FACTS

.

QUICK FACTS

SIZE & LOCATION

Barbados is the easternmost Caribbean island located at 13˚ North; 59˚ West. It is 430 km2 and is divided into 11 parishes.

Emergency services numbers

POLICE – 211
AMBULANCE – 511
FIRE – 311
DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE – 411
OPERATOR – 0

LANGUAGE

English, although the Barbadian dialect – Bajan, can be heard all around the island.

BIM

Many Bajans whom I asked over the past few days cannot tell me why the nickname for Barbados is “Bim”. A quick search around the Internet indicates that it’s a left over from the long connection with England, where Barbados was named “Bimshire” or Bim for short

TIME DIFFERENCE

4 hours behind GMT in the winter and 5 hours in the summer. 1 hour ahead of US Eastern Standard Time (EST) in the winter and the same during US Daylight Saving Time.

HEALTH CARE

Barbados is recognized as having the most modern medical facilities in the Eastern Caribbean. Medical services are provided by the two major hospitals: The Queen Elizabeth and Bayview and several well equipped clinics, health centres and nursing homes. In addition, FMH Emergency Medical Clinic and Sandy Crest are private accident and emergency medical centres.

GOVERNMENT

Democratic. The House of Assembly, modelled on the British system, is the third-oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere.

POPULATION

The current population of Barbados is 285,493 ( 2017, based on the latest United Nations estimates)

CURRENCY

The Barbados dollar is tied to the US dollar at a fixed rate of US$1.00 = BDS$1.98. The approximate rate of exchange for:
Great Britain: £1.00 = BDD $2.49
Canada: CAD$1.00 = BDD $1.52
European Union: € 1.00 = BDD $2.12
Eastern Caribbean: XCD $1:00 = BDD $0.75
US currency is readily accepted everywhere on the island, while most hotels, restaurants and large stores accept most major credit cards as well.

ELECTRICITY

115/230 volts 50 cycle. Many hotels provide converters for European or Asian appliances. North American appliances will not need converters.

WATER

The water service in Barbados is reliable and the water supply is safe and refreshing to drink straight from the tap.

DRESS CODE

Outfit yourself for the warm tropical climate: shorts, T-shirts, wraps and sundresses would be your best bet for daytime wear, and “elegantly casual’ wear for evenings. Bear in mind that swimwear should be kept for the beach and suitable attire should be worn when going shopping or dining out.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Barbados has a modern telecommunications infrastructure with the latest in digital technology and fibre optics systems. The International direct distance dialling code for Barbados is (1-246), followed by a seven digit local number.

TAXES/TIPPING

17.5% VAT (Value Added Tax) is included in all prices in shops, supermarkets and restaurants. In hotels, a 10% service charge will be added to your bill. Many restaurants automatically add a 10% service charge to your bill, so you would be wise to check before tipping additionally.
Usually 10% – 15% is acceptable when tipping.