Travel Fundamentals for Barbados

Don't be intimidated by Barbados; learn all the basics about "Little England"

Photo credit: © Lawrence Weslowski Jr |

As a tourist, you may be pleasantly surprised to find Barbados a unique and beautiful island with a culture all it's own.

Nicknamed the "Little England" of the Caribbean, the island retains many of the conservative conventions and mannerisms from its days under British rule, yet still boasts the laid-back atmosphere that is prevalent across the entire Caribbean. This unique blend gives Barbados a charm all its own.

Many vacationers may neglect important tourist information such as regional distinctions and local customs. Fortunately, it requires only a little time to become familiar with the basic facts you'll need to know when visiting the island.



Officially, the citizens of Barbados are referred to as "Barbadians," but locals often refer to themselves and their unique dialect of English as "Bajan." The two terms are also interchangeable as adjectives. For example, Malibu Rum, which has its primary distillery on Barbados, can be called a Barbadian rum, or more colloquially, a Bajan rum.


Many of the conventions from its days as a European colony are reflected in the island's clothing and etiquette. The Bajan connection to its British heritage is among the strongest in the Caribbean. Remember this when getting dressed. Beachwear is considered inappropriate except on the beach. In shops and on town streets, you should be fully dressed with a shirt and shorts, or in casual clothes for dining.

Bajans also appreciate good manners. Locals consider it a visitor's responsibility to initiate interaction with islanders. Upon walking into shops, it is up to you to greet the employees, since they were already there and you entered their domain. Doing so will ensure any tourist a much more helpful experience in any local establishment.

With so much to do on Barbados, a little bit of basic knowledge about the island and its people can be very helpful. The regional information below and the practical facts in the following articles will go far toward helping you have a great experience on this exceptional island.



Area Description
Northern and Eastern Coasts Barbados is the easternmost member of the West Indian Archipelago, and its northern and eastern coasts are laden with rugged beauty. The eastern shores are open to the untamed Atlantic ocean and are home to rocky beaches, ragged cliffs, and rough seas. Running from Sam Lord's Castle and the Parish of St. Philip to Animal Flower Cave and the Parish of St. Lucy, the eastern and northern coasts are sparsely scattered with villages and the occasional resort, offering beautiful scenic drives and sport for the intrepid surfer.
Southern and Western Coasts The southern and western coasts of Barbados are sheltered from the rough seas of the Atlantic. Because the island is relatively small and low, the southwestern coast is cooled by the northeastern trade winds. Beaches are smooth and sandy with calm and clear water. The Grantley Adams International Airport is near the southernmost tip of the island, not far from the nation's capital of Bridgetown. These coasts are lined with resorts and rental properties to take advantage of the perfect sunbathing and swimming environment.
Central Region The central region of Barbados is a gently rising rural highland dotted with villages and checkered with sugar plantations. The highest point on Barbados is Mount Hillaby, at a height of 1,115 feet (340 meters). A myriad of beautiful vistas and quite a few historical places of interest nestle among the hills and plateaus.

Taking the time to acquaint yourself with some basic tourist information will help you get the most out of your trip to Barbados.


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