Barbados: A Guide to Drugs, Health & Culture

Drugs, disease and disrespect are some of the things travellers need to consider in Barbados.

While Barbados is a little safer than other islands, it shares with its neighbors loose border controls that facilitate the international drug trade. The Caribbean islands serve as stopover points for drug trade betweenthe United States and Europe.

Drugs in Barbados

According to 2017 visitor reports on TripAdvisor, dealers have approached tourists on the streets, beaches, and at St. Lawrence Gap in particular to buy illegal drugs.

Keep in mind that the local police service does not take marijuana any less seriously than other hard 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. For instance, in 2008, British actor Jeremy Edwards was fined $250 and thrown in a jail cell for cocaine possession.

Health risks in Barbados

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. The island is, however, prone to landslides, with most affecting the Scotland district in the north-east.

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 a 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.

Some joke that 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 them yourself. 

Culture & customs in Barbados

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 no-nos to consider on this island. When on the beach, avoid the urge to go topless or bottomless as public nudity is illegal. Do not wear any clothes with camouflage print as it's against the law and should only be worn by the military. The island also has very conservative attitudes when it comes to homosexuality and buggery is still against the law.

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1 Comment

  • Alain said

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