This absolutely gorgeous island nation you're reading about is called Barbados. Us locals commonly refer to her as Bim, short for Bimshire. The weather here is generally warm & sunny all year round with an average daytime high of 30°C / 86°F. In fact, Barbados has over 3,000 hours of sunshine annually. The prevailing northeast tradewinds blow steadily so that although it is bright & sunny, it's not unbearably hot. The nights are usually slightly cooler & rain typically comes in quick showers lasting no more than 15 minutes at a time. The island only has 2 seasons; the dry season from January to June & the wet season July to December.
Barbados has a resident population of approximately 275,000 wonderful personalities. We're easy going & never really in a hurry to get anywhere (with the exception of ZR drivers at at 9 am.) Interacting & mingling with locals is more than welcomed. We're far from shy, so when you're strolling on the beach or chilling at a local bar you can always strike up a conversation with one of us & you're sure to learn something interesting.
Repeat visitors to this island know all too well what the real lure of Barbados is. In Bim you won't find the tallest mountains or the deepest rivers. But what you will discover are the absolute most wonderful people on the face of the Earth.
The official currency of Barbados is the Barbados Dollar (BBD). Our Dollar is 2 to 1 with the US Dollar, meaning that $1 USD is $2 BDS, it's typically converted at the rate of $1.98 BDS to $1.00 USD with slight flutuations depending on the good ole financial markets. However the Barbados Dollar is fixed to the US Dollar & does not fluctuate in normal everyday transactions. So unless you're trading stocks or moving money into an offshore account, the conversion rate won't be affecting you.
The USD is also accepted officially here & is somewhat of a second currency, which is odd considering we were once a British Colony but never a US State. Nonetheless, on your travels around Barbados you will have no problems using actual US Dollars in any hotel, restaurant, store, gas station, rum shop or on public transportation. Just remember that it's 2 to 1, that means you can pay for a Snack Box from Chefette which costs $14.75 BDS with the US $10 in your pocket & get back $5.25 BDS in change. If you're visiting from America this is all splendid news! Barbados banknotes are issued in the following denominations: 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 & 100 Dollars. Our coins are issued as 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents & 1 Dollar. Which is also splendid news if your visiting from America & you like collecting coins.
The Reason To Visit
It mostly depends on who you ask. Some may say that our sophisticated yet effortlessly nonchalant people, with their intricate & pleasantly sociable lifestyles lend to the distinctive charm of a world class island destination. Others may simply tell you to vacation here because "we sweet fa days." Ambiance surely can't be ruled out as , as our surroundings of endless beaches, luxury resorts, snug bars & rocking nightspots adds to this islands unique charm.
The juxtapose of elegance, luxury & natural charm is a favourite feature of repeat visitors to Barbados. Here cane cutters live side by side with media stars & the simple chattle house is never too far away from multi-million dollar mansions. But what really sets this island apart from other destinations is the sheer joy, loving energy & positive vibes of the people you will meet here every single day of your trip.
Here Are Some Fun Facts
Bim is the birthplace of Rihanna, who moved from Barbados to the United States at the age of sixteen to pursue her music career (our favourite fact.)
The 5 Diamond Resort in Barbados was chosen by Tiger Woods as the location for his wedding in 2004.
The name 'Barbados' is derived from the Bearded Fig Trees once found in abundance on the island.
We have never officially flown any other flag than the British Flag, until achieving our independence in 1966.
We are completely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean.
Brief Random History
When the British first descended on this island in 1625, it was found to be almost totally covered in dense jungle & it had an unusually large population of wild pigs.
First & second Governors, Captain William Deane & John Powell respectively, were each arrested during their terms as Governor & returned to England in irons.
The first settlement in Barbados, Holetown, was originally named Jamestown, after its benefactor, King James I of England. It acquired the name "Holetown" due to the off loading & cleaning of ships in the very small channel located within the immediate vicinity of the town. These tasks left the area in an untidy & smelly condition.... thus the Jamestown area became referred to as "the Hole", which evolved into "Holetown", as it known today. (This channel is no longer in use for such filthy purposes).
Commander-in-Chief from 21 December 1629 to 16 July 1630, Sir William Tufton, was executed by firing squad in May 1632, for high treason. And as fate would have it one of the Judges in Sir William Tufton's case, named Captain William Kitterich, was executed by firing squad for the murder of a Captain William Birch. It's a wonder that after this fiasco people still continued to name their children William in England.
The Capital city, Bridgetown, was originally named "Indian Bridge" for the bridge which had been constructed over the river (now known as the Careenage) by the Indians. It was later called the "town of St. Michael" in official documents, before finally being named Bridgetown when a new bridge was built in place of the Indian Bridge, sometime after 1654.
The House of Assembly, in 1666, by special Act, ordered that all buildings under construction with wood would be halted & that all buildings in Bridgetown, including homes, must be built of stone, due to the fire which completely destroyed Bridgetown that year. 325 years later & we're happen to report there's never been another fire that completely destroyed our Capital, good decision then!
The first slaves in Barbados were white (called Indentured Servants); people who, for various reasons, had been deemed enemies of the Crown. This practice was so prevalent during the period 1640 to 1650, that a phrase for punishment was coined "to be Barbadoed." But that has all changed now & "to be Barbadoed" these days is probably a good thing.
In 1736 the island boasted 22 Forts, 26 Batteries & mounted a total of 463 cannons along its 21 miles of Western shoreline. Suffice to say the West Coast of Barbados was well protected against any who dare to make a strike against the British Empire.
The Lord Nelson Statue, erected in Bridgetown's Trafalgar Square on the 22nd of March 1813, just so happens to be older than the statue & square of the same name & fame in London England, which is the birthplace of the actual Lord Nelson. However Trafalgar Square in Bridgetown was renamed National Heroes Square in April 1999, in honour of the national heroes of Barbados.
During the period 1841 - 1845, Barbados was considered the healthiest place in the world to live, having 1 death per 66 people, compared to world averages of approximately 1 death per 35 people. And even to this day we still try our best not to die that often.
South Carolina, in the USA, was originally settled upon by Barbadians & its first Governor was a Barbadian. In modern times when Bajans want to live in The States we somehow always end up in New York & decide not to run for Governor.
Last but most definitely not least, Sir Garfield Sobers once hit 6 massive 6's during a cricket test match in 1968. A ball from that famous match is said to still be rolling down a hill a in Barbados. An astounding feat considering the match was played in England.