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Barbados Travel Tips and Island Facts
Written by Emma Hartnell-Baker © 2003


Bring 'Off' or equivalent as mosquitoes love the island and love you even more! You can buy mosquito coils from us (light them and they release a vapour that keep bugs away) Available in Barbados shops. There is a fairly serious illness called Dengue which is passed by infected mosquitoes and this can be reduced by never leaving water to stagnate - so don't leave water in vases, paddling pools etc. You must not take asprin if you have any of the symptoms of Dengue - so the best advice is not to take asprin at all for pain relief.
Other than that there are the usual creepy crawlies but nothing particularly dangerous. Cockroaches can be zapped with fly spray but they won't actually do you any harm.


On the plane you will be sprayed with mosquito repellant - don't be alarmed as this is not harmful to you or your children. Just keep your eyes and mouths closed! Make sure your landing card has been completed correctly - and remember that if you do not have an address listed, of where you are staying on the island, you will not be allowed through!

The airport is very busy and very hot! So change into something cool on the plane before you land. Don't even consider wearing jeans or tying a sweater around your waist. Parents with young children will usually be allowed to go through "Fast Track". Keep a look out for officials and if you aren't automatically shown the way then ask politely if there is any way you can avoid the busy line with your infants. Have a drink and something for children to play with when waiting for bags if possible. It's often a long wait. Don't forget pushchairs!
When you go through to collect bags, porters will offer to help you - unless you really do only have light bags then make use of them. There are no trolleys available for you to use yourselves. Tip them about US$1.50/2 per bag (SO HAVE SMALL BILLS AVAILABLE!) They will also help you get a taxi. If you aren't sure how much you will need to pay the taxi driver then ASK US before you leave. These are set fares but as with anywhere in the world some drivers may try to take advantage of visitors lacking local knowledge. See our list of rates (Transport and Car Hire) and agree the price before you leave. Tipping is up to you but around 10% will suffice if the taxi driver was friendly and helpful. You could also go to our Transport page to see who offers airport transfers.

Telephone calls - The island code is 246 and when on the island all local calls are free! It is cheaper to go to a pay phone than to call from your apt, villa or hotel AT ALL TIMES when placing international calls.

Internet Access - you can find Internet Cafes at several locations on the island, some more expensive than others! See our Internet, Communication and Business Services Page for options. If you plan to bring your laptop then we would suggest you visit one of our listed internet service providers BEFORE YOU LEAVE and set up a temporary account.

Power Cuts / Water Shortage - as wonderful as the island is you're likely to experience the odd power cut or discover that the water has been turned off (usually just as you are about to take a shower!) So be prepared, and just accept that you cant have everything in paradise! Always keep a few bottles of water stored under the cupboard for the essentials such as washing and making a cuppa (or is that just a British thing?) Also keep candles in several places, along with matches, so that when there is a power shortage in the middle of the night and you are plunged into complete darkness (you're usually woken up when the fan is suddenly not working as you realise how much you need it!) you can easily reach out and light the room. Don't worry - they don't last long!
If you're travelling during Hurricane Season then make sure you have some supplies incase of emergency (canned food, long life milk etc) There hasn't been a serious hurricane for years so you don't need to really worry about this - and the island has great warning systems and clearly marked (and known) shelters) but better to have that peace of mind.

Topless sunbathing - this is against the law!! Men also please note that you wont be allowed in shops or restaurants if you are not wearing a shirt!

Sun Block / Cream - this is an obvious one but every day there are literally hundreds of cases of sunburn, especially after a cloudy day. Even if the sun is not out you will burn! Children should wear tshirts and hats even when swimming (especially when swimming!)

Swimming on the East coast, in Bathsheba areas is not advised!! Professional or experienced surfers only…..unless you want to drift away and end up in the Gulf of Mexico.

Drugs are strictly prohibited and if you are caught smoking so much as a joint you will end up in court and be deported.

Length of Stay in Barbados - you can stay for up to 28 days on a tourist visa although if you want to stay longer and have a return ticket then ask politely if you could be stamped for three months. They may or may not do this for you at the airport. Depends on who you get! If not you will need to go to the Immigration Office in Bridgetown and apply. Go as early as you can (they open at 8.30am) and definitely get there before 10.45am Pick up the form while you wait and you will be given an interview. Take passport size photos. It will cost Bds$25 whether they give you it or not, and you wont be told for three days (you leave your passport and tickets there) EXPECT them to be unfriendly and don't take it personally. They will want to know how you intend to support yourself during your extended stay. If you want to know about working on the island (don't get too excited -its not easy) then see our Caribbean Job Vacancies page.

Officials - As much as we love the island please expect Immigration Officials, Police Officers and other government officials to be unhelpful, stoney-faced and unfriendly. We don't know why they have this attitude but there you go. Sex in Barbados - there is increasing awareness on the island of the need to have protected sex at all times. When you leave home please don't leave your senses or condoms behind.

Laundry - if you are on vacation and especially travelling with children you will need to know where to do your laundry if facilities are not available at your lodgings. See our page dedicated to this for details! Don't tell us we haven't thought of everything...

Poisonous plants / insects - luckily Barbados is pretty safe all round! Just keep an eye out for small apple type looking fruits that are often on beaches. Don't sit under the trees or pick the fruit off the ground as they have a type of acid on the skins and will burn. If sheltering under a tree during rain check you're not under one of these! Not life threatening but can be uncomfortable. It is rare but there has been known to be stinging jelly fish in the waters and again they aren't life threatening but uncomfortable. If in doubt see one of our listed doctors)

Aloe - this plant has wonderful soothing properties and is often used for sun-burn. We suggest you don't have too much sun in the first place but if necessary then check what you are buying is the real thing. Vendors on the beach have been known to sell something looking a lot like the plan that wont help you with anything except for losing money!

Gas stations - attendants will fill you up and often clean your windows for you. Tip if you wish -around 10% The same applies for the people that help you out with carrying groceries from the supermarket to your car.


Email us if you have tips you'd like to share!
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