Barbados

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Barbados is an island in the Caribbean, northeast of Venezuela. The island is portrayed as the Little Britain of the Caribbean because of its long association as a British colony.

Population: 288,725 people
Area: 430 km2
Highest point: 336 m
Coastline: 97 km
Life expectancy: 74.75 years
GDP per capita: $25,800
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About Barbados

Background

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's 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 United Kingdom 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.

Activities

World class watersports including surfing at Soup Bowl on the east coast and various breaks along the west when the swell is up. The south coast has great surf and a spot on the world windsurfing tour at Silver Sands.

Travel inland to various plantation houses which put on meals and exhibitions. Visit the animal flower cave or Barbados wildlife reserve.

  • Scuba diving. There are also many diving tour operators for every level of experience to explore coral reefs as well as sunken ships. The waters around Barbados are some of the most transparent in the Caribbean.
  • Nightclubbing. at beach bars such as the Harbour Lights and the boat yard and the St. Lawrence Gap (a strip of bars, restaurants and hotels). The two most notable nightclubs on the island are Priva, located in Holetown, and Sugar Ultra Lounge, the largest nightclub in St. Lawrence Gap.
  • Catamaran Cruises +1 246-429-8967, fax: +1 246-418-0002, e-mail: info@actioncharters.org. daily. A catamaran cruise with opportunities to snorkel with sea turtles and snorkel above shipwrecks. The tour includes transportation to and from the harbour as well as all drinks (alcohol included) and a buffet lunch. A cheaper version of the tour is offered that skips the buffet lunch. Turtle-snorkeling-only cruises are offered as well. B$150 per adult, credit cards accepted with 4% charge.
  • Atlantis Submarine Tours 001-246-4368929. Dive down nearly 50m below sea level in a real submarine. For people who dare not dive, this is a convenient way to get close to marine life, corals and sunken ships. Morning tours are recommended since later tours may be canceled due to rough surface conditions. Minibuses from the centre also pass nearby but leave only from the northern (market) bus terminal, thus a cab might make more sense. US $180/couple.

Food

  • 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 that this yellow sauce consists of very hot Scotch Bonnet peppers with onions in a mustard sauce.
  • Coo-Coo and Flying Fish - is often considered to be the national dish. Coo-coo (or Cou-cou) is a polenta-like cornmeal and okra porridge, coo-coo pairs perfectly with flying fish, which is either steamed with lime juice, spices, and vegetables or fried and served with a spicy sauce. The Flying Fish restaurant overlooking St. Lawrence Bay claims to be the Barbadian national dish’s home.
  • Pepperpot, a must, a dish of long tradition and great pride among the Bajans, a pork stew in a spicy dark brown sauce.
  • 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 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.
  • Fish cakes, BBQ pig tails, fresh coconut, and roasted peanuts are offered by the many street vendors.
  • Sandy Lane, a luxury hotel on the west coast, serves an extensive Mediterranean-style buffet for dinner.

Drinks

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 [2] are available on weekdays. They offer samples of all their rums, also 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 beer [3] 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.there are also tours of the three rum refineries which are informative.

10 Saints is the first craft beer to be brewed in Barbados. This unique lager is aged for 90 days in Mount Gay 'Special Reserve' Rum casks, combining the rum heritage of the island with a refreshing lager to produce a truly 'Bajan' beer. It is available at bars and shops, throughout the island.

Shopping

The local currency is the Bajan dollar, but US dollars are accepted in almost all shops and restaurants. The exchange rate is fixed at 2 Bajan dollars to the US dollar. 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: 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 (for rum and UK liquors), but 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, e.g., 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 are 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.[1]

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 in fact pay duty on imported goods before offering 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 working on a law that allows vendors to obtain goods that are intended for visitors without paying duty.

Business hours:

In times past, most everything shut down on weekends, and visitors had to plan ahead especially if self-catering. This is no longer the case. Clothing and gift stores open until 4PM or so (Sheraton Mall shops until 9PM) on Saturdays; very few are open on Sunday. Many supermarkets island-wide are open on Saturday and Sunday.

