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Flag Coat of arms
Motto"Pride and Industry"
AnthemIn Plenty and In Time of Need
(and largest city)
13°0′N 59°32′W / 13°N 59.533°W / 13; -59.533
Official language(s) English
Recognised regional languages Bajan
Ethnic groups  80% Afro-Bajan (Igbo, Yoruba, Akan, others), 16% Asian and Multiracial, Arawak, Mulatto, 4% European (English, Irish, other)
Demonym Barbadian, Bajan (colloquial)
Government Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy
 -  Monarch Elizabeth II
 -  Governor-General Clifford Husbands
 -  Prime Minister David Thompson
Independence From the United Kingdom 
 -  Date 30 November 1966 
 -  Total 431 km2 (199th)
167 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) negligible
 -  2009 estimate 284,589[1] (180th)
 -  2001 census 250,012 
 -  Density 660/km2 (15th)
1,704/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $5.231 billion[2] (149th)
 -  Per capita $18,977[2] (39th)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $3.670 billion[2] 
 -  Per capita $13,314[2] 
HDI (2009) 0.903 (Very High) (37th)
Currency Barbadian dollar ($) (BBD)
Time zone Eastern Caribbean (UTC-4)
Drives on the left
Internet TLD .bb
Calling code +1 (spec. +1-246)

Barbados (pronounced /bɑrˈbeɪdɒs, bɑrˈbeɪdoʊz/), situated just east of the Caribbean Sea, is a West Indian continental island-nation in the western Atlantic Ocean. After a brief claim by Spain in 1492 and later Portugal,[3] Barbados became a colony and protectorate of the United Kingdom for over three centuries. The country currently maintains Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. Located at roughly 13° North of the equator and 59° West of the prime meridian, it is considered a part of the Lesser Antilles. Its closest island neighbours are Martinique, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines to the west. To the south lies Trinidad and Tobago—with which Barbados now shares a fixed official maritime boundary—and also the South American mainland. Barbados's total land area is about 430 square kilometres (166 square miles), and is primarily low-lying, with some higher in the country's interior. The highest point in Barbados is Mount Hillaby in the parish of Saint Andrew.

The geological composition of Barbados is of non-volcanic origin, predominantly limestone-coral. After the break of South America from Africa in the Mesozoic, a reef formed. During the Cenozoic, as both the Caribbean and South American plates moved westward, the two plates impacted and pressed this reef upward.[4] Barbados is part of a North Atlantic Ocean submarine mountain range located to the east of the Windward Islands. This range stretches from its close proximity of Puerto Rico in the north, to a south-easterly direction toward Venezuela. The island of Barbados forms the only part of this mountain range that rises above sea level.[5]

The island's climate is tropical, with constant trade winds off the Atlantic Ocean serving to keep temperatures mild. Some less developed areas of the country contain tropical woodland and mangroves. Other parts of the interior which contribute to the agriculture industry are dotted with large sugarcane estates and wide, gently sloping pastures, with panoramic views down to the coast also.

Barbados's Human Development Index ranking is consistently among the top 75 countries in the world. In report published on October 5, 2009, it was ranked 37th in the world, and third in the Americas, behind Canada and the United States.[6] Although Barbados' history is heavily influenced by its mainstay of sugar production, the economy is now dominated by services and tourism. The country is one of the largest global domiciles of captive insurance,[7][8] and a growing number of companies have been expanding call centres to Barbados.[9][10]




According to accounts by descendants of the aboriginal Arawak tribes on other local islands, the original name for Barbados is Ichirouganaim.

The reason for the name "Barbados" is controversial. The Portuguese, en route to Brazil[11][12] or the Spanish[13] were the first Europeans to discover and name the island. The word Barbados means "bearded", but it is a matter of conjecture whether "bearded" refers to the long, hanging roots of the bearded fig-tree (Ficus citrifolia), indigenous to the island; to the bearded Caribs once inhabiting the island as supported by Dr. Richard Allsopp, a Caribbean linguist; or to the foam spraying over the outlying reefs giving the impression of a beard. In 1519, a map produced by the Genoese mapmaker Visconte Maggiolo showed and named Barbados in its correct position.

Another name associated with Barbados or her people is "Bim","Bimshire" and De rock. The origin is uncertain but several theories abound, the National Cultural Foundation of Barbados follows the Dr. Richard Allsopp theory, which is that "Bim" was a word commonly used by slaves and that it derives from the phrase "bi mu"[14] or either ("bem", "Ndi bem", "Nwanyi ibem" or "Nwoke ibem")[15] from an Igbo phrase, meaning "my people." In colloquial or literary contexts, "Bim" can also take a more deific tone, referring to the "goddess" Barbados.[citation needed]

The word Bim and Bimshire are recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary and the Chamber's Twentieth Century Dictionaries. Another possible source for "Bim" is reported to be in the Agricultural Reporter of 25 April 1868, The Rev. N Greenidge (father of one of the island's most famous scholars, Abel Hendy Jones Greenidge) suggested the listing of Bimshire as a county of England. Expressly named were "Wiltshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, and Bimshire".[15] Lastly in the Daily Argosy (of Demerara i.e. Guyana) of 1652 it referred to Bim as a possible corruption of the word "Byam", who was a Royalist leader against the Parliamentarians. That source suggested the followers of Byam became known as Bims and became a word for all Barbadians.[15]

Early history

The first indigenous people are thought to be Amerindians who arrived from Venezuela around approximately 350–400 B.C. The Arawak people were the second wave of migrants, arriving from South America around 800. In the thirteenth century, the Caribs arrived from South America in the third wave, displacing both the Arawak and the Salodoid-Barrancoid culture. For the next few centuries, the Caribs — like the Arawak and the Salodoid-Barrancoid — lived in isolation on the island.[16]

The Portuguese briefly claimed Barbados from the mid-1500s to the 1600s, and may have seized the Caribs on Barbados and used them as slave labour. Other Caribs are believed to have fled to neighbouring islands. Apart from possibly displacing the Caribs, the Portuguese left little impact and by the 1610s left for South America, leaving the island almost uninhabited. Some Arawaks still live in Barbados.[16]

British colonial rule

British sailors who landed on Barbados in 1625 arrived at the site of present-day Holetown. The British then took possession of Barbados in the name of James I. From the arrival of the first British settlers in 1627–1628 until independence in 1966, Barbados was under uninterrupted British governance (and was the only Caribbean island that did not change hands during the colonial period). Nevertheless, Barbados always enjoyed a large measure of local autonomy. Its House of Assembly began meeting in 1639. Among the initial important British figures was Sir William Courten.

Fighting during the War of the Three Kingdoms and the Interregnum spilled over into Barbados and Barbadian territorial waters. The island was not involved in the war until after the execution of Charles I, when the island's government fell under the control of Royalists (ironically the Governor, Philip Bell remained loyal to Parliament while the Barbarian House of Assembly, under the influence of Humphrey Walrond, supported Charles II). To try to bring the recalcitrant colony to heal, the Commonwealth Parliament passed an act on October 3, 1650 which prohibited trade between England and the island, and because the island also traded with the Netherlands, further navigation acts were passed prohibiting any but English vessels trading with English colonies. These acts were a precursor to the First Anglo-Dutch War. The Commonwealth of England sent an invasion force. After some skirmishing, the Royalists surrendered. The conditions of surrender were incorporated into the Charter of Barbados which was signed in the Mermaid's Inn, Oistins on 17 January 1652.[17]

With the increased implementation of slave codes, which created differential treatment between Africans and the white workers and planters, the island became increasingly unattractive to poor whites. Black or slave codes were implemented in 1661, 1676, 1682, and 1688. In response to these codes, several slave rebellions were attempted or planned during this time, but none succeeded. However, an increasingly repressive legal system caused the gap between the treatment of typically white indentured servants and black slaves to widen. Imported slaves became much more attractive for the rich planters who would increasingly dominate the island not only economically but also politically.

