Safety Tips in Barbados

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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Barbados

  • briantravelman's Profile Photo

    The Locals HATE Being Photographed

    by briantravelman Updated Mar 25, 2015

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    Though I never figured out the reason, it won't take you long to figure out that the locals here, REALLY hate having their picture taken, and being on camera. Almost everywhere I've been to in the world, the locals, especially the vendors, were more than happy to be on camera. That is not the case here. If you take a picture of a local, they will either demand you give them money, or start yelling at you. And I'm not talking about shoving the camera in their face, without permission. They will yell at you, or demand money, even if they are just in the background, or "think" they "might" be in the background. Seriously. I was drinking a beer at a bar in Oistins, and I wanted to get some shots of a bus for my video, so I started filming one. Next thing I know, the driver stops in the middle of the road, and starts yelling at me from across the street, to give him money for taking his picture. I have been to 15 countries, and NOWHERE was I yelled at for taking pictures of public transportation. That is just unbelievable! I told this story to several tourists, and they were completely shocked, and in disbelieve. I first told this story to an English lady, and her exact words were, "Oh my God! Are you serious?" I don't have any decent bus pics to put on here, for my Transportation Tips, as I was too scared to photograph any after this incident. Seriously, in Aruba I took a picture of the inside of a crowded bus, and no one said a word. Here, you can't even photograph outside of bus without getting yelled at, by the driver.
    Another time, I took a picture of a life guard tower. There was a local guy standing there with his bike, so I purposely positioned the camera, so he would be hidden. As I walked by him he said to me, "What's up, bro?" I politely greeted him back, thinking he was just greeting me, but no. He pointed at his eyes and said, "Give me money." He didn't even bother to explain why I should give him money, he just demanded it. And I don't know what the whole eye thing was about.
    I figured the one place they wouldn't care is St. Lawrence Gap, since they are used to tourists with cameras, but apparently not. I pointed my video camera at a street artist, and he started yelling at me, "Don't point it at me, bro!" He was so pissed, he kept yelling at us as we were walking way. I seriously thought he was gonna beat me up. He later overheard another vendor referring to us as his "friends", and I could here him say to his friend, "Friends? They aren't anyone's friends." We had to walk past this guy a few times every day, which was not fun, considering he was pissed at us, the rest of our stay.
    Seriously, we couldn't even enjoy a church, without a vendor making sure we weren't taking HIS picture. Almost everywhere else I've been on earth, vendors were more than happy to be on camera, as they know it's good for business, but apparently not here.
    Even the tour guides do not like to be filmed or photographed. We were at the Sunbury Plantation and the guide said, "You are free to video tape the whole house, but not me." That was DEFFINATELY a first.
    Than another day, we were photographing a beach from above, and this coconut vendor saw us, and hid behind some rocks. That's just paranoia.
    I was even filming MYSELF in one of the van buses, and got a weird look from one of the passengers.
    Another time, I was taking a picture of my food for a tip, and there were some locals dining at the table across from me, in the background, and one of them gave me a weird look. Similar incident with a local diner sitting at our table.
    Seriously. It's scary to even take a picture of a building, street, or beach when there are locals around, because you don't know if they will start yelling at you, just because they are, or "think" they "might" be, in the background. I started just quickly snapping pictures, as I was walking, not even caring if they were crappy, because I was afraid some locals will start yelling at me. And I know it's them, because we met a lot of friendly tourists, from many countries, and were even in places where there were large groups of tourists, and they didn't have any problem with it. Some of them were even waving to the camera. I understand if you're shoving the camera in their face, without permission, but people in the background are an unavoidable part of photography, espeically in crowded areas. If they do not understand that, they should go do their business, and hang out, where there aren't any tourists. But they should also understand, that curious tourists are gonna be interested, and want to take their pictures, and just cut us a break. Especially the street vendors in the major tourist areas. Plus, don't they realize this sort of stuff is good promotion for business.
    First time in my life I experienced something like this. I've been to 15 countries, and nowhere have I seen the people be so paranoid, about being on camera. As a photographer, I did not feel very welcome, or safe here. It was the complete opposite on Aruba, which I visited last year.
    If you're taking pictures of a tourist event like the Oistins Fish Fry, or Changing of the Sentry, it's not an issue, but if you're doing it elsewhere, be very, very careful. It's best to just ignore anyone who starts yelling at you, or demanding money. Usually, they will drop it, and get back to their business.
    So, now you know why you won't be seeing too many pictures of backstreets, every day life, and the local culture, as I usually like to post.
    We met a few tourists who were taking pictures of random locals, and I would tell them to be careful. They would be really surprised, and perplexed when I would tell them, the locals do not like being photographed, as in most places, this doesn't seem to be an issue.
    Seriously. I don't know what the deal is with these people not wanting to be on camera. I can understand the occasional one or two people, but EVERYONE?
    All that being said, not everyone is the same. As we met a few drivers, vendors, and performers, who didn't care. I have noticed that as long as you are doing business with them, and they are getting money from you, it stops bothering them. The tour guide at Sunbury being the only acceptation to that. So maybe some people are just friendlier than others. Or maybe they are just too preoccupied to notice. If you ask permission, some of them will let you, especially if they know you, or if you buy something from them. We did meet two friendly vendors in St. Lawrence Gap, who didn't care. One knew us, the other didn't. But I think it helped that we bought some jewelry from him. I've also noticed that in some places like Speighstown, Holetown, and parts of Bridgetown, the locals aren't bothered about it, but it still a good idea to be careful.
    All that being said, if you are taking a picture of a landmark, or a large public setting, they have absolutely no right to yell at you, but if you want to take a close up of someone, it is best to ask permission.
    It seems that the only ones who don't mind having their picture taken, are the monkeys.
    This is what I get for trying to show the world their interesting culture.
    Than again, maybe it made them realize it's not so pleasant to do have something done to you, without your permission, which they do to tourists all the time. But most likely not.
    I can only imagine their reaction if they found out they were on a hidden camera show.

