Size & Location
Barbados is a beautiful, coral and limestone island, and is the most easterly of the Caribbean islands. Barbados measures 14 x 21 miles, and has eleven parishes. The capital city Bridgetown is located on the island’s southwestern coast in the parish of St. Michael. Barbados has three other towns: Oistins in the South, Holetown in the West and Speightstown in the North.
The name LOS BARBADOS was given by the Portuguese upon seeing the bearded fig trees which grew abundantly on the island. The “Los” was subsequently dropped and the island became known as Barbados. However, although the Portuguese and Spanish visited the island first, it was the British who colonized Barbados in the early 1600s. Barbados was ruled by the British until 1966, when the island gained independence.
The population of Barbados is estimated at 285,912 and is made up mainly of people of African descent with some European, Asian, Hindu, Muslim and Syrian influence. The people of Barbados are friendly, fun loving, warm and are always ready to welcome you with a smile. You will always feel at home in Barbados.
English is the official language. However, the Bajan dialect, which is the local language is heard all over the island.
Weather & Climate
Barbados weather is mostly sunny and fair with warm days, cool winds and cozy nights. The prevailing cool northeast tradewinds blow steadily so that although it is bright and sunny, it is not unbearably hot.
Barbados has an average daytime have an average daytime high of 84 – 88oF or 29 – 31oC. The dry season in Barbados lasts from January to July. Tropical rainstorms sometimes occur in the hurricane season which runs from June to October.
All beaches in Barbados are open to the public, locals and tourists alike. West Coast beaches are the calmest and are good and safe for swimming, snorkeling and diving. South Coast beaches offer gentle winds and waves for bodysurfing, windsurfing and kite surfing. East and North Coast beaches bring huge waves and strong currents suitable for the experienced surfer but not for swimming except for areas with protected bays.
Lifeguards are not stationed at all beaches across Barbados, therefore discretion should always be used when venturing into the ocean. Jet Skis and Wave Runners are fun and popular amongst visitors to the island, please consult with your local water sports operator.
Barbados has its own currency issued by the Central Bank of Barbados. Two Barbados dollars are equivalent to one US dollar. Notes are issued in denominations of $100, $50, $20, $10, $5, and $2. Coins are issued in denominations of $1 and 25, 10, 5, and 1 cents. Travelers cheques and most major credit cards are also widely accepted.
Barbados does not recognize Daylight Saving Time and hence is 4 hours behind GMT in the winter and 5 hours in the summer; 1 hour ahead of US and Canada Eastern Standard Time (EST) in the winter and the same during US Daylight Saving Time.
Barbados is located in the Atlantic Time Zone at 13o 6′ N and 59o 37′ W.