Things to know and ideas for your own trip to Barbados
- Cruise Ship Berths
Bridgetown Harbour, also called Deep Water Harbour, can accommodate 4 to 5 ocean liners. The eastern berths Breakwater and Sugar Berth are primarily used. In addition, the berths on the opposite shore side of the nearby cargo harbour area are available. If the rush is too great, moorings may also be made at the Esso Terminal a little further away. Except for this berth, the way to the modern cruise terminal "Bridgetown Cruise Terminal" is not far and easily accessible on foot. This offers cruisers various shops, a tourist information stand, free wi-fi and a special area for local tour operators. Taxis are available in front of the terminal.
- Public Transport
Barbados has a fairly well connected public transport system. The buses are painted blue, have a yellow stripe, run on many routes and belong to the state transport company Transport Board. There are two bus stations in Bridgetown, from which buses leave in all directions. The Fairchild Street Bus Terminal serves the east and south of the island, while the Princess Alice Bus Terminal serves the north and west. The third bus meeting point is the Speightstown Bus Terminal in the northern town of the same name. A ride costs a flat rate of 2 Barbados dollars per person, which is equivalent to 1 US dollar. Only local currency is accepted on the buses.
In addition to the public buses, there are also privately owned minibuses on the road in Barbados. These are painted yellow and have blue stripes on the sides. White with brown stripes, on the other hand, characterise the equally small ZR minibuses, which usually only travel short, but highly frequented routes with many stops. Fares are the same as the state-owned blue buses, but also payable in US dollars.
- Official Taxis
Numerous taxi operators offer their services in Barbados. The official vehicles can be recognised by a "Z" on the licence plate and there is often a taxi sign on the roof. Taximeters are not used. Fixed prices apply for the most frequent connections/destinations, but it is advisable to discuss the costs with the driver before setting off and negotiate a total price. Some drivers also offer themselves as guides and charge 30 to 35 Barbados dollars per hour for round trips. This offers the possibility of individually tailored excursions.
- Shopping Facilities
Most of the city's shops are located in and around Broad Street and Swan Street. The latter is declared a pedestrian zone and is home to a wide variety of small and large shops that invite you to shop. The goods on offer there are on average cheaper than in Broad Street, which runs parallel. There are also numerous cafés and restaurants in the city area.
- Shuttle Buses to the Centre
Shuttle buses usually run between the cruise terminal and the manageable city centre. These cost 2 US dollars per journey and person. The distance is about 1.5 kilometres and can also be covered on foot in 15 to 20 minutes. By taxi, this distance takes about 5 minutes. The cost for up to 4 people and per vehicle is 5 US dollars.
- Pelican Village Craft Centre
About halfway into town, you will see the Pelican Village Craft Centre on the left. The shops in the village mainly sell products from local craftsmen and artists, but also all kinds of other goods. You may also find a souvenir or two. Local dishes can be sampled in the integrated restaurant and bistro. The area is barrier-free and open Monday to Saturday from 09:00-18:00. It is closed on Sunday.
- Local Driving Licence
The island drives on the left-hand side of the road and a local driver's licence is required to drive a motor vehicle in Barbados. This costs BDS$10, is only valid temporarily and is available at police stations. The rental car* providers usually assist with the process. The prerequisite is the presentation of a valid driving licence from your home country.
- National Heroes Square
At the eastern end of Broad Street is the central National Heroes Square with the Nelson Monument, dedicated in 1813. This bronze statue of Admiral Lord Nelson is one of the oldest of its kind in the world. There are also several public buildings in the immediate vicinity, such as the Parliament Building, which is well worth seeing. To the south of the square, which was called Trafalgar Square until 1999, the historic Chamberlain Bridge leads over the Constitution River.
- Carlisle Bay
From Chamberlain Bridge, it is not far to Carlisle Bay. The bay has a very long, white sandy beach divided into two sections, which in turn merge seamlessly. Sunbeds and umbrellas are available at the northern Brownes Beach. For example, two sunbeds with umbrellas can be rented there for 30 US dollars per day. A few small restaurants and bars cater for the physical well-being. Due to the short distance of about two kilometres, the beach is quite popular with cruisers. It takes 30 to 35 minutes to walk to or from the cruise terminal. If there are several cruise ships in the port of Bridgetown, it can get quite crowded on the sand. Most people get stuck at Brownes Beach. As you continue south towards Pepples Beach, the situation quickly eases and it becomes increasingly quiet. Every now and then, sea turtles float around in the warm water. In Carlisle Bay there are a few shipwrecks at the bottom of the sea, which are now used by some sea creatures. A taxi from the Cruise Terminal to Carlisle Bay costs US$5 per head. In front of the harbour entrance, however, there are usually other taxis waiting to transport their passengers at cheaper rates. With a little negotiating skill, you can pay USD 5 per vehicle for this trip.