    He Was NOT Happy Neither Was He Give Me Money Even For This
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  • ERLIKHAN's Profile Photo

    Too disappointing sea

    by ERLIKHAN Updated Nov 27, 2012

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    Sand is white and soft outside on the beach but when you enter he water, the ground immidiately becomes complete reef bed (real sharp ones). Some on beach hotels have cleaned the rocks out in front of them ( I know Sheraton), I am sure with really big and expensive costs . Also always wavy. Again, some hotels have formed artificial breakwaters to prevent the waves, forming some calm natural 'pools'. Else than such places, we really hated the sea in Barbados. You can see what i mean in this low tide picture better. In high tide, the bottom is just the same around most of the islan, just covered with some shallow water. You have to wear swimming shoes.

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  • joanj's Profile Photo

    taking food into the country

    by joanj Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Like most customs now, food cannot be taken into Barbados. If you simply cannot function without taking your English bacon and sausages etc., then my advice is to purchase a Meat Permit.

    do not take dairy products, meat fish, fruit, etc., and do not take any back to England from Barbados, except where the flying fish etc., is sealed and stamped for you to take through customs.

    I have enquired from my friend details about the meat permit, and when I do get all the information I will post it on this tip.

    Ministry of Agriculture for information regarding Meat Permit.

    e-mail address is:- info@agriculture.gov.bb

    Telephone :- 246 - 428 - 4150

    Fax 246 - 420 - 8444

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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    KEEP Left

    by grandmaR Updated Mar 24, 2009

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    If you forget, it is helpful to have a passenger who will shout "Left LEFT!!" as the oncoming bus is about to crush you.

    Because in Barbados (as in England, Japan, Bermuda and the Virgin Islands) cars drive on the LEFT.

    Most of the time there isn't a problem. On the rural roads, there's no one else around to hit. On the few divided highways, the only problem is that you pass on the right instead of the left. And since the cars are RHD (right hand drive) you will be in an unfamiliar seat and it will remind you that you should stay to the left. Try to stay out of rush hour which is usually from generally from 7:00-8:30am and from 4:30-5:30pm.



    There are two significant problems though. Making a left turn you may forget to allow for the majority of the car to be to your left rather than your right. And the other problem is the roundabouts.

    Flow of Traffic and Navigating Roundabouts
    All traffic flows around roundabouts in a clockwise direction. Upon approaching a roundabout - SLOW DOWN! Look right and wait for a break in traffic before merging with the oncoming vehicles. Leave the circle by using your indicator and turn left onto the road of your choice.

    Visitors to the island are easily identifiable on the road by the 'H' number plate. Locals are usually accommodating of your confusion with directions, round abouts, road signs etc..., and make allowances!

