Barbados is a magnificent jewel set in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. It has golden sandy beaches, calm clear blue waters and amazing restaurants. The English speaking ‘Bajans’ are amongst the friendliest people in the world. They are passionate about cricket. Barbados hosts world cup cricket at the Kensington Oval. It is a very special place for a holiday.
The West Coast of the island is often known as the 'Platinum Coast'. It enjoys wonderful sunsets and the calm clear Caribbean sea. The west coast is upmarket and served by the very best hotels and restaurants. It has beautiful quiet beaches and some of the best golf courses in the world.
The South Coast is a little more casual and slightly busier than the west. The sea is wavier but with so much going on it is ideal for young visitors. The South Coast is generally less expensive than the West Coast. It is lively and beautiful but slightly more crowded with wide sandy beaches.
On the East Coast the Atlantic Ocean rolls in and the coastline is rugged and dramatic . Surfing is popular here. However, it is less accessible to many of the restaurants and activities available on the West and South Coasts. The East Coast is not really suitable for young children to swim unless supervised.
Each coast is very different with its own charm.
The island is approximately 21 miles long and 14 miles wide. It covers an area of 166 square miles and has an estimated population of 284,589.
There is so much to do on Barbados it is hard to know where to begin. For those who want to relax there are wonderful uncrowded beaches. The sun shines through most of the year. We have luxury villas to rent or luxury hotels to enjoy all year round.
Weather in Barbados
Barbados offers fantastic weather virtually all year round. It is a little hotter and slightly more humid in the summer months. It is now extremely popular during July and August when the children in Europe are on school holidays. If you are thinking of visiting the island in school holidays it is advisable to book flights well in advance. Barbados weather is generally warm and sunny all year with an average daytime high of 30°C / 86°F.
With the northeast trade winds blowing steadily throughout the year Barbados is not unbearably hot. The nights are usually slightly cooler and rain typically comes in quick showers. The dry season usually lasts from January to June.
Which airlines fly to Barbados?
Barbados is now extremely accessible with direct flights every day. There are direct flights from London Gatwick (BA and Virgin Atlantic). There are also 5 direct flights a week from Manchester to Barbados in the winter months (Virgin and Thomas Cook). There are 2 flights each week from Manchester to Barbados(on Virgin Atlantic) in the summer months. There are also direct flights to Barbados in the winter months from Birmingham and Glasgow (Condor/Thomas Cook). This makes Barbados the perfect place for a holiday.
There are many direct flights from the US to Barbados. Jet Blue and American Airlines fly direct from New York and Miami daily. Delta fly direct to Barbados from Atlanta. There are also direct flights to Barbados from Toronto with Air Canada or West Jet.
Things to do in Barbados
You can participate in or watch:
- Polo (in season)
- Water skiing
- Scuba diving
- Live bait fishing
- Deep sea fishing
- Horse riding
- Paddle Boarding
- Surfing (on East and South Coast)
- Zip lining
- Mountain biking
Things for families to do in Barbados
As well as all the above activities there are so many other wonderful things for families to do and see:
Swim with turtles;
Enjoy a sunset catamaran cocktail cruise or a 3 hour lunch cruise with lunch and booze included;
Party on a party barge- a comfortable flat motor boat with great bar and music ideal for partying;
Visit St Nicholas Abbey- an historic plantation house where you can taste the fine Barbados rum still distilled there and you can watch a video telling the history of Barbados in pictures;
Visit the Animal Sanctuary and watch green monkeys and giant turtles roaming in their natural habitat;
Explore Harrison's Cave and travel by tram through the extensive cave system to view amazing stalagmites and stalactites which have formed over thousands of years ( You can even get married there!);
Enjoy Barbados under the water in a submarine observing magnificent coral, sting rays, eels, turtles and colourful tropical fish;
If you like horticulture enjoy the colour and peaceful botanical beauty of the Flower Forest, Andromeda Gardens and Orchid World;
Watch horse racing and mingle with like- minded people at the Barbados Turf Club;
Jeep Safaris- take a tour of beautiful Barbados by Land Rover jeep safari. Learn Barbados culture, history and go to off the beaten track places in 4x4 Land Rover vehicles where you will have amazing photo opportunities to share with (and make you the envy of) friends on Facebook, twitter and Instagram;
Island hopping-for those who want to see some of the other islands in a day take a 40 minute flight to the Grenadines and see some of the Grenadine islands on a catamaran. You can also island hop in a day to Mustique and Bequia;
Enjoy the Concorde Experience- Barbados is home to one of the magnificent Concorde fleet and you can visit the Barbados Concorde Experience which is next door to Grantley Adams International airport. A truly unique experience;
Shop until you drop at Lime Grove Shopping Centre in Holetown which is host to most of the designer brands including Breitling, Burberry, Bulgari, Cartier, Diamonds International, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Mont Blanc, Ralph Lauren, TAG Heuer and Vilebrequin;
Cinema-enjoy a luxury cinema experience with a twist in Lime Grove Lifestyle Centre. It provides an outstanding movie/cinema experience. Leading films are delivered in outstanding Dolby 3D and Dolby digital sound. You may pre-order your amazingly comfortable leather seats. You can even buy a reclining seat with full foot rest. At either of the luxury cinemas in Lime Grove customers can order food with a touch button control and the food is delivered right to your seat! Kids (and adults) just love it.
