Do you have questions about Barbados? We searched Google for some of the most frequently asked questions people are asking about this amazing island in the Caribbean.
1 Where is Barbados?
Barbados is a coral, rather than a volcanic, island about 62 miles (100 km) east of the Windward Islands and about 250 miles (400 km) north-east of Trinidad and Tobago.
It is the easternmost island in the Caribbean with its West and South coasts enjoying calm seas and endless beaches, while the East coast has rugged cliffs, superb waves and faces the full force of the Atlantic Ocean.
Barbados is in the Atlantic time zone – GMT-4 hrs. There is no daylight-saving time in Barbados.
2 How did the island get its name?
The name ‘Barbados’ is derived from the Bearded Fig Trees, once in abundance on the island. In the 1400s, the Portuguese reached Barbados while sailing to Brazil. They had no desire to fight with the fierce Caribs, so did not attempt to colonize the island.
However, it is thanks to one of their sailors, Pedro, a Campus, that the island first received the name of ‘Barbados’. Legend has it that when Campus saw the native bearded fig trees with a distinctive beard-like feature, he dubbed the island ‘Los Barbados’ which is Portuguese for ‘The bearded ones.’
3 How long is the flight?
The island is easily accessible from several major cities. These are based on average direct flights:
- London Gatwick – 8 hours 50 minutes
- Manchester – 9 hours 5 minutes
- New York JFK – 4 hours 20 minutes
- Miami – 3 hours 35 minutes
- Toronto – 5 hours 15 minutes
- Frankfurt – 9 hours 53 minutes
4 How big is the island of Barbados?
The island is 21 miles (34 km) long and 14 miles (23 km) wide. The land area of the isle measures 166.4 square miles (431 km2).
5 What is Barbados known for?
Rum – Barbados is the birthplace of rum. With over 300 years of experience, Mount Gay distillery is the oldest rum distillery in the world. And the Bajans love their rum. Across the island, there are over 1,500 rum shops, and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to rum-based cocktails. The island has other distilleries which you can visit including Foursquare Distilleries and St Nicholas Abbey.
Rihanna – Award-winning singer Rihanna was born in the parish of Saint Michael and raised in Bridgetown. With sales of over 250 million records worldwide, Rihanna is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She was appointed as an ambassador of education, tourism, and investment by the Government in 2018.
Sugar – Growing sugarcane and sugar production was the Barbados economy’s backbone for hundreds of years, although it is now mainly declining. Today only Andrews Sugar Plantation and Factory in St. Joseph and Portvale in St. James produces sugar.
Horseracing – Bajans love their horseracing too. Based at the island’s racecourse, Garrison Savannah, racing has been rooted firmly in the Barbadian landscape since 1845. In late February and early March, Garrison Savannah plays host to the Gold Cup, a thoroughbred horse race which has been on the events calendar since 1982.
There are three horseracing seasons: January-April, May-September, or November-December. It isn’t usually expensive to watch horse races, with tickets for entrance to the grounds just BDS $10 for adults. Don’t want to miss a day at the beach? Check out the recently launched night racing!
6 What is the country’s national dish?
Barbados has long been known as “The Land of The Flying Fish,” with the national dish being cou-cou and flying fish.
7 When is the best time to holiday on the island?
Barbados has a moderate tropical climate. Temperatures typically range from between 27 – 30 degrees Celsius (80-86 degrees Fahrenheit) with 70 – 76 per cent humidity for most of the year. The island is cooled by the North-East Tradewinds and most days, you’ll enjoy eight to nine hours of glorious sunshine.
December to May is considered the dry season in Barbados and the ‘winter’ period for most northern hemispheres. The wet season begins in June and runs until November. Most showers are short and intense, and the sun comes out again.
The wet season brings the hurricane season with it, although Barbados continually tends to be spared the direct hit of any significant storm.
8 Will Barbados leave the Commonwealth?
Barbados has announced its intention to remove Queen Elizabeth as its head of state and become a republic. It aims to complete the process in time for the 55th anniversary of independence from Britain, in November 2021. The country intends to remain part of the Commonwealth, which has the Queen as its head but will replace her portrait on the Barbadian dollar bill.
9 Can you drink the water in Barbados?
Yes! The water in Barbados is very safe to drink as it is filtered naturally through coral limestone rock. Over 85 per cent of Barbados is made up of coral limestone, meaning Barbados’ water is of very high quality.
You will be asked at restaurants if you want tap or bottled water. Choose the tap water – it’s cheaper and delicious.
10 What side of the road do you drive on?
We drive on the left and have roundabouts! A temporary local licence is obtainable from car rental agencies and online at www.bra.gov.bb.
Residence Barbados – here to help
Do you have any questions about owning a second home or vacation property here in Barbados? Then the Residence Barbados team is here to help. Just email us at email@example.com and we will happily answer any property-related, Welcome Stamp, or ex-pat questions you might have. You can also contact us via WhatsApp on +1 246 230 4982, complete the registration form or message us via Messenger through our Facebook page.
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Residence Barbados disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.