    From passenger's seat Highway From passenger's seat Bridgetown from a taxi Passenger's view in Bridgetown
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  • Airpunk's Profile Photo

    Is your baggage really checked through?

    by Airpunk Written Apr 4, 2008

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    When I checked my baggage in in London, I got the information that it was checked through via Barbados to Antigua and, according to the baggage tag, this information was correct.. But as soon as I got to my check-in counter (my bag was checked through, but I needed to check.in my self for the onward flight), I was told that they needed the bag to check the weight. I knew it (13 kgs), but they needed the bag to check it anyway. Usually it stands on the baggage tags, but here, one of the tricky things in the world of aviation comes to the play: The piece concept.

    The piece concept says that baggage is not counted by its weight, but by the number of pieces of baggage, taking a pre-defined weight for each. Under the piece concept, passengers are allowed to check-in two pieces à 32 kgs (in some cases 23 only). The exact weight is not noted on the baggage tags in this case. The piece concept is used on flights to the USA and Canada, but it is used on some other routes in the world too. For Barbados it means that flights to the USA, Canada and Europe use the piece concept. But on almost all intra-island flights the weight concept (here you are allowed a certain amount of kgs, no matter how many bags you check in) is used. So, please check your tickets when flying through Barbados. If one of your tickets says PC under baggage allowance while another has a certain amount of kgs in the place, you may face difficulties with your baggage being checked through. Even, if your airline says otherwise…

    The consequence of this was that I had to go back to the baggage reclaim area, find out where they have put my bag and go back to the check-in counter. That whole procedure took me more than half an hour and can easily spoil a flight connection!

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  • Abeyna's Profile Photo

    Lost in Barbados & Glorious Traffic jams

    by Abeyna Written Mar 6, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Similar to previous comments in this page, if you decide to take up some car hire time (recommended), you must acknowledge that having a road map with you basically doesn't guarantee you not getting lost.

    Most of the areas of Barbados are poorly signposted (or not at all), so it is extremely easy to get lost; particularly in the rural areas. Typically there are important signposts on the opposite direction, hence you miss them if you're going the other way. I got lost trying to find North beach.. and lost on the way back.. this is the girl that's usually top notch at directions.

    I found that sometimes noting the bus stops which either say 'To Town' or 'Out of Town' would give you a rough idea of where you're headed, but even that wasn't entirely reliable.

    Another note to make is that the traffic jams peri-Bridgetown during peak times (usually 4pm onwards) are ridiculous. It would take me 2 hours to complete a 15 minute trip, courtesey of the new bypasses they've been constructing for years.

    Related to:
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  • joanj's Profile Photo

    Don't try this !!!

    by joanj Updated Jan 14, 2008

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    This guy comes to the hotel to climb the palm trees to take down coconuts that cause a hazard for hotel guests in the grounds.

    The owners let him cut them down, and take them so he can sell them to make some cash, so both parties benefit.

    click on the picture to see him scale the tree. This photograph was taken from our balcony .

    half way up !

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  • joanj's Profile Photo

    Watch where you are treading !!

    by joanj Updated Jan 14, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I must share with you the hazard warning on an open manhole on one of the pavements in the Hastings area.

    I like the inventiveness.

    As I have said in my con's about Barbados, potholes a' plenty , well pavement hazards are there as well.
    Enlarge picture to get the full impact. The pavement has now been repaired, but hazards are all too common.

    Photo by joanj

    Innovative danger warning

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  • Trying to find Bathsheba!!!

    by marleytwins Written Jan 11, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We decided to visit the Soup Bowl at Bathsheba on a Sunday morning in our hire car...and it was impossible to find. After probably 3 or 4 hours of driving round in circles along bumpy and secluded 'roads' we gave up and headed back to St Lawrence Gap.
    Even after two sets of instructions from a vicar and some petrol station workers, we were still none the wiser.
    The roads are not named, not signposted and most do not have any lines so it can be very difficult to know where you're going, or even if you're driving the right way down a road!
    Best to stay under the safety of your trusty beach umbrella I'd say.

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  • I got robbed

    by hollierobinson Written Oct 8, 2007

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    I got robbed at gun point on the beach. I went on the pirate booze cruise, in the middle of the cruse we went to a beach. At the beach I met a local named Chucky. He said met me at (forget name, very popular bar for cruse shippers) ^&*#$* bar tonight. I met him at the bar, had more drinks and took a walk down the beach. We sat down and talked but when we got up to go back up there where two guys with guns and they robbed ME. They took Chucky’s stuff but threw it back on the beach. I think he was involved but who knows. Horrible experience, stay off the beach at night!!!!!

