4 Travel Safety Tips for Your Trip to Barbados

Our travel safety expert shares his tips on aggressive drug dealers, falling coconuts and how to stay healthy on your vacation in Barbados.

The streets of Bridgetown, Barbados Photo © Getty Images/Westend61

Drugs in Barbados

While Barbados is a little safer than surrounding Caribbean islands, it shares loose border controls with its neighbors, which results in an 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 posession 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.

Hurricanes and Natural Disasters 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. 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.

Health Risks in Barbados

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.

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. 

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 etiquette tips to consider while visiting this Caribbean island:

  • When on the beach, wear appropriate swimwear – don't go topless or bottomless, as public nudity is illegal here
  • 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 unfortunately it is still against the law.

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1 Comment

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