Barbados: All You Need To Know For Your Next Visit

by Kerwin McKenzie on November 15, 2019

Barbados: All You Need To Know

 

 

In the mid ’80s, I went to school in Barbados for 4 years. It was so much fun, so much fun that I never graduated; luckily my credits were transferable to the next school I attended :-). I had also diverted there enroute to Trinidad and Tobago from Toronto, ON Canada (YYZ) on an Air Canada (AC) flight. So I was excited when I got an invitation from the Barbados Tourism Board in October 2019.

 

JetBlue Airbus A321 taxiing in JFK JetBlue Airbus A321 taxiing in JFK

 

The Tourism Board arranged some tours for our group as well as gave us an opportunity to sample the food; it’s Barbados Rum & Food Festival in November each year, and we got a preview of it, as well as visit the hotels and chat with the people.

 

I also had a chance to check out the new stuff going on at my old school and hung out with one of my classmates.

 

All in all a fun trip. It’s now time for you to head down to Barbados.

 

Sandy Lane Beach, Barbados

 

 

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If you’d like to visit, I’ve compiled some facts to help you on your journey.

  • Time Zone: GMT -6
  • Currency: Barbados Dollar
  • Language: English

 

Capital: Bridgetown in the parish of St. Michael.

 

 

  • Size: Barbados is only 166.4 square miles (pop 285,719 source World Bank) and shapes like an avocado. Though it’s small, it’s still larger than some of the smallest countries in the world.
  • Visa and Health Information: No visa is required for U.S. citizens traveling to Barbados. You do need a valid passport for at least 180 days after your last date of travel as well as a ticket for onward journey from the islands. Here is some additional information for U.S. Citizens. If you are not a U.S. citizen, use this link to check visa requirements.
  • National Airline: They don’t really have one, but they have a stake in  Liat (LI).

 

How To Get Here

 

By Air

 

Barbados has always invested in its airport. I believe that it’s the only Caribbean airport to have Concorde land there; I could be wrong. So much so, that when Concorde retired from service in 2003, one of the British Airway Concorde is housed here. Sadly, though it was closed for renovations when I visited.

 

Concorde Experience in Barbados Airport (BGI) Closed Concorde Experience in Barbados Airport (BGI) Closed

 

Concorde Experience in Barbados Airport (BGI) Concorde Experience in Barbados Airport (BGI)

 

 

The airport is located on the south side of the island with easy access to the rest of the island by bus, private cars, taxi, etc.

 

Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) Barbados Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) Barbados

 

Scheduled Service Airlines Serving Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI)

    • Air Antilles Express (3S), Air Canada (AC), Air Caraibes (TX), Air France (AF), American Airlines (AA), British Airways (BA), Caribbean Airlines (BW), Condor (DE), Copa Airlines (CM), Corsair International (SS), Eurowings (EW), JetBlue Airways (B6), Liat (LI), Virgin Atlantic Airways (VS) and WestJet (WS).

 

JetBlue (B6) Airbus A321 in BGI Barbados JetBlue (B6) Airbus A321 in BGI Barbados

 

Here is a video of my JetBlue flight from New York-JFK to Barbados (BGI).

 


 

 

 

Airport To The City

 

You can rent a car or take a taxi to your destination. A local drivers license can be purchased at the airport and is valid for 90 days. Driving is on the left-hand side. You can take a local minivan as well or the local buses. And there are plenty of taxis.

 

 

By Ferries

 

There is no ferry service to the island.

 

By Cruise Ship

 

There are several cruise lines that stop in Barbados. This is the low season, so they only arrived on weekends. I saw Celebrity as well as Carnival when I was in town. The ships are huge and its fun to see them on the horizon as they approach the island.

 

 

By Bus

 

As Barbados is an island, there are no buses to the island. Once you arrive though, you can take the local buses all around the island. There are the government-owned blue ones and the privately-owned yellow ones.

