The name "Barbados" comes from a Portuguese explorer named Pedro Campos in 1536, who originally called the island Os Barbados ("The Bearded Ones"), after the appearance of the island's fig trees, whose long hanging aerial roots resembled beards. Between Campos's sighting in 1536 and 1550, Spanish conquistadors seized many Caribs on Barbados and used them as slave labor on plantations. The others fled the island, moving elsewhere.
Barbados was formally settled by the British in 1627. After several failed crops of cotton, sugarcane was introduced, and the colony established itself as a profitable plantation economy. Enslaved Africans were the primary source of labour on these plantations until 1834, when they won their freedom through several years of rebellion, supported by increasing pressure from anti-slavery movements in Britain.
The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum and molasses production through most of the 20th century. Though the shackles were removed, much of the repressive labour conditions of slavery remained on the island until the 1930s, when the educated black middle class fought for universal adult suffrage and took the control of the country's local governance away from the British-descended local aristocracy. The country began a process of social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s which led to complete independence from the United Kingdom in 1966. In the 1980s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance. Barbados has developed into a stable democracy with one of the highest rates of literacy in the Western Hemisphere.
Locals refer to themselves as Bajans and things Barbadian as Bajan.
Citizens of the following countries will not need visas to enter Barbados: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Federated States of Micronesia, Moldova, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Driving is on the left. The bus system is extensive, cheap and fast if you are headed to somewhere on
There are also more than enough taxis to take you wherever you need to go on the island for reasonable prices. They do not use meters and it is best to negotiate the price before you get in. However, most taxi drivers are honest and you are unlikely to be overcharged. Be sure to ask the management of the hotel or the friendly locals what the going rate is for a cab ride to your destination.
Renting a car is expensive. If you are driving, be aware that the roads on the island are generally quite narrow, with the exception of the ABC highway. It is advisable to be extra cautious as many roads on the island have sharp turns, steep inclines, and are generally quite bumpy, although most are paved.
Many of these "highways" do not have sidewalks, so there can be pedestrians on the street sharing the road. Many bus stops are also on the side of roads where there are no sidewalks. Additionally, beware of impromptu passing lanes as slow drivers are often passed by others behind them when on two lane roads. Road signs can be fairly confusing, so be prepared to get lost: just keep your petrol tank topped up and keep asking the way as people are always eager to help.
At most all of the local car rental agencies, a full collision damage waiver policy is automatically included with the rental, except for any damage incurred to the car tires, a testament to the poor condition of the smaller roads and tendency of foreign drivers to miscalculate driving lanes and hit curbs.
Mopeds and bikes can also be rented to explore sites not easily reached by cars. This not recommended however due to the poor condition of many of the secondary and residential roads. Except for the main highway, all the other roads provide a hazardous journey to the moped or bike rider due to no sidewalks, frequent pot holes, sharp corners and speeding local buses.
Another fun way to get around is to rent a moke available from any number of local car rental agencies.
The official language in Barbados is English. Bajan (occasionally called Barbadian Creole or Barbadian Dialect), is an English-based creole language spoken by locals. Bajan uses a mixture of West African idioms and expressions, such as Igbo, along with British English to produce a unique Barbadian/West Indian vocabulary and speech pattern. There are a few African words interspersed with the dialect. Communication will not be a problem for any English speaker, and Barbados has one of the highest literacy rates in the Western Hemisphere.
The west coast holds numerous deluxe resorts, and it and the interior highlands have several historical sites with picturesque views. Numerous web sites offer details.
- Botanical Garden, In the interior there is a beautiful Botanical Garden with more fauna information than most similar places across the planet.
- Cricket, Kensington Oval, Bridgetown. Check for if there's a game to experience west indies cricket.
- Mount Gay Rum Distillery Ltd., Spring Garden Highway, Bridgetown, Saint Michael, The tour takes about 45 minutes and includes a rum tasting. There is a bar in a veranda. There are more expensive (B$75) lunch tours which include transportation as well as food. B$16 for basic tour. edit
- Harrison's Cave, Welchman Hall, St.Thomas, 8:45 am - 3:45 pm. 2nd most popular attraction in Barbados (after Oistins Fish Fry). Underground cave with stalactites, stalagmites, small waterfalls and pools. Ride by tram through the cave; you can disembark at some points. $30. edit
World class water sports including surfing at the Soup Bowl on the east coast and various breaks along the west when the swell is up. The south coast has great surf and a spot on the world windsurfing tour at Silver Sands.
