Barbados travel advice

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Barbados - Take normal security precautions

Take normal security precautions in Barbados

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Safety and security

Crime

Petty Crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching, and home burglary occurs. 

Petty crime may increase during the tourist season from November to April.

  • Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Don’t leave valuables unattended on the beach
  • Always lock and secure your accommodation doors and windows
  • Avoid carrying large sums of cash or unnecessary valuables

Violent crime

Violent crime, including gun violence, has increased over the past few years in Barbados.  Incidents of armed robbery, sexual assault, gang-related shootings and murder have occurred.

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times 
  • Avoid walking alone after dark
  • Avoid isolated areas 
  • Avoid showing signs of affluence

Fraud

Fraud involving use of credit cards, debit cards and ATMs may occur.

When using your bank card at a payment terminal or at an ATM:

  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN 
  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others 
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature 
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business 
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements 

Overseas fraud

Spiked food and drinks

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from people you have just met. They may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

Women’s Safety

Women travelling alone may face some forms of harassment, verbal abuse and sexual assault.

Advice for women travellers

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur occasionally.

Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Water activities

Coastal waters can be dangerous, especially on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island. Riptides are common.

Rescue services may not be consistent with international standards. Not all beaches have lifeguards or warning flags.

  • Exercise caution when swimming, due to strong undertows, especially on the Atlantic side of the island
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Respect the flag warnings
  • Only undertake scuba diving and other water activities with a well-established company
  • Don’t swim alone, after hours or outside marked areas
  • Consult residents and tour operators for information on possible hazards and safe swimming areas
  • Monitor weather warnings

Water safety abroad

Adventure tourism

Outdoor activities, such as hiking, mountain biking and other adventure activities can be dangerous if unprepared. Weather conditions can change rapidly.

If you intend to practice adventure tourism:

  • never do so alone, and do not part with your expedition companions
  • obtain detailed information on your activity and on the environment in which you will be before setting out
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • stay informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • refrain from using facilities or equipment if you have doubts on their safety

Road safety

Road safety can vary considerably across the island.

Roundabouts are common. There have been incidents of traffic collisions involving visitors occurring at or around roundabouts. Take extra care when approaching or navigating roundabouts.

Road Conditions

Major roads can become slippery and muddy after rainfall.

Driving can also be dangerous due to:

  • narrow rural roads
  • blind curves
  • inadequate lighting
  • lack of road signs
  • unmarked roads
  • pedestrians on the roads
  • potholes
  • abrupt stopping by drivers

Public transportation

Buses

Most buses from the Barbados Transport Board are not reliable and they often travel at high speeds. These can be easily identified as they are painted blue or yellow and license plates beginning with the letter B.

Mini-buses

Mini-buses are privately-owned with licence plates beginning with the letter Z, and are often crowded. They tend to travel at high speed and are known to sometimes be involved in traffic accidents.

Taxis

Taxis are generally reliable.

Taxis don’t use meters. There are standard taxi fares for most destinations.

  • Only use licensed taxis
  • Take particular care late at night
  • Confirm the fare in advance
  • Have small bills available for payment

Ride-sharing app

Ride-sharing apps are available in Barbados.

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and exit requirements

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 the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Passport

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.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

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 foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

Tourist visa: not required for up to 180 days
Business visa: not required
Work visa: required
Student visa: required

Immigration Form

You must complete an arrival form upon arrival at the immigration office.

Immigration

As a tourist, you cannot stay in Barbados for more than 6 months, and it is the immigration officers who determine the length of your stay.

They also determine if a work permit is required of business travellers.

Other entry requirements

Immigration officials may ask you to show them:

  • a return or onward ticket
  • proof that you have a place to stay
  • proof that you have sufficient funds for the duration of your stay

Children and travel

Children travelling unaccompanied or with only one parent may have to present:

  • a notarized consent letter confirming that the child has permission to travel
  • proof of parentage, such as a birth certificate showing the names of the parents

Learn more about travelling with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

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.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
  • Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre

* 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.

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

 

Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Influenza

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Rabies

In this destination, rabies may be present in some wildlife species, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. 

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who will be working directly with wildlife. 

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Chikungunya

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a 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
  • In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.
Zika virus

Zika virus is a risk in this country. 

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

During your trip:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to this destination with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel. 

For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

HIV

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

Medical facilities in Barbados are adequate and easily accessible.

There are polyclinics located in every parish and these provide basic services. For emergencies, go to the main public hospitals in Bridgetown. There is one public hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, one private hospital, the Bayview Hospital. Expect to experience longer wait times at the public hospital and clinics.  Some clinics and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for medical services.

