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The amazing island of Barbados: Sun, sea and sand
Barbados is an island with fabulous tropical nature, gorgeous beaches and a pleasant mild climate in all seasons. The eastern part is dominated by uplands, while the rest of the landscape is flat.
Barbados was once a British colony, so the inhabitants continue to observe the traditions of the British. Another name of the island is “Little England”. There are also the habitats of unique representatives of fauna and flora.
No wonder that the island is a place of attraction for tourists from all over the world. The capital of the state of the same name is Bridgetown.
Weather or how to pick the best time to relax
The year-round temperature is +27 . +31 degrees. Rainy season – from June to November, the greatest amount of rainfall – in July. The hurricane season is from September to October (it’s not uncommon). The heat peak is from February to May: the daytime temperature is usually no lower than +30 degrees, with practically no rainfall. The climate corresponds to the tropical, with constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean.
North coast of Barbados. Photo by Michael Ginn.
What to do in Barbados
- Relaxed tourism includes visits to major monuments of colonial Britain, museums and natural beauties of Barbados: the Botanical Gardens of Andromeda, St. Nicholas Abbey, the reserve in St. Piter, the Synagogue of Barbados, Codrington Theological College, Harrison’s Cave, Sugar Museum, Francia Plantation House, and many others. With the purchase of a special tourist passport (Heritage Barbados Passport) costing about $35 American dollars – all visits are 50% off and you can bring two children under the age of twelve for free.
- Annual World Jazz Festival (runs most of January and features world-renowned musicians).
- For fans of boat trips and unique nature – excursions to Saint Vincent, Grenadines, Dominica, Saint Lucia – to see all the beauty of the Caribbean Sea, pristine nature reserves, forests and majestic waterfalls, and visit places where movies about famous pirate Jack Sparrow were shot!
- Crop Over Festival, an annual carnival with musical contests and traditional entertainment to celebrate the sugarcane harvest, which begins in early July and ends with a grand masquerade on the first Monday in August.
- Nightlife: plenty of bars and discos, including Harbor Lights on the open-air beach. The center of nightlife is St. Lawrence Gap, which is just south of the island’s capital, Bridgetown.
- For those who prefer golf, there are three world-renowned golf courses, Sandy Lane, Royal Westmoreland and the Barbados Golf Club.
- For lovers of water sports we recommend to pay attention to water skiing, big wave surfing, safe diving and snorkeling. It is worth noting that diving is possible at any time of the day or year; underwater there is an abundance of beautiful and rare species of corals, the remains of shipwrecks and non-hazardous sea creatures. Surfers prefer the season from October to March; waves of any height can be found on all coasts of the island. There are surfing instruction schools.
How to get to the island
Fly to the island directly from Russia is not possible. Airlines in other countries can offer flights with connections. Their duration is approximately 14-15 hours.
By air .
Grantley Adams International Airport receives daily flights from the United States, European Union, and the entire Caribbean region. Today it is the busiest transportation hub east of the Caribbean the Islands.
The modern terminal building includes a large arrivals hall, baggage area, ticket offices, passport control and customs office. The service area has been expanded: those arriving and departing can visit the bar or restaurant and do some shopping. There are porters here too, their services cost 1 USD.
Outside the airport there are 24-hour cabs and buses. There are buses to Bridgetown every thirty minutes, from 6 a.m. to midnight. You can also rent a car at the airport.
Colors of Barbados. Photo by Monique M.
Transportation System in Barbados.
Cab drivers have set fares for some routes. Visitors negotiate with drivers in what currency they will pay. Tourists can also rent a car. It is expensive and requires an international driver’s license and permission from the local authorities. Traffic in this country is left-handed.
Barbados is considered to be a safe country; crime is low there. However, tourists should not completely relax and let their guard down. It is not recommended to take important documents, cash and other valuables everywhere. Safes are provided for them. Hotels have their own security departments, but even there is no need to leave belongings unattended.
Any drug-related violations are punished to the fullest extent of the law.
The waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet near the southern coast. This is a true paradise for windsurfing enthusiasts. There are also numerous three-and four-star hotels and entertainment venues. Heavy nightlife is concentrated in an area called St. Lawrence Gap.
Rum is considered the calling card of Barbados. Numerous mini-bars and colorful stores, where this drink is sold, are scattered throughout the country.
The west coast is washed by the waters of the Caribbean Sea. This part of the island is famous for its beautiful sandy beaches. It is a suitable place for those who prefer a quiet holiday by the sea. The best hotels, bars and restaurants are on the west coast.