Some have speculated that, because the Africans could withstand tropical diseases and the climate much better than the white slave population, the white population decreased. This is inconsistent with the fact that many poor whites simply migrated to neighbouring islands and remained in tropical climates. Nevertheless, poor whites who had or acquired the means to emigrate often did so. Planters expanded their importation of African slaves to cultivate sugar cane. The inhabitants of Barbados turned from mainly English and Scots-Irish in the seventeenth century to overwhelmingly black by the end of the 18th century.

Barbados eventually had one of the world's biggest sugar industries after starting sugar cane cultivation in 1640.[18] One group which was instrumental for ensuring the early success of the sugar cane industry were the Sephardic Jews, who originally been expelled from the Iberian peninsula to end up in Dutch Brazil.[18] This quickly replaced tobacco plantations on the islands which were previously the main export. As the sugar industry developed into its main commercial enterprise, Barbados was divided into large plantation estates that replaced the smallholdings of the early British settlers. Some of the displaced farmers moved to other British colonies in the Americas, most notably North and South Carolina, and British Guiana, as well as Panama. To work the plantations, planters imported enslaved West Africans to Barbados and other Caribbean islands.

The British abolished the slave trade in 1807 but not the institution itself. In 1816, slaves arose in the largest major slave rebellion in the island's history. Twenty thousand slaves from over seventy plantations rebelled. They drove whites off the plantations, but widespread killings did not take place. This was later termed “Bussa's Rebellion” after the slave ranger Bussa, who with his assistants hated slavery, found the treatment of slaves on Barbados to be “intolerable,” and believed the political climate in the UK made the time ripe to peacefully negotiate with planters for freedom (Davis, p. 211; Northrup, p. 191). Bussa's Rebellion failed. One hundred and twenty slaves died in combat or were immediately executed; another 144 were brought to trial and executed; remaining rebels were shipped off the island (Davis, pp. 212–213).

Slavery was finally abolished in the British Empire eighteen years later in 1834. In Barbados and the rest of the British West Indian colonies, full emancipation from slavery was preceded by an apprenticeship period that lasted four years.

Statue of Lord Nelson in National Heroes Square which predates the more famous Nelson's Column by some 27 years.

In 1884, the Barbados Agricultural Society sent a letter to Sir Francis Hincks requesting his private and public views on whether the Dominion of Canada would favourably entertain having the then colony of Barbados admitted as a member of the Canadian Confederation. Asked of Canada were the terms of the Canadian side to initiate discussions, and whether or not the island of Barbados could depend on the full influence of Canada in getting the change agreed to by the United Kingdom. Then in 1952 the Barbados Advocate newspaper polled several prominent Barbadian politicians, lawyers, businessmen, the Speaker of the Barbados House of Assembly and later as first President of the Senate, Sir Theodore Branker, Q.C. and found them to be in favour of immediate federation of Barbados along with the rest of the British Caribbean with complete Dominion Status within five years from the date of inauguration of the West Indies Federation with Canada.

However, plantation owners and merchants of British descent still dominated local politics, owing to the high income qualification required for voting. More than 70% of the population, many of them disenfranchised women, were excluded from the democratic process. It was not until the 1930s that the descendants of emancipated slaves began a movement for political rights. One of the leaders of this movement, Sir Grantley Adams, founded the Barbados Labour Party in 1938, then known as the Barbados Progressive League.

While being a staunch supporter of the monarchy, Adams and his party also demanded more rights for the poor and for the people. Progress toward a more democratic government in Barbados was made in 1942, when the exclusive income qualification was lowered and women were given the right to vote. By 1949 governmental control was wrested from the planters and, in 1958, Adams became Premier of Barbados.

From 1958 to 1962, Barbados was one of the ten members of the West Indies Federation, an organisation doomed by nationalistic attitudes and by the fact that its members, as British colonies, held limited legislative power. Adams served as its first and only "Premier", but his leadership failed in attempts to form similar unions, and his continued defence of the monarchy was used by his opponents as evidence that he was no longer in touch with the needs of his country. Errol Walton Barrow, a fervent reformer, became the new people's advocate. Barrow had left the BLP and formed the Democratic Labour Party as a liberal alternative to Adams' conservative government. Barrow instituted many progressive social programmes, such as free education for all Barbadians, and the School Meals system. By 1961, Barrow had replaced Adams as Premier and the DLP controlled the government.

With the Federation dissolved, Barbados had reverted to its former status, that of a self-governing colony. The island negotiated its own independence at a constitutional conference with the United Kingdom in June 1966. After years of peaceful and democratic progress, Barbados finally became an independent state on 30 November 1966, with Errol Barrow its first Prime Minister. Upon independence Barbados maintained historical linkages with Britain by establishing membership to the Commonwealth of Nations grouping, a year later Barbados' International linkages were expanded by obtaining membership to the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

Government and politics

Parliament Building.

Barbados has been an independent country since 30 November 1966. It functions as a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, modelled on the British Westminster system, with Elizabeth II, Queen of Barbados, as head of state represented locally by the Governor-General, Clifford Husbands and the Prime Minister as the head of the government. The number of representatives within the House of Assembly has gradually increased from twenty-four at independence, to its present composition of thirty seats.

Barbados functions as a two-party system, the two dominant parties being the ruling Democratic Labour Party and the opposition, Barbados Labour Party. The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) had been in government for fifteen years, since 1993 until the 2008 general election. Under this administration, the former Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Owen S. Arthur acted as the Regional Leader of the CSM (Caribbean Single Market). The Honourable David Thompson is the Prime Minister of Barbados.[19]


Under Chapter I, Section I of the Constitution of Barbados, it is the supreme law of the nation.[20] The Office of the Attorney General heads the independent judiciary. Historically, Barbadian law was based entirely on English common law with a few local adaptations. At the time of independence, the British Parliament ceased having the ability to change local legislation at its own discretion. British law and various legal statutes within British law at this time, and other prior measures adopted by the Barbadian parliament became the basis of the modern-day law system.

More recently however, local Barbadian legislation may be shaped or influenced by such organisations as the United Nations, the Organization of American States, or other International fora which Barbados has obligatory commitments by treaty. Additionally, through international cooperation, other institutions may supply the Barbados parliament with key sample legislation to be adapted to meet local circumstance, before crafting it as local law.

Laws are passed by the Barbadian Parliament, whereby upon their passage, are given official vice-regal assent by the Governor-General to become law.


The local court system of Barbados is made-up of:

  • Magistrate's Court: Covering Criminal, Civil, Domestic, Domestic Violence, and Juvenile matters. But can also take up matters dealing with Corornor's Inquests, Liquor Licences, and civil marriages. Further, the Magistrates court deals with Contract and Tort law where claims don't exceed $10,000.00.[21]
  • The Supreme Court: is made up of High Court and Court of Appeals.[21]
    • High Court: Consisting of Civil, Criminal, and Family law divisions.
    • Court of Appeals: Handles appeals from the High Court and Magistrate's Court. It will hear appeals in both the civil, and criminal law jurisdictions. It may consist of a single Justice of Appeal sitting in Chambers; or as Full Court, will consist of 3 Justices of Appeals.
  • The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), (based in Port Of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago), is the court of last resort (final jurisdiction) over Barbadian law. It replaced the London-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC). The CCJ may resolve other disputed matters dealing with the Caribbean (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME).