- George Washington House
The George Washington House is located near Pepples Beach. The then still young and later first president of the United States of America spent a few weeks here in 1751. Extensive restoration work took place in 2011 and brought to light an underground tunnel system that is only accessible from George Washington House. Now a museum, the house offers interesting insights into life in Barbados at that time. It is open Monday to Friday from 09:00-16:30 and costs US$10 per person for admission. Children aged 5-12 are charged 2.50 USD. Part of the tunnels can be visited for 10/5 USD (adults/children). Combined tickets for the house and tunnels cost 15 USD per person and 7.50 USD for children. Guided tours can also be booked, which offer many explanations. A restaurant/café on the premises offers tasty food and is also accessible without visiting the museum.
- Barbados Museum
A little further east on Dalkeith Road is the Barbados Museum. It is located in the walls of a former military prison from the 19th century and deals mainly with the past and culture of the Caribbean island. Among other things, historical furniture and various archaeological finds can be discovered. The building itself was constructed between 1817 and 1820 and has provided the exhibition space for the exhibits since 1933. It is open Monday to Saturday from 09:00-17:00 and on Sunday from 14:00-18:00. Admission costs 10 USD per person. Children under 12 years pay USD 5 each.
- Harrison's Cave
In the centre of the island, one encounters the extensive stalactite cave Harrison's Cave, which has been partially open to the public since 1981. Today, about a third of the approximately five-kilometre-long cave system can be comfortably explored by electric train. These tours last 60 minutes and include two stops for closer inspection. The generally harmonious lighting creates a great atmosphere underground, with its countless stalagmites, stalactites and limestone walls up to 20 metres high. A shimmering green lake fed by a 14-metre-high waterfall is also impressive. From the Cruise Terminal, it takes about 30 minutes to get to Harrison's Cave by taxi or rental car*, covering a distance of about 16 kilometres. The tram tour runs daily from 08:45-15:45 and costs US$30 per person. Children pay half price. Usually, complete tours from the port are offered by local tour operators. As these are very popular and only available in limited quantities, it is advisable to book in advance.
- Mount Gay Rum
Mount Gay Rum is considered the oldest rum brand in the world. It has been officially produced since 1703 on Barbados, in the north of the island by the Mount Gay Rum Distillery. Information about the production is available at the Mount Gay Visitors Centre, which is located near the harbour on Spring Garden Highway and about 1.8 kilometres from the cruise terminal. It takes less than five minutes by taxi or rental car*, 20 to 25 minutes each way on foot. Currently, five different guided tours/workshops are offered to interested visitors. You can learn a lot of interesting facts about the distillery and the production process of the different types of rum, some of which can also be tasted. The distillery is open Monday to Friday from 09:00-17:00 and on Saturday from 10:00-17:00.
- Botanical Garden
On the east coast, near the town of Bathsheba, is the Andromeda Botanic Gardens. On an area of more than 20,000 square metres, numerous different plants and trees are lined up next to each other. Handmade souvenirs are available in the Gallery Shop and the Garden Café offers a variety of drinks and desserts. Admission costs 30 Barbados dollars or 15 US dollars for adults. Children accompanied by a paying adult are admitted free of charge. This is granted daily from 09:00-16:30 (last admission) and the stay is also permitted afterwards without time limit. From the Cruise Terminal, the Botanical Gardens are about 21 kilometres away, which can take 35 to 40 minutes each way by taxi or rental car.
The more than 80 beaches on Barbados are generally very beautiful and inviting. The west and south coasts with their often snow-white beaches are much better suited for a quiet and relaxing stay than the rougher east and north coasts of the island. There, on the Atlantic, a strong wind often blows and the surf is usually too heavy for swimming, but better suited for surfing.
- Brandons Beach and Brighton Beach
To the north of Bridgetown and not far from the harbour facilities is another beautiful stretch of beach. This is divided into Brandons Beach and Brighton Beach, which in turn merge seamlessly into one another. The southern Brandons Beach is a good two kilometres from the cruise terminal, which takes about 30 minutes on foot. By taxi for US$5, it's just a short ride. Refreshing drinks and filling meals are available at the beachside eatery Rascals. If sunbeds and umbrellas are offered, they usually cost 20 USD per day. It is much quieter here than at the lively Carlisle Bay to the south of the moorings.
