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Travel Tips and Information of Barbados


English is the official language of Barbados, spoken with a Barbadian (or Bajan) accent, spoken with a distinct Scottish or Irish twang, which makes the Bajan accent unique in the Caribbean.  The African influence shows more in the names of typical Bajan foods, such as Cou-cou and Buljol.

The area code is 246, followed by a 7 digit local number. Local calls are free from private phones and some hotels. From pay phones the charge for a local call is Bds25 for five minutes.

For directory assistance dial 411. International Calls Direct-dialling to the United States, Canada, and other countries is efficient, and the cost is reasonable, but always check with your hotel to see if a surcharge is added.

To charge your overseas call on a major credit card without incurring a surcharge, dial 800/744-2000 from any phone. The country code for the United States and Canada is 1; for Australia, 61; for New Zealand, 64; and for the United Kingdom, 44.

Public Phones Prepaid phone cards, which can be used in pay phones throughout Barbados and other Caribbean islands, are sold at numerous convenient outlets.

The population of Barbados is currently around 254,000

The official currency is the Barbados Dollar, but the US and Canadian dollars are widely accepted.

Do not travel without comprehensive travel and medical insurance, which includes hospital treatment and emergency repatriation to the UK.

Ring or email the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel Advice Centre before travelling (www.fco.gov.uk) or call 020 7008 0232/0233.

Make a photocopy of your passport, flight tickets and driving license and leave them with a friend or relative in the UK; it is also try to leave a full itinerary, and contact numbers if possible.

Check your passport expiry date (many destinations require a minimum of 6 months validity) and complete the next of kin details at the back. You should also make a note of the passport number, date and place of issue and keep this separately to your passport.

Laws and customs vary between countries; so do the penalties for offenders. It is advisable to find out about local laws prior to your departure and remember to respect them.

Remember, more than than half of British nationals detained abroad have been imprisoned for drug offences!

If hiring a car, be sure your licence is current, make sure you know which side of the road to use (fortunately for us English, Barbados drives on the left).

Check local information regarding any potential dangerous areas and look after your belongings. As with anywhere in the world, do not invite theft by leaving valuables on show

 

Banks are open Monday-Thursday 8-3, Friday 8-5 (some branches in supermarkets are open Saturday morning 9-noon). At the airport the Barbados National Bank is open from 8 AM until the last plane leaves or arrives, seven days a week (including holidays). Post Offices The general post office, in Cheapside, Bridgetown, is open weekdays 7:30-5; Sherbourne Conference Centre branch is open weekdays 8:15-4:30 during conferences; and branches in each parish are open weekdays 8-3:15. Shops Most stores in Bridgetown are open weekdays 8:30-5, Saturday 8:30-1. Out-of-town locations may stay open later. Some supermarkets are open daily 8-6 or later.

Customs & Duties
Arriving in Barbados As with most of the Caribbean, you are limited to bringing in 2 litres of alcohol, 2 cartons of cigarettes, and a reasonable amount of duty-free goods for your personal use.

Electric current on Barbados is 110 volts/50 cycles, U.S. standard. Hotels generally have adapters/transformers for guests from the United Kingdom or other countries that operate on 220-volt current, but take your own just in case


Emergencies:
Ambulance ( 511). Fire (311). Police (211; 242/430-7100
Non emergencies:
Hospital Emergency Rooms Bayview Hospital (St. Paul's Ave., Bayville, St. Michael, Tel: 246/436-5446) is south of the city, along the coast. Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Martindales Rd., St. Michael, Tel: 246/436-6450) is just east of the Careenage.
Chemists:
Collins Ltd.. (Broad St., Tel: 246/426-4515). Grant's (Fairchild St., Bridgetown, Tel: 246/436-6120; Main Rd., Oistins, Tel: 246/428-9481). Knight's (Lower Broad St., Bridgetown, Tel: 246/426-5196; Super Centre Shopping Center, Main Rd., Oistins, PHONE: 246/428-6057; Suncrest Mall, Hwy. 1, Holetown, Tel: 246/432-1290; and Hwy. 1, Speightstown, Tel: 246/422-0048).
Scuba-Diving Accidents:
Barbados has excellent resources available for immediate assistance in case of diving emergencies. If you are aware of a diving emergency, call Divers' Alert Network (Tel: 246/684-8111 or 246/684-2948). The Coast Guard Defence Force has a 24-hour hyperbaric chamber, the only one in the region (St. Ann's Fort, Garrison, St. Michael, Tel: 246/427-8819; 246/436-6185 for non emergencies).


For most people in Europe and North America the best time to visit Barbados is from  from December 15 to April 14 - when our winter weather is at its worst. The upside is that all the best in entertainment, and it is the most fashionable time to be seen here. The downside is that it is the moist expensive period, the hotels are heavily booked and have to be booked well in advance. Travel by air or sea, as well as Hotel prices drop 20%-50% after April 15, but saving money isn't the only reason to visit the Caribbean during the off-season. Temperatures are only a few degrees warmer than at other times of the year, and many islands now schedule their carnivals, music festivals, and other events during the off-season. Late August, September, October, and early November are least crowded. The average year-round temperatures for the region are 78F-88F. During the rainy season, hurricanes are an occupational hazard as they sweep through the Caribbean, and I can well remember seeing local shopkeepers boarding up their shop fronts as Carol and I made our flight home coinciding with an arriving hurricane Check the news daily and keep abreast of brewing tropical storms.
Holidays: New Year's Day, Errol Barrow Day (Jan. 21), Good Friday and Easter Monday (March or April), National Heroes Day (Apr. 28), Labour Day (May 1), Whit Monday, Emancipation Day (Aug. 1), Kadooment Day (first Mon. in Aug.) Independence Day (Nov. 30), Bank Holiday (Dec. 1), Christmas, and Boxing Day (Dec. 26).


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