Foreign relations

Barbados is a full and participating member of: Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), Association of Caribbean States (ACS).[22] Organization of American States (OAS), Commonwealth of Nations, and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which currently pertains only to Barbados and Guyana. In 2001 the Caribbean Community heads of government voted on a measure declaring that the region should work towards replacing the UK's Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Barbados is an original Member (1995) of the World Trade Organisation(WTO), and participates actively in its work. It grants at least MFN treatment to all its trading partners. As of December, 2007 Barbados is linked by an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Commission. The pact involves the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) subgroup of the Group of African, Caribbean, and Pacific states (ACP). CARIFORUM presently the only part of the wider ACP-bloc that has concluded the full regional trade-pact with the European Union.

Barbados has used foreign trade and investment opportunities deftly to maintain living standards well above those of most developing countries. Its trade and investment policies have fostered world-class suppliers in a few areas, particularly tourism and financial services. Based on Barbados's natural endowments and on niche activities created by government policy, these services have become the mainstay of the economy and the main source of foreign exchange. Of necessity, however, specialization and the small size of the economy have resulted in a narrow production base that makes Barbados vulnerable to external shocks.

Trade policy has also sought to protect a small number of domestic activities, mostly food production, from foreign competition, while recognizing that most domestic needs are best met by imports. This protection, and limited competition in certain domestic sectors have weighed on the competitiveness of the leading service activities by restricting their access to inputs at the lowest cost. Barbados's historically stable policy environment and wealth of human capital bode well for its ability to address this issue, adjust to new challenges and, thus, attain and sustain further welfare improvements.

Maritime dispute

On 11 April 2006, the 5-Member UNCLOS Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal, presided over by H.E. Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, rendered after two years of international judicial proceedings, the landmark Barbados/Trinidad and Tobago Award, which resolved the maritime boundary delimitation (in the East, Central and West sectors) to satisfaction of both Parties and committed Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago to resolve their fisheries dispute by means of concluding a new Fisheries Agreement.

Geography and climate

Map of Barbados
Beach near Bridgetown, Barbados.

Barbados is the easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles. It is flat in comparison to its island neighbours to the west, the Windward Islands. The island rises gently to the central highland region, with the highpoint of the country being Mount Hillaby, in the Scotland District. [340 metres (1,120 ft) above sea level]. The island is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, east of the other West Indies isles.

Geologically composed of coral (90 m/300 ft thick). The land falls in a series of "terraces" in the west and goes into an incline in the east. Much of the country is circled by coral reefs.

In the parish of Saint Michael lies Barbados' capital and main city, Bridgetown. Other major towns scattered across the island include Holetown, in the parish of Saint James; Oistins, in the parish of Christ Church; and Speightstown, in the parish of Saint Peter.

The climate is moderate tropical, with a wet season (June–November) and a more dry season (December–May). The annual precipitation ranges between 40 inches (1,000 mm) and 90 inches (2,300 mm).

Barbados is often spared the worst effects of the region's tropical storms and hurricanes during the rainy season as its far eastern location in the Atlantic Ocean puts it just outside the principal hurricane strike zone. On average a hurricane may strike about once every 26 years. The last significant hit from a hurricane to cause severe damage to Barbados was Hurricane Janet in 1955.


Map of the parishes of Barbados

Barbados is divided into eleven parishes:

  1. Christ Church
  2. Saint Andrew
  3. Saint George
  4. Saint James
  5. Saint John
  6. Saint Joseph
  7. Saint Lucy
  8. Saint Michael
  9. Saint Peter
  10. Saint Philip
  11. Saint Thomas

St. George and St. Thomas located in the middle of the country are the only two parishes without coastlines.


Barbados is the 51st richest country in the world in terms of GDP (Gross domestic product) per capita,[2] has a well-developed mixed economy, and a moderately high standard of living. According to the World Bank, Barbados is classified as being in its 66 top High income economies of the world.[23]

Historically, the economy of Barbados had been dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities, but in the late 1970s and early 1980s it has diversified into the manufacturing and tourism sectors. Offshore finance and information services have become important foreign exchange earners, and there is a healthy light manufacturing sector. Since the 1990s the Barbados Government has been seen as business-friendly and economically sound. The island has seen a construction boom, with the development and redevelopment of hotels, office complexes, and homes.

Recent government administrations have continued efforts to reduce unemployment, encourage foreign direct investment, and privatise remaining state-owned enterprises. Unemployment has been reduced from around 14 percent in the past to under 10 percent.

Circulating coins 2006

The economy contracted in 2001 and 2002 due to slowdowns in tourism, consumer spending and the impact of the September 11, 2001 attacks, but rebounded in 2003 and has shown growth since 2004. Traditional trading partners include Canada, the Caribbean Community (especially Trinidad and Tobago), the United Kingdom and the United States.

Business links and investment flows have become substantial: as of 2003 the island saw from Canada CA$ 25 billion in investment holdings, placing it as one of Canada's top five destinations for Canadian Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Businessman Eugene Melnyk of Toronto, Canada, is said to be Barbados' richest permanent resident.

It was thought by key Barbadian industry sources that the year 2006 would have been one of the busiest years for building construction ever in Barbados, as the building-boom on the island entered the final stages for several multi-million dollar commercial projects.[24]

The European Union is presently assisting Barbados with a EURO$10 million dollar programme of modernisation of the country's International Business and Financial Services Sector.[25]

Barbados maintains the third largest stock exchange in the Caribbean region. At present, officials at the stock exchange are investigating the possibility of augmenting the local exchange with an International Securities Market (ISM) venture.[26]


Typical ZR-van with markings indicating that it serves the number 11 route.

Transport on the island is relatively convenient, with 'route taxis', called "ZRs" (pronounced "Zed-Rs"), travelling to most points on the island. These small buses can at times be crowded, as passengers are generally never turned down, regardless of the number. However, they will usually take the more scenic routes to destinations. They generally depart from the capital Bridgetown or from Speightstown in the northern part of the island.

Old Barbados Transport Board bus in Bridgetown.

Including the ZRs there are three bus systems running seven days a week (though less frequently on Sundays). There's ZRs, the yellow minibuses and the blue Transport Board buses. A ride on any of them costs $1.50 BBD. The smaller buses from the two privately owned systems ("ZRs" and "minibuses") can give change; the larger blue buses from the government-operated Barbados Transport Board system cannot. Children in school uniform ride for free on the Government buses and for $1.00 on the minibuses and ZRs. Most routes require a connection in Bridgetown. Some drivers within the competitive privately owned systems are reluctant to advise persons to use competing services, even if those would be more suitable.

Some hotels also provide visitors with shuttles to points of interest on the island from outside the hotel lobby. There are several locally owned and operated vehicle rental agencies in Barbados but there are no multi-national companies.

The island of Barbados's lone airport is the Sir Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) (IATA identifier BGI). It receives daily flights by several major airlines from points around the globe, as well as several smaller regional commercial airlines and charters. The airport serves as the main air-transportation hub for the Eastern Caribbean. It is undergoing a US$100 million upgrade and expansion.

There is also a helicopter shuttle service, which offers air taxi services to a number of sites around the island, mainly on the West Coast tourist belt. Air and water traffic is regulated by the Barbados Port Authority.


