When travelling to a new country, there are a few things that tourists need to be aware of in an effort to maximise their travel experience. This article presents some useful tips that come in handy when traveling to Barbados.
While the Barbados Dollar is fixed to the US dollar and does not fluctuate, its rate to the Euro or the Pound fluctuates daily based on the latter’s fluctuations relative to the US dollar. While you can easily exchange any major currencies into Barbadian currency at any bank, you can also use US dollars in most stores across the island. However, any change returned to the tourist will be in the local currency. ATMs are located all across the island, thus proving easy access to funds. However, these ATMS only dispense local currency. The Barbados banknotes are $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills, while the coins used are 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents and 1 dollar. The rate of conversion into Bajan dollars for some of the most popular currencies are given below:
1 Euro = $2.30 BD
1 British Pound = $2.90 BDS
1 US = $1.98 BDS
Also, a 17.5% tax is added to most items in stores and the prices quoted are usually tax inclusive.
Barbados has a myriad of places to dine whether your taste is casual or formal dining. Most of the best restaurants are located on the South and West Coast areas, however, no matter which parish you choose to reside in or visit, you can rest assured that there will be a restaurant nearby. In most instances, a 10% service charge is added to the bill.
There are two major service providers on the island: Flow and Digicel. You can choose to either enable roaming on your usual cell phone or choose to buy a Sim card from either of the two service providers or any corner store. The latter option is probably the most feasible, as roaming rates tend to be quite high. Credit can be added to phones island wide at various corner stores, malls and other locations across the island.
Transportation is easily accessible on the island with many vans and buses on all possible routes across the island. The fare for a Bus or van is $2 for any single destination, and a US $1 is also accepted.
However, taxis are usually the preferred methods of travel for most visitors. They operate 24 hours daily and carry several passengers at a time, meaning the fee can be shared. Taxis can also be hired at hourly rates for the day to take you wherever you wish to go. Cars can also be rented from the many car rental agencies across the island. Most agencies require individuals to be at least 21 years of age, and if you are 70 or older you may require a medical certificate. The daily rates for hired cars usually vary from company to company, but most tend to offer discounted three day or weekly rates. In order to hire a car, you will need an international driver’s licence or a temporary driving permit, which you can acquire from the rental company for a fee. Some agencies may require that the individuals have between 2 to 5 years driving experience. Also, the roads in Barbados require British style driving; that is, you must drive on the left side of the road. The speed limits across the island are as follows:
40km/h – Minor Roads
60 km/h – Main Roads
80 km/h – Major Highways
Also, rush hour times in Barbados tend to be between 7:00 and 8:30 in the morning, and 4:30 and 5:30 in the evening.
Many stores (but not all) offer duty free shopping in Barbados. Some of these stores are located in Bridgetown, as well as on the South and West Coasts. Duty free shopping is also available at the airport, both in the arrivals and departures sections. When making duty free purchases, you must have your passport/airline ticket with you. If you are unsure if a store offers duty free shopping, simply make an enquiry with a sales representative.
There is never a dull moment in Barbados, as there are many activities to do and enjoy on this 166 square mile island. There are many white sandy beaches across the island and as such many water activities including snorkelling, cruising and surfing. Also, Barbados has a few luxurious golf courses, most notably Royal Westmoreland and Sandy Lane, and in addition to this a great night life atmosphere, most notably on the South Coast. Also the rolling interior of the island features sights of historical significance including plantation houses and caves, while many botanic gardens are open to the public for viewing.
Prohibitions and Warnings
Smoking is forbidden in public places in Barbados although beaches are an exception as they do not fall under the definition of a public place. Topless and nude bathing is illegal on the beaches, as is the wearing of any form of camouflage anywhere on the island.
Also, be sure to apply sunblock whenever you expect prolonged exposure to the sun, especially at the beach or poolside. Take care to apply insect repellent as well to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Emergency numbers in Barbados are as follows:
Ambulance – 511
Fire – 311
Police – 211
With these tips, you are well equipped with most of the information you need to have a pleasant, enjoyable and hassle free visit to Barbados.
All Photos taken from Pinterest