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Bridgetown, Barbados

November 1st, 2014
8:00AM - 5:00PM

Barbados is a 21-mile-long island located in the western North Atlantic ocean, about 60 miles east of the Caribbean Sea. Barbados is the most densely populated sovereign country in the western hemisphere. Bridgetown, the capital and largest city, is located on the southwestern coast of the island.


Barbados experiences two season, the "dry season" from December to May and the "wet season" from June to November. During November the temperatures range from 75°F to 86°F, and while short light showers are not uncommon, there is still an average of 8 hours of sunshine per day. It is likely to be humid, with the average relative humidity around 83%. Barbados is outside the hurricane strike zone, and rarely is affected by major hurricanes.

Language and Currency

As a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, Barbados' official language is English. In informal settings most Barbadians speak Bajan, a creolized form of English similar to the Gullah creole spoken in the Carolinas in the US.

The official currency is the Barbadian Dollar (Bds$), although US Dollars are widely accepted. The currency is pegged to the US Dollar at a rate of US$1 = Bds$2. Barbadian dollars will sometimes be represented by "Bds$", but the dollar sign "$" is sometimes used alone to mislead tourists into paying double the price.

Getting Around

Barbados has one of the most dense road networks in the world. The roads can often be rough and narrow, so driving from one side of the island to the other can take 1.5 hours or more.

Taxis (Z)

Taxis in Barbados will have a license plate beginning with the letter "Z" and a "Taxi" sign on the roof. There aren't standard taxis fares for all routes, so make sure to confirm the rate with the driver before getting in the cab. Average rates can be found at http://www.barbados.org/tours/barbadostaxis.htm#.UuA_bFIo41I

There are also larger van-sized private taxis that have license plated beginning with "ZM", but they will change higher rates.

Buses and Route Taxis

Buses and route taxis travel on fixed routes and stop at designated stops. Bus stops are marked by a circular red and white sign with 'To City' and 'Out of City' on it (the "City" is Bridgetown). Buses will not stop unless flagged down. You can find the bus routes (which apply to all buses and route taxis) and the blue bus schedules at http://www.transportboard.com/index.php/bus-schedules/. Buses and Route Taxis change Bsd$2 per person each way, although yellow buses and route taxis (but not blue buses) will usually accept US$1.

Most buses from Bridgetown start at either the Princess Alice Terminal or the Fairchild Street Terminal. The Princess Alice Terminal is about three blocks from the Cruise Terminal down Princess Alice Highway, while the Fairchild Street Terminal is about a mile away. The Rte 51 Shuttle runs between the Princess Alice terminal, the cruise port, and the Fairchild Terminal.

Route Taxis (ZR)

Route taxis, also called "ZRs" (pronounced "Zed-Rs"), are privately owned vans that travel on standard bus routes. They will be white with a maroon stripe and have a license plate beginning with "ZR". Like the government buses, rides are Bds$2, but the drivers will usually accept US$ and give change. Drivers rarely turn down additional passengers, so they can get cramped, and they often play loud music.

Buses (B)

There are two types of buses in Barbados, both with license plates beginning with a "B". Both have the same fare of Bds$2 each way.

The privately owned buses are yellow with a blue stripe. Drivers on these buses will usually accept US$ (US$1 each way) and give change. The yellow buses are often more convenient, but they can get overcrowded and some people have concerns about their safety. They also often play loud music.

The buses run by the Barbados Transport Board are blue with a yellow stripe and usually larger than the yellow buses. Drivers will not accept foreign currency and do not make change.

Rental Cars

While there are no US-based or multinational rental car companies in Barbados, several local companies are affiliated with larger companies including Stoutes (affiliated with Thrifty), Courtesy (affiliated with Hertz), Drive-A-Matic (affiliated with National and Sixt), and Coconut (affiliated with Dollar). There are many other local rental car companies on the island, and most will pick you up at the port. When comparing prices, make sure to take insurance cost and deductibles into account. A local driving permit is available from the rental car companies for $5. Barbados generally followed British driving rules, so cars drive on the left, speed limits are in km/h, and roundabouts go clockwise. Horn honks are usually friendly. Rental cars will have license plates beginning with "H". As mentioned above, roads are often in rough shape, narrow, and windy.