Due to its relatively high levels of development and its favourable location, Barbados has become one of the prime tourist destinations in the Caribbean. Numerous internationally known hotels offering world-class accommodation can be found on the island. Time-shares are available, and many of the smaller local hotels and private villas which dot the island have space available if booked in advance. The southern and western coasts of Barbados are popular, with the calm light blue Caribbean Sea and their fine white and pinkish sandy beaches. Along the island's east coast, which faces the Atlantic Ocean, there are tumbling waves which are perfect for light surfing. Some areas remain risky due to under-tow currents.

Shopping districts are popular in Barbados, with ample duty-free shopping. There is also a festive night-life in mainly tourist areas such as the Saint Lawrence Gap. Other attractions include wildlife reserves, jewelry stores, scuba diving, helicopter rides, golf, festivals (the largest being the annual Crop Over festival July/Aug), sightseeing, cave exploration, exotic drinks and fine clothes shopping.

Attractions, landmarks and points of interest

Tourism accounts for almost one half of the economy. Name / Parish Location:

Christ Church

St. Andrew

St. George

St. James

St. John

St. Joseph

St. Lucy

St. Michael

St. Peter

  • Barbados Wildlife Reserve
  • Farley Hill National Park
  • St Nicholas Abbey

St. Philip

  • Sunbury Plantation

St. Thomas

List of: Cities, towns and villages in Barbados.

Barbados is now home to two boardwalks. The South Coast boardwalk (opened in 2008) is 1.2 km and runs from Accra Beach to Hastings. Running right alongside the beach, the boardwalk is set in solid concrete fortified by Canadian Nova Scotia granite rocks and planked with Brazilian hardwood. It's very popular with locals and visitors alike. The West Coast boardwalk (opened in 2009) is significantly shorter and made entirely of concrete. It runs along the beach in Holetown. [1]


A bus stop in Barbados
High Street

Barbados has a population of about 281,968 and a population growth rate of 0.33% (Mid-2005 estimates). Close to 80% of all Barbadians (also known colloquially as Bajan) are of African descent ("Afro-Bajans"). The remainder of the population includes groups of Europeans ("Anglo-Bajans" / "Euro-Bajans") mainly from the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Chinese locally known as Chiney-Bajan, Bajan Hindus from India. Other groups in Barbados include people from the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. Barbadians who return after years of residence in the U.S. and children born in America to Bajan parents are called "Bajan Yankees", this term is considered derogatory by some. Barbados is a chief destination for emigrants from the South American nation of Guyana.

The biggest communities outside the Afro-Caribbean community are:

  1. The Indo-Guyanese, an important part of the economy due to the increase of immigrants from partner country Guyana. There are reports of a growing Indo-Bajan diaspora originating from Guyana and India. They introduced soca-chutney, roti and many Indian dishes to Barbados' culture. Mostly from southern India and Hindu states, these 'Desi' peoples are growing in size but smaller than the equivalent communities in Trinidad & Guyana; Hinduism is one of Barbados' growing religions.
  2. Euro-Bajans (4% of the population)[1] have settled in Barbados since the 1500s, originating from England, Ireland and Scotland. In 1643, there were 37,200 whites in Barbados (86% of the population).[27] More commonly they are known as "White Bajans", although some carry Afro-Caribbean traces and vice-versa. Euro-Bajans introduced folk music, such as Irish music and Highland music, and certain place names, such as "Scotland", a mountainous region, and "Trafalgar Square" in Bridgetown, now renamed "Heroes Square". Among White Barbadians there exists an underclass known as Redlegs; the descendants of indentured servants, and prisoners imported to the island.[28]
  3. Chinese-Barbadians (or, as they are known on the island, "Bajan-Chineys") are a small portion of Barbados' Asian demographics, smaller than the equivalent communities of Jamaica and Trinidad. Most if not all first arrived in the 1940s during the Second World War, originating mainly from the then British territory of Hong Kong. Many Chinese-Bajans have the surnames Chin, Chynn or Lee, although other surnames prevail in certain areas of the island. Chinese food and culture is becoming part of everyday Bajan culture.
  4. Lebanese and Syrians form the Middle Eastern community on the island and make up 89% of the Muslim population. Middle-Eastern Barbadians are often perceived to be the most successful group in business, along with the Chinese Bajans. During the Arab Israeli Wars, many Syrians and Lebanese headed for the West Indies to escape conflict and poverty in the Middle East.[citation needed] Also Jewish people arrived in Barbados around the same time, creating the biggest synagogue in the West Indies.

The average life expectancy is 77 years for both males and females. Barbados and Japan have the distinction of having highest number of centenarians (on a per capita basis) in the world.


English is the sole official language of Barbados, and is used for communications, administration, and public services all over the island. In its capacity as the official language of the country, the standard of English tends to conform to the vocabulary, pronunciations, spellings, and conventions akin to, but not exactly the same as, those of British English. A regional variant of English, referred to locally as Bajan, is spoken by most Barbadians in everyday life, especially in informal settings. In its full-fledged form, Bajan sounds markedly different from the Standard English heard on the island.

The degree of intelligibility between Bajan and general English varies depending on the speakers' origins and the "rawness" of one's accent. In rare instances, a Bajan speaker may be completely unintelligible to an outside English speaker if sufficient slang terminology is present in a sentence. Bajan is somewhat differentiated from, but highly influenced by other Caribbean English dialects; it is a fusion of British English and elements borrowed from the languages of West Africa. Hindi and Bhojpuri are also spoken on the island by a small Indo-Bajan minority. Spanish is considered the most popular second language on the island, followed by French.


In religion, most Barbadians are Christians (95%), chiefly of the Anglican Church (40%). The Church of England was the official state religion until its legal disenfranchisement by the Parliament of Barbados following independence.[29] Religious minorities include members of other Protestant churches, Roman Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Hindus, Muslims, Spiritual Baptists, and Jews.


Similar to other nations within the Commonwealth of Nations all Barbadians citizens are covered by national healthcare. Barbados has over twenty polyclinics throughout the country in addition to the Queen Elizabeth (General Hospital) located in Bridgetown.


Education in Barbados is fashioned after the British model. The government of Barbados spends roughly 20% of its annual national budget on education. All young people in the country must attend school until age sixteen. Barbados' literacy rate is ranked close to 100%, with the Minister of Education stating that Barbados was in the top 5 countries worldwide for literacy rate.[30] thus placing the country alongside many of the industrialised nations of the world. Barbados has over 70 primary schools, and over 20 secondary schools throughout the island. There are also a number of private schools catering to various teaching models including Montessori and International Baccalaureate. Degree level education in the country is provided by the Barbados Community College (BCC), the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP), and a local Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).


Banks beer at dusk

The influence of the English on Barbados is more noticeable than on other islands in the West Indies. A good example of this is the island's national sport: cricket. Barbados has brought forth several great cricketers, including Garfield Sobers and Frank Worrell.

Citizens are officially called Barbadians; Bajans (pronounced: "bay" "jan" ), The term "Bajan" may have come from a localised pronunciation of the word Barbadian which at times can sound more like "Bar-bajan".

The largest carnival-like cultural event which takes place on the island is the Crop Over festival. As in many other Caribbean and Latin American countries, Crop Over is an important event for many people on the island, as well as the thousands of tourists that flock to the island to participate in the annual events. The festival includes musical competitions and other traditional activities. The male and female Barbadian that harvested the most sugarcane are also crowned as the King and Queen of the crop.[31] It gets under way from the beginning of July, and ends with the costumed parade on Kadooment Day, held on the first Monday of August.

