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Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Barbados: The international airport has reopened to foreign travelers from 12 July. Read the latest travel alerts to find out how COVID-19 restrictions may affect you.
Although Barbados generally has a lower rate of violence than its Caribbean neighbors, it's not without dangers – especially at night.
On the bright side, police are heavily stationed around residential and tourist areas in Barbados. But, before you breathe a sigh of relief, here are a few reasons to keep your guard up on your vacation.
The US Department of State advises its citizens to avoid the following areas: Crab Hill at all times, avoid Nelson and Wellington Streets (located in Bridgetown) at night, use added vigilance while on non-reputable nighttime party cruises.
According to the OSAC 2020 Crime and Safety Report for Barbados in 2018, measuring crimes per 100,000 citizens, Barbados had 490 drug-related crimes, 325 residential burglaries, and 44 vehicle thefts
Although visits are generally trouble-free, tourists are most likely to be victims of petty crime and crimes of opportunity.
It doesn't seem pedlars on the island are much worse than those in other Caribbean destinations or Mexico, but prepare yourself for the possibility of some intense hassling.
St. Lawrence Gap, on the southern coast of the island, is one place to watch your back. Recent visitors there recommend older people should only go out during the day, as this part of the island can seem seedy at night.
Women should travel in groups and avoid walking home alone at night. According to several 2017 visitor reports on TripAdvisor, female travelers should look out for harassment while walking on the streets, on the beaches, and particularly on St. Lawrence Gap (The Gap). Harassment includes local men making sexual remarks and sometimes stalking female tourists.
In 2017, British media also reported that a British tourist was raped at Holetown Beach and that another female British national was the victim of attempted rape while jogging close to her holiday apartment in Holetown. The latter victim claimed that her complaint was met by indifference from the local police.
According to 2017 visitor reports on TripAdvisor, The Gap is one place where you can expect hassle. Many reports indicate that at night, this restaurant/bar/nightclub strip tends to attract hustlers who may offer you illegal drugs and beggars who may pester you for money. Some reports also mention that some areas of The Gap are a bit run down, not well lit at night, and may not be family-friendly. One visitor on TripAdvisor also mentioned that on The Gap, some taxi drivers can be aggressive and overcharge you.
If you are in a dangerous situation or fall victim to a crime in Barbados, call 211 for police, 311 for fire, and 511 for an ambulance. Also, you can always call your emergency assistance number on your travel insurance policy.
While Barbados is a little safer than the surrounding Caribbean islands, it shares loose border controls with its neighbors, which results in the international drug trade. The Caribbean islands serve as stopover points for illegal drug trading between the United States and Europe.
There are many reports on TripAdvisor that discuss drug dealers approaching tourists on the streets, beaches, and especially at St. Lawrence Gap in particular to buy illegal drugs.
Keep in mind the local police in Barbados take the possession and use of marijuana just as seriously as other hard drugs – so don't go thinking you'll get off easy. Also note that you are not covered by your travel insurance policy if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In 2017, local media reported that a Canadian tourist was charged with possession and intent to traffic/sell cannabis when police found suspicious packages in her suitcase. Even celebrities aren’t immune from the law in Barbados. In 2008, British actor Jeremy Edwards was fined $250 and thrown in a jail cell for cocaine possession.
Barbados is far less prone to natural disasters than other Caribbean islands. It is subject to the hurricane season from June to November but hasn't suffered major damage since Tropical Storm Tomas in 2010. In 2017 Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a storm, leaving some without power, and a fair bit of destruction in its path.
Barbados is also prone to landslides, mostly affecting the Scotland district in the northeast.
When it comes to major illnesses, look out for dengue fever, Zika virus, and Chikungunya fever. All viruses are carried by infected mosquitoes. To avoid being bitten, wear strong insect repellent and long-sleeved clothing.
According to the CIA’s World Factbook, in 2016, the adult prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS infection was estimated at 1.3%, with 2,600 persons living with the virus in Barbados.
It's not a joke when people say the biggest natural hazard you'll encounter in Barbados is falling coconuts. Be mindful when walking under a tree bearing the fruit, and never try to climb the tree to get one down yourself.
Generally, Barbadians are friendly and courteous people. In addition to popular holidays, Barbados also celebrates Crop Over in July and August. It's the island's biggest holiday with lots of food, street parades, and soca music.
However, there are some etiquette tips to consider while visiting this Caribbean island:
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