Things to Do

  • Swimming with Sea Turtles - Both Carlisle Bay Beach and Payne's Bay Beach have areas offshore where large numbers of sea turtles congregate in the morning. The turtles are about 100-200 yards from shore, and you can either swim out or take a boat. If you swim, just head for the large number of tour boats floating offshore (the turtles follow the boats since the boats give them food). There will be plenty of people offering boat rides from the beach if you don't want to swim, and the going rate is about US$20 per person (usually including a rum punch on the way back). Payne's Bay is accessible by taxi or bus, but you would need to take a taxi to Carlisle Bay. Carlisle Bay is closer to Bridgetown and tends to be more crowded (with both people and turtles) and has a number of shipwrecks that you can also snorkel to. You can get more info from these cruise critic threads: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Bathsheba - This scenic fishing village on the east coast of Barbados is known for its dramatic scenery and nearby rainforest. Like much of the east coast, Bathsheba gets strong waves and is a favorite spot for surfing. Bathsheba is also known for Bathsheba Rock, a large mossy boulder that sits just offshore. Bathsheba is accessible by bus or taxi, but a taxi will be far more expensive.
  • Bottom Bay - One of the most scenic beaches on the island, Bottom Bay features white sand and tall palm trees backed up against high coral cliffs. Swimming here is not recommended due to the strong waves, but it is a popular picnic and photo-op spot.
  • Rockley Beach - This popular beach, also known as Accra Beach, is on the south coast of the island. It features moderate waves, a beach bar, pinkish sand, and lots of vendors offering everything from changing rooms and umbrella and chair rentals to "local" souvenirs. Windsurfer, boogie board, and sailboat rentals are also available. There is a reef about 150 yards off-shore from Bar Kanai where fish and turtles are often spotted. The Quayside Center mall across the street features several restaurants and stores. Rockley Beach is about 15 minutes from the Cruise Terminal by bus or taxi.
  • Harrison's Cave - This limestone cave is located in the middle of the island, between Bridgetown and Bathsheba. It features the usual assortment of stalactites and stalagmites, as well as underground pools and waterfalls. Cave tours are done via tram, but the tram makes several stops to allow people to get out and walk around (and take pictures). This is a "living" cave, so you will get dripped on. The tram is US$30 per person, and they also offer walking tours of the scenic gully that the cave entrance is located in. The cave is about a 1 hour bus ride from the port, or you can take a taxi for about $60.
  • Brandon's Beach - This popular beach is close to the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal, and therefore has become very popular with Cruise Ship passengers. It has an expansive stretch of white sandy beach with sections of trees offering areas of shade for picnicking, or for those who prefer not to be in the sun all day. Located here are Public Facilities with showers, beach umbrella & chair rentals, a Lifeguard, a Restaurant & Bar, as well as picnic benches & tables and a parking area.
  • Have something else you think should be here? Let me know using the "Contact the Webmaster" link above!


  • Action Charters Stiletto Turtle/Snorkel/Lunch Cruise - Organized by sj25 (post on the Cruise Critic thread to join)
    • Will meet: The pickup will be at gate 2 at 9:30 and the taxi will have a sign that says Stiletto and Supercats. The taxi will also have a list of the names you have given and he will bring you to the boat which is only 5 minutes away.
    • $70 pp to have the boat just us for the 5 hr snorkling and lunch tour.
    • Cruising Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Participants (min 20, max 24)
      • 2- Julie and Steve (sj25)
      • 2- Gail and Bob (paws223)
      • 2- Sam and Cherie (Samzgirl84)
      • 1- Carencpa
      • 2- Paul and Celia (southportmusic)
      • 2- Mark and Nancy (watchin flying fish)
      • 2- Dave and Carla (golfpccc)
      • 1- Phyllis
      • 4- Angelica & Steve and Debbie & Ronnie (skyedoggie)
      • 2- Jim and Kathleen (jkwpete)
    • We can still have 2 more if anyone wants to join this one.
  • Tyrone Griffith - Organized by JBSteelerfan (email  to join)
    • Island tour which lasts 3-4 hours for $40 USD per person. On completion of the tour there time at Carlisle Bay which is an excellent beach and Tyrone will return at a time stipulated by you to take you back to the ship. No additional cost.
    • The package therefore is 3 - 4 hours tour + beach time.
    • Sites:
      • Kensington Oval (cricket)
      • Mount Gay Rum Distillery
      • Holetown (site of first settlers)
      • Oldest church
      • Cherry Tree Hill
      • Morgan Lewis Windmill
      • Bathsheba
      • St.John's Parish Church
      • Gun Hill Signal Station
    • His vehicle can hold 7 people, but he can make arrangements if our group is larger.
    • Participants:
      • JBSteelerfan (2) Sherri and Jeff
      • Cruisen Elf (2) Beth and John
      • BetteandBill (2) Bette and Bill
      • Hotbluestang (2) Jeff and Charlotte
      • Greyt2dogs (2) Margit and Randy
      • Carencpa (1) Robert
      • Wcdapro (2) Bill and Laura 
      • DHADEN (2) Donna and Darrell 
      • SafetyTiger (2) Michael and Betsy
      • HayPrizz (2) Kathie and Jerry
      • Mom4Mom (2) Joan and Al
      • LittleRedy (2) Bruce and Judy
      • Redsoxfanforever (2) Carol and Bill
      • (Carol's friends) (2) Linda and Lee
      • Reese718 (1) Reese/Robert
  • PaddleBoard and Lunch
    • Very informal. Organized by Bluesky2Star (email to join).
    • $ 20 US plus lunch on beach places
    • about a 20 minute walk from ship - I will do walk with others- or there are buses to Carlisle Beach
    • $20 per person for 2 hrs Paddleboard rental/lesson- It IS easy if you have any bit of coordination.
      • Or just hang out for free-
    • Lunch anywhere you want but I have seen great reviews of Cuz's on beach
    • PaddleBarbados will have lockers for your stuff- bring own lock !!!!
    • have been in direct contact with owner- need info how many before Boston Dept., Prefer by Oct 22 at Latest !!!

Eat and Drink

  • Coming soon... Have something else you think should be here? Let me know using the "Contact the Webmaster" link above!