Barbados retains a strong British influence and is referred to by its neighbours as "Little England".

Sports in Barbados

As in other Caribbean countries of British colonial heritage, cricket is a favourite sport. In addition to several warm-up matches and six "Super Eight" matches, Barbados hosted the final of the 2007 Cricket World Cup. They have had many great cricketers such as Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Frank Worrell, Joel Garner and Sir Clyde Walcott.

Obadele Thompson is a world class sprinter from Barbados; he won a bronze medal at Olympic Games over 100m in 2000. Ryan Brathwaite who reached the 2008 Olympic semi-finals year Beijing gave Barbados their first ever medal at the world championships in Berlin, Germany on Thursday August 20, 2009 when he won the men's 110 metre hurdles title. The 21-year-old timed a national record of 13.14 seconds to win the Gold Medal.

In golf, the Barbados Open is an annual stop on the European Seniors Tour. In December 2006 the WGC-World Cup took place at the country's Sandy Lane resort on the Country Club course, an eighteen-hole course designed by Tom Fazio. The Barbados Golf Club is the other main course on the island. Sanctioned by the PGA European Tour to host a PGA Seniors Tournament in 2003 and it has also hosted the Barbados Open on several occasions.

Motorsports also play a role, with Rally Barbados occurring each summer and currently being listed on the FIA NACAM calendar.

Basketball is a popular sport played at school or college and is increasing in popularity as is volleyball, though volleyball is mainly played inside. At certain beaches such as Brandons beach in St. Michael people do get together to play beach volleyball.

Other sports played include hockey, table tennis, road tennis, football, rugby, polo and swimming.

The presence of the trade winds along with favourable swells make the southern tip of the Island an ideal location for wave sailing (an extreme form of the sport of windsurfing).

Netball is also popular with women in Barbados.

Barbadian team The Flyin' Fish, are the 2009 Segway Polo World Champions.[32]

National symbols


A yellow and red Pride of Barbados (Hibiscus).

The national flower is the Pride of Barbados or Caesalpinia pulcherrima (L.) Sw., which grows across the island.


The trident centred within the flag is a representation of the mythological Neptune, god of the sea. The trident in its original unbroken form was taken from the former colonial seal, which itself was replaced by the current coat of arms. Used within the national flag, the left and right shafts of the trident were then designed as 'broken' representing the nation of Barbados breaking away from its historical and constitutional ties as a former colony.

The three points of the trident represent in Barbados the three principles of democracy – "government of, for and by the people." The broken trident is set in a centred vertical band of gold representing the sands of Barbados' beaches. The gold band itself is surrounded on both sides by vertical bands of ultramarine (blue) representing the sea and sky of Barbados.

The design for the flag was created by Grantley W. Prescod and was chosen from an open competition arranged by the Barbados government. Over a thousand entries were received.[33]

Golden Shield

The Golden Shield in the coat of arms carries two "Pride of Barbados" flowers and the "bearded" fig tree (Caesalpinia pulcherrima), which was common on the island at the time of its settlement by the British and may have contributed to Barbados being so named.

Coat of arms

The coat of arms depicts two animals which are supporting the shield. On the left is a "flying fish", symbolic of the fishing industry and part of the national dish. On the right is a pelican, symbolic of a small island named Pelican Island that once existed off the coast of Bridgetown. Above the shield is the helmet of Barbados with an extended arm clutching two sugar-cane stalks. The "cross" formation made by the cane stalks represents the saltire cross upon which Saint Andrew was crucified. On the base of the Coat of Arms reads "Pride and Industry" in reference to the country's song.

National heroes

On April 1998, the Order of National Heroes Act was passed by the Parliament of Barbados. According to the government, the act established that 28 April (the centenary of the birth of Sir Grantley Adams) would be celebrated as National Heroes' Day. The act also declared that there are ten national heroes of Barbados. All of which would be elevated to the title of The Right Excellent.[34]

The ten official National Heroes of Barbados are:

International rankings

See also

Member of


  1. ^ a b Barbados: People. World Factbook of CIA
  2. ^ a b c d e "Barbados". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ J Rajj, Barbados Geology, at Geo World
  5. ^ UNESCO: The Scotland District of Barbados – UNESCO World Heritage Centre
  6. ^ . Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation. CBC. 6 October 20094991989. Retrieved 15 October 2009. "Barbados is the highest ranking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country for life expectancy, literacy, school enrolment and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, according to the latest Human Development Index (HDI) released on Monday. The 2009 Human Development Report (HDR) placed Barbados among the top 38 countries of the world with Norway, and Australia maintaining the top spots as had been the case in 2007. According to the report, Barbados, which placed 37th, is the only CARICOM country in the "Very High Human Development" category." 
  7. ^, Barbados profile
  8. ^ Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia
  9. ^ Call Center – New Barbados Call Center Offers 300 Jobs
  10. ^
  11. ^ AXSES Systems Caribbean Inc., The Barbados Tourism Encyclopaedia
  12. ^ Britannica Encyclopaedia: History of Barbados
  13. ^ The Commonwealth of Nations: Barbados – History
  14. ^ National Cultural Foundation
  15. ^ a b c Carrington, Sean (2007). A~Z of Barbados Heritage. Macmillan Caribbean Publishers Limited. p. 25. ISBN 0-333-92068-6. 
  16. ^ a b UCTP
  17. ^ Karl Watson, The Civil War in Barbados, British History in-depth , BBC, 5 November 2009
  18. ^ a b Barbados – Just Beyond Your Imagination. Hansib Publishing (Caribbean) Ltd. 1997. p. 46, 48. ISBN 1870518543. 
  19. ^ "Caribbean: News in the Caribbean -".<!. Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  20. ^ The official Constitution of Barbados (2006) version.
  21. ^ a b Law Courts of Barbados
  22. ^, The Barbados Government's Regional and International affiliations]
  23. ^ World Bank – Country Groups.. Retrieved October 05, 2009.
  24. ^ Morris, Roy (2006-01-02). "Builders paradise". The Nation Newspaper. Archived from the original on 2009-01-04. Retrieved 2009-07-29. "Industry sources are warning, however, that while the boom will bring many jobs and much income, ordinary Barbadians hoping to undertake home construction or improvement will be hard pressed to find materials or labour, given the large number of massive commercial projects with which they will have to compete. [ . . . ] Construction magnate Sir Charles 'COW' Williams, agreeing that this year will be "without doubt" the biggest ever for the island as far as construction was concerned, revealed that his organisation was in the final stages of the construction of a new $6 million plant at Lears, St Michael to double its capacity to produce concrete blocks, as well as a new $2 million plant to supply ready-mixed concrete from its fleet of trucks. "The important thing to keep in mind is that the country will benefit tremendously from a massive injection of foreign exchange from people who want to own homes here," Sir Charles said." 
  25. ^ Lashley, Cathy (2009-07-24). "Barbados signs agreement with EU". Caribbean Net News. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  26. ^ H, R (2009-07-28). "Treaty network an advantage in securities trading". Barbados Advocate. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  27. ^ Population, Slavery and Economy in Barbados, BBC.
  28. ^ The Irish in the Caribbean 1641–1837: An Overview, By Nini Rodgers, Society for Irish Latin American Studies
  29. ^ Parliament: Act of Parliament concerning the Anglican church
  30. ^ B., Y. (9 September 2009). "'Our literacy rating in Top 5'". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 11 September 2009. "Mere days after deputy principal of the Erdiston Teachers' Training College, Dr Patricia Saul, suggested the touted 98 per cent literacy rate was a myth, Minister of Education and Human Resources Development Ronald Jones said the country was ranked among the highest in the world. "In a world where there are still some 776 million adults who are illiterate, and some 75 million children who are out of school, we are proud to say that we have free education from the nursery to tertiary level and our literacy rate is still among the highest in the world – fourth in the world, and that is exceptionally high," Jones said. Speaking at yesterday's Literacy Fair in Queen's Park, Jones said teachers, principals, parents, students and all those involved in the process needed to be applauded for "keeping us on that edge"." 
  31. ^ "Crop Over Festival". Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  32. ^ Harris, Alan (2009-07-26). "Barbados Segway Polo team 2009 World Champions". Barbados Advocate. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  33. ^ Government of Barbados National Flag
  34. ^ Government of Barbados – National HeroesHistory of Barbados, The Parliament of Barbados
  35. ^
  36. ^