The east coast is washed by the great Atlantic Ocean. The most comfortable and beautiful scenery is here. Also in this area the least amount of tourists, it is chosen only by fans of surfing and wild beaches.
The northern part of the island has the lowest population density. This area is a nature reserve, 25 kilometers from Bridgetown. It is home to rare exotic animals and birds.
Cave with a view of the ocean, Barbados. Photo by Andrei Sulitsky.
There are no private beaches on the island, all public. There are no nudist beaches; top-less tanning is prohibited by law.
In the north of the island, the beaches, although beautiful, but poorly adapted for recreation: the prevailing rocky landscapes, turbulent waves of the Atlantic. Beaches in the east of the island prefer surfers, as the eastern coastline is undercurrents, and the intersection of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, which create high waves.
The southern beaches, famous for their white sand, are the safest, but also the most popular, with developed infrastructure.
The western part of the island is often washed by the Caribbean Sea; the sand here is golden and the water is turquoise-blue.
- The currency is the Barbados dollar (approximately $0.50).
- Are open from 8.30 to 16.30 (Mon-Fri), or a maximum of 13.00 (Sat)
- Sunday is a day off.
- supermarkets – every day until 8 p.m.
- in the stores, there are problems with change from big bills; cashless payment with a card is more popular (not counting markets)
- Prices are quite high, but you can save money if you have a passport and a return ticket, because the island operates a system of Tax Free (goods will be sold net of value added tax)
- What to bring as a souvenir: wooden figurines, ships made of seashells, glass paintings, rum based on coconut milk, ships in bottles.
What can you buy to eat and drink?
- Traditional cuisine includes a huge number of seafood dishes.
- National dishes: flying fish and distinctive porridge made of okra “ku ku” and grains
- Prices for freshly cooked fish in the establishments – from 50 Barbadian dollars. For comparison, an ordinary bottle of water – $3, $ 5, a bottle of beer – $ 2.5.
- Alcohol: the most popular is local rum. There are numerous bars and stores selling rum all over the island.
The most expensive hotels and villas, where the world’s stars live or rest, are built along the coast in the west of the island. In the south, hotels are more affordable, the nightlife is active and intense. In hotels, standard outlets are American type, in expensive hotels, adapters and converters are free. For a low-budget holiday rent a guest house, their prices are cheaper, because they are located at some distance from the beaches.
Features visa for travel to Barbados
Russians do not need a visa if their stay in this country does not exceed 28 days. But the medical insurance until the end of the trip is required.
There are no restrictions on the import of foreign currency, except that the amount must be declared. It is not allowed to take out local money, and it is allowed to take out foreign currency, but its amount must not exceed the amount specified upon arrival.
Adult citizens are entitled to duty-free imports of:
- 450 grams of tobacco products;
- not more than 0.75 liters of spirits of high strength and 0.75 liters of wine;
- 150 milliliters of perfume;
- 300 milliliters of perfumes.
For those who have pets, you should know that they can not be taken on the island.
Important Telephone Numbers
Barbados is under the protection of the British Kingdom, so it is not unreasonable to keep the embassy contact number +7 (495) 956-72-00. The nearest Russian embassy is in Guyana.
Barbados is a state located on the island of the same name in the Atlantic, east of the chain of Lesser Antilles. The head of state is the Queen of Great Britain, represented by the Governor General. The area is 430 sq. km. The population is 280 thousand people. About 90% of the population are blacks and mulattoes. Among the whites the descendants of the English colonists are prominent. The official language is English. The capital of Barbados is Bridgetown.
Save on your trip to Barbados!
Before the Spaniards, the island was inhabited by the Arawak and Carib Indian tribes. In 1625 Barbados was conquered by the English who planted sugar and tobacco crops and employed slave laborers brought from Africa. Barbados’ independence was declared in 1966.
Barbados is a green tropical island formed by coral limestone. The relief is flat with gradually rising terraces to the center. The coastline is dazzling pink and white beaches of the finest coral sand, fringed with tall palm trees. Barbados has one of the healthiest climates in the West Indies. The average temperature in September (the warmest month) is 27°C, in February (the coolest) 25°C. During the dry season (December-June), the tropical heat is moderated by the northeasterly trade winds from the Atlantic, and the island is constantly blown by breezes.
The basis of agriculture is the production of sugar cane. Numerous rainforests of Barbados were destroyed as a result of the “sugar rush. The real disaster for the country were imported in the XIX century to exterminate rats mongooses, which began to eat poultry and even small animals. Each year, more than 300 thousand tourists visit the island, built here first-class hotels and an international airport.
