Barbados

From Halal Explorer

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Barbados is an island in the Caribbean region, but which lies out in the Atlantic many miles east of the Caribbean Sea. Its nearest neighbours, some 100 miles west, are Saint Vincent and Saint Lucia, part of the arc of the Lesser Antilles that separate Atlantic and Caribbean. Those islands look like and are a partly-submerged chain of mountains. By contrast Barbados has formed from deposits of coral and has a gentler landscape. It's fertile and is sometimes called "Bimshire" or the "Little Britain" of the Caribbean because of its long and uniquely unbroken history of British colonisation and settlement. It became independent in 1966 and tourism is nowadays its main industry.

Introduction to Barbados

The first known inhabitants of Barbados were the Saladoid-Barrancoid people who arrived by canoe from Venezuela's Orinoco Valley around 350 AD. Second were the Arawaks, arriving from South America around 800 AD; they called the place Ichirouganaim meaning "teeth", referring to the island's reefs. In the 13th C the Caribs arrived from South America and displaced the previous populations. For the next few centuries and they lived in isolation here.

In 1536 the Portuguese explorer Pedro Campos called the island "Os Barbados" ("The Bearded Ones") because the long hanging aerial roots of the island's fig trees resembled beards. Later, Spanish conquistadors seized many Caribs on Barbados to use as slaves and many other Caribs fled from the island. However neither Spain nor Portugal settled here. The first Europeans to do so were the British from 1627 and, unlike other Caribbean islands, Barbados never passed into the control of other nations as the later centuries' wars played out.

Early crops were of cotton, tobacco, ginger and indigo, worked by indentured labourers, mostly English and Irish. Their conditions were harsh but not slavery and after several years labour (if they survived) and they were awarded freedom, money and land - so a colony evolved. But those crops suffered competition as North American production grew. Sugarcane was introduced in 1640 and proved more profitable and reliable, but demanded heavy labour. Enslaved Africans were shipped in to meet this need, many being Igbo from what is now Nigeria. For two centuries Barbados was a slave colony, as the plantations grew and grew and bought out the other settlers. From 1833 there was gradual emancipation, through a combination of rebellions, anti-slavery movements and laws and changing economics. The island had been utterly wrecked by the hurricane of 1831 so this was a time of re-building, leading to a friendly harmony of style in the buildings seen today.

Barbados remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum and molasses through most of the 20th C; the labour was still hard and employment conditions were repressive. By now 90% of the island's people were of African descent, 10% were a British-descended squirearchy that clung onto all the wealth and positions of power and ethnic Caribs were very few. But from the 1930s an educated black middle class fought for universal adult suffrage and gradually gained power. Post-war saw social and political reforms and mass emigration as England drew in Caribbean labour to run its hospitals and transport: London's Hammersmith and Brixton became the new Bimshire. A "wind of change" blew through Britain's colonies and the first attempt at independence was to form a Federation of the West Indies. This was quarrelsome and short-lived, so it was as a separate nation that Barbados achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1966. In the 1980s, tourism and manufacturing overtook the sugar industry in economic importance. Barbados has developed into a stable democracy with one of the highest rates of literacy in the Gulf countriesern Hemisphere. It does however have an uncomfortable level of sovereign debt: in 2018 the newly-elected government uncovered shady national accounting, with the true debt being over 1.7 times the nation's GDP. Your tourist spend however modest will be appreciated.

Locals refer to themselves as Bajans and things Barbadian as Bajan.

