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Grantley Adams International Airport is located in the south-east of the island, along the Adams-Barrow-Cummins Highway, approximately half an hour’s journey to the spectacular west coast beaches. South coast and city destinations are all minutes away by car or public transport. Barbados is the main gateway to the other islands of the Southern Caribbean. The Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA Inc) is one of the finest airports in the Caribbean and plays an important role as a major link for international air traffic in the Eastern Caribbean. The main passenger terminal handles in excess of 2 million passengers each year and has been upgraded to accommodate increases in traffic.



Direct International flights link Barbados with North America, the United Kingdom and Europe - New York, Miami, Puerto Rico, Toronto, London Gatwick, Manchester, Germany and Scandinavia

The following airlines operate flights into Grantley Adams International Airport:

Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Condor, Delta, JetBlue, LIAT, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic & WestJet.


Banks are open from 8:00 am until 3:00 pm, Monday to Thursday and from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on Fridays. They are closed on weekends and public holidays. Barbados has branches of Republic Bank, First Caribbean Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia, plus local and Caribbean banks.


Please note that it is against the law for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing or carry items made with camouflage material – this includes hats, bags, garments, etc. Camouflage items will be confiscated at Customs.


The capital city is Bridgetown (pronounced separately). There are three smaller towns - Speightstown (pronounced spites - town) in the Northwest; Holetown in the middle of the West coast, and Oistins (pronounced oy - stins) in the middle of the South coast.


Barbados is generally warm and sunny all year round, with temperatures ranging from a low of 65F/19C to a high of 88F/32C. The prevailing northeast trade winds blow steadily so that although it is bright and sunny, it is not unbearably hot. The rain usually comes in quick showers. The dry season lasts from January to June.


Credit Cards
Most establishments (hotels, restaurants and major department stores) will accept American Express, MasterCard and VISA. US Dollar cash and traveler's cheques are also accepted.



The Barbados Dollar is fixed to the U.S. Dollar and does not fluctuate. Its rate to other currencies fluctuates daily based on their fluctuations relative to the U.S. Dollar. The correct exchange rate for cash is BDS $1.98 to U.S. $1.00. The U.S. Dollar is commonly accepted, although (by law) you should be given change in Barbados Dollars
On your travels around Barbados you will find that U.S. currency is accepted across the island, and most stores and restaurants accept major credit cards and travelers cheques. Of course most Barbados hotels and other lodging also accept these various forms of payment.

Barbados banknotes are issued in the following denominations: 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 Dollars. Barbados coins are issued as 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents and 1 Dollar.


Duty Free Shopping
In Barbados, providing you show your proof of citizenship and your airline ticket you can purchase AND take duty free items with you from the store, with the exception of alcohol and cigarettes which must be collected at the airport. If, however, you do not happen to have these items with you, then, with a lead time of 24 hours, your purchase will be delivered to the duty free collection point in the departure hall of either the airport or seaport, where it may be collected prior to boarding your plane or ship.

Duty free bargains include, perfumes cosmetics, crystals, china, jewelry, electronics, liquor (including the finest rum in the world), and tobacco. The duty free price can represent a saving of somewhere between 35 to 45 percent.


Electricity in Barbados is 110 volts/50cycles. Standard plug types in Barbados are Flat blade (2 flat blades). If traveling from North America you should be able to use your appliances without any problems, however if traveling from Europe you may need adapters and transformers.

Entry Requirements

All persons entering Barbados including United States of America & Canada are required to have a valid passport and a valid return ticket. Passports must be valid at least 6 months after travel to Barbados.



In 1627, Barbados was settled by the British who created a House of Assembly in 1639, thus establishing the 3rd oldest parliament in the world and building a strong foundation for a long future of political stability. Barbados has remained a British colony until its independence on November 30th, 1966. A new Barbados constitution was drawn up in agreement with the British Crown and this was approved and accepted by the Parliament of Barbados. Part of that constitution decrees that Her Majesty, the Queen of England, shall be deemed the titular Head of State of Barbados and be represented here by a Governor General. As such the island remains a member of the British Commonwealth.