History of Barbados
The first settlers on Barbados were Indian nomads. Three waves of immigration passed through the island, which then headed toward North America. The first wave included members of the Saladoid-Barrancoid group, indigenous Venezuelans who came to the island by canoe from the Orinoco River Valley around 350 A.D.. They farmed, fished, and made pottery. Later, around 800 A.D. Arawak Indians arrived on the island, also from South America. Arawak settlements on the island include Stroud Point, Chandler Bay, Saint Luke’s Gully, and Mapp’s Cave. According to records of tribal descendants from other neighboring islands, the island was originally called Ichirouganaim. In the 13th century, the island was settled by the Carib Indians, displacing both of the preceding tribes. For the next few centuries, the Caribs, like the Arawak and Saladoid Barrancoid tribes before them, lived isolated on the island.
The name “Barbados” came from the Portuguese explorer Pedro Campos in 1536, who first called the island “Os Barbados” (bearded) because of its abundance of fig trees covered in beard-like epiphytes. Between 1536 and 1550, the Spanish conquistadors captured many Caribs on the island and used them as slaves on the plantations. Some Caribs did escape from the island.
British sailors who landed on the island in the 1620s at what is now Holetown found the island uninhabited. From the first British settlers in 1627-1628 until independence in 1966, Barbados was under continuous British control. Nevertheless, Barbados was content with the wide autonomy it was granted. Its parliament, the House of Assembly, was formed in 1639. Among the first important British representatives was Sir William Courtenay.
Beginning in the 1620s, large numbers of black slaves were brought to the island. 5,000 natives died of fever in 1647 and a tenth of the slaves were killed by Royalist planters during the English Revolution in the 1640s for fear that the ideas of the Levellers movement might spread among the slaves if Parliament took over.
At that time, a large number of contract servants, mostly from Ireland and Scotland, migrated to the island. For the next several centuries the Celts served as a buffer between the Anglo-Saxon planters and the large black population. They often served in the colonial militia and played a serious role as allies of the black population in the never-ending series of colonial conflicts. In addition, the English brought large numbers of Scots and Irish to the island as slaves in 1659. Under English King James II and other Stuart kings, Scottish and English slaves were also brought to the island, for example in 1685 at the suppression of the Monmouth Rebellion in England. Today’s descendants of these slaves ironically refer to themselves as “Red Legs” and are among the poorest people in contemporary Barbados. There was also frequent mixing of blood between the black African population and the Celts. Because the African population was better adapted to the local climate and less susceptible to tropical diseases, and because the white population emigrated more often at the first opportunity, the predominantly Celtic population in the 17th century was replaced overwhelmingly by the black population by the 20th century.
As the sugar industry became the main commercial activity on the island, Barbados was divided into large plantation estates, which were replaced by small plots by early British settlers. Some of the displaced farmers moved to the British colonies of North America, especially South Carolina. Slaves from West Africa were brought to Barbados and other Caribbean islands to work on plantations. The slave trade ended in 1804. But still ongoing oppression led in 1816 to the largest slave revolt in the island’s history. About a thousand people died in the rebellion for freedom, 144 were executed, and another 123 were deported by the royal army. Eighteen years later, in 1834, slavery in the British colonies was finally abolished. In Barbados and the other British colonies in the West Indies, complete emancipation from slavery was preceded by a six-year period of training.
In the years that followed, however, plantation owners and British traders still dominated local politics thanks to the property census. More than 70% of the population, including disenfranchised women, were excluded from the democratic process. This continued until the 1930s, when descendants of freed slaves organized a political rights movement. One of the leaders of this movement was Sir Grantley Adams, who founded the Barbados Labor Party, later renamed the Barbados Progressive League in 1938. Although he was a staunch supporter of the monarchy, Adams and his party demanded greater rights for the poor. Progress toward a democratic government was made in 1942, when the property census was lowered and women gained the right to vote. By 1949, power was wrested from the planters, and in 1958 Adams became the country’s prime minister.
From 1958 to 1962 Barbados was one of ten members of the West Indies Federation, a nationalist organization that advocated independence for the British colonies in the region. The monarchically-minded Adams could no longer meet the needs of the people. Errol Walton Barrow, a major reformer, left Adams’s party and founded the Democratic Labor Party as a liberal alternative to the Barbados Progressive League, succeeding Adams as premier in 1961.
With the dissolution of the Federation, Barbados returned to its former status as a self-governing colony. In June 1966, the island entered into negotiations with Great Britain for its independence, and on November 30, 1966, the island’s independence was formally declared and Errol Barrow became its first prime minister.