An Introduction to the Region of Barbados

The island of Barbados has eleven parishes which can conveniently be divided into four regions:

  Bridgetown
Bridgetown
  Western Barbados
North of the city are the parishes of Saint James, Saint Peter and Saint Lucy. This is the west-facing, most sheltered coast, so it's the best for family beach holidays. Holetown and Speightstown are the two main townships, with many tourist hotels and small hotels along this strip.
  Southern Barbados
The parish of Christ Church is a tourist strip of hotels, restaurants, one long traffic jam honking its way through Rockley, Saint Lawrence (the main party zone), Oistins and Silver Sands. This south-facing coast is good both for water-based activities and family bathing. East of the airport is Saint Philip parish: this has fewer hotels and the coast trends north-east and becomes rugged and the seas are stronger.
  Central Eastern Barbados
The parishes of Saint Andrew, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Joseph and Saint Thomas are the least developed and most scenic part of the island. There are lush botanic gardens such as Andromeda, plantation houses eg Sunbury and Harrison's Cave in the underlying limestone. The hilly east coast is exposed to the full fury of the Atlantic, with big surf and is too hazardous for casual beach and water sports.

How to travel to Barbados

Entry requirements

Barbados_-_Aeroporto_de_Bridgetown_-_Entrada

Most visitors do not need a visa for tourist or business visits. That includes citizens of the countries below (listed by the Barbados government in 2009 and believed to be unchanged in 2023) but they are likely to need a visa to work or study so those visitors must make further enquiries of the embassy or consulate.

Muslims visitors of the following countries do not need visas to enter Barbados:

What is the best way to fly to Barbados

  • Sir Grantley Adams International Airport IATA Flight Code: BGI 13.074722,-59.4925 8 miles east of Bridgetown Grantley Adams International Airport Sir Grantley Adams Int Airport, Barbados-05 - By air is the main way in and out of Barbados, so the airport has good connections to North America, Europe especially Britain and Germany and the Caribbean region. Many long-haul flights are by package tour operators eg TUI and Virgin Atlantic, but these also offer flight-only tickets. Regional short hops are operated by LIAT and others. Departing and the check-in area is a semi-open-air triangle with a couple of small cafes and free rest-rooms. After check-in, emigration comes before security, as there are no domestic flights. Airside has a large retail mall with cafes but the exchange desk charges 5 B$ minimum fee so it's not the best option for leftover small amounts of B$. Arriving, you may use the duty-free shop before immigration. You have to fill in a landing card for immigration and you're told to keep the counterfoil for departure, but no-one will ever look at it.

Public buses and shuttle vanes run from a stop just outside the airport. They ply to the south coast hotel strip, Bridgetown and up the west coast as far as Holetown and Speightstown for B$2 per person, but a taxi is the most convenient way to get to your hotel on arrival. Across the road is a little collection of cafes and eating places.

Travel by boat to Barbados

There are no ferries between Barbados and the other Caribbean islands. A ferry to Grenada ran 2011-2016 but was discontinued and there are no plans to restart.

Many cruise ships dock in Bridgetown deep water harbour - check company itineraries to see if a point-to-point sailing to Barbados is feasible. The terminal is served by an army of taxis, as well as shuttle "buses" to/from downtown Bridgetown for B$2 each way per person. There are separate arrangements to enable cruise passengers to transit between ship and airport without going through immigration.

Private moorings are available around the island. It's strictly forbidden to drop anchor on the coral reefs, with stiff penalties.

Mosques in Barbados

Jama Masjid (Bridgetown)

The Jama Masjid in Bridgetown is indeed one of the most well-known masjids in Barbados. It serves as a central hub for the Muslim community in the capital city.

Madina Masjid (Saint Michael)

This is another key mosque located in the parish of Saint Michael, which is an important center for local Muslims.

Masjid An-Noor (Christ Church)

Located in the parish of Christ Church, this mosque is known for its active community and various religious activities.

As always, Halal food is available around the mosques.

How to get around in Barbados

ABC Highway at BET Hill, Barbados (2000)

Driving is on the left. The bus system is extensive, affordable and fast if you are headed to somewhere on the main route, but a vehicle (or mini-moke) is the only way to see many of the out-of-the-way sights. Many drivers will hold a bus for you if they see you are from out of town, reflecting the typical welcoming spirit. Buses are run by the Barbados Transport Board (blue) and are quiet. Private operators include the yellow buses, which play very loud music and private mini-vans (white), which are usually cramped and crowded. The two privately run means of transport are often driven very fast and recklessly. All charge the same fare (B$2). Yellow buses and minivans offer change and even accept US dollars. BTB buses accept Barbados dollars and do not give change.

