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About Barbados & Barbados Attractions

Overview

Of course virtually all the Caribbean islands have wonderful beaches, and Barbados is no different however where it is different is what lies beyond them. Barbados holidays are suitable for anyone, irrespective of budget or style, choose from simple accommodation, hip hotels, hidden hideaways or sumptuous luxury. Should you need the security of knowing that home comforts are not far away, of this you can be assured as Barbados is one of the most developed islands in the Caribbean. Indeed, the capital Bridgetown and its surrounding areas are booming.

Away from the west coast luxurious hotels and the developed south coast is where you’ll find what makes Barbados so different. Inland central Barbados has a wonderful rolling landscape of limestone hills and amid the lush greenery are fascinating nints of its colonial history. Huge plantation homes are evidence of the prosperity and wealth of the settlers and face up to the terrible slave trade.

The exhuberant Atlantic east coast is a popular haunt for surfers and those looking for water and non-water sports action will find a good variety. Barbados has it all, and despite being so popular, you should have no difficulty making it your own. Away from the super chic hotels, Barbados is still a place of the classic calypso rhythms that many of us visualise, where fun, relaxation and rum is a permanent feature of life.

500,000 people can’t be wrong, which is how many visitors come to Barbados annually, and it doesn’t take long before you see why!

Top Pick

Barbados’ bustling capital, Bridgetown, is also the island’s only city and is situated on its’ only natural harbor. Its many sights and old colonial buildings can easily occupy a day of wandering. Head along the side streets of the main drags to discover residential neighborhoods scattered with rum shops and chattel houses.

Many enjoy taking a respite from their day at one of the cafés or snack stands along the south banks of the Constitution River. There is good shopping, especially along Broad St and on pedestrian-only Swan St, which buzzes with the rhythms of local culture.

Getting There

By Sea

About 450, 000 cruise-ship passengers arrive in Barbados each year as part of eastern Caribbean itineraries. Ships dock at Bridgetown Harbour, about 1km west of the city center. The port has the usual duty-free shops and a branch office of the Barbados Tourism Authority (426-1718; when ships are in port).

Nearly all visitors will enter the country through Grantley Adams International Airport or Bridgetown’s cruise-ship terminal. All foreigners entering Barbados should be in possession of a valid passport and a return or onward ticket. Cruise-ship passengers who stay less than 24 hours are not required to carry a valid passport.

By Air

Grantley Adams International Airport is on the island’s southeast corner, about 16km from Bridgetown. It is the largest airport in the Eastern Caribbean and the major point of entry for the region.

The Barbados Tourism Authority is a good place to pick up tourist brochures. There are a number of ATMs in the departures area of the airport as well as the Barbados National Bank (8am-3pm Mon-Fri) which exchanges money.

Once through security, departing passengers will find numerous shops, including a good bookstore and a food court.

Getting Around

By Car & Motorcycle

Barbados doesn’t have any car-rental agents affiliated with major international rental chains. There are, instead, scores of independent car-rental companies, some so small that they are based out of private homes.

Despite the number of companies, prices don’t seem to vary much. The going rate for a small car is about B$150 a day including unlimited mileage and insurance. Most companies rent out strange, small convertible buggies called ‘mokes’ which are usually cheapest. Rental cars are marked with an ‘H’ on the license plate.

While most car-rental companies don’t have booths at the airport, most will deliver your car there or to your hotel. Note that among the small agencies, some aren’t especially professional and complaints are common.

By Bus & Tram

It’s possible to get to virtually any place on the island by public bus. There are three kinds of bus: government-operated public buses, which are blue with a yellow stripe; privately operated minibuses, which are intermediate-size buses painted yellow with a blue stripe; and route taxis, which are white, individually owned minivans that have ‘ZR’ on their license plates. All three types of bus charge the same fare: B$1.50 to any place on the island. You should have exact change when you board the government bus, but minibuses and route taxis will make change.

Most buses transit through Bridgetown, although a few north–south buses bypass the city. Buses to the southeast part of the island generally transit through Oistins.

Bus stops around the island are marked with red-and-white signs printed with the direction in which the bus is heading (‘To City’ or ‘Out of City’). Buses usually have their destinations posted on or above the front windshield.

Buses along the main routes, such as Bridgetown to Oistins or Speightstown, are frequent, running from dawn to around midnight.

By Taxi

Taxis have a ‘Z’ on the license plate and usually a ‘taxi’ sign on the roof. They’re easy to find and often wait at the side of the road in popular tourist areas.

Although fares are fixed by the government, taxis are not metered and you will have to haggle for a fair price. The rate per kilometer is about B$2 and the flat hourly rate B$50. ‘Official’ fares from Bridgetown include: Bathsheba (B$58), Oistins (B$31) and Speightstown (B$46).

By Bicycle

Barbados is predominantly flat and is good for riding. Most shops require a credit card or B$100 deposit for rentals. Your hotel can hook you up with a rental; there are also usually bikes available at the cruise ship port.

History

Way back, t he original inhabitants of Barbados were Arawaks who were driven off the wonderful island around AD1200 by the Caribs from S. America. The Caribs later abandoned the island near the arrival of the first Europeans. The Portuguese came in 1536 but luckily when Captain John Powell claimed it for England in 1625, Barbados was uninhabited. A couple of years later, a group of settlers established the island’s first European settlement, Jamestown, (now known as Holetown). Very soon, the colonists had cleared a lot of the forest areas and planted tobacco and cotton. Larter in the 40s they moved over to sugarcane which proved to be much more labor intensive, and hence the importation of African slaves began in droves. Immensely profitable and giving rise to a wealthy colonial class, many plantation estates still exist and visits are possible.

After the abolition of slavery in 1834, the sugar industry still carried on as strong as ever but the freed slaves has little choice but to stay working on the sugarcane fields for a pittance.

Following s ocial tensions in the 1930s, Barbados’ black majority started to gain more involvement in politics. Touris came on the map and the economy diversified leading to the opportunity for economic growth and opportunity for all. Barbados was given self-government in 1961 andsubsequently an independent nation by 1966. While not without its problems, Barbados has since remained quite a stable democracy.

 

 

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