  • Burns, Sir Alan 1965. History of the British West Indies. George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London England.
  • Davis, David Brion. Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-19-514073-7
  • Hamshere, Cyril 1972. The British In the Caribbean. Harvard University Pres, Massachusetts USA. ISBN 0-674-08235-4
  • Northrup, David, ed. The Atlantic Slave Trade, Second Edition. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002. ISBN 0-618-11624-9
  • O'Shaughnessy, Andrew Jackson 2000. An Empire Divided – The American Revolution and the British Caribbean. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia ISBN 0-8122-1732-2
  • Rogozinski, January 1999. A Brief History of the Caribbean – From the Arawak and Carib to the Present. Revised version New York, USA. ISBN 0-8160-3811-2
  • Scott, Caroline 1999. Insight Guide Barbados. Discovery Channel and Insight Guides; fourth edition, Singapore. ISBN 0-88729-033-7
  • Frere, Samuel, A short history of Barbados : from its first discovery and settlement, to the end of the year 1767, published by J. Dodsley, London, 1768, download pdf from


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Quick Facts
Capital Bridgetown
Government parliamentary democracy
Currency Barbadian dollar (BBD)
Area 431 sq km
Population 279,912 (July 2006 est.)
Language English
Religion Protestant 67% (Anglican 40%, Pentecostal 8%, Methodist 7%, other 12%), Roman Catholic 4%, none 17%, other 12%
Electricity 115V/50Hz (North American plug)
Calling Code +1-246
Internet TLD .bb
Time Zone UTC-4

Barbados [1] is an island in the Caribbean, northeast of Venezuela. The island is portrayed as the little England of the Caribbean because of its long association as a British colony.


The island of Barbados has eleven parishes and can be divided into roughly five parts:

  • Bridgetown, including the capital city of Barbados and surrounding areas in St. Michael Parish.
  • Central Barbados, including the parishes of St. George, St. Thomas and parts of St. Joseph, St. John, St. Lucy and St. Andrew. Harrison Cave, the site of a massive limestone cavern, is one of the major attractions of Central Barbados, as well as Barbados Wildlife Reserve and Flower Forest to name a few. Luxury activities like golf and polo are also to be found.
  • Eastern Barbados, (the East Coast) the rugged Atlantic side of the island. Crane Beach in St. Philip Parish (South-East), Bathsheba in St. Joseph Parish and Bath in St. John are some of the more popular East Coast beaches. Also includes the less traveled parishes of St. John and St. Andrew. Bathsheba is a popular area, with the island's best-known surfing spot (The Soup Bowl) and tide pools - ideal for soaking. Cattlewash is a long stretch of beach with very rough waters. Other fishing villages include: Martin's Bay and Consett Bay in St. John.
  • Western Barbados, (the West Coast) the calm, Caribbean Sea side of the island covering the parishes of St. James, St. Peter and St. Lucy. Holetown and Speightstown are the two main towns.
  • Southern Barbados, (the South Coast) the parishes of Christ Church and parts of St. Michael and St. Philip. Includes St. Lawrence Gap, a lively area full of bars and restaurants; Oistins, famous for its Friday fish fry on the beach; and Grantley Adams International Airport. Most of the budget hotels, guesthouses, and apartment are located here. Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary is located here as well.
Butterfly Beach on the Southern Coast
Butterfly Beach on the Southern Coast
Map of Barbados
Map of Barbados

Barbados has the following towns and cities:


Barbados has experienced several waves of human habitation. The first wave were of the Saladoid-Barrancoid group, farmers, fishermen, and ceramists who arrived by canoe from Venezuela's Orinoco Valley around 350 AD. The Arawak people were the second wave, arriving from South America around 800 AD. Arawak settlements on the island include Stroud Point, Chandler Bay, Saint Luke's Gully, and Mapp's Cave. According to accounts by descendants of the aboriginal Arawak tribes on other local islands, the original name for Barbados was Ichirouganaim. In the 13th century, the Caribs arrived from South America in the third wave, displacing both the Arawak and the Salodoid-Barrancoid. For the next few centuries, they lived in isolation on the island.

The name "Barbados" comes from a Portuguese explorer named Pedro Campos in 1536, who originally called the island Los Barbados ("The Bearded Ones"), after the appearance of the island's fig trees, whose long hanging aerial roots resembled beards. Between Campos' sighting in 1536 and 1550, Spanish conquistadors seized many Caribs on Barbados and used them as slave labor on plantations. The others fled the island, moving elsewhere.

Barbados was formally settled by the British in 1627. After several failed crops of cotton, sugarcane was introduced, and the colony established itself as a profitable plantation economy. Enslaved Africans were the primary source of labour on these plantations until 1834, when they won their freedom through several years of rebellion, supported by increasing pressure from anti-slavery movements in Britain.

The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. Though the shackles were removed, much of the repressive labour conditions of slavery remained on the island, until the 1930s, when the educated black middle class fought for universal adult suffrage and took the control of the country's local governance away from the British-descended local aristocracy. The country began a process of social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s which led to complete independence from the UK in 1966. In the 1980s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance. Barbados has developed into a stable democracy with one of the highest rates of literacy in the Western Hemisphere.

Locals refer to themselves as Bajans and things Barbadian as Bajan.

Get in

By plane

Sir Grantley Adams International Airport (IATA: BGI),(ICAO: TBPB) For its size, Barbados boasts a large international airport with dozens of flights arriving in the high season from the UK and Canada as well as the United States. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have many flights to Barbados while American Airlines is the dominant carrier from the United States (Miami and New York). Air Canada and Westjet fly from Canada. The airport is 13km (8 miles) east of Bridgetown. Buses run from a stop across the road from the airport up the coast to Bridgetown, Holetown, and Speightstown, but a taxi is the most convenient way to get to your hotel on arrival.

By boat

Many cruise ships dock in the Bridgetown deep water harbour, just expanded to accommodate even more vessels. The terminal is served by an army of taxis, as well as shuttle "buses" to/from downtown Bridgetown for $2 each way per person.

Private moorings are available around the island. Note: stiff penalties prohibit the dropping of anchors on coral reefs.