Bank holidays (such as Christmas, New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday) will find most if not all stores and banks and business houses closed. But stores attached to gas stations will have limited availability of basic items, and shops at the deep water harbour will be open if cruise ships are visiting. 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.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Barbados on Wikivoyage.

Cities in Barbados

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Bridgetown is the capital of Barbados, the eastern most island of the Caribbean. Bridgetown is the only city on Barbados and well over half the island's residents live there. Bridgetown is the port of call for many cruise ships and is known for its duty-free shopping as much as for its more cultural and ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Holetown Monument
  • Chattel Village
  • Folkestone Marine Park
  • Lime Grove Shopping Centre
  • St. James Parish Church
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Interesting places:

  • St. Lawrence Bay
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Western Barbados covers the parishes of Saint James, Saint Peter and Saint Lucy.

Interesting places:

  • St. Peter Parish Church
  • Heywoods Beach
  • Arlington House Museum
  • Animal Flower Cave
  • Mullins Beach
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Bridgetown is the capital of Barbados, the eastern most island of the Caribbean. Bridgetown is the only city on Barbados and well over half the island's residents live there. Bridgetown is the port of call for many cruise ships and is known for its duty-free shopping as much as for its more cultural and ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Lord Nelson Statue
  • Barbados Parliament Buildings
  • Brownes Beach
  • National Heroes Square
  • St. Michael\'s Cathedral
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Southern Barbados is in Barbados.

Interesting places:

  • Dover Beach
  • Miami Beach
  • Accra Beach
  • Barbados Golf Club
  • Silver Sands Beach
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  • Maxwell Beach
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There is more than one place called Hastings:

Interesting places:

  • South Coast Boardwalk
  • Surf in Barbados Surf School
  • Rockley Golf Course
  • Lanterns Mall
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Interesting places:

  • Worthing Beach
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Interesting places:

  • Barbados Polo Club
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Interesting places:

  • Rockley Beach
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Bathsheba is a small town on the open and rugged coast of Barbados with breakers crashing in from the Atlantic. The eastern coast of Bim has been compared to the Cornish coast. Hm, Cornwall where the wind is still 30 degrees centigrade, maybe. Bathsheba is the wilder side of Barbados, away from the crowds and ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Bathsheba Beach
  • Soup Bowl
  • Flower Forest
  • Andromeda Botanic Gardens
  • Huntes Gardens
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Interesting places:

  • Batts Rock Beach
  • Stavronikita Shipwreck
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Interesting places:

  • Chancery Lane Swamp
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panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners

Points of Interest 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.

  • Botanical Garden. In the interior there is a beautiful Botanical Garden with more fauna information than most similar places across the planet.
  • Cricket, Kensington Oval, Bridgetown. Check for if there's a game to experience west indies cricket.
  • Mount Gay Rum Distillery Ltd., Spring Garden Highway, Bridgetown, Saint Michael,  +1 (246)425-8757. The tour takes about 45 minutes and includes a rum tasting. There is a bar in a veranda. There are more expensive (B$75) lunch tours which include transportation as well as food. B$16 for basic tour.

Lord Nelson Statue - Bridgetown

St. Peter Parish Church - Speightstown

Soup Bowl - Bathsheba

Dover Beach - Oistins

Holetown Monument - Holetown

Rockley Beach - Rockley

South Coast Boardwalk - Hastings

Barbados Polo Club - Paynes Bay

Turner Hall\'s Woods - Belleplaine

Barbados Concorde Experience - Charnocks

Worthing Beach - Worthing

Batts Rock Beach - Prospect

St. John\'s Church - Newcastle

Barbados Parliament Buildings - Bridgetown

Brownes Beach - Bridgetown

National Heroes Square - Bridgetown

St. Michael\'s Cathedral - Bridgetown

Bathsheba Beach - Bathsheba

Bridgetown Jewish Synagogue - Bridgetown

Garrison Savannah - Bridgetown

panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners
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