Ambulance response is slow and limited.

Medical evacuation can be very expensive, and you may need it to the United States in case of serious illness or injury.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Medication 

Some prescription medications may not be available in Barbados.

If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining their legality in the country.

  • Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you 
  • Always keep your medication in the original container 
  • Pack them in your carry-on luggage 
  • Carry a copy of your prescriptions 

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.

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Laws and 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.

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Barbadian law doesn’t criminalize sexual acts or relationships between persons of the same sex.

In 2022, the laws prohibiting sexual acts between individuals of the same sex were ruled unconstitutional.

However, homosexuality is not widely accepted in Barbados society.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers could be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Dual Citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Barbados.

If you’re a citizen of both Canada and Barbados, we may be able to offer limited consular services while you are in Barbados. You may also have different entry/exit requirements.

Travelling as a dual citizen

Driving

You need a visitor’s permit to drive in Barbados. The minimum age to apply for a visitor’s permit is 18 years old.

You can obtain it upon presentation of a valid Canadian driver’s licence at:

  • most car rental agencies
  • the Barbados Licensing Authority office

You should carry an international driving permit.

Traffic drives on the left.

The minimum driving age in Barbados is 16 years old for residents. If you are 70 years old or older, you are required to present a medical certificate issued by a Barbados-based doctor, in order to be able to drive.

The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.03% in Barbados.

It is illegal to intentionally splash pedestrians when driving through puddles.

In the event of an accident, call the police and don’t move the vehicle.

Useful links

Camouflage clothing

It is an offence for civilians to dress in camouflage clothing or to carry items made of camouflage material. It is an offence to bring into and out of Barbados items made from camouflage material.

Investments

If you plan on buying property, or making other investments in Barbados, seek legal advice in Canada and in Barbados. Do so before making commitments. Related disputes could take time and be costly to resolve.

Marriage

If you wish to marry in Barbados, you must provide an application for a marriage license in person to the Officer at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Information.

You will need the following documents, in English, to complete the application:

  • valid passports
  • birth certificates
  • return flights
  • decree absolute certificate if divorced
  • a death certificate for your spouse and a marriage certificate if widowed

Useful links

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Barbados.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Barbados by an abducting parent:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Barbados to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children's Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country's judicial affairs.

Useful links

Money

The currency of Barbados is the Barbadian dollar (BBD).

You can easily exchange U.S. dollars and euros for the Barbadian dollar in banks and currency exchange bureaus.

You should carry cash with you as some smaller businesses only accept cash.

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Natural disasters and climate

Hurricane season

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. You could face serious safety risks during a hurricane.

If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:

  • 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

Useful links

Rainy season

The rainy season extends from June to November. Heavy rains can result in flash flooding across the island hampering overland travel. Landslides can occur as a result of heavy rainfall.

  • Stay away from flooded areas
  • Monitor local media for the latest updates, including those on road conditions
  • Monitor weather reports
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders

Barbados Weather

Earthquakes

Barbados is in an active seismic zone. Even minor earthquakes can cause significant damage.

A tsunami can occur within minutes of a nearby earthquake. However, the risk of tsunami can remain for several hours following the first tremor. If you’re staying on the coast, familiarize yourself with the region’s evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami warning.

In the event of an earthquake:

  • monitor local media for the latest information
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

Useful links

Volcanoes

There are several active volcanoes located near Barbados. Local authorities monitor closely the following volcanoes:

  • La Soufrière volcano in St-Vincent
  • Kick’em Jenny in Grenada

Eruptions may occur at any time. Falling ash may affect air quality in Barbados.

In the event of a volcanic eruption:

  • stay indoors to reduce your exposure to ash
  • keep windows and doors closed to prevent ash from entering
  • use a face mask when outdoors for respiratory protection
  • wear protective clothing if you need to be outdoors for extended periods
  • monitor local media
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

Government Information Service – Barbados government

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

Emergency services exist but may be subject to certain limitations. In case of emergency, dial:

  • police: 211
  • medical assistance: 511
  • firefighters: 311

Consular assistance

Bridgetown - High Commission of Canada
Street AddressBishop's Court Hill, St. Michael, P.O. Box 404, Bridgetown, Barbados BB11113Telephone+246 629 3550Fax+246 437 7436Emailbdgtn-cs@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-BarbadosFacebookHigh Commission of Canada in BarbadosTwitter@CanHCBarbadosOther social mediaHigh Commission of Canada to Barbados and the OECS
Consular district

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Sint Maarten.

For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in Barbados, in Bridgetown, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Disclaimer

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, expressed 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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