Get around

Driving is on the left. The bus system is extensive, cheap, and fast - if you're headed to somewhere on the main route - but a car (or mini-moke) is the only way to see many of the out-of-the-way sights. Many of the drivers will hold a bus for you if they see you're from out of town reflecting the typical welcoming spirit. Buses are run by the Barbados Transport Board (blue color) and are quiet. Private operators include the yellow buses, which play very loud music, and private mini-vans (white color), which are usually cramped and crowded. The two privately run means of transport are often driven very fast and recklessly. All charge the same fare (BD$1.50). Yellow buses and minivans offer change and even accept US dollars. BTB buses only accept local currency and do not give change.

There are also more than enough taxis to take you wherever you need to go on the island for reasonable prices. They do not use meters and it is best to negotiate the price before you get in. However, most taxi drivers are honest and you are unlikely to be overcharged. Be sure to ask the management of the hotel or friendly locals what the going rate is for a cab ride to your destination.

Renting a car is a little on the expensive side. If you are driving, be aware that the roads on the island are generally quite narrow, with the exception of the ABC highway. The highway also has several long sections towards the west coast that is under large scale construction to expand the road to accommodate additional lanes. It is advisable to be extra cautious as many roads on the island have sharp turns, steep inclines, and are generally quite bumpy, although most are paved. Many of these proclaimed highways do not have sidewalks, so there can be pedestrians on the street sharing the road. Many bus stops are also on the side of roads where there are no sidewalks. Additionally, beware of impromptu passing lanes as slow drivers are often passed by others behind them when on two lane roads.

At most all of the local car rental agencies, a full Collision Damage Waiver policy is automatically included with the rental, except for any damage incurred to the car tires, a testament to the poor condition of the smaller roads and tendency of foreign drivers to miscalculate driving lanes and hit curbs.

Mopeds and bikes can also be rented to explore sites that aren't easily reached by cars. This isn't highly recommended however due to the poor condition of many of the secondary and residential roads. Except for the main highway, all the other roads provide a hazardous journey to the moped or bike rider due to no sidewalks, frequent pot holes, sharp corners and speeding local buses.

Another fun way to get around is to rent a moke available from any number of local car rental agencies.


The official language in Barbados is English. Bajan (occasionally called Barbadian Creole or Barbadian Dialect), is an English-based creole language spoken by locals. Bajan uses a mixture of West African idioms and expressions along with British English to produce a unique Barbadian/West Indian vocabulary and speech pattern. There are a few African words interspersed with the dialect. Communication will not be a problem for any English speaker as Barbados has one of the highest literacy rates in the Western Hemisphere of around 99.9 percent.


The west coast holds numerous deluxe resorts, and it and the interior highlands have several historical sites with picturesque views. Numerous web sites offer details.


The local currency is the Bajan dollar, but US dollars are accepted just about everywhere in shops and restaurants. The exchange rate is fixed at 1.98 Bajan dollars to the US Dollar but almost everyone uses US$1 = BD$2. Keep in mind that exchangers in hotels may insist on taking an additional percentage of the exchange (typically 5%).

Many "duty free" shops cater to visitors, e.g., from cruise ships. Bridgetown's main street hosts numerous jewelers. At least one department store in Bridgetown (Cave Shepherd) offers a wide range of mercantile. Many others offer virtually everything a visitor or resident might need. A small mall at the harbor also offers decent prices and selection (e.g., to cruise ship passengers), though goods produced in Barbados may be slightly more expensive there than elsewhere on the island.

Duty Free: Stores selling to visitors can honestly claim they offer duty free pricing. They do in-fact pay duty on imported goods before offering them them for sale. But as they sell anything to you as a visitor, they will ask you to sign a form that allows them to get a refund of the duty paid. The government is reportedly advancing toward allowing vendors to simply obtain goods without paying duty.

Barbados has a well-deserved reputation for producing excellent rum, e.g., Mount Gay. Rum distilleries are usually open for tours, and typically offer samples and product for sale at prices often equal to the best found anywhere else. (See also "Drink" below)

Barbados has a great variety of street vendors. Haggle aggressively. Don't stop until you're at about a third of the original price.

The fine Arts flourish in Barbados and many galleries and studios have shows on all year round which change every few weeks. Details of monthly arts happenings may be viewed on [2], which creates a page showing events, workshops and opening receptions.

See also the note about "Weekend Shut Down" at the end of the "Eat" section below.


(Individual listings can be found in the Barbados#Districts articles.)

Do flying fish fly?

Yes and no. Flying fish can break through the surface of the water and fly distances of up to 100 yards at about 30 miles per hour, but they do not actually fly the same way as birds, because birds vibrate their wings during flight. Instead, the flying fish gets its power and speed from its tail fin, which it moves from side to side with powerful strokes.

  • Flying fish -- the icon of the islands is found on coins, bills, and menus. Flying fish is usually served lightly breaded and fried, with a yellow sauce. Be warned: this yellow sauce consists of VERY hot Scotch Bonnet peppers with onions in a mustard sauce.
  • Pepperpot -- a dish of long tradition and great pride among the Bajans, it is a pork stew in a spicy dark brown sauce. Don't miss this.
  • Try "cutters," a local sandwich. Varieties include flying fish cutters, ham cutters and the popular "bread and two."
  • Visitors seeking fast food will probably be disappointed; the titanic burger chains of the US failed miserably upon introduction to Barbados (Bajans eat nearly no beef). However, chicken and fish sandwiches are wildly popular, so KFC and Chefette are ubiquitous.
  • Bajan cuisine is a strange mix of spicy, flavorful treats along with bland traditional English fayre. So be prepared for meals where fiery stews sit side-by-side with beans on toast.
  • Every Friday night the place to be is the town of Oistins (on the south coast) for the "fish fry". This is a market where you can buy fresh fish cooked according to local recipes. Locals stay there late and dance until the early hours of the morning. This is now the second most popular tourist attraction on the island, after Harrison's Cave.
  • There are many fine restaurants on the island with the top two being The Cliff (on the west coast) and The Restaurant at South Sea (on the south coast). Both are quite expensive, but serve beautiful food and a wonderful dining experience, overlooking the sea. Still, you can find many hidden gems if you look hard enough. Waterfront Cafe[3] on the Careenage is an excellent place to sample Bajan Cuisine while sipping the local Banks Beer or a spicy Rum Punch.
  • Fish cakes, BBQ pig tails, fresh coconut, and roasted peanuts are offered by the many street vendors.

Weekend shut down! Everything shuts down on the weekend so plan ahead especially if you are self-catering. Most stores are open till noon on Saturday and then nothing opens till Monday morning. On holiday weekends (Good Friday, national holidays, etc.) that fall on or close to a weekend stores may be closed for three or four days at a stretch. Convenience stores attached to gas stations may stay open but don't assume they will be.


Barbados has some of the purest water in the world that can be drunk straight from the tap. Cruise ship employees are often seen stocking up on their water supplies while docked at the island.

Rum and rum drinks are featured at every bar. Perhaps the most famous domestic brand offered is Mount Gay Rum, which is very delicious. Modest cost tours of the distillery [4] are available on weekdays. They offer samples of all their rums...also sold at attractive prices.

Small establishments called rum shops can be found all over Barbados. They are where local citizens (95% men) meet to catch up on the local news. Drop in and you can easily have a conversation with a real Barbadian.
Rum Shop in Barbados
Rum Shop in Barbados

Beer and wine is easy to find as well. Banks beer[5] is Barbados' own beer and very good. Tours of the Banks brewery are also available. While the tour itself is very hot and only moderately interesting an unlimited amount of beer is provided to those waiting for the tour to begin. Try to show up a few hours early and take advantage of a very good deal.


