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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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Elegant Hotels Group has revealed it will launch a series of celebrations in November to mark the 70th anniversary of its Colony Club. The group, which has a collection of hotels in Barbados, will celebrate the Colony Club's rich history with a Platinum Jubilee theme, and there will be plenty of food and rum events for guests to take part in throughout the month.

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A new adults-only hotel is expected to open very soon on Barbados' southern coast, in a quiet residential area overlooking the waters of Enterprise Bay. The new Abidah Hotel by Accra Barbados will be an intimate boutique property with just 44 modern rooms and suites, a pool, a restaurant, a gym and a panoramic spa on the top floor. It will offer guests free Wi-Fi access, complimentary welcome drinks and according to its official website, is due to open before the end of 2018.