There are also more than enough taxis to take you wherever you need to go on the island for reasonable prices. They do not use meters and it is best to negotiate the price before you get in. However, most taxi drivers are honest and you are unlikely to be overcharged. Be sure to ask the management of the hotel or the friendly local residents what the going rate is for a cab ride to your destination.

Renting a vehicle is expensive. If you are driving, be aware that the roads on the island are generally quite narrow, with the exception of the ABC highway, which also has several long sections towards the west coast that is under large scale construction to expand the road to accommodate additional lanes.It is advisable to be extra cautious as many roads on the island have sharp turns, steep inclines and are generally quite bumpy, although most are paved.

Many of these "highways" do not have sidewalks, so there can be pedestrians on the street sharing the road. Many bus stops are also on the side of roads where there are no sidewalks. Additionally, beware of impromptu passing lanes as slow drivers are often passed by others behind them when on two lane roads. Road signs can be fairly confusing (they often indicate the nearest two towns/villages in opposite order - i.e. furthest listed first), so be prepared to get lost: just ask the way as people are always eager to help.

At most all of the local vehicle rental agencies, a full collision damage waiver policy is automatically included with the rental, except for any damage incurred to the vehicle tires, a testament to the poor condition of the smaller roads and tendency of foreign drivers to miscalculate driving lanes and hit curbs.

Mopeds and bikes can also be rented to explore sites not easily reached by cars. This is not recommended however due to the poor condition of many of the secondary and residential roads. Except for the main highway, all the other roads provide a hazardous journey to the moped or bike rider due to the lack of sidewalks, frequent pot holes, sharp corners and speeding local buses.

Another fun way to get around is to rent a moke (open top car/buggy) available from any number of local vehicle rental agencies.

Local Language in Barbados

The official language in Barbados is English, but the pronunciation may be high, fast and hard to follow. When speaking with each other, local residents may slide between English and Bajan, which is a creole language based on English, Irish and West African Igbo vocabulary and expressions. Look baffled and they'll slow down for you, if they judge it helpful for you to understand. A good start is always to say "good morning", "good evening" etc, even to strangers on the sidewalk.

What to see in Barbados

Butterfly Beach Barbados

If you're a member of a legacy organisation at home, such as the National Trust or RHS in Britain, bring your membership card, you'll get a discount at many Barbados legacy sites.
  • Botanical gardens are mostly in the hilly, less-developed country of Central Eastern Barbados. The standout is Andromeda Gardens, near Bathsheba. Others include Hunte's Gardens, Flower Forest and Orchid World.
  • Grand houses from the plantation and colonial eras. Those routinely open for visits include the George Washington House and Wildey House in Bridgetown and Sunbury Plantation House and Codrington College in Central Eastern Barbados. Several others are only open on special occasions, such as the Open House days in January - March. But you really need to time your visit to dodge the coach parties and cruise ship excursions. While that applies to any tourism attraction on Barbados, it's especially true for these houses - they're grand but not palatial and cramming into a Georgian four-poster bedroom with fifty other amply-fed folk takes the gloss off the experience.
  • The green flash, if you're very lucky. This is sometimes seen in the tropics in the last split-second of sunset, when just as the sun vanishes the sky above it is momentarily a brilliant green. Conditions have to be just right: you need a hot calm day, with a clear view out to the sea horizon. Even then, most evenings all you'll get is a false flash, when staring towards the sunset leaves a green after-image on your vision. You'll begin to doubt it exists, but keep watching for it every clear sunset. Once seen, never forgotten.