- Miami Beach and Paradise Beach
On the south coast of Barbados, the sea is a little rougher than on the calm west coast, but much calmer than on the wild east coast. Quasi a middle ground. Dangerous currents and very high waves rarely occur. For example, a beautiful stretch of beach is in the town of Oistins. On fine sandy Miami Beach, the swell is usually moderate. The water is not too steep and you very rarely step on a stone. A few metres next door is Paradise Beach, which is shaped like a crescent. Because of its location, the waves are quite small. A beach bar, changing rooms and showers are available on site. Every Friday and Saturday, the traditional fish market "Fish Fry" takes place nearby. This offers visitors fresh fish as well as other local products, accompanied by live music. The two beaches are a good half hour's drive and about 15 kilometres from the moorings.
- Bottom Bay Beach, Harrismith Beach and Cave Beach
There is another very beautiful beach on the south-east coast. Bottom Bay Beach is less suitable for swimming because of the usually quite strong waves, but all the better for relaxing. As it is undeveloped for tourists, you can always find a suitable spot. Embedded in rock formations, the fine-sand beach with its coconut palms and turquoise sea has its very own flair. From the car park, you can reach a vantage point from which you have a great view of Bottom Bay Beach. Harrismith Beach, which is almost next door and is also called Cave Beach, is of a similar format. Both beaches are about 25 kilometres from Cruise Terminal. A journey time of 45 to 50 minutes each way is to be expected for this route.
- Morgan Lewis Windmill
In the north-east of the island, one of the last remaining windmills for sugar production can be seen. Together with the "Betty's Hope" mill on Antigua, the Morgan Lewis Windmill on Barbados is unique in the Caribbean. It has been extensively restored and is still fully functional today. This is also often used for demonstration purposes. In the small exhibition, sugar production processes are shown and various tools are on display. By taxi or rental car*, it takes about 45 minutes to drive the 27 kilometres from the cruise terminal.
- Animal Flower Cave
In the very north of the island, you will come across to another impressive cave. The Animal Flower Cave is located at the so-called North Point, where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean and its powerful waves crash against the rugged, rocky coast. The cave formation, washed out by the sea, has several small, natural water pools, which are filled with numerous sea anemones. Occasionally the pools are opened for a small refreshing swim. Openings in the rock walls offer great views of the open, mostly wild sea. You can eat in the adjacent restaurant and, with a bit of luck, humpback whales can be seen off the coast. They travel to the warm Caribbean Sea in November and December and usually return to the Atlantic by the end of April. And often with offspring in their luggage. The Animal Flower Cave is open Monday to Sunday from 9:00-16:30. Adults are charged an entrance fee of 10 US dollars per person. Children aged 5 to 12 pay half price. Children under 5 are admitted free of charge. It takes 45 to 50 minutes to drive the 32 kilometres from the mooring to North Point in a motorised vehicle.
- Excursion Portals and Excursion Providers
Through the tour and excursion providers GetYourGuide*, Meine Landausflüge* and Viator*, you can book various excursions, activities, tours, tickets and entrance fees in Barbados, which are often offered at much lower prices than comparable excursions by the shipping companies. Thus, if you book in time, you can realise a variety of excursions on your own.
A small pre-selection of shipping company-independent excursion offers
for, in and around Bridgetown,
we have put together for you here.
- Cruises and Special Offers
If you haven't booked a Caribbean cruise yet, but would like to get to know Barbados personally and go on excursions on your own, you will find great offers with the major cruise operators in the German-speaking world. Aida*, Costa* und Tui Cruises - Mein Schiff* offer charming itineraries with their modern cruise ships, along with other interesting destinations. Book your next dream holiday directly with your favourite cruise line at fair conditions.
All ocean and river cruises can also be booked conveniently and inexpensively online with the cruise specialist Kreuzfahrten-Zentrale Astoria*. You can choose from a wide range of daily offers from various shipping companies. These include AIDA Cruises, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and TUI Cruises. The popular special offers are also attractive, with which you can travel particularly cheaply and possibly also get a great bargain.
- Bank opening hours: Monday to Friday from 08:00-15:00
- Tourist information opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 08:00-16:00
- Shop opening hours: Monday to Friday from 09:00-17:00. Saturday from 08:00-14:00. Larger shops often close later.
- Country code: +1 246
- General emergency: Tel. 211
- Emergency doctor: Tel. 511
- Vaccination advice: Barbados Tropical Institute
- Safety advice: Barbados Foreign Office
- Buses: Transport Board
- City Map: Bridgetown Map
- Climate chart: Bridgetown Climate
- Port Occupancy: Cruise ships in Bridgetown
- Official language: English
- Local currency: Barbados dollar, 1 BBD (BDS $) = 100 cents. US dollars are also normally accepted. The Barbados dollar is pegged to the American dollar. 2 BBD = 1USD.
More port information of popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean