Barbados Crime, Scams & Annoyances: What to Avoid

Tourists are more likely to experience petty crime vs crime of the serious variety

Barbados is a lovely island nation home to Rihanna, coconuts and pleasant weather. It's an overall nice vacation spot, but it's not without its dangers, especially at night. This country generally has a lower rate of violence than many of its Caribbean neighbors.

In addition, police are heavily stationed around residential and tourist areas in Barbados. You can let yourself breathe a sigh of relief at that fact, but still keep your guard up.

Some common crimes you may encounter in Barbados

Trip Advisor reports that tourists are most likely to befall robbery, petty theft, taxi fraud and getting incorrect change back on purpose. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom reports that 38 passports belonging to British nationals were stolen between April 2009 and March 2010. People posting in a Frommer's travel forum reported incidents of robbery at gunpoint and incessant hagglers.

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.

Travellers on TripAdvisor who'd been to Barbados said St. Lawrence Gap on the southern coast of the island is one place in which to watch your back. Recent visitors there recommend older people only going out during the day, as this part of the island can seem seedy at night.

Women should stay in groups and avoiding walking home at night alone. A recent traveler to the Dover beach area of St. Lawrence portion of the island said she was chronically hissed at and called "Baby" while strolling the streets. Other travellers said the southern coast as a whole is more of the "party" area of the island. Anyone traveling with children or who just isn't into a heavy nightlife scene should probably stay at the northern end of the island.

You may be offered drugs or prostitutes, and locals will try to sell you other items like souvenirs in certain areas of Barbados. The hustlers can be relentless in their offers, and beggars will often pester you for money.

Taxi drivers may also be aggressive. Other travellers say the nightlife is good in this area due to the high amount of pubs and dancehalls. Travellers on Virtual Tourist said to take cabs back after a night of bar-hopping or clubbing to avoid run-ins with panhandlers, pimps and drug dealers.

Elsewhere in Barbados, tourist groups traveling on guided tours have been held at gunpoint at least twice. On one of the occasions, the perpetrator fired his gun, but did not injure anyone.

One traveler got robbed on the beach at gunpoint after a booze cruise, but didn't specify the area. It was after having "made friends" with a local who he suspects may have been in on the crime. The U.S. State Department reports that rapes have also occurred at Long Beach, Christ Church and Maycocks Beach, St. Lucy, during the day. Walkers and Pie Corner beaches were other sites of assaults.

Holetown on Barbados' west coast also attracted some attacks such as rapes and robberies during the day in late 2010. Most travellers and residents maintain that the island is very safe, but tourists should avoid empty beaches at night and other desolate areas.

If you are in a dangerous situation or fall victim to a crime, the emergency number in Barbados is 211, and of course you can always call your emergency assistance number on your travel insurance policy.

9 Comments

  • Dario said

    this is a load of bull crap... who wrote this ignorance anyways, prob some idiot that never been there.
    your talking about what some travellers say, thats like less than a hungred compare to the hundred thousands that go there every month....
    It's got its crime for sure but what country dosent???? name one country in the world that do no have any crimes at all...
    Alse the litttle bit of crime in Barbados is the fault of the current local government (DLP) Democratic Labour Party...
    I was born and riase there and now live in sydney australia soon to be 3 years.
    Ive been almost all around the world in countries that i never thought id ever be in
    And what I can honestly say is that there is no place like home.

  • Joe King said

    No, you're wrong there are plenty of Greg riddled Countries like Barbados.
    Barbados is a lot like Jamaica with its Drug and gang related problems, ultra violence and bad attitudes between whites and blacks. Name a few white politicians in Barbados! I can't think of any.

  • Mallory said

    When i visited as a tourist i had no problems...the day i moved here my cab from the airport denise maccoon is the driver kicked me out of her cab because she couldn't find my house, leaving my dog and all the stuff i brought in a dark dead end...she knew i had no phone service...i begged her for water for my thirsty dog at least and ahe told me to stop crying and took off...

  • Neville A Haynes said

    I grow up Barbados, and I think that it's sad when hear that a Country like Barbados Who's Economy is now base on tourism, and the Island people is currently being ripping off by the Island people and aggresative taxi drivers, if this kind of behavior continue it will bring down the Barbados economy and economic. Is there a drop in employment? I think that Barbados should bring back the sugar cane, and also retrained some Bajans to do the high technical jobs in Barbados today.
    The Bajan are very intelligent and this kind of behavior unexcited.

  • Derek Barrett said

    I considered traveling to Barbados for vacation; however, I changed my mind after reading several articles about the opportunistic crime in Barbados. I hope the tourism board, merchants, vendors, resorts and the government realize the importance of tourism to the Barbados' economy. Please crack down on the crime or your service industry will run dry and bankrupt your nation. Respectfully - Derek Barrett

  • Martin said

    I went there eight years ago for a month with my wife only four times I was approach three in soup bowl and one in maycocks they need to put more presence of police in maycocks seems very quiet there and I was approach to my car by a tall guy if I wanted to buy weed I said no and he kindly back away other than that mind your own buissness and stay way from hanging at night and you should be fine but always have a plan for protection .like anywhere in the world other than that enjoy all the bay's there very quiet and empty totally more than safe.

  • Tracy Kaler said

    My husband and I just returned from Barbados. We loved it. Other than getting lost because most roads are unmarked, we didn't experience any crime. We were approached near the Soup Bowl by one gentleman, although I'm not sure what he wanted. We told him we weren't interested and he moved on. Cab drivers in Bridgetown can be a little aggressive trying to pick up fares, but they were all perfectly polite. We stayed on the east side in Belleplaine and explored a lot of the island. We found Bajans to be incredibly friendly and helpful! We are used to watching our backs since we live in New York City, however, so no matter where we go, we stay aware and alert. I would go back to Barbados again and still stay on the east side of the island, where there's no traffic and people are friendly. It's a beautiful place.

  • Eurie said

    Most of this is a load of crock sh#t . I've been visiting beautiful Barbados for 25yr, it is such an addictive place, go once and I guarantee you'll be back year after year. Most of the locals are cool, chilled and very friendly. Sure there is some crime, there is plenty of that in UK, USA & most countries, what country doesn't. Would anyone walk along a dark secluded place at night alone whilst at home? Why would anyone risk doing it in a foreign country? Play safe anywhere, invite trouble and you risk getting some. Beautiful BIM 😊😊 can't wait to be back for Carnival in July 😁 counting down the days.

  • Scottie said

    Beware the entertainment district - St. Lawrence the Gap...

    The locals are hard hitting hustlers!!! They don't care about anything - including the fact that you may be on vacation with your girlfriend/wife... they will hit on her and say nasty things to her while you are right beside her. Not cool and no respect. Please don't fall victim to the locals. Beautiful beaches and country - too bad about the locals - they ruin it all!

Add a Comment

Search Travel Safety

Or search by country list

Sign up for the latest news, deals & opportunities.