UPDATE: At the time of writing the information was correct. However, due to rising cases the U.K. is now classed as medium risk. From Monday the rules change.
The official government statement says “Persons travelling from Medium and Low-Risk countries will be permitted to leave the airport after clearance by Immigration, Customs and Port Health Officials. Those persons travelling from Medium-Risk countries will be monitored daily for the onset of symptoms for a period of 7 days. Effective September 14, 2020, persons will be required to take a second COVID-19 PCR test between 5-7 days after arrival. If persons refuse the 2nd test they will be subject to quarantine for 7 days.”
In the comments someone has said that you will not be allowed to use the beach or leave the hotel. There is nothing about this on the official site but I will try to get some official clarification from the tourist board.
While Barbados is small, it offers some of the most unique and charming experiences for your next Caribbean vacation. The easternmost island in the Caribbean, Barbados offers a distinctive blend of Barbadian and British culture, since Barbados was a colony and gained full independence from the UK in 1966. The Caribbean and West African influence can still be seen today with the many rum distilleries, sugar cane fields, all uniquely mixing to create the Barbardos culture.
From afternoon tea to Barbados’ favorite sport cricket there are many aspects of British culture that have passed down, including the official language of the country English. So, you will feel at home.
Current COVID entry requirements and situation
As of 10 September 2020, Barbados is on the FCO exempt list and part of the UK travel corridor scheme. This means you will not need to quarantine on your return. You will need to submit an electronic form prior to travel and all travelers are strongly encouraged to take a PCR COVID -19 test within 72 hours of travel and submit the negative PCR COVID-19 test result from an accredited or certified facility/laboratory electronically via the Online ED Form. Travellers are required to bring a copy of the results with them. These tests must be validated by the Ministry of Health and Wellness in Barbados and should bear the name of the traveller.
Barbados has had very low rates of COVID on the island and it’s currently managing to maintain that.
Best Time to Go To Barbados
The most popular time to head to Barbados is mid- December through May if you wish to avoid the wet season. The wet season runs June through November. Historically, hurricanes have rarely hit Barbados, however, they still get heavy wind and rain during that time.
If you are looking to avoid crowds the fall season is the shoulder season, often offering better deals. Barbados boasts a year-round temperate climate with weather rarely dipping below 22 Celsius.
The summer season may be hot, however, this is when you can get discounted rates on your stay.
How to get there
We will look at points and miles separately tomorrow. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic both fly there. BA currently has a sale on and prices return to Barbados in Club start from £1387 return. From 17 October 20 BA will offer a daily service from Heathrow in addition to the Gatwick flights.
From 14 December to 30 April 2021, Virgin Atlantic is planning to operate an A350 to Barbados which comes with the new Upper Class Suite. Prior to that, it is an A330-300 with the old Upper Class seats.
Where to Stay on Barbados
It is hard to go wrong when choosing where to stay in Barbados since Barbados has the most luxurious hotels and resorts per square mile in the Caribbean. There are 11 parishes and 9 of them have ocean access.
The Platinum Coast, The West Coast
The West Coast of Barbados, known as the Platinum Coast is where luxury abounds on the island. It is hard to go wrong with a hotel on the west coast since they are almost all on the beach! The water is calmer making it more suitable for diving and snorkeling. Also, the best sunsets on the island can be experienced here.
Looking for 5-star treatment? Head to Sandy Lane, catering to individuals from world leaders to wealthy individuals from around the world since 1961.
The Club Hotel in Barbados is also a worthy contender for a luxurious stay. It is adults only and available on BA Holidays.
Jersey Girl’s favourite hotel there is The House by Elegant Resorts. This is due to become part of Marriott in 2021 when you will be able to collect and redeem Bonvoy points there. The exact date is not known yet. It is adults only and offers treats such as complimentary champagne breakfast and evening canapes.
The Rugged East Coast
A drive along the east coast will show you the wild side of the island. Here the Atlantic Ocean’s rough waves hit the rocks and reefs creating a beautiful scene set with the hills looming in the distance. The east coast of Barbados is slightly less developed and less populated as compared with the rest of the island. Surfers come from around the world to the famous surf spot near Bathsheba Beach called “Soup Bowl” (one of Kelly Slater’s favorites).
If you are looking for a wilder adventure during your time on the island a stay here for a night or two may be for you!
Check out Crystal Cove in St. James Parish in Barbados for your east coast adventures.
Packaged Holidays on Barbados South Coast
Want to stay in the center of it all? The countries capital Bridgetown is on the South Coast. Here there are plenty of packaged holiday deals as this is the tourism hub on the island. Relax during the day on the huge sandy beaches with calm bays, and party at night in the St. Lawrence Gap (the island’s party scene).
A popular all-inclusive resort in the South Coast is Sugar Bay Barbados.
What not to Miss in Barbados
While some may think Barbados is only for lounging on the beach at an all-inclusive resort, there are many things to do in Barbados. Here are just some of the things you cannot miss when you are in Barbados!
Unique Things to Do in Barbados for Adventure Lovers
- Swim with the Turtles! After a stressful day laying on the beach getting a tan, there is nothing more fun than swimming with turtles in Barbados.
- Explore the Rainforest less than an hour away from the capital of Bridgetown. Lush landscapes welcome visitors and hikers don’t have to worry about poisonous spiders or snakes as they take in the views.
- Have you been on vacation in the Caribbean if you haven’t Snorkeled? Well, snorkeling along the reef in Barbados has to be on the top of your list. See tropical fish, turtles, and other marine life while snorkeling in some of the clearest water in the world.