Top Muslim Travel Tips in Barbados

Cave Bay January 2014

Scuba diving here is boat-based, as the main reefs and wrecks are too far out for comfortable shore-diving. (Though intrepid local residents do so and several snorkelling areas are easily reached from shore.) Most dive shacks are in Bridgetown (see listings) but pick up from hotels along the coast between Speightstown and Oistins: it's best to call ahead, as they may be booked out if a cruise ship is in port. One dive shack is in Holetown on the west coast. They all offer basic training, regular qualified diving, specialty courses and equipment hire. The sea is calmer in the morning, so boats head out around 9 am for two-tank dives and you're back ashore and settling up by 2 pm. Travel durations to sites are short so they can drop off after a single dive.
  • Surfing at Soup Bowl on the east coast and various breaks along the west when the swell is up. The south coast has great surf and the world windsurfing tour visits Silver Sands.
  • Other water sports include stand-up paddling and snorkelling with turtles.
  • Catamaran Cruises - ☎ +1 246-429-8967 +1 246-418-0002 Opening Hours: daily B$150 per adult, credit cards accepted with 4% charge A catamaran cruise with opportunities to snorkel with sea turtles and snorkel above shipwrecks. The tour includes transportation to and from the harbour, all drinks (alcohol included) and a buffet lunch. A cheaper version of the tour is offered that skips the buffet lunch. Turtle-snorkelling-only cruises are offered as well.
  • Atlantis Submarine Tours - ☎ +1 246-4368929 US$180/couple Dive down nearly 50m below sea level in a real submarine. For people who dare not dive, this is a convenient way to get close to marine life, corals and sunken ships. Morning tours are recommended since later tours may be canceled due to rough surface conditions. Minibuses from the centre also pass nearby but leave only from the northern (market) bus terminal, thus a cab might make more sense.
  • Watch cricket at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown. West Indies play as a combined team for international matches ("Test matches", lasting up to five days). Barbados also competes as a nation in other competitions in the Caribbean region. First-class matches are sometimes played at other venues around the island, but the big games are always at the Oval.
  • Visit a rum distillery. Three distilleries are in production: Mount in Bridgetown is the best known (Monday to Friday Saturday November - April). West Indies Rum Distillery (source of Malibu liqueur) in Bridgetown only offers tours by special arrangement. Four Plaza in Saint Philip in Southern Barbados offers free self-guided tours Monday - F.

Shopping in Barbados

Money Matters & ATM's in Barbados

The local currency is the Bajan dollar, officially denoted as "Bds$" (ISO code: BBD) but usually just as B$ on local signage (and hence in these pages). US dollars are accepted in almost all shops and restaurants. The exchange rate is fixed at 2 Bajan dollars to the U.S. dollar, but hotel exchanges may scalp you for an extra 5% or so.

Muslim Friendly Shopping in Barbados

Bridgetown's main street hosts numerous jewellers, e.g., Colombian Emeralds and Diamonds International. Cave Shepherd department store offers a wide range of mercantile, while Harrison's offers premium gifts, leathers and cosmetics. There are large supermarkets on the edge of Bridgetown. Smaller stores offer virtually everything a visitor or resident might need. The mall at the harbour has a good selection but is pricier than elsewhere.

Bridgetown 046

Duty-free pricing is available for luxury items such as watches and jewellery, cosmetics, clothing, tobacco and electronic gadgets. The shop may call itself duty-free but it's the individual item that you need to check: the price tag should state DF and the amount in US$ or B$. If it states LP, that's "local price" with duty paid. (Of course they may have a cute definition of the local price, to make out you're getting a bargain.) The duty is specifically the import tax that the vendors paid on that item, that they recoup when the goods leave the nation. So there's no duty-free reduction for things like food that are home-produced or that don't incur import tax. You need your passport and departure schedule in writing; for most items you take the goods away and drop off a counterfoil at the seaport of exit. For alcohol you pick up the goods at the seaport of exit, though surely you wouldn't have been tempted to drink it while still in Barbados.

