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Barbados - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Barbados.
Travel Health Notice - Zika virus
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued advice for travellers on the Zika virus, recommending that Canadians practice special health precautions while travelling in affected countries. Pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant should avoid travel to Barbados. See Health for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Most visits to Barbados are trouble-free, but there are incidents of crime, including armed robbery and sexual assault. Petty crime and crimes of opportunity are most common. Be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution, especially when walking alone, even during the day. Avoid isolated or poorly lit areas, especially on beaches. Keep your car doors locked, windows rolled up, and personal belongings, including handbags, safely stored at traffic lights, where you could be a target for thieves.
Do not leave valuables unattended on the beach or carry large amounts of cash or jewellery. Leave your valuables and travel documents in your hotel room safe. If the safe is not securely fixed to the wall, use the safety deposit box at the front desk, if available.
Always lock and secure your hotel room doors and windows.
Roads are narrow and poorly lit in rural areas. Road signs are scarce. There are many pedestrians and cyclists, and few sidewalks. Roadside assistance is not widely available. Locating a phone booth in rural areas may be difficult. Seatbelt laws are strictly enforced.
In the event of an accident, call the police and do not move the vehicle.
Buses and vans are often crowded and travel at high speed.
Taxis are generally safe and reliable. They do not use meters; therefore, it is best to negotiate the price before you get in. There are standard taxi fares for most destinations. Confirm the fare with the driver before departing. Only use licensed taxis and take particular care late at night.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Bridgetown, the capital, is a cruise-ship stop. See Advice for Cruise Travellers for tips to ensure your well-being during a cruise.
Exercise caution when swimming, due to strong undertow, especially on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island. Respect the flag warnings, which provide notice of water conditions and safety risks on beaches.
The South coast of Barbados, between Hastings and St. Lawrence, has recently experienced sewage issues. Overflows of raw sewage may still occur with little or no warning affecting the water quality at some beaches in the area, especially during the rainy/hurricane season. Monitor local news to obtain the latest information and follow the advice of local authorities.
General security information
Police and ambulance response can be slow. To contact the hyperbaric or decompression chamber, located at the Barbados Defence Force, dial 246 436 5483, which is answered 24 hours a day.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Barbadian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay in Barbados.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: not required
Business visa: not required
Work visa: required
Student visa: required
The length of stay for tourists—up to a maximum of six months—is determined by immigration officers. They also determine if a work permit is required of business travellers.
You must present an onward or return ticket and complete details of your intended address to immigration officials upon arrival to Barbados.
A departure tax is charged for travellers aged two years and up. It is usually included in the airline ticket.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Zika virus: Advice for travellers - February 12, 2018
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in the Caribbean, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Caribbean. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. Recent or ongoing cases of Zika virus have been reported in this country.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites day and night.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects such as abnormally small heads (microcephaly). Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted.
Travellers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy:
- Should avoid travel to this country
- If travel cannot be avoided follow strict mosquito bite prevention measures.
- Talk to your health care professional about the risk of Zika infection in pregnancy.
- Use condoms or avoid having sex for the duration of the pregnancy, if you are pregnant and your partner has travelled to this country.
- Female travellers: wait at least 2 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive (get pregnant) to ensure that any possible Zika virus infection has cleared your body.
- Male travellers: wait 6 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive. Use condoms or avoid having sex during that time.
See travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in the Caribbean, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Medical services and facilities
If you have a medical emergency while abroad, officials at the nearest Canadian government office can provide you with a list of licensed health-care providers.
Medical facilities in Barbados are adequate. There is one public hospital (Queen Elizabeth Hospital), a private hospital and several private clinics across the island. Some clinics and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for medical services. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and medical evacuation.
A hyperbaric chamber is located at the Barbados Defence Force base on Needham’s Point.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
It is an offence for civilians to dress in camouflage clothing or to carry items made of camouflage material.
The penalties for all drug offences are severe.
If you are interested in purchasing property or making other investments in Barbados, seek legal advice from professionals in Canada and in Barbados before making any commitment. Disputes arising from such activities could be prolonged and costly to resolve.
Traffic drives on the left.
You need a (a “Visitor’s Permit to drive in Barbados, which you can obtain for BB$10 at most car rental agencies or the Barbados Licensing Authority office upon presentation of a valid Canadian driver’s licence or International Driving Permit. Visitor’s permits are also available from the Oistins Police Station, Hastings Police Station and Holetown Police Station.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Barbados.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Barbados, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
The currency is the Barbadian dollar (BBD). The U.S. dollar is also widely accepted. Three Canadian banks operate on the island, with several branches. Royal Bank of Canada normally accepts Canadian bank cards for direct transactions with other banks in Canada.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Hurricanes usually occur from mid-May to the end of November. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes.
These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.
If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:
- know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
- be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
- stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
- follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
- Hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons
- Large-scale emergencies abroad
- Active storm tracking and hurricane watches and warnings - United States’ National Hurricane Center
The Barbados Department of Emergency Management provides a listing of emergency shelters that may be used during a hurricane or other hazard event.
Barbados is located in an active seismic zone.
Emergency services exist but may be subject to certain limitations. In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 211
- medical assistance: 511
- firefighters: 311
Bridgetown - High Commission of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in Bridgetown and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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