Barbados attracts over half a million annual visitors to enjoy the sunshine, beaches and laid-back Caribbean culture. With a range of accommodation choices from the resorts and beachfront villas in barbados to guesthouses and hostels, everyone’s needs are catered for. But if this is your first time to the island-nation, make sure you know what to expect before booking that dream vacation. Here are a few essential things that every visitor should know before they visit Barbados.
1. Expect to Splurge
It’s no secret that Barbados is among the most expensive destinations in the world. Acting as a playground for the wealthy, the island offers some of the highest standards of vacationing. But this also drives the price and cost of living through the roof. Unless you have an unlimited bank account balance, you should be prepared to splash out on your trip to Barbados. But if you do have a tighter budget, it’s still possible to visit without spending thousands of dollars for a one-week holiday. Just be more careful with your spending.
2. Barbados is more than Just Beaches and Swimming Pools
Yes, Barbados is a haven for beach-lovers and sun-worshippers. And it does have some of the best accommodation for a luxurious getaway in the Caribbean. But the laid-back nation offers much more than a slice of paradise inside the fenced off resorts. Tourists can visit national parks, waterfalls, caves and hike in the jungle. Other activities including learning about the colonial past and heritage, see how they make their famous rum and witnessing the sunrise over the sea. If this is your first trip, try to get out and explore as much of the island as possible. Not only will it make the trip more meaningful but you’ll have a better time and make friends with some of the friendly Bajan locals.
3. Get a Car and Explore the Island on Your Own Terms
If you’re a confident driver, the best way to get the most out of your trip to Barbados is with your own set of wheels. Car rentals are affordable. One of the most popular ways to explore the island is by following the coastal road around the perimeter. Apart from taking you to hidden spots, it’s a great way to get the most out of a short time in Barbados. Anticipate the poor road conditions and quality (think potholes). If you’re not confident, wait a few days to see the roads with your own eyes before getting a car.
4. GPS Isn’t Worth the Extra Cost
As with most rental companies, the staff on a commission will try their best with the upsell. And a popular add-on is GPS for a ridiculous extra daily fee. But this usually isn’t worth the cost. Barbados is a small island and getting around shouldn’t cause too many problems. Download a map or GPS onto your phone and it will serve the same purpose. The only time you might need GPS is if you plan to venture far from the highway. But most tourists won’t do this anyway. Take this advice, leave the GPS at the rental shop!
5. All-Inclusive or Vacation Rental?
Barbados offers two main types of accommodation for holidaymakers looking for a luxurious getaway. Either they choose to stay at one of the many resorts or have their own space in a vacation rental. Knowing which one can be the difference between an enjoyable vacation and the holiday of a lifetime. Without going into too much depth, the main difference between them is the privacy. If you want to be alone and away from the crowds, find one of the many beachside vacation rentals. Resorts, on the other hand, tend to offer more convenience with drinks and food. Make sure you read up on both to see which one suits your interests before making a booking.
6. Barbados is Safe. But Still Be Careful
Sadly, the Caribbean doesn’t have the best reputation for tourist safety. Poverty, drugs and gangs increase the risk of robberies and violent crime towards visitors. But compared to some of the islands, Barbados is relatively safe. Unlike in Jamaica, you’re free to explore the island independently and will rarely face any problems. This doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. Petty theft is an issue in parts of Barbados and you should exercise a high level of caution at all times. If you have a safe in the room, make full use of it. And avoid dark areas and empty beaches after dark. You should also ask the receptionist at check in to give you more up-to-date information on the neighbourhoods as well as the do’s and don’ts.
7. Looking for Something Different to Do? Hit the Golf Courses
Barbados is a hotspot in the Caribbean for golfers. Imagine teeing off in some of the world’s most beautiful courses lined with palm trees. A quick search reveals a range of places to play golf in Barbados. Fans of the sport should bring their gear and enjoy the experience of playing in such a beautiful environment.
Knowing How to Have a Dream Holiday
Barbados isn’t one of these destinations where you just book up a flight and hope for the best. Some people do, and they miss out on experiencing the island to the fullest. Splash out and explore the best of what Barbados has to offer. And getting a car is the best and most flexible way to do this. Follow our suggestions and you’re almost guaranteed to have a dream holiday to Barbados.