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Holidays in Barbados

Understanding Barbados

Barbados has experienced several waves of human habitation The first wave were of the Saladoid-Barrancoid group, farmers, fishermen, and ceramists who arrived by canoe from Venezuela's Orinoco Valley around 350 AD The Arawak people were the second wave, arriving from South America around 800 AD Arawak settlements on the island include Stroud Point, Chandler Bay, Saint Luke's Gully, and Mapp's Cave According to accounts by descendants of the aboriginal Arawak tribes on other local islands, the original name for Barbados was Ichirouganaim In the 13th century, the Caribs arrived from South America in the third wave, displacing both the Arawak and the Salodoid-Barrancoid For the next few centuries, they lived in isolation on the island

The name "Barbados" comes from a Portuguese explorer named Pedro Campos in 1536, who originally called the island Los Barbados "The Bearded Ones", after the appearance of the island's fig trees, whose long hanging aerial roots resembled beards Between Campos' sighting in 1536 and 1550, Spanish conquistadors seized many Caribs on Barbados and used them as slave labor on plantations The others fled the island, moving elsewhere

Barbados was formally settled by the British in 1627 After several failed crops of cotton, sugarcane was introduced, and the colony established itself as a profitable plantation economy Enslaved Africans were the primary source of labour on these plantations until 1834, when they won their freedom through several years of rebellion, supported by increasing pressure from anti-slavery movements in Britain

The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century Though the shackles were removed, much of the repressive labour conditions of slavery remained on the island, until the 1930s, when the educated black middle class fought for universal adult suffrage and took the control of the country's local governance away from the British-descended local aristocracy The country began a process of social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s which led to complete independence from the UK in 1966 In the 1980s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance Barbados has developed into a stable democracy with one of the highest rates of literacy in the Western Hemisphere

Locals refer to themselves as Bajans and things Barbadian as Bajan

Talking in Barbados

The official language in Barbados is English Bajan occasionally called Barbadian Creole or Barbadian Dialect, is an English-based creole language spoken by locals Bajan uses a mixture of West African idioms and expressions along with British English to produce a unique Barbadian/West Indian vocabulary and speech pattern There are a few African words interspersed with the dialect Communication will not be a problem for any English speaker as Barbados has one of the highest literacy rates in the Western Hemisphere of around 999 percent

What to see in Barbados

The west coast holds numerous deluxe resorts, and it and the interior highlands have several historical sites with picturesque views Numerous web sites offer details

Buying stuff in Barbados

The local currency is the Bajan dollar, but US dollars are accepted just about everywhere in shops and restaurants The exchange rate is fixed at 198 Bajan dollars to the US Dollar but almost everyone uses US$1 = BD$2 Keep in mind that exchangers in hotels may insist on taking an additional percentage of the exchange typically 5%

Many "duty free" shops cater to visitors, eg, from cruise ships Bridgetown's main street hosts numerous jewelers, most frequently Colombian Emeralds and Diamonds International Cave Shepherd department store offers a wide range of mercantile, while Harrison's offers premium gifts, leathers and cosmetics Other smaller stores offer virtually everything a visitor or resident might need A small mall at the harbor also offers decent prices and selection eg, for rum and UK liquors, though goods produced in Barbados may be slightly more expensive there than elsewhere on the island

Barbados has a well-deserved reputation for producing excellent rum, eg, Mount Gay Rum distilleries are usually open for tours, and typically offer samples and product for sale at prices often equal to the best found anywhere else See also "Drink" below

Barbados has a great variety of street vendors Haggle aggressively Don't stop until you're at about a third of the original price

The fine Arts flourish in Barbados and many galleries and studios have shows on all year round which change every few weeks Details of monthly arts happenings may be viewed on 2, which creates a page showing events, workshops and opening receptions

See also the note about "Weekend Shut Down" at the end of the "Eat" section below

Duty Free: Stores selling to visitors can honestly claim they offer duty free pricing They do in-fact pay duty on imported goods before offering them them for sale But as they sell anything to you as a visitor, they will ask you to sign a form that allows them to get a refund of the duty paid The government is reportedly advancing toward allowing vendors to simply obtain goods intended for visitors without paying duty

Food and eating in Barbados

Individual listings can be found in the Barbados#Districts articles

Do flying fish fly?

