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Barbados is located in the Atlantic Ocean and has a population of 80,000 people. Barbados is a pear-shaped coral island. The Caribbean West and South Coasts are calm and palm-fringed with gently lapping waves, whereas the Atlantic East Coast has a rugged beauty featuring limestone cliffs and waves rolling along the shore. The highest point on the island is Mount Hillaby (1,089 feet).

Because Barbados lies partially on the Atlantic Ocean and partially on the Caribbean Sea, the coastlines of the island are diverse, varying from gentle beaches to rugged cliffs. The western side of Barbados, where many of the island's hotels are located, boasts some of the most idyllic shores for swimmers and sunbathers, such as Mullins Beach, Church Point, and Paynes Bay. East Coast beaches, including Bathsheba/Cattlewash, are popular among surfers and experienced windsurfers. South Coast beaches such as Carlisle Bay, Accra Beach, Sandy Beach, Casuarina Beach and Silver Sands are popular for body surfing (medium waves) while Needham's Point and Dover Beach are among the best for snorkeling and swimming.

Take a drive over to Bathsheba on the East Coast, with miles of untouched beach along the island's most rugged, hilly and beautiful stretches of coast. Excellent surfing can be had here. For a classic beach that's a favorite of many visitors, visit Crane Beach, with cliffs, dunes, pink sands and beautiful waters. It was named by "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" as one of the best beaches in the world, however sea bathing is not advisable here due to the strong currents.

There is an abundance of interesting sites in Barbados. Barbados visitors can explore a rich heritage by touring plantations that date back to the 1600's, such as Sunbury and St. Nicholas Abbey. The Barbados Wildlife Reserve is an ideal place to see the famous Barbados green monkey, mongoose, peacock, tortoises, porcupine and iguana. Another way to explore Barbados is on horseback with a Highland Outdoor Tour of neighboring plantations and farms. A trip to the Animal Flower Cave is spectacular. Located at the most northerly point of Barbados, this cave takes its name from the sea anemones found in its pools, which were first named "Animal Flowers."

Barbados has a wide range of accommodations, from elegant resorts to intimate guesthouses. Dining in Barbados is a feast for all senses. Choose from folk recipes for Flying Fish (a "national treasure") to culinary experiences that rival the world's finest. Diverse sightseeing options feature a wide array of natural attractions, abundant sporting choices, world-class shopping and lively nightlife. With all this, and a temperate, year-round climate of sunshine and warm breezes, it is clear how Barbados has remained the Caribbean's most re-visited destination.

Barbados is also known for its single greatest natural resource: its people. With a mixed population of some 268,000 citizens, Barbadians (also known as "Bajans") are warm and hospitable people, many originating from West Africa and the United Kingdom. Barbados enjoys a 98% literacy rate, and a very high percentage of the island's youth attain a college or university education.

Proud of their island, Bajans are always willing to share a rich cultural heritage and provide insight on favorite local attractions, as great 'finds' can be discovered off the beaten track.

For a small country, Barbados also has an entertaining nightlife with music being central to their culture. The official language of Barbados is English.

Medical tourism

See the box to the right to view a full list of available treatment areas.

Best time to travel

The country has a tropical climate with only brief showers during its wet season, with the occasional tropical storm of hurricane (July though to November).

Money and costs

The national currency is the Barbados dollar (BBD, symbol BD$). Find up-to-date exchange rates and conversion through a currency conversion tool.


Citizens of the United States and Canada are required to be in possession of a valid passport to enter Barbados. Passports must be valid for the entire time that they are travelling.

Cruise ship passengers considered to be "in-transit" and who are continuing on with their cruises are not subject to immigration control and, therefore, not required to carry a valid passport. "In-transit" cruise ship visitors are permitted to go ashore and return to their ship without any hindrance using their ship's magnetic identification card. Cruise ship passengers with trips beginning and ending in Barbados or who are "in-transit" to join flights at the Grantley Adams International Airport, however, are required to possess a valid passport.

Visas are required for citizens from Eastern European countries, the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Pakistan, the non-Commonwealth Countries of Africa and all South American countries except Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.

Getting there

A number of well-known airlines fly directly to Grantley Adams International Airport, including American Airlines, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Dialling codes

To call Barbados, the country dialling code is +1246.

Useful links

Find more in-depth information on Barbados at:

Lonely Planet -​barbados

Barbados Embassy in the USA -​bb/​embassy.htm

Barbados Embassy in the UK -

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Page last updated: Friday, 2nd September 2011