Barbados Luxury Villas. Beach Resort, Spa, Hotel. Enjoy a relaxing Barbados vacation with Grenadine Escape.
Introduction to Barbados
Endless pink- and white-sand beaches and a rich West Indian tradition are what put Barbados (Bar-bay-dose) on the map. The most eastern island in the Caribbean, Barbados has been called "England in the tropics" because of its intriguing mix of British and African culture. Cricket and polo are the main sports and afternoon tea is still a pleasant ritual kept here, something one would expect in a country that has been under British rule from its settlement in 1627 until its independence in 1966.
Barbados is easily reached from Europe and the United States and has a grand array of hotels and villas. Although it doesn't offer casinos, it has more than just beach life. It's a terrific destination for travelers interested in learning about West Indian culture, and it offers more sightseeing attractions than most Caribbean islands.
Barbados is one of the best places in the world for windsurfing. The surfing is good here especially on the east coast, which is buffeted by the cold Atlantic waters. The west coast of Barbados entices visitors with its pink and white beaches. The "Platinum Coast" as it is called is home to numerous luxury resorts. The southern coast is also a favorite of sunbathers. The island's capital is Bridgetown, a major port of call for cruise ships.
Don't rule out Barbados if you're seeking a peaceful island getaway. Although the south coast is known for its nightlife and the west-coast beach strip is completely built up, some of the island remains undeveloped. The east coast is fairly tranquil, and you can often be alone here (but because it faces the Atlantic, the waters aren't as calm as they are on the Caribbean side). Many escapists, especially Canadians seeking a low-cost place to stay in winter, don't seem to mind the Atlantic waters at all. Not only does the Atlantic Coast have Bathsheba Beach going for it, but it is also home to some of the most visited attractions on the island. These include Andromeda Botanical Garden, Farley Hill National Park, Barbados Wildlife Reserve, and Harrison's Cave. You might know the Barbados rum, Mount Gay is world famous, and visitors can learn more about how it is made at the Mount Gay Rum Visitors Center. The Bajan landscape is one of the most majestic in the southern Caribbean. It's an ideal place to go on lovely driving tours to take in all the little seaside villages, plantations, gardens, and English country churches, some dating from the 17th century.
Featured Villa: Crystal Springs
Barbados Villa Rentals and Hotels, Barbados Exclusive Holidays
Luxury Barbados Villas Rentals and Hotels on Barbados (1 hour flight east of the Grenadines) we have an excellent choice of luxury villas from luxury apartments at Port St. Charles to exclusive fully staffed villas, private hideaway estates with you own beaches, watersports and five star chefs. Barbados in the 1950's is replicated on a small scale on the island of Bequia in the Grenadines. Island hop to the Grenadines Islands including Bequia, Canouan and Mustique for luxury villas, resorts, spa's and some of the best diving in the world.
Access to Grenadines Islands from Barbados
Bequia, Mustique and the astounding Tobago Cays (better diving than the Maldives!) are just a short flight away, stunning anchorages, swim with turtles, watch dolphins... Find out more about access to the islands here...
Barbados Fast Facts
American Express-- The island's affiliate is Going Places Travel, Suite 27, Becklith Mall, Nile Street (tel. 246/431-2423), in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Barbados Banks-- Most banks are open Monday through Thursday from 8am to 3pm, and Friday from 8am to 5pm. The major banks of Barbados, all with ATMs, are found along Broad Street in Bridgetown, including branches of First Caribbean Bank (formerly Barclays), the Barbados National Bank, and the Bank of Nova Scotia. These banks also have branch offices in Holetown, Speightstown, and along the St. Lawrence Gap south of Bridgetown. There are ATMs at the airport as well, plus at bank branches throughout Barbados.
Barbados Consulates & High Commissions-- The Embassy of the United States is on Broad Street, Bridgetown (tel. 246/436-4950), and the Canadian High Commission at Lower Bishop's Court, Pine Road, Bridgetown (tel. 246/429-3550). The British High Commission is found at Lower Collymore Rock, St. Michael (tel. 246/430-7880).
Barbados Currency-- The Barbados dollar (BD$) is the official currency, available in $5, $10, $20, and $100 notes, as well as 10¢, 25¢, and $1 silver coins, plus 1¢ and 5¢ copper coins. The Barbados dollar is permanently fixed because of an international agreement at the rate of approximately 50¢ in U.S. currency. Most stores take traveler's checks or U.S. dollars. However, it's best to convert your money at banks and pay in Barbados dollars. Unless otherwise specified, rates in this chapter are quoted in U.S. dollars.
Barbados Customs-- Most items for personal use (within reason, of course) are allowed into Barbados, except agricultural products and firearms. You can bring in perfume for your use if it's not for sale. You're also allowed a carton of cigarettes and a liter of liquor.
Documents-- Citizens of all countries need a passport to enter Barbados, including those from the United States and Canada. In recent years, North Americans needed only photo identification and an original birth certificate or proof of citizenship. Responding to fears of terrorism, and increased security around the world, Barbados has suspended that former rule. Cruise-ship passengers need only the ship's magnetic identification card. However, if a cruise begins and ends in Barbados, a passport is required.
Electricity-- The electricity is 110-volt AC (50 cycles), so at most places you can use your U.S.-made appliances.
Emergencies-- In an emergency, dial the police at tel. 211, the fire department at tel. 311, and an ambulance at tel. 511.
Barbados Hospitals-- The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is located on Martinsdale Road in St. Michael (tel. 246/436-6450). Of the several private clinics, one of the most expensive and best recommended is the Bayview Hospital, St. Paul's Avenue, Bayville, St. Michael (tel. 246/436-5446).
Barbados Language-- The Bajans speak English, but with their own island lilt.
Barbados Liquor Laws-- Liquor, beer, and wine are sold throughout the island at every outlet from grocery stores to convenience stores on any day the stores are open. Open containers are illegal on the beach.
Barbados Safety-- Crimes against visitors used to be rare, but there are today reports of pickpocketing, armed robbery, and even sexual assault. Avoid leaving cash or valuables in your hotel room, beware of purse snatchers when walking, exercise caution on the beach or at attractions, and be wary of driving in isolated areas.
Barbados Taxes-- A 8.75% government sales tax is tacked on to hotel bills. A 15% VAT (value-added tax) is levied on all meals. (For example, if your hotel costs US$200 per night, and you are charged US$50 per person for a MAP, you'll have to pay a 8.75% government tax plus the 10% additional service charge for the US$200 room rate, then an additional 15% VAT on the MAP rate.) Some visitors view these additional charges as "larcenous." They certainly won't make you happy when you go to pay your final bill. There's a departure tax of BD$25 (US$13) which is payable in either U.S. dollars or Barbadian currency.
Barbados Telephone-- To call Barbados from the United States, dial 1, then 246 (the area code for Barbados) and the local number. Once on Barbados, to call another number on the island, only the local number is necessary. You can reach MCI at tel. 800/888-8000.
Barbados Time-- Barbados is on Atlantic Standard Time year-round, so it's 1 hour ahead of New York except during daylight saving time, when Barbados's time is the same as the eastern United States.
Tipping-- Most hotels and restaurants add at least a 10% service charge to your bill. If service is extremely good, you may want to supplement that. If it has not been included, you may want to tip your waiter 10% to 15%. Taxi drivers expect a 10% tip.
Barbados Water-- Barbados has a pure water supply. It's pumped from underground sources in the coral rock that covers most of the island, and it's safe to drink.
Barbados Weather-- Daytime temperatures are in the 75°F to 85°F (24°C-29°C) range throughout the year.