Q. What currency is used in Barbados?

We have our own currency - the Barbados Dollar however US dollars are widely accepted two for one ie., BD$2.00 = USD1.00. Some will accept GBP and the rate varies but you can approximate BD$3.25 = GBP1.00. No foreign coins are accepted anywhere.

Q. Are there any items that are prohibited at Customs?

Besides the usual fruits, meats, vegetable/plant matter etc., that are not permitted without proper importation licenses, any item of clothing/accessories that are deemed 'camouflage' will be confiscated regardless of what it is.  Drones are not allowed unless you have the proper permit to operate it.  No fire-arms or illegal drugs permitted.

Q. Is Duty Free Shopping available in Barbados?

Yes, you need your passport and flight information and you purchase items and use them while on the island, The only items that have to be collected at the airport on departure is alcohol and tobacco. Happy Shopping!

Q. What level of medical care is available?

Barbados' Health Care is one of the highest in the region. The public hospital Queen Elizabeth Hospital is located in Bridgetown. Bayview Hospital is a private facility located on the outskirts of Bridgetown. On the west coast there is Sandy Crest Medical Centre which is open 24/7 and deals with most emergency services. The overall quality of the medical services is excellent and there are highly respected surgeons, specialists, general doctors, nurses etc. Dental services are also available island wide. There are also public and private ambulance services 24/7

Q. Are all beaches public?

Yes, all beaches on the island are public. There are public beach access points which lead straight to a beach. While private residences and gated hotels restrict access via their property, you are free to use any beach on the island. This does not mean that you can use the beach facilities provided by a hotel etc., unless you are entitled to their use by being a resident guest of the establishment.

Q. Besides the sea, sun and beach, what else can we do in Barbados?

The list is endless...submarine tours, catamarans (private/shared/luxury) cruises, 4 X 4 open jeep island tours, cave tours, wildlife reserves, museums, plantation home tours, botanical gardens are just a few of the alternative activities you can do. Watersports range from scuba diving, waterskiing, jet skiing, paddle boarding, surfing, kayak, wind surfing, body boarding, sailing, deep sea fishing can all be done on the island. Other sporting activities include cricket, golf, polo, tennis, field hockey, sailing regattas, football, rugby, horse racing, car rallying with the top rally event being the SOL rally which is an international event held late May/early June. So much to do, so little time!

Fun Fact:  Barbados Villa Services has a BMW rally car and we do the Bimmer Cup events in Barbados - Joe is the driver and Marilil the navigator

Q. What will the weather be like in Barbados?

The temperature remains fairly level year round. The usual forecast is 'for the most part mainly fair, partly cloudy with the chance of isolated showers'. We do have a 'rainy season' which is July through to October however with world weather patterns the way they are, this also is not as predictable as years gone by. What is guaranteed is that it will be warm year round!

Q. What is the Sharing Economy Levy (SEL)?

The SEL is a levy introduced by goverment effective since April 2019 and it is 10% of the rental rate.  This levy is collected at the time of payment for the accommodation.

Q. Transportation

Buses both government and private along with taxis and hired cars provides you with various options on how to get around.  Government buses are usually blue and white, private buses are either the yellow minibus or the white minivans.  Cost is the same BD$2.00 from one point to another point.  When standing at the bus stop you need to flag the bus to stop by raising out your arm to get their attention.  You pay the driver or attendent on boarding and best to have exact change.  Buses get very crowded at rush hour times early morning and later afternoon.  

Private car hire is another option and rentalc ompanies will deliver to your villa or hotel at no extra charge or you can pick up and drop off at the airport.  Prices vary and our preferred providors are Stoutes and Drive-a-Matic.  You will need a valid driver's license and you will be issued a drivers permit by the rental company when they deliver.  

Q. Tipping

Tipping is customary at bars, restaurants, taxis, accommodation.  For restaurants and bars the tip may be added to the bill or they may state that tipping is optional.  10% - 15%  is usual if it has not been added.  If you have been happy with your housekeeping service a gratuity is appreciated by the ladies.