 

Holetown yellow bus in Barbados Holetown yellow bus in Barbados

 

Out Of The Ordinary Stuff

I know how most of you like movie stars and celebrities, well, Simon Cowell and Rihanna both have a residence at Barbados’ most expensive piece of real estate, One Sandy Lane. If you are lucky and are in town and pass by the property you may see them on the beach. They weren’t in town when we got there.

 

One Sandy Lane, Barbados One Sandy Lane, Barbados

 

 

The People of Barbados

 

As I travel, I love to talk to the people I meet to get there take on day to day life or anything for that matter. I talked with a few people in Barbados, let’s take a look:

 

Here’s a look.

 

 

Meet Michael, The Drunken Rastaman. I met him at the Mount Gay Experience in Bridgetown.

 

 

 

 

Nicky From The Mount Gay Rum Experience In Bridgetown, Barbados

 

 

 

 
 

Where To Stay

 
I stayed at the Club Barbados Resort & Spa. They really tried to get me to try the Spa, but sadly, I had so much going on, I missed it. The property is managed by Elite Island Resorts, the same company that managed the Verandah Resort in Antigua and Barbuda where I stayed in May 2019.

 

The Club Barbados Resort & Spa All Inclusive The Club Barbados Resort & Spa All Inclusive

 

The Club Barbados Resort & Spa All Inclusive - Piano Bar The Club Barbados Resort & Spa All Inclusive – Piano Bar

 

Barbados has many places to stay depending on your budget. I must say though, that some are really pricey so weigh your choices well and think in terms of food, etc.

 

I personally had the opportunity to visit a few properties while on the island, let’s take a look at the ones I saw and remember this is not an exhaustive list of the island’s accommodations:

 

Colony Club Barbados By Elegant Hotels – Porters BB24017, Porters Rd

 

This is a luxury hotel in St. James right on the coast. I love the entrance as it has a pool of koi fish.

 

Colony Club By Elegant Hotels Colony Club By Elegant Hotels

 

 

Colony Club By Elegant Hotels Colony Club By Elegant Hotels

 

Colony Club By Elegant Hotels - Restaurant Colony Club By Elegant Hotels – Restaurant

 

Colony Club By Elegant Hotels Room 142 Colony Club By Elegant Hotels Room 142

 

Colony Club By Elegant Hotels - Luxury Swim up rooms Colony Club By Elegant Hotels – Luxury Swim up rooms

 

 

Colony Club By Elegant Hotels - Rum Vault Colony Club By Elegant Hotels – Rum Vault

 

Hilton Barbados Resort – Needham’s Point St Michael Bridgetown, BB15158

 

I’m currently a Hilton Diamond Member, so I was really interested in this property. While they no longer have a Lounge for Diamond members, they do offer complimentary breakfast and do their best so you feel like a top tier member.

There are 355 rooms that were upgraded starting in November 2017 and just finished in mid 2019. Most rooms have an ocean view of some sort as they property is on a peninsular. The property is not an all-inclusive property.

The property is located close to downtown, you can walk if you wish or take a taxi or possibly even a bus. Here are some photos.

 

Hilton Barbados Resort - Main Entrance Hilton Barbados Resort – Main Entrance

 

Hilton Barbados Resort Hilton Barbados Resort

 

Hilton Barbados Resort - City View - Bridgetown Hilton Barbados Resort – City View – Bridgetown

 

 

Sandals Barbados Resorts St. Lawrence Gap BB15028

 

 

 

Sandals Barbados Resort Sandals Barbados Resort

 

 

 

Sandals Royal Barbados Maxwell Gardens, Oistins

 

 

Sandals Royal Barbados Sandals Royal Barbados

 

 

 

 

sea breeze beach house Maxwell Coast Road, Christ Church, BB 15031

 

This is an all-inclusive resort that sites right on the beach in the path of the airport. You can sit on the beach and watch planes land while sipping a tropical drink.

 

sea breeze beach house Barbados sea breeze beach house Barbados

 

sea breeze beach house Barbados sea breeze beach house Barbados

 

sea breeze beach house Barbados - bedroom sea breeze beach house Barbados – bedroom

 

sea breeze beach house Barbados - beach sea breeze beach house Barbados – beach

 

 

Use the search box below to see what kinds of hotels are available in Barbados.
 

