Barbados is a beautiful island that has amazing hospitality, food, culture and of course weather. While it was great to experience every coast the island had to offer and all the walking tours, I do wish I had more time to relax and really enjoy myself on spring break. Since my college program basically planned this entire trip, I didn’t get to really experience the Barbadian nightlife.
Since we had Orlando to drive us around, I can’t speak much on any modes of transportation around the island. I did however see that there were busses, and bus stops, throughout the island. If you can, I would recommend you hire a driving service like my university did. Orlando is a local so he knows everything about his country and gave us a lot of information and hidden gems we wouldn’t otherwise discover. And since I took the time to get to know Orlando, I now have a connection in Barbados if I ever want to go back! I would say renting a car is a good option, but be warned that you have to drive on the left side of the road, instead of the right.
Food & Drink:
Bajans make sure you’re well fed! If you read my posts about Barbados, you’ll see a common theme of large portions. Personally, it doesn’t take much for me to get full so seeing the large plates was definitely a little overwhelming. From my posts about Barbados, you’ll also see that I ate at Chefette quite often. I would recommend going there at least once during your stay, I promise you won’t regret it – nor will your pockets!
Barbados accepts American currency, so you don’t have to worry about taking out Barbadian dollars. If you go to a store and hand them American currency, they will give you your change back in Barbadian dollars. Since my university paid for my: lunches, dinners, plane tickets, accommodations and transportation I didn’t have to pay for much besides my own: alcoholic beverages, breakfast and souvenirs – so I can’t attest to how much it costs to pay for everything in Barbados, but I do know that the things I had to pay for on my own were rather cheap.
You’ll experience a level of hospitality that is uncanny to anything you’ve experienced in the states. Every day you’ll come across a Bajan that says, “good morning”, “good afternoon”, “enjoy your meal”, etc. Orlando was an amazing representation of what Bajans have to offer, each person I encountered greeted me with smiles, warmth and patience. I was also frequently asked if I wanted my drink with, or before, my meal at restaurants. I’m not sure why that’s not asked in the states, but it needs to be! I find myself drinking most, if not all, of my drink before my food arrives – then I’m awkwardly full and can’t finish my food. And the students I met at the University of West Indies and Barbados Community College were all so passionate, intelligent and funny. They made the tours engaging and were eager to ask us questions about education and politics in the states.
Orlando informed us that Barbados is in a lot of debt – at one point, the economy depended heavily on the sugarcane industry but now that is fairly nonexistent. Because of these factors, Barbados now depends heavily on tourists to drive their economy. So you’ll almost rarely hear of a mugging, or other crimes, involving tourists because the government puts a lot of emphasis on tourism. Orlando also told me that Bajans get harsh punishments if they do commit a crime against a tourist.
- Make sure to visit every side of the island; every coast you visit in Barbados is different, and unique, from the other coasts
- Take as many tours as possible! Barbados’s history is so rich that you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you do not learn about it. Slavery was/is a huge part of Bajan history, so definitely learn as much as possible while you’re there