Q. When Are National Holidays Celebrated?

Barbados celebrates 12 National Holidays annually:

01 January -  New Year's Day
21 January - Errol Barrow Day (our first Prime Minister's birthdate)
Easter Good Friday and Easter Monday
28 April - Heroes Day
01 May - Labour Day
Whit Monday
01 August - Emancipation Day
First Monday in August - Kadooment Day
30 November - Independence Day
25 December - Christmas Day
26 December - Boxing Day
All banks, government offices, supermarkets  and most retail stores are closed on these dates.  Note that if the Bank Holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday is also a Bank Holiday,

Q. What is VAT and how is it applied?

VAT - Value Added Tax is 17.5% of the cost of an item. This is added to the total and VAT should always be displayed separately. Restaurants, bars, clothing etc all attract VAT. Accommodation is rated at 7.5%. All VAT registered business who are collecting VAT should display the VAT number on the invoice being issued.

Q. What is the Accommodation Levy introduced 01 July 2018?



On June 11, 2018 a mini-budget was laid in Parliament by the Government of Barbados in which the new administration reiterated an urgent need to stabilize the country’s economy by implementing a series of fiscal measures. These measures are intended to assist with the improvement of the national infrastructure in order to maintain Barbados’ competitiveness as a destination for the benefit of all partners and stakeholders. All Barbadians, those who love Barbados, and those who are key partners in the country’s development have been called upon to play a part in this social and economic restoration.

Effective July 1, 2018, a mandatory “Room Rate Levy” will be applied per bedroom per night on all tourist accommodation, to be paid by guests for their stay, at the following rates:

  • Villa Sub Sector and all other Vacation Rental Properties however defined - 2.5% of the nightly rate capped at USD $10.00
  • Luxury Class Hotels- USD $10.00
  • “A” Class Hotels- USD $5.50
  • “B” Class Hotels , Apartments and Guest Houses- USD $2.50

Guests who are travelling from July 1, 2018 or who will be on property from that date, should be notified that the levy will take effect for the full duration of their stay. For guests who have checked in before July 1, 2018, the levy will be applied to the duration of their stay after that date.

For further queries, kindly contact the Product Quality Unit of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority at 535-3700.


Effective July 1, 2018 there will be a 2.5% Product Development Levy on Direct Tourism Services.

Direct Tourism Services refer to those services as defined in the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Act, 2013-22 and the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Act, 2018-12.

Ministry of Tourism and International Transport


Q. What are restricted items in carry on luggage on departure?

On Saturday June 30, 2018 the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) will be implementing new procedures for travelling with powder-like substances on flights departing Barbados. Powder-like substances are described as fine dry particles produced by the grinding, crushing or disintegration of a solid substance.

Travellers with powder-like substances and granular material over 350 grams (12 ounces) will be required to place them in their checked luggage and not to place them in their carry-on bags. Examples of powder-like substances are flour, sugar, ground coffee, spices, powdered milk, baby powder, foot powder, cooking, bath salt, sea salt, sand and cosmetics among others. Baby formula, medically necessary powders and/or human remains are not included.

Passengers are encouraged to place powder-like substances over 350 grams (12 ounces) in their checked bags, to reduce the chance of aviation security authorities having to dispose of these items at the checkpoint and/or gate.

Q. What are the Public Holidays in Barbados 2024

Public Holidays for the Year 2024 The following Public Holidays will be observed in Barbados for the year 2024:

New Year’s Day - January 1

Errol Barrow Day - January 22

Good Friday - March 29

Easter Monday - April 1

National Heroes Day - April 29

May Day/ Labour Day - May 1

Whit Monday - May 20

Emancipation Day - August 1

“Kadooment” Day - August 5

Independence Day - November 30

Christmas Day - December 25

Boxing Day - December 26

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