Barbados Cruise Port
Barbados , all of 166 square miles, is the most easterly island in the Caribbean and known for its beaches, sun and British culture. The former British colony still shows many of it’s British roots including cars driving on the left side of the road and the large number of British tourists that continue to flock here. While the west side of the island has calm seas and high end resorts, the east is windy with high surf and amazing cliff-views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Notably, Barbados is outside of the Atlantic hurricane belt - which means it is typically not prone to the same number of hurricanes as other islands.
Fun fact - Grammy award winning singer, Rihanna, is one of Barbados’ most famous exports.↑ Back to Top
Where is the cruise port in Barbados?
Cruise ships dock at the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal (south-west corner of the island), about a mile west of the capital, Bridgetown (see map). Bridgetown is an easy and safe 15 minute stroll directly east of the port.↑ Back to Top
What language is spoken in Barbados? Do they speak English?
English is the official language of Barbados. Locals speak a variant of English, referred to as ‘Bajan’. While it is different from American or British English, tourists typically will not have a problem communicating with locals.↑ Back to Top
What is the time zone in Barbados?
Barbados is on Atlantic Standard Time year-round, so it's 1 hour ahead of New York except during daylight saving time, when Barbados's time is the same as the eastern United States↑ Back to Top
What is the national currency in Barbados?
The Barbados Dollar (BBD), which as of this writing (June 4th, 2011), one US dollar will convert into 2 Barbados dollars (See latest conversion here).
Do they accept US Dollars around the port?
Yes, US dollars are accepted in most places, however you may get change back in Barbados dollars.
Where can I get or exchange money?
There is an ATM in the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal where you can get Barbados dollars - look for Butterfield Bank.
- Banks closest to Port:
If you need to go to a bank, the closest ones are in town (on Broad Street, Bridgetown), about 1 mile east of the cruise terminal. Most banks are open Monday to Thursday 8am to 5pm, and Friday 8am to 3pm. These banks also have branch offices in Holetown, Speightstown, and along the St. Lawrence Gap south of Bridgetown.
- ATMs closest to cruise port:
There is an ATM in the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal where you can get Barbados dollars - look for Butterfield Bank.
How can I stay in touch with home? (Ex. Email, phone, etc.)
Most expensive option: Use your cell phone, roaming charges apply.
Cheapest option: Get a Skype account and call home via a computer. There is an internet cafe in the cruise terminal.
UPDATE 11/9/2011 - Barbados will be the first Caribbean Island to have 100% free Wi-Fi coverage throughout the Island starting on November 11, 2011. So, theoretically, you should be able to use your smartphone and get online anywhere on Barbados.
How can I call home? Are there call centers?
Where are the Internet cafes?
Besides the cruise terminal, there are several internet cafes in Bridgetown. Here are a few:
- Connect Internet Cafe - Shop 9, 27 Broad Street
- Advantage Systems Inc - City Centre Mall, Bridgetown
- Computer Internet Services - 1st Floor Barbados Hardware Building, Swan Street, Bridgetown
- Bean N Beagle Internet Cafe - Dover Street, St. Lawrence Gap
Click here for a complete list of internet cafes
What are the cell phone rates?
If you are planning to make a lot of local calls then one option is to purchase a SIM card from Digicel, located on Broad Street, or LIME whose Bridgetown office is on Hincks Street. The SIM card will work with an unlocked GSM enabled cell phone.↑ Back to Top
With temperatures in the 80s (even in December and January), Barbados is pleasantly warm throughout the year. However, like most tropical islands, rainy season is the summer and early fall. Notably, Barbados is outside the hurricane belt, and thus generally avoids most major storms.
Average Monthly Temperatures and Rainfall in Barbados↑ Back to Top
As mentioned, Bridgetown is an easy 15 minute stroll away and the town is very easy to explore on foot with lots of sidewalks, shops and restaurants. Beyond Bridgetown, the calm beaches of the west coast and the breathtaking views on the east coast are worth a visit, but are not walking distance from the port. Arrange a taxi or tour to visit these locations.
You can catch a taxi outside the cruise terminal. Always agree on the price BEFORE you start your journey. Taxi drivers are typically happy to give you a ‘locals’ tour of the island, expect to pay about $30 USD per hour. While there are no ‘standard’ rates, here are typical rates for taxis.