Travel inland to various plantation houses which put on meals and exhibitions. Visit the animal flower cave or Barbados wildlife reserve.
- Barbados has amazing conditions for Kitesurfing. The wind blows most of the year but the best months are January to July. Main kite beach is at the south part of the island at Silver Rock.
- A catamaran cruise with opportunities to snorkel with sea turtles and snorkel above shipwrecks. The tours usually include transportation to and from the harbour as well as all drinks (alcohol included) and a buffet lunch. Turtle-snorkelling-only cruises are offered as well.
- Scuba diving. There are also many diving tour operators for every level of experience to explore coral reefs as well as sunken ships. The waters around Barbados are some of the most transparent in the Caribbean.
- Aerial Trek zipline, Jack–In-The-Box Gully, St. Thomas, Barbados. If you love adventure you might enjoy ziplining over a tropical forest & gully. It's a pretty small course with just 8 platforms. Friendly guides put safety first.
- Swimming with sea turtles, Several catamarans offer sailing tours that include stops to swim and snorkel with sea turtles. Lots of fun and a somewhat unique experience. Note there are no swimming with dolphins options off Barbados.
- Golf. There are several world class courses.
- Cricket. Barbados has several cricket teams, including some playing at international level. A match is the opportunity for the Bajans to gather around the TV and support their team.
Although it is generally a safe place to travel, there is some crime that appears more significant because of its comparative rarity. It's wise for tourists to avoid certain high-risk activities like walking on secluded beaches, day or night, and walking in unfamiliar residential neighbourhoods or secluded areas away from main roads.
The most common kinds of crimes against tourists include taxi fraud, robbery, and shortchanging; however, rape and assaults are becoming more common. Most Bajans are by nature friendly, especially in the earlier part of the tourist season (November and December).
A special area of concern for visitors to Barbados is drugs. The country's strict antidrug policy is made apparent to visitors coming through Customs. In practice, however, Europeans and Americans in Barbados are offered marijuana or even cocaine frequently. Sellers will often roam the beaches selling aloe vera or other such innocuous goods as a pretense to begin a conversation about "ganja," "smoke" or "bad habits." As a result, many hotels and resorts now ban the use of aloe vera under the pretense that it "stains the towels."
Regardless of one's inclination to use drugs, it is not advisable to accept these offers. Marijuana is considered bad and is not accepted by Bajan police. While Bajan police are not frequently encountered, they prosecute drug crimes easily.
Care should also be taken going into the sea. Many people underestimate just how powerful the currents can be and rip tides have claimed lives over the years. Always look out for warning flags.
Beware of the sun, Barbados is only 13 degrees off of the equator and you can get sun burnt very
Dengue is prevalent, therefore it is advisable to put on bug spray, as mosquitoes are often a nuisance to anyone staying outdoors for prolonged periods, day or night, as soon as you are in the country side. At the beach, as long as there is a breeze, you'll be ok: mosquitoes are poor fliers.
Despite, or maybe because of, the tropical climate, Bajans tend to dress conservatively when not on the beach. A bikini will not be appreciated in town and certainly not in church.
Bajans are particularly sensitive to manners and saying, "Good morning" to people, even strangers, goes a long way to earning their respect.
When meeting a Bajan, try not to discuss politics or racial issues. Talk is also important because Barbadians speak fairly fast when speaking in Creole (or Bajan, as it is called).
The use of the "N" word is a no, but when talking to friends words such a "B" (which is short for "bro") and "dawg" are used to describe or refer to a friend. Initially these words should not be used unless you know the person well.
Most Bajans are fun-loving and love to go out and have fun, as is noted by the large number of young people found in the clubs and on the Southern Coast of the island. Try not to stare at persons without good cause. If you happen to bounce into someone in a club, you should immediately apologize to the person.
Keep in mind that Bajans are very protective of family, and insults to a person's family are taken very seriously. This also relates to their views on issues such as homosexuality; even though most Bajans do not agree with the practice, your rights are still respected.
There are several small internet cafes located around the island as well as connections offered by the larger resort hotels.
source : http://wikitravel.org/en/Barbados