, and $1 silver coins, plus 1ยข and 5ยข copper coins. The Bajan dollar is worth 50ยข in U.S. currency. Most stores take traveler's checks or U.S. dollars. However, it's best to convert your money at banks and pay in Bajan dollars. (Just before you leave home, you can check the current exchange rates on the Web at www.x-rates.com.)
U.S. or Canadian citizens coming directly from North America to Barbados for a period not exceeding 3 months must have proof of identity and national status, such as a passport, which we always recommend carrying. However, a birth certificate (either an original or a certified copy) is also acceptable, provided it's backed up with photo ID. For stays longer than 3 months, a passport is required. An ongoing or return ticket is also necessary. British subjects need a valid passport.
Arriving & Departing:
Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) (Christ Church)
More than 20 daily flights arrive on Barbados from all over the world. Grantley Adams International Airport is on Highway 7, on the southern tip of the island at Long Bay, between Oistins and a village called The Crane. From North America, the four major gateways to Barbados are New York, Miami, Toronto, and San Juan. Flying time to Barbados is 41/2 hours from New York, 31/2 hours from Miami, 5 hours from Toronto, and 1 1/2 hours from San Juan.
Transfers Between the Airport and Town:
Airport taxis aren't metered, but fares are Be sure, however, to establish the fare before getting into the cab and that you understand whether the price quoted is in U.S. or Barbadian dollars.
Half the annual visitors to Barbados are cruise passengers. Bridgetown's Deep Water Harbour is on the northwest side of Carlisle Bay, and up to eight cruise ships can dock at the well appointed Cruise Ship Terminal. Downtown Bridgetown is a 1/2-mi (1-km) walk from the pier; a taxi costs about $3 each way.
Bus service is efficient, inexpensive, and plentiful. Blue buses with a yellow stripe are public, yellow buses with a blue stripe are privately-owned and operated, as are white "Z-R" vans with a burgundy stripe. All travel frequently along Highway 1 (St. James Road) and Highway 7 (South Coast Main Road), as well as inland routes. The fare is low; exact change is required on public buses and appreciated on private ones. Check with cruise personnel or your hotel for current fares. Buses pass along main roads about every 20 minutes and are usually packed. Stops are marked by small signs on roadside poles that say "To City" or "Out of City," meaning the direction relative to Bridgetown. Flag down the bus with your hand, even if you're standing at the stop. In Bridgetown, terminals are at Fairchild Street for buses to the south and east and at Lower Green for buses to Speightstown via the west coast.
A network of main highways facilitates traffic flow into and out of Bridgetown; the Adams-Barrow-Cummins (ABC) Highway bypasses Bridgetown, which saves time getting from coast to coast. Although small signs tacked to trees and poles at intersections point the way to most attractions, be sure to study a map.
Nearly 30 agencies rent cars, Jeeps, or small open-air vehicles. Check to see if the car has AC, if that is a priority for you. Also check liability insurance. The rental generally includes insurance. There are gas stations in Bridgetown, on the main highways along the west and south coasts, and in most inland parishes.
To rent a car you must have an international driver's license or Barbados driving permit, obtainable at the airport, police stations, and major car-rental firms for $5 with a valid driver's license.
Remote roads are in fairly good repair, yet few are well lighted at night -- and night falls quickly, at about 6 pm year round. Even in full daylight, the tall sugarcane fields lining both sides of the road in interior sections can make visibility difficult. Pedestrians and an occasional sheep often walk in the roads. When someone flashes a car's headlights at you at an intersection, it means "after you."
Rules of the Road:
The speed limit is 30 mph in the country, 20 mph in town. Park only in approved parking areas. Remember to drive on the left.
The history of the churches in Barbados gives insight into the past and present. A brief account of each major faith tradition in Barbados is followed by times of weekly worship services.
The Roman Catholic church was initially rejected by the Protestant plantation owners in Barbados, and did not become accepted there until after the abolition of slavery in 1838. The following year, a military garrison (the Connaught Rangers) requested and received a Catholic chaplain. This led to increased numbers of local people joining the Roman Catholic Church. Today, Catholics make up approximately four percent of church goers and there are 5 Roman Catholic Churches in Barbados.
Our Lady Queen of The Universe
Black Rock, St.Michael
Our Lady of Sorrow
Ashton Hall, St.Peter
Maxwell Main Road, Christ Church
St.Francis of Assisi
Mount Steadfast, St.James
St. Patrick's Cathedral
Corner Bay St.& Jemmonts Lane, St.Michael
The Anglican was the first official religion in Barbados. Today it accounts for 33% of church going members, down from 90% reported in an 1871 survey. Slaves were forbidden membership by the original plantation owners, who were concerned that the church might undermine their authority over the workers. With the abolition of slavery in 1838 many ex-slaves joined the Anglican church. Bishop William Hart Coleridge, the first Anglican Bishop, did much to extend the church's influence by building ten chapels in the rural areas. His work, which began in 1825 and lasted to 1842, also led to the development of 11 chapel schools and the St. Mary Church in Bridgetown.