On a budget? Buses are a mere $1.50 for any journey and cover most of the island. Walk to the Bus Port in Bridgetown (about 1 mile east of the port) and catch a bus to your destination. Be sure to have exact change.
Available just outside of the cruise terminal- note that driving is on the left as in England.↑ Back to Top
What is the best way to travel between the port and the airport
Grantley Adams International Airport is 13 miles (21 km) from the the Cruise terminal. The easiest way to travel is by taxi which takes about 30 minutes and costs approximately $25 US dollars.
Which hotels are convenient to get to/from the port?
There aren't any hotels within walking distance of the port. If you are worried about being close to the port to avoid issues getting to your ship's embarkation, there are several hotels a short taxi ride away:
- On the south coast (St. Lawrence Gap): Check out The Grand Barbados Resort
- Or the west coast check out All Seasons Resort Europa
- For those that insist on the finer things in life: Sandy Lane (where celebs like Rihanna have been spotted) - A chauffeured limo brings you from the airport to a Palladian-style mansion on the beach, where amenities include multiple golf courses, a world-class spa, and plasma televisions in every room.
The local dish which is synonymous with Barbados is flying fish and cou cou, traditionally served on Fridays. The skillfully boned flying fish is rolled and stewed down in gravy made with herbs, tomatoes, garlic, onions and butter. Cou cou is similar to polenta, made with yellow corn meal but cooked with finely chopped okras, water and butter. Most seafood restaurants will serve flying fish and cou cou.
TIP: Suggested restaurant from a member: The Fish Pot restaurant at Little Good Harbour is an unusual restaurant in part of a converted fort and sits directly on the beach - and the open terrace dining area looks out to the ocean beyond.
If you happen to be in Barbados on a Friday or Saturday evening pre or post cruise, you absolutely must go to Oistin’s Fish Fry. Oistins is also one of the hottest attractions in Barbados! Each Friday and Saturday night hundreds of locals and visitors flock to Oistins for the Fish-Fry, an opportunity to enjoy the very best local food - fried and grilled fish, fish cakes, sweet potato, macaroni pie, and coleslaw and so much more. There are numerous vendors to choose from and seating is readily available. The sounds of island music fill the air, making for a memorable evening out in a very casual setting↑ Back to Top
What are the must-drinks in Barbados? Where is the best place to get them?
- Anything with Mount Gay Rum - made in Barbados
- Banks Beer, the local beer
Which are the best souvenirs to buy in Barbados? Where can I get them?
A bottle of Mount Gay Rum or go for the higher end Mount Gay Extra Old. Another great present to take home is Bajan Rum Cake; these are available in all supermarkets and souvenir shops
Locally made jewelry such as like the local shell jewelery. These make great gifts and souvenirs for the family and friends back at home - they'll love the feel of the shells on their wrists or around their necks.
Local arts & crafts - visit Pelican Crafts Centre which is a short walk just east of the cruise port. You may have to do some digging to find the treasures here though.↑ Back to Top
What are the best attractions and must-sees in Barbados? How long will it take me to get there and to explore?
- Bridgetown - Imagine a minature version of London and this is Bridgetown. Stop at Cave Shepard or Harrisons for duty-free shopping. Then, take the Mount Gay rum tour (stay for the tastings at end of tour).
- St. Nicholas Abbey - Surrounded by sugar-cane fields, this Jacobean plantation great house has been around since about 1650. It is believed to be one of three authentically Jacobean houses in the Western Hemisphere.
- Animal Flower Cave - Take a ride to the northermost point of the island. Then descend into this wonderful cave and take in the views of the ocean.
- Andromeda Botanic Garden is one of the three botanical gardens on the Island: On a cliff overlooking the town of Bathsheba on the rugged east coast, limestone boulders make for a natural rock-garden setting. Be sure to drive into a few of the hotels on the east coast for lunch overlooking the surf. Check out the famous Crane Beach hotel.
- Holetown - if a beach-side resort lunch appeals to you, head to Holetown, aka Barbados’ “Platinum coast” which has a variety of gorgeous beaches, restaurants and resorts (including Sandy Lane resort where the celebs go).
- Folkestone Marine Park - a "water park" lying just north of Holetown. It combines a museum and aquarium to illustrate the rich marine life of Barbados. An underwater snorkeling trail goes around a reef, and you can see the same sights in a glass-bottom boat.
