Barbados Basics

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The Basics

Time: Local time in Barbados is GMT -4.

Electricity: Electric current in Barbados is 110 volts, 50Hz.

Money: The Barbados Dollar (BBD) is fixed to the US Dollar at a rate of BBD 1.98 to $1 and does not fluctuate. Its rate is relative to other currencies fluctuations based on the particular currency's relation to the US Dollar. US Dollars are also widely accepted on the island, and well-known international credit cards are accepted in most stores and restaurants. Banks and ATMs are freely available and cash withdrawals can be made.

Currency Exchange Rates

BBD1.00 = USD 0.50GBP 0.39CAD 0.65AUD 0.73ZAR 7.28EUR 0.45NZD 0.79
Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: English is the official language in Barbados.

Entry requirements for Americans: US nationals require a valid passport but do not require a visa for a stay of up to 6 months.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: British nationals require a valid passport, but do not require a visa for a stay of up to 6 months.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian nationals require a valid passport, but no visa for stays up to six months.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australian nationals require a valid passport, but no visa for stays of up to six months.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South African nationals require a valid passport. No visa is required for stays of up to six months.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand nationals require a valid passport, but no visa for stays of up to six months.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish nationals require a valid passport, but no visa for stays of up to six months.

Passport/Visa Note: Tourists don't usually require a visa for stays of up to six months but they do require a return or onward ticket, proof of sufficient funds, and documents for onward travel. Passports must be valid for the period of intended stay. However, it is recommend that passports always be valid for six months after departure from the destination.

Travel Health: There are no mandatory requirements regarding vaccinations for visitors to Barbados. However, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age coming from infected areas, and Hepatitis A vaccinations are recommended for those aged over two years. There has been an increase in the outbreaks of dengue fever and mosquito repellent is strongly recommended. Medical care is good but very expensive and serious cases are usually transferred overseas (usually to the USA). Health insurance is therefore strongly recommended.

Tipping: Tipping in Barbados is not necessary if a service charge has already been included in the bill. Otherwise it is generally about 10-15%. Tipping is normal in bars.

Safety Information: As in most places, crime is not unknown in Barbados. Violent crime doesn't usually affect travellers, though, and normal safety precautions should suffice. Travellers should watch out for pickpockets in Bridgetown, and hustlers at the entrance to St Lawrence Gap, as well as around south-coast nightlife venues. Otherwise, beach-goers sometimes encounter Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish in Bajan waters. Fortunately, they're usually large, slow and easy to spot. Poisonous manchineel trees grow on a few beaches; tropical storms and hurricanes may occur between June and November.

Local Customs: It is an offence to wear camouflage clothing in Barbados as it is reserved for the military. Topless bathing is frowned upon and nudism is illegal.

Business: Bridgetown is generally the centre of business in Barbados. Business protocol is fairly formal, including greetings (use Mr or Ms) and dress, which is smart. Handshaking between both men and women is expected and business cards are handed out on introduction. Punctuality is expected at meetings. Business hours are generally 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Banks and post offices close at 3pm.

Communications: The international access code for Barbados is +1, in common with the US, Canada, and most of the Caribbean, followed by 246. The outgoing code is 011, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 01144 for the United Kingdom). No outgoing code is needed to call the US. Mobile phone networks are readily available and internet access is common in tourist areas.

Duty Free: Travellers to Barbados do not have to pay duty on 1 litre of alcohol. Restricted items include most fresh produce and articles such as drugs, pornography and weapons are strictly prohibited. As of 2010, Barbados was legally declared as a no smoking zone. Those found smoking in public areas will be prosecuted and the import of any form of tobacco is restricted.