Barbados Getaway Vacations & Destinations
The island of Barbados has a single major airport, the Sir Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) (IATA identifier BGI). The Grantley Adams Airport receives daily flights by several major airlines, from points around the globe, as well as several smaller regional commercial airlines and charters. The airport serves as the main air-transportation hub for the Eastern Caribbean. The airport is currently under-going a US$100 million upgrade and expansion.
The island is well developed and there are many local quality-hotels known internationally which offer world-class accommodations. Timeshares are available, and many of the smaller local hotels and private villas which dot the island have space available if booked months in advance. The southern and western coasts of Barbados are popular, with its calm light blue Caribbean sea and fine white and pinkish sandy beaches. Along the island's east coast the Atlantic Ocean side are tumbling waves which are perfect for light surfing, but a little bit risky due to under-tow currents. The 'Soup Bowl' near to Bathsheba is a very popular spot with surfers all year round.
Shopping districts are another treat in Barbados, with ample duty-free shopping. There is also a festive nightlife available in mainly tourist areas like the Saint Lawrence Gap. Other attractions include wildlife reserves, jewelry stores, scuba diving, helicopter rides, golf, festivals (the largest being the annual crop over festival July/Aug), sight seeing, cave exploration, exotic drinks and fine clothes shopping.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Barbados
Some Background Information
Barbados has experienced several waves of human habitation. The first wave were of the Saladoid-Barrancoid group, farmers, fishermen, and ceramists who arrived by canoe from Venezuela's Orinoco Valley around 350 CE. The Arawak people were the second wave, arriving from South America around 800 CE. Arawak settlements on the island include Stroud Point, Chandler Bay, Saint Luke's Gully, and Mapp's Cave. According to accounts by descendants of the aboriginal Arawak tribes on other local islands, the original name for Barbados was Ichirouganaim. In the 13th century, the Caribs arrived from South America in the third wave, displacing both the Arawak and the Salodoid-Barrancoid. For the next few centuries, they lived in isolation on the island.
The name "Barbados" comes from a Portuguese explorer named Pedro Campos in 1536, who originally called the island Los Barbados ("The Bearded Ones"), after the appearance of the island's fig trees, whose long hanging aerial roots resembled beards. Between Campos' sighting in 1536 and 1550, Spanish conquistadors seized many Caribs on Barbados and used them as slave labor on plantations. The others fled the island, moving elsewhere.
Barbados was formally settled by the British in 1627. After several failed crops of cotton, sugarcane was introduced, and the colony established itself as a profitable plantation economy. Enslaved Africans were the primary source of labour on these plantations until 1834, when they won their freedom through several years of rebellion, supported by increasing pressure from anti-slavery movements in Britain.
The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. Though the shackles were removed, much of the repressive labour conditions of slavery remained on the island, until the 1930s, when the educated black middle class fought for universal adult suffrage and took the control of the country's local governance away from the British-descended local aristocracy. The country began a process of social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s which led to complete independence from the UK in 1966. In the 1980s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance. Barbados has developed into a stable democracy with one of the highest rates of literacy in the Western Hemisphere.
Locals refer to themselves as Bajans and things Barbadian as Bajan.
The official language in Barbados is English. Locals also speak an English dialect reminiscent of the Scottish highland dialect.....which is refered to as Bajan. There are a few African words interspersed with the dialect. Communication will not be a problem for any English speaker as Barbados has one of the highest literacy rates in the Western Hemisphere of around 99.9 percent.
The local currency is the Bajan dollar, but US dollars are accepted just about everywhere in shops and restaurants. The exchange rate is fixed at 2 Bajan dollars to the US Dollar. Keep in mind that exchangers in hotels may insist on taking an additional percentage of the exchange (typically 5%). Lots of duty free shops in Bridgetown catering to the cruise liner trade, where you can buy jewellery, etc.
Although a very safe place to travel, it is generally suggested to avoid certain high risk activities. Such activities include walking on secluded beaches late at night, or walking in unfamiliar residential neighborhoods away from main roads.
The most common kinds of crimes against tourists include taxi fraud, robbery, and shortchanging; however, even these are rare and usually confined to high-traffic places like Bridgetown. Bajans are by nature exceptionally friendly, and will go out of their way to be kind to tourists, especially in the earlier part of the tourist season (November and December).
A special area of concern for visitors to Barbados is drugs. The country's strict anti-drug policy is made apparent to visitors coming through Customs. In practice, however, Europeans and Americans in Barbados can be offered marijuana or even cocaine frequently. Sellers will often roam the beaches selling aloe vera or other such innocuous goods as a pretense to begin a conversation about "ganja," "smoke" or "bad habits." As a result, many hotels and resorts now ban the use of aloe vera under the pretense that it "stains the towels." Regardless of one's inclination to using these drugs, it is not advisable to accept these offers.Marijuana is considered bad and is not accepted by Bajan police. While Bajan police are not frequently encountered, they prosecute drug crimes with great prejudice.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Barbados Travel Guide
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