From major European cities one can fly to Barbados via London with British Airways, journey time about 14 hours, at a cost of about €1800 or with Lufthansa with a journey of about 26 hours at a cost of about €800. To spend much less there is the Air Canada flight, with overnight Montreal, which costs less than €400 but the trip takes more than 30 hours. In all cases you land at the modern Grantley Adams International Airport, located at the southern end of the island. While throughout the year the main connections with Europe are made practically only by British Airways with its flights from London and Mancester, in the period between November and March there are several airlines offering flights to Bridgetown and it is possible to find deals at 550€/650€ per passenger, with acceptable trip durations (between 15h and 20h), with Lufthansa and KLM.
Passport and visas
European Community citizens need only a valid passport and round-trip airline ticket. A visa is required only for stays longer than three months. As of September 22, 2022, Barbados has suspended all travel protocols related to COVID-19. Therefore, testing will not be required to enter Barbados, whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated. In addition, the use of masks is now optional.. More information: COVID-19
Political situation, health risk and other hazards
Until a few months ago the head of the state of Barbados, a member of the British Commonwealt, was Queen Elizabeth II but as of novenbre 2021 the state proclaimed itself a republic and the new president is former Governor General Dame Sandra Mason. This is, more than anything else, a formal change that will not bring any major changes in the life and politics of Barbados, which ranks high in the region for political, economic and social stability and can be considered a fairly safe country in all respects; the poverty rate is low and the quality of life of residents is generally good. As a result, crime is also sporadic although recent years have seen an increase in petty crime especially toward tourists and women traveling alone.
The health situation in the country does not require special precautions: tap water is drinkable, general hygienic conditions are good, and medical care is of a good standard. Advisable, however, to take out health insurance. The presence of the dengue virus is reported and in
less frequency also the Zika virus, both transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and it is therefore necessary to protect oneself from mosquitoes, especially during the wet season.
Due to the geological situation of the area and in particular the presence of an underwater volcano not far away, Barbados is an earthquake zone. The ‘last earthquake of ua certain power was recorded in 2021 but without causing any particular damage to
property or people. The area is also at risk of hurricanes, most frequent between June and November. The last one of strong intensity was in September 2017 and caused heavy damage throughout the country.
The official currency is the Barbados dollar (BBD), which is worth about half the U.S. currency. In major businesses you can also pay in U.S. dollars, and credit cards are accepted everywhere.
The mobile network covers the whole country well. The 4G network also uses some frequencies not used in Europe so older or cheaper cell phones in some places might connect only in 3G. There is no 5G coverage.
Electricity is 115V 50Hz, outlets are American slat type so adapters are required.
The language is English but a Creole dialect is widespread among the locals.
In Barbados you can organize on your own very easily; the only downside might be the cost of living, which is slightly below the European average. But this applies to the entire Caribbean region.
Renting a car is the best solution for moving around the island in total autonomy. In addition to a driver’s license – the Italian one is recognized – it is necessary to have a temporary driving permit, which is issued directly by the rental agency at a cost of 10 BBD. Driving is on the left. At least 21 years of age and two years of driving license are required to rent a car. For those over 75, there are some limitations on the types of cars you can rent.
The island is cut by a road network that is in good condition, but the signage is bad; with the exception of the main north-south and east-west routes, the only ones on which it is easier to get your bearings, the rest of the road network is virtually devoid of road signs. No worries: uncertainties at intersections and traffic circles are well tolerated by residents, who go out of their way to make it easier for tourists to drive a rental car, made recognizable by license plates beginning with the letter H.
A more extensive public transportation service than in Barbados is hard to imagine: there is a bus stop in every remote corner of the island, so even without your own vehicle you can get everywhere. In how long, however, is another matter entirely. The alternative is private minivans (ZR Van), which can be recognized by the brownish stripe on the sides of the vehicle; they shuttle between the island’s main locations and run more frequently than public buses.
Where to stay
High-end hotels, especially those on the west coast north of Bridgetown, have rates that are, in some cases, truly overpriced. Moving further south, however, one finds several lodging opportunities in the mid-range. And there is also a fair selection of guesthouses and
mini-apartments with kitchenettes, at very reasonable prices. As a result, the southern coast is where the mass of tourists are concentrated. Those looking for less rowdy places should head for the east coast, keeping in mind, however, that there are fewer accommodation options in these areas.
In Bathsheba, the Atlantis Historic Innis an institution: it was built in 1880 when a railroad connected Bridgetown to the Atlantic coast. The railroad was decommissioned in 1937 and the hotel fell into disuse. Famous among independent travelers for its retro atmosphere and, above all, for its Sunday Caribbean buffet, it has finally reopened, completely renovated. It has 8 spacious rooms with beautiful ocean views and an excellent restaurant. The drinks are also excellent.
A short walk from the Atlantis is the ECO Lifestyle + Lodge, former Sea-U Guest house, a simple and tasteful white wooden boutique hotel located on Bathsheba Hill.
Palm garden equipped with loungers and hammocks and spectacular ocean views.
In Speightstown, which is on the west coast but set back from the more touristy area, the airy rooms of the Sunset Sands Apartments face directly onto a clear blue sea. Well equipped and tastefully furnished, these one-bedroom apartments are the best choice for staying a few days in this sleepy tropical town.
Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. ( BTMI )
One Barbados Place Warrens,
Barbados. W.I. BB12001
Website: GoBarbados ( English )