- The Mount Gay rum tour - On the northern edge of Bridgetown, you can learn the story of island rum, first produced in 1627. While, the actual distillery is in St. Lucy Parish to the north, but at this center you can see both old and contemporary equipment used in rum making, along with rows and rows of barrels. The tour concludes with a rum tasting.
Note: All beaches in Barbados are open to the public
- Crane Beach, originally a harbor, is one of the most beautiful beaches along the coast of Barbados. It's home to one of the prettiest and oldest resorts on the island, The Crane Beach Hotel (good spot for an outdoor lunch). The waves here are perfect for beginner surfers or for body surfing, while the coastal coves offer sheltered swimming close to shore.
- Bathsheba - This picturesque East Coast fishing village hums with activity when the surf contests come to town. That's because this popular beach is the surfing capital of Barbados; the surfing sweet spot is known as Bathsheba's "Soup Bowl." If you don't surf, there are pools and reefs ideal for snorkeling and sunbathing.
- Dover Beach - This popular beach on the South Coast of Barbados is great for swimming, jet skiing, body surfing and romantic shore-side strolls. Across the street is the Dover Playing Field where you can often catch a cricket match or see Bajan footballers.
- Brighton Beach, a short 5 minute taxi ride from the cruise terminal, Brighton is an amazingly long stretch of beach with only minor breaks of rock or reef. You’ll be able to see your ship from the beach
- Sandy Lane Hotel beachJust south of Holetown, in the famous “Platinum coast” The beach of Sandy Lane, the island's most opulent five star hotel. This is a long, wide expanse of beach which is in pristine condition and like most of the beaches on the west coast, the water is very calm. There is a public access to this beach at the south end of the hotel.
Barbados Cruise Terminal - You’ll find everything from t-shirts, to liquor and local arts and crafts here.
Bridgetown - Head to Broad street, which is the main shopping street. Stop in at Cave Shepard and Harrison’s which are large department stores that carry pretty much everything from clothing to spices. TIP: Be sure to show your cruise card or airline ticket to take advantage of duty free.↑ Back to Top
Splurge option: Head to the Platinum coast to Sandy Lane Hotel and play one of the two Tom Fazio’s 18-hole championship golf courses:
- The Green Monkey, which is a 72 par, 7,343-yard golf course carved out of a old limestone quarry.
- The Country Club Course, which is a 72 par, 7,060-yard golf course with views of the Caribbea Sea.
- Also available at Sandy Lane is the The Old Nine Course. The Old Nine is a 3,345 yards, par 36 course that is a favorite with repeat guests to the hotel.
Contact the pro shop through their website or by phone (246) 444-2000 for reservations.
Budget option: Barbados Golf Club, Durants, Christ Church (tel. 246/428-8463), on the south coast, is Barbados' first public championship golf course. The 6,800-yard, par-72 course, designed by Ron Kirby, hosted the PGA Seniors Tournament in 2003. Tee times can be reserved through their website.↑ Back to Top
The clear waters off Barbados have a visibility of about 90ft most of the year. More than 50 varieties of fish are found on the shallow inside reefs, and there's an unusually high concentration of hawksbill turtles. Diving is concentrated on the Leeward west and south coasts. A couple of the reefs great for diving including Asta Reef and Folkestone Underwater Park.
The Dive Shop, Pebbles Beach, Aquatic Gap, St. Michael (tel. 246/426-9947), offers some of the best scuba diving on Barbados, charging $55 for a one-tank dive and $90 for a two-tank dive, including equipment. Every day, three dive trips go out to the nearby reefs and wrecks; snorkeling trips and equipment rentals are also available.↑ Back to Top
- Take a lunch cruise and snorkel with sea turtles - Luxury catamaran cruises are offered on five spacious and custom-built vessels owned by the Tiami Catamaran Fleet and operated by Tall Ships (tel. 246/430-0900), located at Shallow Draught near Bridgetown Harbour. A wide range of options is available, including both lunch and dinner cruises, sunset cocktail cruises, and even turtle snorkel cruises.
- Don’t want to get wet? Check out Submerged Sightseeing -- which takes you down to 148 feet below the surface of the sea, aboard a submarine.
- Want more adventure? You can find horseback riding, zipline and helicopter tours of the island as well.