welcome to barbados!
Affectionately known as "the gem of the Caribbean", Barbados is the most easterly and one of the smallest islands (21 X 14 miles) in the Caribbean.
Still the island boasts over 70 miles of stunning coastline, surrounded by warm (70-80F / 21-27C year round), "user friendly" water.
Fact: there has never been a reported shark attack in Barbados and there is a local saying that goes "if you are scared of sharks the safest place in Barbados is... IN THE SEA!"
Barbadians or "Bajans" (BAY-JUNs) are known to be some of the friendliest, most outgoing people in the world. This may be due to the avg yearly temperature of 85F/30c and over 3000 hrs of sunshine we receive each year.
Friendly seas and friendly people ....what a perfect combination for a watersports holiday! So whether its the large and powerful Atlantic swell crashing on the east coast, the tranquil waters of the west coast or the diverse conditions in the south, Barbados provides the perfect opportunity for almost any watersport you desire.
From scuba to surfing to jet skis and catamarans Barbados is the place to be!
some quick facts and tips
- Language - English/Bajan - (english spoken quickly and with a heavy accent) but don't worry most Bajans will try to speak clearly when chatting to visitors. However, it's way more fun and entertaining listening to a local conversation which tends to be rather loud and animated but usually in good spirit.
Tip: take advantage of our friendly nature to learn a few of our favorite local words and sayings then practice speaking them with your own version of the Bajan accent.
One such popular word is "liming/lyming" - gathering of friends to hang out and socialise...usually involves alcohol and music and can take place ANYWHERE but is usually near a road where passersby can spot the "lime" and pull in to join the party
- Road safety - we drive on the left side of the road and thus the driver sits on the right side of the vehicle... same as in the UK.
Tip: hire a car or a taxi driver for at least a day and go explore the island. Make sure you visit the east coast to really appreciate the island's beauty and don't worry about getting lost as the island is small and there's always a friendly face to give you directions..... if you can understand them : )
- Currency - Barbadian dollars however American currency is accepted island wide at a rate of $1us = $1.98bds but many places, especially beach vendors and bars will take it at $1us = $2bds for convenience.
Tip: just like our country, Barbadian money is very colourful and fun but be sure to familiarise yourself with it before you shop shop shop.... it may look like monopoly money but its worth much more!
- Electricity is 110v 50 cycles and all power outlets are standard American sockets. Any appliances suited to 110v will work but clocks will lose time due to our lower cycle. British/European appliances will be underpowered which wont cause damage but will affect their performance e.g your stereo will tune into the radio but wont play CDs.
Tip: get yourself a travel adapter as many appliances such as cell phones, ipads and laptops are now "dual voltage" and u wont be happy if you cant plug it in. All electrical sockets in Barbados are suited to standard American plugs.
- Internet is available island wide. In fact Barbados is on course to become the worlds first country to provide "free" WiFi to the entire country through an initiative to create an island wide "hotspot". Also most cell phones will "roam" on a local network automatically upon arrival so you will never be out of touch with your loved ones back at home.
Tip: if you plan to use your cell phone and want to avoid the costly roaming fees it is usually a lot cheaper to buy a local Sim card if your cellular/mobile phone isn't "locked" to a network.
- Amazingly and ironically most Bajans can NOT swim!! Although we all love to visit the beach as is evidenced by the many many barbeques and parties hosted there. Those of us that do swim tend to be very proficient in the water. Barbados boasts international surfers, former Olympians in windsurfing and world renowned "watermen" such as Phillip Als and Randal Valdez who placed 3rd in a challenge to ROW across the ATLANTIC from Spain to Barbados ....yes you read it correctly!! They are both also very accomplished windsurfers and were a major influence on me as a young and upcoming waterman. Presently Barbados has a number of young surfers who are world raked, with 2 entrants in the worlds top 20 women and young Josh Burke the first son of the soil to be ranked in the top 20 young surfers in the world.
Tip: while on holiday in Barbados make use of our best natural resource - the ocean - and let the School of Surf help make it an experience to remember!