- Hike to the Animal Flower Cave in the northernmost point of the island in Saint Lucy Parish. Here you can wade in cave pools in the cave and admire the views out into the open sea.
- Check out the caves, stalagmites, and interesting rock formations at Harrison’s Cave located in the center of Barbados.
Things to Do for Culture Seekers
- Nicholas Abbey is a beautiful historic plantation home that offers tours of the rum distillery and grounds. Check on more information in regards to hours and tours here.
- Want more rum? Well, head to Mount Gay Rum distillery the oldest continually running distillery in Barbados. Explore the history of rum making and the 300 years of heritage Mount Gray has developed during its’ operation. Make sure to book your tour early since there is less available due to COVID.
- Delve into the island’s history at Speightstown, where you can head to the Arlington Museum to tour an 18th century 3 story merchant’s house to learn about the islands past.
- Gospel Brunch at The Crane at the Caribbean’s oldest continually operated hotel.
- Enrich your culture and knowledge of Barbados with the rich architecture and history of its’ capital Bridgetown. Some of the most historical buildings and places are here including the Parliament buildings, as well as the George Washington House. Yes, that George Washington, who became the Founding Father of the United States.
Relax in Nature and Luxury in Barbados
- Sail on a Catamaran whether you want to go on a lunch cruise, snorkeling trip, or just got on the water it is definitely the perfect way to take in the beauty of Barbados.
- Find your own Secret Beach. The best thing about Barbados maybe that no beaches are privately owned, which means you can find your own little secret spot on one of the many pristine beaches on the island. Some of the best beaches in Barbados include Bathsheba, Bottom Bay, and Crane Beach, however, most of the island offers picturesque beaches. So, it is hard to go wrong.
Where and What to Eat in Barbados
- Oisitins Fish Fry is an island institution on Barbados, especially for a Friday evening fish fry. Locals will play dominoes, take their food to the beach, and enjoy Friday fun through the evening. While you will see tourists here this is definitely one of the non-tourist things to do in Barbados that will give you the best cultural experience of your trip.
- Try Eating Dolphin, just kidding but you can actually try some amazing mahi-mahi that locals refer to as “dolphin”.
- Get a traditional Bajan meal from a rum shop that consists of chicken, fish, or pork, served with macaroni pie, potato or salad.
- Want something more romantic and luxurious? Head to the award-winning Café Luna at Little Arches for pan tropical fare.
Is Barbados Safe to Visit?
Barbados has developed a series of measures to keep tourists and the citizens of Barbados safe from COVID 19. They have implemented testing sites at designated hotels, among other measures and up-to-date travel guidelines. 24 hours prior to arrival travelers must fill out an immigration form, testing is available at the airport, as well as satellite testing facilities at resorts.
In general, crime is also low in Barbados, and the country is very safe. Of course, keep valuables close and safe while staying alert as you should when traveling to any former country.
Barbadian Laws and Driving in Barbados
Just when you thought you arrived in paradise and have nothing to worry about, don’t forget about the laws of Barbados. While the country offers a party-loving atmosphere and clubs will go often into the wee hours of the night. There are certain things that are not tolerated including topless sunbathing, also wearing any item of camouflage is illegal. So, leave it at home, since it is reserved only for the military.
If you want to rent a car be sure to pick up a driving permit that can be acquired by your rental car company.
Why Barbados should be your next holiday?
Pristine beaches, luxurious resorts, and no quarantine for my UK readers with proof of a negative test within 72 hours this is definitely a country to add to your bucket list of adventures. Also, it offers the perfect escape from the fall and winter if you are trying to chase summer. Full of culture, history, and great food this is definitely a destination to turn left for less.
Prices are also currently much more reasonable than usual. Flights on miles are available direct from the UK. Tomorrow we will look at how to get there on miles and stay on points.
Talking of safety, is it safe for gay male couples?
That’s one I am not 100% sure on Toby but I am sure you may get some readers who have been that can advise. That’s a good question to ask over in the TLFL Facebook group.
Yep! No hassles- but the outdated colonial laws have not been repealed so technically all homosexual ‘acts’ are illegal!
This isn’t entirely accurate. If coming from the UK then on arrival you must go to your hotel and will not be allowed to use the beach and can only use a designated pool and restaurant. You won’t be able to go outside of the hotel. This is until you have had a second test that is confirmed as negative that you have to pay for and could take two to three days. If you test negative you can go about your holiday. If positive well then that’s a different story. I know this because I rang the resorts there to find out. They are strict because England is in the high risk category.
Is this a recent change?
Great guide Michele. I’ve been to Barbados many times and apart from the BVI’s, it’s my favourite spot in the Caribbean. I have flights booked in November and right now it’s not BGI that concerns me but the upturn in infection rates here.
I am ASHAMED TO SAY as a retired travel industry exec, I’d not looked at the Covid entry requirements so you might well have saved the day should I decide to go and not cancel my BA Amex seats which I secured last year.
Readers should be aware that seats to BGI are almost impossible. Right now, they are pretty open. Thanks again for an excellent article. Doc.
Excellent article- returned from a 20 day break in Barbados this morning. We did pretty much everything you mention. Barbados is perfect to visit at the moment as there are no cruise ships coming in- even though you will see them anchored of the coast with no passengers! This means there’s no hordes of tourists- it’s a chance to discover the real island. There are lots of closed hotels and bars. We stayed in an apartment- Port St Charles and hired a car. New rules started yesterday- if you are staying for more than 7 days you have to have another PCR test there. Everyone wears masks- all the time- even outside!
Thanks for the update. Useful to know about the new rules. I may well stick to 7 days then.
Any suggestions for self catering please ?- with easy access to good beach. Just 2 of us.Thanks
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