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  • seaho's Profile Photo

    fish cleaning

    by seaho Written Dec 30, 2006

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    The last time I was in Barbados, Nov 06, there was a hugh discussion on the way locals handle fish. The local markets and fish markets do the cleaning if you ask. The problem is, unless you are watching how it is done, problems occur. The main discussion was the fisherman cleaning fish and sometimes the barbs from the fins puncture the hands of the person cleaning the fish. Many locals are becoming aware of the possible transmisions of bllod borne deseases. You must insist that the person cleaning the fish wear gloves. Unless you are there as the fish are being cleaned, they simply wash off any blood after cleaning, and see no problem with that.

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  • Danger of Falling Coconuts Sea Urchin Spines

    by ambgale Updated Oct 11, 2006

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    DANGER OF STTING UNDER COCONUT TREES

    I have noted a warning on this site about sitting beneath coconut trees. Yes, it is true that a falling coconut landing on you can hurt a lot. However, it's not enough to say just that. A coconut falling from sufficient height can KILL. Folks commonly sit under coconut palms that are bearing GREEN coconuts--not likely to fall except in squally storms. Those that are loaded with the brown, dry outer shells can and do drop off at any time. However, this distinction doesn't make it any safer to sit (or worse yet) shelter beneath bunches of green coconuts.

    SEA URCHIN SPINES

    The same contributor mentioned the futility of attemting to remove sea urchin spines by pulling them (as for a sliver or bee sting). Effort is futile simply because they break off and remain embedded. The literally centuries-old antidote is to rub the areas of penetrationwith plenty of fresh lime juice (so abundant in Barbados) which will in fairly short order DISSOLVE the needles. Do not get hasty and attempt to hurry the juice along by digging with a pin. Since urchins are often found in shallow costal beach waters, it would be very unusual for any near-by beach bar to be without fresh lime juice or unwilling to administer the same.

    I have resided in Barbados for 37 years.

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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    No Shoulders, Restricted Sight Lines, No Lights

    by grandmaR Updated May 19, 2006

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    Not only does Barbados drive on the LEFT (and in a RHD car you will have to shift with your left hand - you may find yourself trying to shift the window winder), but the roads in Barbados are narrow and have no shoulders. Many of them have no road markings.

    As you can see, the sugar cane grows right up to the edge of the road and that restricts what you can see 'around the corner'. In the daytime, drivers will often honk as they approach an uncontrolled intersection. Of course they also honk and wave to their friends.

    Buses and vans and small buses are often crowded and tend to travel at high rates of speed and take their half out of the middle.

    Some of the rural roads are not very well maintained and deep in the country there are no street lights so it is really pitch black dark. The only advantage to this is that people usually use their headlights at night, so you can see the glow of another car before you get to a corner. Of course this does not help you to see pedestrian or bicycle traffic.

    The route signs and directional signs are often missing or misleading. We found one sign to the Edgewater Inn which pointed in the opposite direction to where the Inn was. We asked them, and they said, "The last sign we had to put up needed to point right, and we only had one that pointed left, so we just used that one."

    So if you arrive in Barbados at night or late in the day, it will be better to get a taxi and rent a car the next day. And be sure to get a good map if you intend to drive out into the country.

    Sugar cane lining the road Another Barbados road Bus stop by side of the road Meeting a bus in the rain Following a truck with bald tires
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  • mwenn2100's Profile Photo

    The Sun!!

    by mwenn2100 Written May 13, 2006

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Alright... everyone knows that the sun is harsher in the Caribbean, but it's always good to be reminded. Walking thru the crowds and seeing all the sunburnt bodies... I could feel their pain! Apply sunscreen and reapply generously and multiple times!

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  • claire1011's Profile Photo

    Dont go out alone

    by claire1011 Written Mar 9, 2006

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    In the evenings its best to stay in and around the Hotel. Dont venture to far even in the day alone and always be aware of whats going on around you. I didnt feel threatened walking around the shops in Bridgetown but was sometimes uneasy as i knew i was being watched.
    Drugs were also been sold in the open.

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Barbados Hotels

See all 105 Hotels in Barbados
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    Enterprise Coast Rd, , Barbados, Caribbean

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

    Hotel Class 4 out of 5 stars

  • Blue Horizon

    Rockley Beach 1, Christ Church, Caribbean

    Satisfaction: Average

    Good for: Solo

    Hotel Class 3 out of 5 stars

  • Southern Palms

    Travelled to this hotel shortly after 9/11 so it was extremely quiet. It is a very large hotel...

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