Geography of Barbados
Barbados is a relatively flat island, rising gently toward the central part. The highest point Mount Hillaby, 336 meters above sea level, is in the Scottish region of the island. There are no permanent rivers on the island, the main part of the land is coral limestone. The island is located at some distance from the other islands of the Caribbean Sea. The island’s climate is mild subtropical, with the rainy season lasting from June through October.
Although some suggest that the island is in the seasonal tropical storm and hurricane zone, this is actually not entirely true – it is located somewhat away from the traditional hurricane belt, on its southern tip. Nevertheless, about every 3 years the island finds itself in a hurricane zone, and the frequency of a direct hit is about once every 26.6 years.
The island is administratively divided into 11 counties: Christ Church, St. Andrew, St. George, St. James, St. John, St. Joseph, St. Lucie, St. Michael, St. Peter, St. Philip and St. Thomas.
St. Michael County is home to Bridgetown, the capital and main city of Barbados. Other towns on the island are Holetown in St. James County, Oistins in Christ Church County and Speightstown in St. Peter County.
The island is 23 kilometers wide and 34 kilometers long at its widest part.
The economy of Barbados
Historically, Barbados’ economy has always been dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities. The economy faced some difficulties in the mid-1980s due to government policies, but has recently returned to growth following the implementation of the IMF-recommended structural adjustment package. In addition, the economy has been successfully diversified into the tourism industry and light industry. Offshore financial and information institutions are widely represented on the island. Since the late 1990s, the island has seen a construction boom with new hotels, apartment buildings, offices, etc. popping up everywhere.
The government continues to fight unemployment, welcomes foreign investment in the economy, and privatizes the remaining state-owned enterprises. Unemployment has previously fallen by 14% and recently by another 10%.
Economic growth declined slightly in 2001 and 2002 due to a decrease in tourist arrivals, consumer activity and the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but returned to previous levels in 2003 and exceeded them in 2004. Barbados’ traditional trading partners are Canada, the Caribbean Community (especially Trinidad and Tobago), the United Kingdom and the United States.
Since the 2003 agreement with Canada for a $25 million Canadian investment in the country, business ties and investment flows on the island have increased markedly. According to some reports, the richest permanent resident of the island is Canadian businessman Eugene Melnick of Toronto.
In 2004, it was announced that the 2007 cricket final would be held at the Kensington Oval in Barbados.
It is believed that 2006 will be a record year for commercial construction in Barbados.
Population of Barbados
The population of Barbados is 279,000 with a population growth rate of 0.33% (2005 data). About 90% of the population (who call themselves Bajans) are black (Afro-Bajans), mostly descended from slaves laboring in the sugar cane industry. The remainder of the population includes a European group (Anglo-Bajans), Asians, Hindi Bajans and an influential Muslim group from the Middle East (Arab Bajans), mostly descendants of Syria and Lebanon.
Other national groups include those from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, or Hispanics who have come to work. Barbadians who have returned from the United States are called Yankee Azerbaijanis, which is offensive to some.
English is the official language in Barbados. The local dialect is called Bajan. Sixty-seven percent of residents are evangelical Protestants under the Anglican Church, with Roman Catholics, Hindus and Muslim minorities also represented.
Transportation in Barbados
The mainstay of public transportation in Barbados is the bus service. The 3 bus systems operate 7 days a week (less frequently on Sundays), with a fare of 1.50 Barbados dollars. Along with the large blue municipal buses of the Barbados Transport System, bus service is also represented by private shuttle buses called ZR’s (pronounced “zed-ars”), as well as by “minibuses” companies that go around all the important places on the island. These minibuses can sometimes be crowded, but usually choose the most spectacular places to travel. These buses usually depart either from the capital city of Bridgetown or from Speightstown in the north of the island.
Private company minibuses give change; Barbados Transport System municipal buses do not. Many routes can only be switched at Bridgetown. However, if you wait long enough, you can find a bus that goes directly to your destination rather than through the capital city. Usually drivers are happy to pick you up wherever you are, but private company drivers are very reluctant to suggest alternative routes, even if those are better suited to you.
The hunt for customers begins at the bus terminal (sometimes even in a parking lot full of buses); very often the ZR’s driver tries to lead you to his car while loudly bickering with other drivers. In fact, such bickering is not as dramatic as it seems at first glance.
Some hotels also offer a shuttle service to the island’s attractions. Typically, their shuttles depart directly from the hotel entrance. The island is also full of cabs, although their services are quite expensive. Visitors can also rent a car if they have a valid license. You should just note that the traffic in Barbados is left-handed.