A First-Time Traveller’s Guide to Barbados

September 3, 2018Camilla

Barbados is known for its distinctive charm, a juxtaposition of simple chattel houses with 5* luxury resorts set amongst pockets of forest and palm-frond beaches. Underpinned by cultural diversity and unwavering Barbadian friendliness, it’s no wonder visitors return year after year! If you’re going to Barbados (or considering to) for the first time, this is the perfect Travel Guide for you.

Fast Facts

Capital: Bridgetown.

Climate: Eight to nine hours of sunshine most days.

Size: 21 x 14 miles. For perspective, it can be driven around in a handful of hours.

Language: English with a broad dialect.

Currency: Barbados Dollar – US $1 = BDS $2 approx.

Time: GMT-4 hrs. There is no daylight saving time in Barbados.

Communication: Free WiFi is available across much of the island.

Sports: Snorkelling, diving, fishing, sailing, waterskiing, tennis, golf and lots more.

West Coast: The West Coast is characterised by endless beaches and the calm waters of the Caribbean sea, embellished by a wide variety of hotels.

East Coast:  The East Coast on the other hand is less commercial, typified by rugged cliffs and rock formations under the influence of the Atlantic Ocean.

Remember to Pack

Whether you’re going to Barbados for a classic fly and flop holiday, or something more adventurous, be sure to pack the following essentials:

  • Sunblock, sunglasses, sun-hat
  • Bug-spray for the odd mosquito
  • Camera
  • Adaptors & transformers: if travelling from the UK, make sure you have an adaptor for flat blade plugs. TIP: Check if your electrical appliances are compatible with Barbados voltage (110 V). We’re all too familiar with the havoc island humidity wreaks on hair-do’s, so the last thing you need is for your hair straightener to be on the fritz!

Top Attractions

Barbados is steeped in history, with a multitude of natural wonders to explore and nuggets of cultural enrichment to experience. Here are 3 top picks:

  1. Island Safari: This is hands-down the best way to see Barbados; on the back of a Land Rover with an enthusiastic Barbadian tour guide giving you the scoop on all things Barbados.
  2. Crop Over Festival: This is an event not to be missed! Picture a 3 week festival spanning from mid-July to its culmination in early August with Kadooment Day, where thousands dance to calypso beats on the streets of Barbados in a thrumming sea of rum and feathered costumes.
  3. Bridgetown: Visit this historical capital which contains a UNESCO World Heritage site, abundant in colonial history and duty-free shopping. TIP: Make a stop at Brownes Beach afterwards for a break.

Indulge your Appetite

You have not experienced Barbados until you have indulged in the best of it’s food and drink.

  1. Mount Gay Rum: This is a bit of a no brainer since Barbados is the birthplace of rum. Try it in cocktails, as a punch, with coke or just plain neat, Barbadian Rum is guaranteed to go down a treat! Feeling adventurous? Visit St. Nicholas Abbey for a rum tasting tour.
  2. Flying Fish & Cou Cou: The national dish of Barbados, made with cornmeal and okra accompanied by flying fish and gravy.
  3. Nishi Restaurant: A holiday isn’t complete unless you’ve treated yourself to a dinner out. If you’re a sushi aficionado, Nishi is a match made in heaven. TIP: The Tuna Tartare starter is a winner.

Top-Notch Nights Out

If you fancy a night out on the town to mingle with the locals, sample various rum infused beverages, and ‘do a little dance’, these are the top three hang-outs to try:

  1. One Love Bar Holetown: Head down to One Love Bar on 1st Street for a friendly night out with the locals and the coldest (and cheapest) beers in Barbados. TIP: Go on a Sunday for their Karaoke night.
  2. Oistins Fish Fry: Pull up a rustic seat on a Friday night and listen to  some live, local music over a plate of  fresh seafood.
  3. Harbour Lights: Enjoy an open air beachfront club overlooking Carlisle Bay. The Beach Extravaganza dinner show is a must where you can expect authentic Bajan performances, local bands, and a traditional Bajan style BBQ dinner.



Make it Happen

With all these exciting facts, tips and suggestions at your fingertips, it’s time to act on your wanderlust impulse and make your dream holiday to Barbados a reality. Put aside your wistful daydreaming of white sand beaches and crystalline oceans and make it happen.



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