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Cocos Islands, Costa Rica
Humming bird, Costa Rica
|Stunning Costa Rica coastline; Toucan; Capuchin monkey in the trees; ||
|Central American & Caribbean Information|
This tour visits the following countries. Please select one to view its details.
| Barbados | Bonaire | Colombia | Costa Rica | Grenada | Panama |
|To see our current selection of tours in Barbados click here.|
Constant sea breezes cool Barbados’s balmy, tropical climate but the island is still sunnier and drier than the other islands. During the so-called wet season (July to November), some brief rain showers are likely. Average sunshine hours per day are eight to 10 from November to March and eight to nine from April to October. Tropical storms and hurricanes may occur between June and November.
Lightweight cottons are advised; beachwear is not worn in towns.
Actually in the Atlantic but considered a Caribbean destination. Most easterly of the Windward Islands.
416 sq km (161 sq miles).
694.1 per sq km.
Constitutional monarchy. Gained independence from the UK in 1966.
As the most easterly of the Caribbean chain, Barbados lies well to the east of the West Indies. A lively surf scene enjoys pounding waves along the rugged east coast where a rocky shoreline kicks up plenty of spray. To the west, fine white sand beaches and natural coral reefs predominate. A handful of gently rolling hills form a ripple to the north while the rest of the island is predominantly flat. Coral filters ensure surrounding waters are among the purest on the planet.
The official language is English. Local Bajan dialect is also spoken.
Over 100 religious groups practise island-wide, from the Anglican majority to smaller Roman Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Baptists, Pentecostals, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, The Salvation Army, Muslim and Quaker faiths.
GMT - 4.
Many British societal attitudes permeate bureaucratic red tape and architecture, yet when it comes to time-keeping, humour and urgency the laid-back Barbados manner reigns supreme. Barefoot casual attire is de rigour except when dressing up-to-the nines for dinner - or church. As a former slave colony, personal freedom is highly valued.
110-115 volts AC, 50Hz. American-style two-pin plugs are in use.
Head of Government
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart since 2010.
Head of State
HM Queen Elizabeth II, represented locally by Governor-General Elliot Belgrave since 2012.
In January 2008 David Thompson of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) assumed office as prime minister following election victory. He is the sixth holder of the office since Independence. Since Owen Arthur, of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), won a third term as prime minister in 2003, the party has given a high priority to economic diversification and development. Barbados’s biggest current political problems are the promotion of economic growth, the creation of jobs and attracting foreign investment. Barbados has been a stable democracy since it gained independence, however, there is a strong lobby (backed by a recent government commission examining Barbados’s constitutional future) for an elected president as head of state. This would follow the example of Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and Dominica.
Barbados Dollar (BBD; symbol BD$) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of BD$100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 2. Coins are in denominations of BD$1, and 25, 10, 5 and 1 cents.The Barbados Dollar is tied to the US Dollar.
Commercial banks offer the best rates of exchange. The Barbados National Bank and a range of international banks each have an office in Bridgetown with branches in Hastings, Holetown, Speightstown and Worthing.
Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted in the resorts, but cash is preferred for customs duty payment. ATMs are widely available.
Accepted by all banks and most hotels. Opt for traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling to avoid additional charges.
The import of local currency is unlimited but should be declared on arrival. The export of local currency is prohibited. There are no restrictions on the import of foreign currencies providing declared on arrival. The export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on arrival.
Generally Mon-Thurs 0800-1500, Fri 0800-1700.
Exchange Rate Indicators
1.00 GBP = 3.27 BBD 1.00 USD = 2 BBD 1.00 EUR = 2.75 BBD 1.00 CAD = 1.88 BBD 1.00 GBP = 1.63 USD 1.00 EUR = 1.37 USD 1.00 CAD = 0.94 USD Currency conversion rates as of 12 December 2013
Fringed by talcum powder-white beaches and azure seas, Barbados fulfils the clichéd image of a tropical Caribbean isle, but peel back the exterior and the island offers far more than a mere beach holiday destination.
Endowed with 113km (70 miles) of beaches, however, first time visitors can be forgiven for heading straight for the sand and surf. Most tourists flock to the island’s legendary Platinum Coast to the west, which is lined with world-class, luxury resorts, spa hotels, sophisticated restaurants and manicured golf courses, all lapped by the limpid Caribbean Sea. The south coast has some of the best beaches while the east coast, pummelled by the Altantic Ocean, is less developed and attracts mainly surfers.
Although Barbados’s interior is unremarkable compared to its Caribbean neighbours, a jeep safari provides the best way to discover crumbling sugar mills, historic plantation houses, traditional churches reminiscent of England and colonial Bridgetown. The capital, and the nearby Garrison site, were granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2012.
Combine this with Barbados’s indelible laid-back vibe, its passion for rum (over 1,500 rum shops dot the island) and calypso-infused festivals, and it’s no wonder people return here time and time again.
From www.worldtravelguide.net copyright Columbus Travel Publishing Ltd, December 2013.