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Barbados Travel Tips and Information

Tips on Cruise Port, Attractions, Weather and When to Go
Cruise visitors to Barbados will first see a harbor that looks like any other harbor of a developing nation. It is more commercial than tourist.

Barbados catamaran
Copyright Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.
But the island has a full range of great vacation experiences.

Barbados is one of the most well-developed islands of the Caribbean. It ranks 12th on the list of most-visited tourist islands because of its large population of more than 280,000 people, English colonial past and vibrant economy.

In other words, it gives American, Canadian and British tourists a strong sense of comfort and familiarity. That makes it a popular stop for cruise ships.

The island has more than 500,000 stopover tourists each year, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization. It has another 500,000 tourists came from cruise ships, making the two types of visits roughly equal.

Barbados Attractions

BarbadosBridgetown is the capital of the country and the most active place to visit for things to do.

The main cruise port sits right by the city, so a major shopping and dining district by the port serves as one of the city’s main attractions. Broad Street has numerous shops, restaurants and historical places.

Barbados has one of the better experiences of swimming with sea turtles. Excursion boats take visitors to an area offshore near Bridgetown. They get into the water with snorkeling gear and swim with giant turtles that are looking for food.

Other unique attractions include the Flower Forest that combines a botanical garden and nature trail. Andromeda Natural Gardens has six acres of tropical plants and flowers.

Harrison's Cave includes underground streams and a 40-foot waterfall. Standard attractions include golf, sailing, snorkeling, diving, shopping and catamaran cruises.

The island has five public golf courses: Barbados Golf Club, Rockley Club, Sandy Lane, Apes Hill Club and Almond Beach Village.

Tourism / When to Go

Barbados surfing
Barbados has a full range of water sports including surfing. © Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.
The most popular month to visit is December and the least popular is September.

Other popular months are January through March as people up north seek to escape the winters.

September and October are the most unpopular months to visit because they are the peak months of the Caribbean hurricane season.

U.S. and Canadian stopover visitors require a passport. Cruise visitors simply need to have their ship ID cards available when leaving the ship and returning.


The average daytime temperature ranges between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit year round.

Summer temperatures rarely exceed 90 degrees. The climate is tropical with a rainy season from June to October. In contrast, a dry season runs from January to June. Hurricanes are infrequent.

Rainfall averages about six inches a month from August through November. It averages about two inches a month from January through May.

Currency / Tipping / Taxes

Currency is the Barbadian Dollar. It is tied to the U.S. dollar at a fixed rate of U.S. $1.00 = BD $1.98. U.S. currency, travelers' checks and credit cards are accepted at most establishments throughout the island.

Most restaurants automatically add 10 percent to a bill, with 10-15 percent being the norm for all bills. A 15 percent VAT (Value-Added Tax) is put on bills in all shops, supermarkets and restaurants.

Culture / Geography

English is the dominant language. Historically, the economy depended on the sugarcane industry, but it has diversified in recent years into light industry and tourism.

The geography is relatively flat and rises gently to a central highland region.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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November 08, 2016

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