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Bridgetown, Barbados

Local Reading

The Taínos
A noted archaeologist and anthropologist tells the story of the Ta'inos, the pre-columbian indigeno...

Sugar in the Blood: A Family's Story of Slavery and Empire
The author tells her family's story as sugar plantation owners in 17th century Barbados. By Andrea ...

The geology of Barbados: a field guide
on uwi.edu The author lays out a series of easy-to-follow excursions that introduce the stratigraph...

Read More about Bridgetown, Barbados

Information

Overview

Explore the capital and largest city for historical reference and even more great beaches and other activities, including the world’s oldest rum.

Bridgetown is the capital of Barbados and a city with a lot of history. When the English arrived to declare the area a British colony in the 17th century they found an abandoned Indian settlement and bridge and later gave the area the Bridgetown name. The harbor became a critical port for ships traveling across the Atlantic and was heavily protected against attack from other colonizing European powers.

Visit the Bridgetown Garrison, initially constructed starting in 1705 as a British fortification, and now an internationally protected World Heritage Site. Take a guided walking tour to appreciate the historic significance of the military, commercial and social activities of the 18th and 19th centuries in Barbados. Points of interest include St. Mary’s and St. Michael’s churches, Queen’s Park, Jewish Synagogue, Heroes Square and Parliament Building.

Walk in the footsteps of earlier world leaders by visiting the George Washington House and the Lord Nelson Monument in Heroes Square (formerly Trafalgar Square) in front of the Parliament Building.

For a lighter look at history, tour the Mount Gay Rum Factory bottling facility which claims to be the best and oldest rum in the world. It has been made in Barbados since 1703. Make reservations to enjoy taste testing on weekdays; children can participate but not drink. On Saturdays, watch thoroughbred horses race at Garrison Savannah, where horses have been running for over 150 years.

Travel Tips

December through mid-April is the most popular time to visit the Caribbean, as travelers flee the chilly northern weather for sunny skies, white-sand beaches, and warm temperatures. To get the best rates, visit in the late spring or summer months—or get even better rates by traveling in the fall (September–October).

If you are traveling from the west coast, plan on leaving as early as 7 a.m., or take a red-eye flight to Miami, Atlanta, or New York and connect from there. Coming from New York, you can expect to travel approximately five hours, from Atlanta or Miami it can be approximately three hours and as long as eight hours from Seattle. In any case, plan on leaving early or on a red-eye flight from the West Coast.

Flight times

  • 3.5 hours from Miami
  • 4.5 hours from New York City

Tour Barbados by boat, car, on horseback, via helicopter, even on a submarine. Smooth beaches and golf courses rim its western and southern shores. Spunky green monkeys inhabit the Barbados Wildlife Preserve; Harrison’s Cave is another don’t-miss attraction. And vast Crane Beach is rated among the world’s best sandy stretches. Flying fish, the local specialty, is scrumptious – especially when accompanied by premium Bajan rum.

Must-see sights

  • Harrison’s Cave, said to be one of the wonders of the world
  • Mount Gay Distilleries and learn the history behind rum

While traveling in Barbados we recommend:

  • Private transfers at time of booking - Most private transfers include a meet-and-greet by English-speaking drivers, luggage assistance, and bottled water in modern vehicles.

Currency

  • U.S. currency is accepted nearly everywhere you go in the Caribbean.
  • Currency can be exchanged at banks and island hotels (although for slightly more than the standard exchange rate).
  • Most major American and European credit cards are accepted throughout the islands.
  • ATMs are widely available throughout the Caribbean.

Time Difference

  • The islands that make up the Caribbean span several time zones.
  • Most Caribbean islands lie in the Atlantic Standard Time zone, but a few are in the Eastern Time Zone.
  • Many of the islands do not observe daylight savings time.

Local Videos

How Sugar, Rum and Slaves Shaped the Caribbean Islands
Lost History: Rediscovering the Taíno People
Authentic Caribbean Rum

Entry Requirements

  • A passport is required when traveling outside of your country. If any passenger carries anything other than a Passport supplied by your home country, please contact the Consulate of the country(s) you are visiting to verify document requirements. If you do not have appropriate documentation, you will be denied entry. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your return trip for international travel.