National Trust walks enjoy National Trust guided walks throughout the beautiful countryside;
Holders Season- a celebration of opera, music and theatre held at Holders in March each year. This is an internationally acclaimed festival of cultural activity;
Cookery courses-at places like Flindts
Bus Tours-take a tour on one of the old fashioned recently refurbished Bajan buses
Barbados has some of the best restaurants and finest food in the world. You could dine in a different amazing restaurant every night of the week. Enjoy haute cuisine, wonderful beach front restaurants, local shanty bars and rum shacks. This island has it all. There is something for every taste. Try The Cliff, Tides, Cin Cin, Fish Pot, Lone Star, Bombas Beach Bar, Daphnes and many more. Read our thoughts on our favourite Restaurants in Barbados.
VIP Arrivals Service
If you want to beat the queue at immigration on arrival contact us. We will provide our customers with a personal VIP service. This will whisk you through immigration and customs avoiding the queues.
The local currency is the Barbados dollar. Depending on exchange rate there are currently around 3 Barbados dollars to each UK pound (referred to as 3 to 1). There are approximately 2 Barbados dollars to each US dollar (2 to 1). Most places will take US dollars but generally items are priced in Barbados dollars. You can obtain Barbados dollars before you go but in the UK, exchange rates for Barbados dollars tend to be quite poor. You may be better to order US dollars in the UK (M&S and Thomas Cook usually offer good exchange rates). Alternatively, wait and use your cashpoint card on arrival in Barbados.
Let your bank and credit card companies know before you travel because Barbados still does not use chip and pin. You may therefore find your cards are sometimes stopped by your bank’s fraud detection systems. This is not usually a problem if you have notified your bank beforehand.
UK and US passport holders do not need a visa. They do, however, need a passport with not less than 6 months left to run. Residents of other countries will need to check the entry requirements at Barbados.org.
Car Hire/Auto Rental
We recommend car hire/auto rental so that you can explore Barbados. It gives you the flexibility to stop off whenever and wherever you like. The east coast is wilder and more rugged than the west with the Atlantic waves rolling in. The views are breath taking. It would be a shame to miss out on the island’s beauty when car hire is relatively inexpensive. Driving is on the left as in the UK.
We have partnerships with many of the car rental/auto rental companies and are are able to obtain some of the most preferential rates available. If you wish to book a car, whether you have booked a holiday with us or not, we will be happy to arrange car hire/ auto rental for you.
Barbados is in the Atlantic time zone and the standard time is Greenwich Mean Time minus 4 hours. Barbados has no daylight saving time. In the GMT winter months it is minus 4 hours and in the GMT summer months it is minus 5 hours. If you are from the East coast of America you will have no time difference at all to concern yourself with.
Weddings/Getting Married in Barbados/ Honeymoons/2 centre holidays
We frequently have guests who wish to marry and honeymoon in Barbados. Some want to do a two centre holiday. Why not marry and honeymoon in Barbados and then move to another island for a second week?
We are specialists in two centre holidays. Who wouldn’t want to marry in the balmy Caribbean sunshine? Marry on a beach or in a tropical garden. We are always happy to assist with the arrangements. We can find suitable properties for wedding receptions. We can introduce you to local wedding planners and we can assist in finding accommodation of all sizes to accommodate the happy couple and their friends and family.
We can even sort out hire cars for the wedding party and their guests.
Getting married in Barbados is relatively straightforward. Each member of the couple must apply for a marriage licence by attending in person at the office of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The couple will need to bring with them:
• Valid passports and birth certificates.
• Return airline/boat tickets.
• If either member of the couple was divorced, an original Decree Absolute (The Decree Nisi will not be sufficient).
• If either member of the couple was previously married and widowed, a certified copy of the Marriage Certificate and Death Certificate in respect of the deceased spouse.
The couple should apply for a marriage licence but first they must arrange for a magistrate or marriage officer to perform the wedding ceremony.
Fees for the marriage licence range from between US$22.50 (BDS$45) and US$100 (BDS$200). This depends on whether or not either party is a citizen of Barbados (if neither party is a citizen the higher fee applies). There is also a nominal fee payable for a stamp. This will not usually exceed US$12.50 (BDS$25).
Fees for civil marriage ceremonies range from US$125 (BDS$250) to US$175 (BDS$350). The cost depends on whether the ceremony is held in or out of court. Ceremonies held in the court are generally cheaper.
If you are getting married in Barbados do always check local bank holidays which differ from those in the UK. Marriage ceremonies are not usually performed on Barbados bank holidays.
Our office in Barbados and our concierge service
Our local team on the ground in Holetown are highly experienced. They will be happy to help you with bookings or simply to direct you to the right places. We are here to ensure that your holida in Barbados really will be a dream holiday.