All Saints Parish Church
Pleasant Hall, St.Peter
St.Andrew's Parish Church
The Rectory, St.Andrew
Parris Hill, St.Joseph
Sunday 9:00am , 5:00pm
George Street, St.Michael
Sunday 7:00am, 9:00am, 6:00pm
Sunday 6:15am, 7:30am
St.James Parish Church
St.John's Parish Church
St.Lawrence Gap, Christ Church
Hastings, Christ Church
Hastings, Christ Church
St.Peter's Parish Church
Sunday 7:30am, 9:15am
St.Paul Anglican Chursh
Bay Street, St.Michael
Black Rock, St.Michael
About 300 Jewish people of Recife, Brazil, persecuted by the Dutch, settled in Barbados in the 1660's. Skilled in the sugar industry, they quickly introduced the crop and passed on their skills in cultivation and production to the Barbados land owners. With their help Barbados went on to become one of the world's major sugar producers. There is currently one synagogue situated in Bridgetown. Built in the 17th century (1654) it was destroyed by hurricane in 1831, was rebuilt, fell into disrepair and was sold in 1929. In 1983, it was bought back by the Jewish community and was restored to its present state with its beautiful Gothic arches, and is now a Barbados National Trust protected building and an active synagogue.
Shaare Tzedek Synagogue
Rockley New Road, Christ Church
Seventh Day Adventist
King's Street SDA
King's Street Saturday 11:00am ; Sunday 6:00pm ; Wednesday 7:15pm
The Eastlyn SDA
Cane Hill Rd, Eastlyn, St.George
Saturday 9:00am,4:15pm ; Sunday 6:30pm ; Wednesday 7:15pm
The Methodists arrived in Barbados in 1789, intent on Christianizing the slave population. However, their early efforts were unsuccessful and 20 years later they had only 30 converts. The plantation owners were suspicious of the anti-slavery stance of the Methodists and constantly persecuted the church. Methodist meeting houses were pelted with stones and their meetings were often interrupted. The planters' hatred led to an angry mob tearing down the Methodist chapel in James Street, Bridgetown in 1823. In addition there were several (unsuccessful) attempts to outlaw Methodism in Barbados. The burning of the James Street Church may have been the turning point. After that their membership steadily grew and reached over 5,000 by 1848 .
Hawthorne Methodist Church
Hawthorne, Christ Church
Sunday 9:00am, 5:00pm
James Street Methodist Church
James Street, Bridgetown
Sunday 9:00am, 5:00pm
The Quakers were one of the first churches to encourage slaves to join them. This so angered the Plantation owners that it resulted in the legislation of 1676 that made it illegal for blacks to attend a Quaker meeting. One of the original Quaker Churches in Speightstown is currently being rebuilt and restored to its traditional simple elegance.
The Moravians arrived in Barbados from Germany in 1765 with plans to Christianize and educate the entire slave population. The Moravians were the first missionaries to allow slaves in their congregation. For the first twenty-five years they made little progress and in 1790 the number of conversions was only 40. The building of the historic Sharon Moravian Church in 1799 seemed to help their cause and by 1812 Sharon alone had a congregation of over two hundred. Today the Moravians exist in Barbados as a flourishing religious denomination.
Calvary Moravian Church
Sharon Moravian Church
St.Thomas Sunday 9:00am
Bethlehem Moravian Church
Maxwell, Christ Church
Mt. Tabor Moravian Church
St.John (next to Villa Nova)
The Spiritual Baptist Church is indigenous to Barbados. It was founded in 1957 by Archbishop Granville Williams and its congregation has since swelled to over 10,000. Members of the Spiritual Baptist Church tie brightly colored cloth around their heads. New members are baptized by immersion in the clear, coastal waters of Barbados. The Spiritual Baptist Church has a strong African influence and its services involve much dancing and singing.
Rastafarianism was introduced to Barbados in 1975 as an offshoot of the Rastafarian movement in Jamaica. The Rastafarian movement began with the teachings of Marcus Garvey who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association in the 1920's. He called for self reliance "at home and abroad" and advocated a "back to Africa" consciousness, awakening black pride and denouncing the British colonial indoctrination that caused blacks to feel shame for their African heritage.
Rastafarians live a peaceful life, needing few material possessions and devote much time to contemplating the scriptures. They reject the white man's world, as the "new age Babylon of greed and dishonesty." Proud and confident Rastas stand up for their rights, their hair long, knotted in dreadlocks in the image of the lion of Judah. The movement spread quickly in Barbados and was attractive to the local black youths, many of whom saw it as an extension of their adolescent rebellion from school and parental authority. However, all true Rastas signify peace and pride and righteousness.
Islamic Teaching Centre
Harts Gap, Hastings, Christ Church
Kensington New Road, Bridgetown
Daily 5 services.
Friday Special service - 12:30pm
The Jehovah Witness community has grown steadily in Barbados over the past years.
Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints
Mount Carmel Pentecostal
St.Patrick's, Christ Church
As a result of dissatisfaction with established religions, many groups broke away to form their own religious factions. Some of these groups then divided further, forming new sects. This has led to the large number the large number of sects in Barbados today. Examples of such groups are: the Wesleyan Holiness, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Ebeneezer Revival Centre, Berean Bible Baptist Church, and Unity of Barbados.