Barbados offers everything from inexpensive guest houses with bed and breakfast from under $40 U.S daily for a single in the summer to luxury accommodations at some of the world's best hotels at $1,600 in the prime season.

Barbados apartments and apartment hotels offer the comfort of a hotel room combined with the convenience of your own cooking facilities. Most are located on/near the beach and are especially suitable for families.

There is a wide selection of luxury villas and cottages available for rent throughout Barbados. Many of these villas and cottages are located on or near the beach.

Privately owned vacation rentals are often rented at much lower costs than hotel or resort rooms. There is a wide selection of these holiday properties available throughout Barbados and many are located on or near the beach. Vacation properties range from beach houses to condos and apartments.

  • Bajan Breeze Guest House [6], Hart's Gap, Christ Church, Cell: (246) 269 9851 Beautiful guesthouse rooms US $49 with private bath in a newly renovated home. 2-minute walk to beaches. Convenient to dining, shops, nightlife, transport, and attractions.
  • Gurland House, [7] -Luxury Villa Sandy Lane Estate, St James, West Coast. Gurland House is a 4/5 Bedroom Luxury villa situated on the old 9 hole Sandy Lane Golf Course. Included: All Bedrooms have ensuite, Dining Area, Central Cortyard, Lounge, Pool, Fully fitted Kitchen. House has also its own private Cabana located on the Sandy Lane Estate Beach [8],
  • Hilton Barbados [9].Needham's Point St Michael, Bridgetown. Tel: 1-246-426-0200.
  • Sandy Lane Hotel, [10] Luxury hotel which was a former sugar plantation. This hotel is at the top end of the luxury budget.
  • Sea Breeze Hotel [11], excellent mid range (price wise) four star hotel which has a swimming pool and beautiful beach front. Sea Breeze is conveniently located close to the airport on the Maxwell Coast Road and specialises in weddings and afternoon tea.
  • Studio Apartment at Rockley Golf and Country Club [12], 619 Bushy Park - This spacious studio sleeps 4, has a fully equipped kitchenette, A/C, 2 double beds, a communal pool and patio with a wonderful view of the golf course. In 10 minutes, walk to beaches, restaurants, shopping, supermarkets and more.
  • Sunset Blue Villa [13], 20 Halcyon Heights, St. James. A luxury villa and apartment located near Holetown in the parish of St. James. Ten minute walking distance to beaches, restaurants, and shops. Features wireless broadband internet access.
  • 1 Bedroom Apartment at Rockley Golf and Country Club [14], 611 Bushy Park - This 1 bedroom apartment sleeps 4, has a fully equipped kitchen, A/C in bedroom, 1 queen bed in bedroom and double sofabed in the living room, open-concept living/dining area with ceiling fan, a communal pool and a wonderful view of the golf course. In 10 minutes, walk to beaches, restaurants, shopping, supermarkets and more.
  • Bellairs Research Institute is a teaching and research facility operated by Montreal's McGill University [15]] focusing on marine biology and environmental studies.
  • Barbados Hospitality Institute operates the The Hotel Pommarine
  • Barbados Community College [16]
  • The University of the West Indies - Cave Hill Campus [17]

Stay safe

Although generally a safe place to travel, there has been a steep incline of crime in 2008. It is wise for tourists to avoid certain high risk activities. Such activities include walking on secluded beaches, day or night, and walking in unfamiliar residential neighborhoods or secluded areas away from main roads. Tourists, particularly women, should always stay in groups.

The most common kinds of crimes against tourists include taxi fraud, robbery, and shortchanging; however, rape and assaults are becoming more common. Most Bajans are by nature friendly, especially in the earlier part of the tourist season (November and December).

A special area of concern for visitors to Barbados is drugs. The country's strict anti-drug policy is made apparent to visitors coming through Customs. In practice, however, Europeans and Americans in Barbados can be offered marijuana or even cocaine frequently. Sellers will often roam the beaches selling aloe vera or other such innocuous goods as a pretense to begin a conversation about "ganja," "smoke" or "bad habits." As a result, many hotels and resorts now ban the use of aloe vera under the pretense that it "stains the towels." Regardless of one's inclination to using these drugs, it is not advisable to accept these offers. Marijuana is considered bad and is not accepted by Bajan police. While Bajan police are not frequently encountered, they prosecute drug crimes with great prejudice.

Care should also be taken going into the sea. Many people underestimate just how powerful the currents can be and rip tides have claimed lives over the years. Always look out for warning flags.

Stay healthy

Beware of the sun, Barbados is only 13 degrees off of the equator and you can get sun burnt very easily. It is very important to keep your water intake high. Drink plenty of water or bring an umbrella to shade yourself against the sun, which is commonly done in the country.

During nightfall, it is advisable to put on bug spray, as mosquitoes are often a nuisance to anyone staying outdoors for prolonged periods. This is most prevalent while eating at outdoor restaurants.


Despite, or maybe because of the tropical climate, Bajans tend to dress conservatively when not on the beach. A bikini probably won't be appreciated in town and certainly not in church.

Barbadians are particularly sensitive to manners and saying good morning to people even strangers goes a long way to earning their respect.

When meeting a Barbadian, try not to discuss politics, and racial issuses. Talk is also important because Barbadians when speaking in Creole or (Bajan) as it is called, tend to speak fairly fast with their words.

The use of the "N" word is an extreme NO, but when talking to friends, words such a "B" which is short for "Bro", and "Dawg" are used to describe or refer to a friend, initially these words should not be used unless you know the person well.

Barbadians are mostly fun loving, and love to go out and have fun, this is noted by the large number of young people found in the clubs and on the Southern Coast of the island. Try not to stare at persons without good cause. If you happen to bounce into someone in a club, you should immediately apologise to the person.

Keep in mind that Barbadians are very protective of family and insults to a person's family are taken with high seriousness, this also relates to their views on issues such as homosexuality; even though most Barbadians do not agree with the practice, your rights are still respected.


There are several small internet cafes located around the island as well as connections offered by the larger resort hotels.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun




  1. A country in the Caribbean.


See also


Proper noun

Barbados m.

  1. Barbados


Proper noun


  1. Barbados


Proper noun

Barbados m.

  1. Barbados


Proper noun

Barbados m.

  1. Barbados


Proper noun

Barbados m.

  1. Barbados


Proper noun


  1. Barbados


Proper noun


  1. Barbados


Proper noun


  1. Barbados



  • Hyphenation: Bar‧ba‧dos
  • IPA: /ˈbɑrbɑdos/

Proper noun

Barbados (stem Barbado-*)

  1. Barbados


Proper noun


  1. Barbados


Proper noun


  1. Barbados


Proper noun

Barbados f.

  1. Barbados


Proper noun


  1. Barbados

See also



  • IPA: /barˈbadɔs/

Proper noun

Barbados m.

  1. Barbados


Declinable or undeclinable.

Singular Plural
Nominative Barbados Barbadosy
Genitive Barbadosu Barbadosów
Dative Barbadosowi Barbadosom
Accusative Barbados Barbadosy
Instrumental Barbadosem Barbadosami
Locative Barbadosie Barbadosach
Vocative Barbadosie Barbadosy

Derived terms

  • Barbadoszczyk m., Barbadoska f.
  • adjective: barbadoski


Proper noun


  1. Barbados


Proper noun


  1. Barbados


Proper noun

Barbados m. (Cyrillic spelling Барбадос)

  1. Barbados


Spanish Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia es

Proper noun


  1. Barbados

Related terms


Proper noun


  1. Barbados


Proper noun


  1. Barbados

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