Business hours

Almost everything used to shut down on weekends and visitors had to plan ahead especially if self-catering. This is no longer the case. Clothing and gift stores open until 4PM or so (Sheraton Mall shops until 9PM) on Saturdays; very few are open on Sunday. Many supermarkets island-wide are open on Saturday and Sunday.

On bank holidays (such as Christmas, New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday), most if not all stores and banks and business houses will be closed. But stores attached to gas stations will have limited availability of basic items and retail outlets at the deep water harbour will be open if cruise ships are visiting. There are a few small family run groceries across the island that will open on bank holidays (or have a side door open) to serve their community.

Halal Restaurants & Food in Barbados

  • Flying fish and the icon of the islands, appear on coins, bills and menus. The fish are usually lightly breaded and fried, with a yellow Sauces. (This Sauce consists of very hot Scotch Bonnet peppers with onions in a mustard Sauces.) Or the fish is steamed with lime juice, spices and vegetables. It's often served over coo-coo, a polenta-like cornmeal and okra porridge.
  • Cutters are sandwiches made from Salt Bread (crusty outside, fluffy inside, but not salty). Popular fillings are flying fish, or cheese; "Bread and two" is a cutter with two fish cakes.
  • Street vendors offer Snacks like fish cakes, BBQ pig tails, fresh coconut and roasted peanuts.
  • Every Friday night on the south coast the place to be is Oistins for the fish fry. This is a town market where you buy fresh fish cooked to local recipes. Bajans dance and party there until the early hours.
  • For fast food, Chefette are a chain virtually unknown outside Barbados, but found all over the island. They've largely kept out the western chains, though KFC and Subway have a presence.

Buy Muslim Friendly Condos, Houses and Villas in Barbados

eHalal Group is a prominent real estate company specializing in providing Muslim-friendly properties in Barbados. Our mission is to cater to the specific needs and preferences of the Muslim community by offering a wide range of halal-certified residential and commercial properties, including houses, condos, and factories. With our commitment to excellence, client satisfaction, and adherence to Islamic principles, eHalal Group has established itself as a trusted name in the real estate industry.

At eHalal Group, we understand the importance of meeting the unique requirements of Muslim individuals and families seeking properties that align with their cultural and religious trainings. Our extensive portfolio of Muslim-friendly properties in Barbados ensures that clients have access to a diverse selection of options tailored to their needs. Whether it's a luxurious villa, a modern condominium, or a fully equipped factory, our team is dedicated to assisting clients in finding their ideal property.

For those seeking a comfortable and modern living space, our condos are an excellent choice. Starting at US$ 350,000 and these condominium units offer contemporary designs, state-of-the-art facilities, and convenient locations within Barbados. Each condo is thoughtfully designed to incorporate halal-friendly features and amenities, ensuring a seamless integration of Islamic values into everyday living.

If you are looking for a more spacious option, our houses are perfect for you. Starting at US$ 650,000, our houses provide ample living space, privacy, and a range of customizable features to meet your specific requirements. These houses are located in well-established neighborhoods, offering a harmonious balance between modern living and Islamic values.

For those seeking luxury and exclusivity, our luxury villas are the epitome of sophistication and elegance. Starting at US$ 1.5 million and these villas offer a lavish lifestyle with private amenities, breathtaking views, and meticulous attention to detail. Each luxury villa is meticulously designed to provide a serene and halal environment, allowing you to enjoy the finest living experience while adhering to your Islamic principles. For further details please email us at info@ehalal.io

Ramadan 2024 in Barbados

Ramadan 2025 in Barbados

Ramadan concludes with the festival of Eid al-Fitr, which may last several days, usually three in most countries.

The next Ramadan shall be from Friday, 28 February 2025 to Saturday, 29 March 2025

The next Eid al-Adha shall be on Friday, 6 June 2025

The next day of Raʾs al-Sana shall be on Monday, 19 July 2024

The next day for Mawlid al-Nabī shall be on Monday, 16 September 2024

Muslim Friendly Hotels in Barbados

Barbados offers everything from affordable guest houses with bed and breakfast from under US $40 daily for a single in the summer to luxury lodgings at some of the world's best hotels at $1,600 in the prime season.

