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A practical guide to Barbados

National holidays and celebrations

Everyday might feel like a holiday in Barbados but there are actually twelve official public holidays throughout the year. If you're not sure when is best to go, ask our travel advisers. They'll give you the best offers, and make sure you don't miss out, particularly around carnival time.

Non religious festivals observed as public national holidays in Barbados include:

  • New Year's Day: 1st January
  • Errol Barrow Day: 21st January
  • National Heroes Day: 28th April
  • Labour Day: 1st May
  • Emancipation Day: 1st August
  • Crop Over Day: sometime in June, marking the start of two months of carnival season
  • Kadooment Day: Marking the end of carnival, usually celebrated sometime in August
  • Independence Day: 30th November

Religious festivals are determined by the Christian calendar, so may fall on different times each year:

  • Good Friday: Usually in either March or April
  • Easter Monday: Follows Good Friday and Easter Sunday
  • White Monday: Late May or early June
  • Christmas Day: 25th December
  • Boxing Day: 26th December

Money

The national currency in Barbados is the Barbadian dollar (BBD). For many years it has been tied to the US dollar at a rate of $2BB to $1US.

  • US dollars are accepted everywhere but we strongly recommend taking British pounds to convert into local currency as you will get a better exchange rate this way.
  • ATMs accept foreign bankcards and can be found in many locations on the island.
  • Traveller's cheques can also be exchanged but offer less value for your money.

Eating out

Influenced by traditional British, Portuguese, Spanish and West African cuisine, food in Barbados is very unique. Many of the dishes consist of ingredients that have been sourced locally on the island, with rice, fish and guava being particularly popular.

Island favourites include 'conkies', made from coconut, pumpkin, sweet potato and corn flour wrapped up in a banana leaf and the iconic 'flying fish and cou cou', a dish traditionally served on Fridays. Bajan macaroni pie and fish cakes are other two very popular dishes with locals. If you're in the mood for something sweet, Bajan candied sweet potatoes are mashed and served with cherries and bananas. Try a savoury local delicacy and go for the black and white pudding which consists of soused pigs head and trotters served with sweet potato and herbs.

If any of these exotic dishes sounds too adventurous for your palate, fret not, as most resorts and hotels in Barbados also feature an extensive international menu if you're not in the mood for trying something local.

Climate

As you might expect from a Caribbean island, the weather in Barbados is reliably hot and sunny throughout the year. There is some seasonal variation but daytime temperatures rarely fall below 20°C. Average yearly temperatures in Barbados oscillate between 25°C and 29°C throughout all the seasons.

  • Rainy season is between June and November with afternoon showers often providing a welcome refreshment.
  • February to May is the driest part of the year but despite the more humid and rainy summer months, Barbados is a very warm and sunny destination all year round.
  • Like in most of the Caribbean, hurricanes can strike Barbados and they do so between June and November, which is the official hurricane season.

Meterological information

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Average °C 272626272728282828282827
Minimum °C 242323232425252525252424
Maximum °C 302929303031313131313130
Sunshine (hours) 9991099989988
Rain (cm) 1064357101115181718

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Fairmont Royal Barbados to temporarily close for renovation project

The Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Barbados has started an extensive renovation programme to improve and enhance its accommodation and facilities. The hotel’s accommodation and Lobby will be transformed over the next few months, but the hotel and its facilities will continue to remain open to guests until 28th September. There is also a restaurant renovation scheduled for summer 2018.

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Sandals Resorts International announced last week that the Sandals Royal Barbados will open its doors to guests in time for the forthcoming winter season. The luxury resort will be the hotel group's second property to open on the Caribbean island, and it is due to launch on 20th December, 2017, with 222 all-concierge and butler-level suites, and the brand's first ever rooftop infinity swimming pool.

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The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. has launched a summer campaign aimed at families visiting the Caribbean island. The "Brilliant Barbados, Kids Stay and Play Free" promotion highlights participating family friendly hotels and apartments and attractions on the island, as well as fun activities for visitors of all ages, such as Atlantis submarine rides, golf at the Barbados Golf Club, and an Island Safari.