Barbados retains the Westminster-style parliament, with executive authority being vested in the Prime Minister and Cabinet, who are collectively responsible to Parliament. The Parliament consists of a Senate, House of Assembly, with the members of the latter being elected by the people on the basis of universal adult suffrage.

On October 23, 2010, Freundel Stuart was sworn in as the current and 7th Prime Minister of Barbados.


Gratuities and Taxes
There is a 17.5% government imposed Value Added Tax levied on food/beverage bills, but there is no sales tax. Accommodation attracts a VAT rate of 7.5%. Most hotels and restaurants normally add a 10% service charge, negating the need to tip for other than exemplary service. If a tip is not included, it will be clearly stated on the bill.


The Island was originally inhabited by a peaceful tribe of Indians, the Arawaks, who had mysteriously disappeared by the time the Portuguese arrived in 1536. The latter never stayed around, other than to give the Island its name - Los Barbados - the bearded ones, presumably after the Bearded Fig Tree, with its long aerial roots, much resembling a giant beard.

It wasn't until 1625 when a group of English explorers landed, claimed the Island for King James of England, and returned 2 years later with the first settlers, who came ashore at Jamestown, now Holetown. The Island remained British until 1966 when, on November 30th, it gained independence from England.



The hurricane season is from June to October but, thankfully, Barbados is very seldom affected by such bad weather. The last time the island suffered from a direct hit was in 1955 and before that 1898. Modern meteorological and communication systems ensure that there is plenty of warning of any impending danger.


English is the official language, however Barbadians speak their own language, complete with its own idioms, vernacular and words. Bajan (pronounced Bay - Jan, as in Janette) can best be described as English spoken at 100 MPH! People from Barbados are called either Barbadians or Bajans.


Barbados has a 600-bed facility, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which acts as the medical center for the eastern Caribbean. With full casualty services and technical equipment and services, this hospital can handle up to surgical procedures involving transplants. A smaller, up market hospital for general care, Bayview, is also available, as well as a small emergency unit – FMH, and a medical Clinic – Sandy Crest Medical Center on the West Coast.

The Island has 2 Hyperbaric chambers for the treatment of the Bends.


Bajans are an affable group of people who have lived with tourists and tourism for over 300 years. Mostly shy and conservative in the first instance, as they prefer to be properly introduced to strangers, this attitude gives way to some of the friendliest people you will meet anywhere, once the ice is broken.

Unlike other destinations where their people have to be reminded to smile and be friendly, the Barbadian will smile from his heart and be your helper and friend in need.


Barbados has been self-governing since 1639 and possesses the third oldest parliament in the Commonwealth, after Britain and Bermuda. It operates under the Westminster system, and elections are held every 5 years. The island is well known for its stability in politics, much to the envy of its Caribbean neighbours, some of whom have fallen victim to coups and political disturbances over the years. The political tradition is one of Democratic Socialism, in which free enterprise is recognized as the generator of wealth, and government, through taxation, provides several common services to the benefit of all the people.


The population is currently about 280,000 people, over half of whom live in and around the City and along the heavily populated west and south coasts. A population density of almost 1700 people per square mile, makes the Island around the 5th most densely populated country in the world. However, when driving around the Island, this fact is very hard to believe, as the northern, central and eastern parts of the Island are almost uninhabited.


Public Holidays


New Year’s Day- January 1
Errol Barrow Day - January 21
Good Friday 
Easter Monday 
National Heroes Day - April 28
May Day 
Whit Monday 
Kadooment Day - First Monday in August
Emancipation Day - August 2
Independence Day - November 30

Christmas Day - December 25

Boxing Day - December 26
(Where a designated Public Holiday falls on a Sunday, the day after will be celebrated.)