Yes and no Flying fish can break through the surface of the water and fly distances of up to 100 yards at about 30 miles per hour, but they do not actually fly the same way as birds, because birds vibrate their wings during flight Instead, the flying fish gets its power and speed from its tail fin, which it moves from side to side with powerful strokes

  • Flying fish -- the icon of the islands is found on coins, bills, and menus Flying fish is usually served lightly breaded and fried, with a yellow sauce Be warned: this yellow sauce consists of VERY hot Scotch Bonnet peppers with onions in a mustard sauce
  • Pepperpot -- a dish of long tradition and great pride among the Bajans, it is a pork stew in a spicy dark brown sauce Don't miss this
  • Try "cutters," a local sandwich made using Salt Bread not regular sandwich bread Varieties include flying fish cutters, ham cutters and the popular "bread and two"
  • Visitors seeking fast food will probably be disappointed; the titanic burger chains of the US failed miserably upon introduction to Barbados Bajans eat nearly no beef However, chicken and fish sandwiches are wildly popular, so KFC and Chefette are ubiquitous
  • Bajan cuisine is a strange mix of spicy, flavorful treats along with bland traditional English fayre So be prepared for meals where fiery stews sit side-by-side with beans on toast
  • Every Friday night the place to be is the town of Oistins on the south coast for the "fish fry" This is a market where you can buy fresh fish cooked according to local recipes Locals stay there late and dance until the early hours of the morning This is now the second most popular tourist attraction on the island, after Harrison's Cave
  • There are many fine restaurants on the island with the top two being The Cliff on the west coast and The Restaurant at South Sea on the south coast Both are quite expensive, but serve beautiful food and a wonderful dining experience, overlooking the sea Still, you can find many hidden gems if you look hard enough Waterfront Cafe3 on the Careenage is an excellent place to sample Bajan Cuisine while sipping the local Banks Beer or a spicy Rum Punch
  • Fish cakes, BBQ pig tails, fresh coconut, and roasted peanuts are offered by the many street vendors

Weekend shut down! Everything shuts down on the weekend so plan ahead especially if you are self-catering Most stores are open till noon on Saturday and then nothing opens till Monday morning** **while the weekend shutdown thing used to be true, it isn't any longer Clothing and gift stores maybe open until at least 4pm with Sheraton Mall Shops open until at least 9:00pm on a Saturday and Supermarkets island wide are now open on both Saturday and Sundays for your shopping pleasure

A Bank Holiday such as Christmas, New Years Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday will find most if not all store and banks and business houses closed, but stores attached to gas stations will have limited availability of basic items There are a few small family run groceries across the island that will open on Bank Holidays or have a side door open to serve their community

Drinking in Barbados

Barbados has some of the purest water in the world that can be drunk straight from the tap Cruise ship employees are often seen stocking up on their water supplies while docked at the island

Rum and rum drinks are featured at every bar Perhaps the most famous domestic brand offered is Mount Gay Rum, which is very delicious Modest cost tours of the distillery 4 are available on weekdays They offer samples of all their rumsalso sold at attractive prices

Small establishments called rum shops can be found all over Barbados They are where local citizens 95% men meet to catch up on the local news Drop in and you can easily have a conversation with a real Barbadian

Beer and wine is easy to find as well Banks beer5 is Barbados' own beer and very good Tours of the Banks brewery are also available While the tour itself is very hot and only moderately interesting an unlimited amount of beer is provided to those waiting for the tour to begin Try to show up a few hours early and take advantage of a very good deal

Accommodation in Barbados

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Tk 50-500
Mid-range Tk 550-5000
Splurge Tk 5000+

There's a broad range of hotels in the country, from economy hotels costing $1 per night sometimes filthy and sometimes reluctant to take foreigners up to 5-star hotels in some of the major cities, including chains like Radisson Dhaka 43, Sheraton Dhaka 44 ,Westin Dhaka 45Another comfortable place is Lakeshore Hotels and Apartments46

Working in Barbados

Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, 47

Cities in Barbados

bathsheba  blackmans  bridgetown  crab hill  greenland  hillaby  holetown  oistins  speightstown  

What do you think about Barbados?

How expensive is Barbados?
(1 BBD = 0.5 USD)
Meal in inexpensive restaurant18 BBD
3-course meal in restaurant (for 2)135 BBD
McDonalds meal18.72 BBD
Local beer (0.5 draft)3.68 BBD
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 6.64 BBD
Cappuccino7.34 BBD
Pepsi/Coke (0.33 bottle)3.06 BBD
Water (0.33 bottle)2.78 BBD
Milk (1l)6.86 BBD
Fresh bread (500g)5.21 BBD
White Rice (1kg)4.95 BBD
Eggs (12) 8.42 BBD
Local Cheese (1kg) 12.36 BBD
Chicken Breast (1kg) 20.79 BBD
Apples (1kg) 5.92 BBD
Oranges (1kg) 6.07 BBD
Tomato (1kg) 8.32 BBD
Potato (1kg) 4.01 BBD
Lettuce (1 head) 4.28 BBD
Water (1.5l)5.51 BBD
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 30.33 BBD
Domestic Beer (0.5 bottle)3.3 BBD
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 3.67 BBD
Cigarettes16.02 BBD
One way local bus ticket1.84 BBD
Monthly pass for bus27.6 BBD
Taxi start13.86 BBD
Taxi 1km7.92 BBD
Taxi 1hour waiting33.25 BBD
Gasoline (1 liter) 4.3 BBD
Utilities for a "normal" apartment490.84 BBD
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 68.94 BBD
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 924 BBD
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