 

 

Things To Do in Barbados

 

Barbados has a ton of stuff to do and its not just water-related, although there are many. You can use the handy drop down here to see what the country has to offer. Just select Barbados from the list of countries. My friend, Ursula, also has a great resource at Caribbean & Co. on Barbados.

 

Here are a few things I’ve experienced while there.

 

Rihanna Drive

 

The songstress, Rihanna is from Barbados. She was not born when I was living there for school; geez, I’m old :-). They’ve re-named her street Rihanna Drive, repainted her old house (her family lives in an upscale part of the island now) and also added a shrine at the end of the street.

I spoke to a lady walking by and she says it may  soon be available as an AirBnB property so watch out for that.

Here are some photos from the street.

 

Rihanna Drive, St. Michaels Barbados Rihanna Drive, St. Michaels Barbados

 

 

Mount Gay Rum Tour

 

This tour is actually a short walk away from Rihanna Drive.

If you want to taste the Mount Gay rum as well as learn about the history of the rum, then I highly recommend the tour. You can even not listen to the history and move to the rum, but its at the end of the tour, so you’ll just have to hang out :-).

 

Mount Gay Visitor Center Barbados Mount Gay Visitor Center Barbados

 

Mount Gay Visitor Center Tasting Barbados Mount Gay Visitor Center Tasting Barbados

 

Beaches

There are beaches all around the island of course and the good thing is that they are all accessible as there are no private beaches in Barbados. Back in the ’80s there was a big contention and one of the songs for CropOver (their annual Carnival celebrations) was “The Beach Is Mine” by Gabby which showcased the issue.

My hotel had a small beach and I was able to make use of it, but only one day if you can imagine that. I did talk to a lady at the airport and she mentioned that her famous beach was up in the north, Port St. Charles.

 

Port St. Charles Beach Barbados

 

There’s also a famous one in the south, just outside of Bridgetown called Rockley.

I was able to see a few of them on the west coast as I headed north to North Point which is where the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meets. You can’t swim at north point as its quite rough up there it seems.

But one day we took a drive along the west coast and there were beaches all along the road, so you don’t have to ever go far to find one.

Beach outside of Speightstown, Barbados

 

Churches

 

The dominant religion is Anglican, but that does not mean that other religions are not represented as well.

Each Parish has its own church and the oldest of which, St. James Parish Church, is located in Holetown in the parish of St James.

St. James Parish Church in Holetown, St. James, Barbados

 

St. James Parish Church - Altar in Barbados St. James Parish Church – Altar in Barbados

 

Festivals

Like many of the Caribbean islands, there are a ton of festivals usually based on the harvesting of crops or the end of slavery. In Barbados, its Crop Over. Held in August, this is a major event and the entire country participates. You can find more information at https://www.visitbarbados.org/crop-over-festival

 

 

What To Eat In Barbados

 

It’s a Caribbean islands so it has an abundance to eat. There is lots of natural foods and the food is spicy and amazing. There are also many fruits. Check out the market or stop, say hello to a local and ask if you can have a fruit from their tree.

Fruits at Speightstown Market in Barbados Fruits at Speightstown Market in Barbados

In Barbados, the main food is Cou-Cou and flying fish; sadly, it was not flying fish season when I visited, so I did not have any.

There is a place called Fisherman’s Pub in Speightstown that is very popular with the locals and you can get a lot of local foods there.

 

Fisherman's Pub in Speightstown, Barbados Fisherman’s Pub in Speightstown, Barbados

 

Fisherman's Pub in Speightstown, Barbados Fisherman’s Pub in Speightstown, Barbados

 

 

Chefette

Chefette is a fast food restaurant like McDonald’s. It is very popular and are all over the island even at the airport.

 

Chefette Barbados Chefette Barbados

 

Have you made it to Barbados as yet? What do you think? Leave a comment below and let me know.

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