Barbados has over 72 different religious denominations, with a predominance of Anglicans (Episcopalians) and with everything from the African Methodist Episcopal Church to the Baha'i faith to Muslims.

In the center of the City you will find the oldest Jewish Institution in the Western Hemisphere, the Nidhe Israel Synagogue.


Safety & Security

Barbados is one of the safest destinations but, while it's fine to be at ease, visitors should exercise the same wisdom you would anywhere else in the world. On a day to day basis, law enforcement in Barbados is carried out by The Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF). Their motto is ' To serve, protect and reassure' and their mission is ' To provide the highest quality police service, in partnership with the community, to ensure a safe and stable environment.' There is a zero tolerance for ALL illegal drugs - yes, even marijuana (medicinal or otherwise) - and there are several penalties for the use and possession of narcotics, including the possibility of up to 20 years in prison.


166 square miles (430 square kilometers), with 21 miles (34 Km), north/south and 14 miles (23Km), east/west and 1,000 miles (1,600 Km) of paved roadway!


Cricket is Barbados' major sport, which has been elevated to almost religious significance. Past and present Barbadian members of the victorious West Indies team have achieved star status. Any Barbadian will tell you that having watched cricket, North Americans stole the idea and created baseball!

Other sports include thoroughbred horse racing at the historic Garrison Savannah track most Saturdays. Polo, played during the winter season, soccer, tennis, golf, rugby, motor racing and car rallies, basketball, swimming and cycling are among some of the other favorite sports.


Store Hours
In the City, the normal hours of operation are from 8:00am to either 4:30pm or 5:00pm, Monday to Friday. On Saturday, stores close at 2:00pm and nothing is open on Sunday, except when major cruise ships are in port. Other exceptions to the latter are the hotel shops and select boutiques at the Limegrove Lifestyle Center, which do open 7 days per week.

Pharmacies, in addition to regular weekday hours, also open on Sunday mornings.


Barbados has one of the most modern telephone and communications systems in the world. Digital fiber-optics are in use and you can dial anywhere in the world. Most hotels have long since dispensed with the antiquated "through the operator" system, allowing you to dial direct.

AT&T cards are accepted, however, unless the 800 number subscribers have bought the service band that would include Barbados, then outgoing calls on 800 numbers will not work. Computer communications with modem, via satellite are normal, as is fax and telex.

At the airport and seaport, there are USA direct phones, which can be used, and where US rates for calls are charged.


Clocks in Barbados never change. We did try daylight savings once for two years, with disastrous consequences!

For ease of reference, between April and October, Barbados, which is on Atlantic Standard Time, will be the same time as New York, Miami, Toronto and Montreal, 5 hours behind Britain and 6 hours behind Switzerland. For the rest of the year, Barbados will be one hour ahead of the former cities, 4 hours behind Britain and 5 hours behind Switzerland.



A valid passport is required by all visitors to Barbados. Nationals of CARICOM member states, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and some Commonwealth countries may travel directly to Barbados on a valid passport and without a visa for a period not exceeding three (3) months. All visitors are required to have onward or return tickets. For a complete list of countries which require a visa for entry, please visit


Barbados has been blessed with a plentiful supply of absolutely pure water that is almost sweet to the taste. The coral limestone foundation of the Island, which is unique to Barbados as a Caribbean Island (the others are all volcanic), is a natural filter for rainwater, which, after permeating through some 150 feet of it, collects in underground streams and rivers. We simply pump it back to the surface, add a dash of fluorine for dental purposes and a trace of chlorine and it goes back into the island's water supply and system of reservoirs. Water can be taken from any tap, anywhere on the island at any time, with absolute safety - no Montezuma's Revenge here - in fact, most Barbadians have never even met the fellow!


And that's exactly what we hope you give us the opportunity of saying to you upon your arrival into Barbados. We anxiously look forward to having you here in our island home and to bring to reality the memorable experience promised!


The sound you will make as you snooze under the sun or stars in this, our slice of heaven!!

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