Barbados apartments and apartment hotels offer the comfort of a hotel room combined with the convenience of your own cooking facilities. Most are located on or near the beach and are especially suitable for families.

There is a wide selection of luxury villas and cottages available for rent throughout Barbados. Many of these villas and cottages are located on or near the beach.

Privately owned vacation rentals are often rented at much lower costs than hotel or resort rooms. There is a wide selection of these holiday properties available throughout Barbados and many are located on or near the beach. Vacation properties range from beach houses to condos and apartments.

See regional Travel Guides for listings. Generally, south coast hotels are midrange to expensive and the west coast north of Bridgetown is expensive up to Speightstown and then there are simpler guesthouses further north.

Study as a Muslim in Barbados

Check your visa eligibility when making enquiries of these institutes: the standard visa-free tourist rules don't apply to extended stays for study or work.

  • Bellairs Research Institute is a teaching and research facility operated by Montreal's McGill University focusing on marine biology and environmental studies.
  • Barbados Hospitality Institute operates The Hotel Pommarine near Rockley Beach, Southern Barbados.
  • Barbados Community College
  • The University of the West Indies - Cave Hill Campus

Stay safe as a Muslim in Barbados

Barbados Police Nissan Patrol 001

Barbados remains much safer than many other Caribbean islands.

Camouflage clothing is forbidden for non-military personnel in Barbados, even kiddy outfits or anglers' floppy hats that couldn't possibly be mistaken for army camo.

Medical Issues in Barbados

Your biggest risks are road safety, safety in the sea and alcohol especially when combined with those.

Beware of the sun, Barbados is only 13 degrees north of the equator and you can burn very easily, even if it's cloudy and the sea breeze is keeping you cool. Seek the shade (eg use a umbrella), wear a wide-brimmed hat and long clothing and slap on high-factor sun-block: you're aiming for the zinc-nosed cricketer look.

Mosquitoes are more of a nuisance than a danger: it's very rare for them to carry serious tropical nasties such as malaria, but the bites are infuriating. The mozzies are especially busy after sundown, so spray on a repellent before heading out for al fresco dining.

Barbados water is pure and safe to drink, as it's naturally filtered by the island limestone. You'll see limestone drip-buckets in all the old plantation houses, pre-dating the mains supply.

Local Customs in Barbados

Despite, or maybe because of and the tropical climate, Bajans tend to dress conservatively when not on the beach. A bikini will not be appreciated in town and certainly not in church.

Bajans are particularly sensitive to manners and saying "Good morning" to people, even strangers, goes a long way to earning their respect.

Bajans are very protective of family and insults to a person's family are taken very seriously. This also relates to their views on issues such as homosexuality. -most Bajans do not agree with the training.

Telecommunications

Mobile 4G/Wi-Fi is good in Bridgetown, on the south and west coasts and along the main highways, so that Bajan motorists can yap to each other about how it should be made illegal while driving. There is patchy coverage out in central and eastern parts, so either use the hotel or cafe connection, or put the damn thing away and have a holiday instead.

News & References Barbados


Explore more Halal friendly Destinations from Barbados

It means flying, as there are no ferry services. Barbados' closest neighbours, all with frequent flights of 30-50 min duration from BGI, couldn't be more different from each other:

  • Saint Lucia is very mountainous, one hell of a place to try to run a plantation, but brilliant for scenery and smelly volcanic springs.
  • Saint Vincent is also mountainous and scenic, yet barely developed for tourism, so very much away-from-it-all.
  • Grenada is good all-round for amenities and attractions, a sound first choice for a Caribbean holiday. Its smaller island of Carriacou has good diving but little else.

The chain of islands continues north through Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe. To the south are Trinidad & Tobago and mainland Venezuela.


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