What makes Barbados a unique country to travel to?
Barbados is an independent Caribbean island nation with a developed economy. The capital is Bridgetown. Facilities for tourism are widely available. The U.S. Embassy in Barbados has consular responsibility for Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts, and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines, as well as the British dependent territories of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, and Montserrat, and the French islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Barthélemy and St. Martin.
Crime in Barbados is characterized primarily by petty theft and street crime. Incidents of violent crime, including rape, do occur. Visitors should be especially vigilant on the beaches at night. In 2012 several female tourists were reportedly sexually assaulted in separate attacks while walking alone in the Holetown area on the West Coast of Barbados.
As always, visitors to and residents in Barbados should always be aware of their surroundings and exercise caution, especially when walking alone and even during the day. If walking alone, avoid secluded areas. Always secure valuables in a hotel safe, and always lock and secure a hotel room and rental home doors and windows.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, but if you purchase them you may be breaking local law.
While you are traveling in Barbados, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Barbados, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
Persons violating Barbados laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs in Barbados are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Medical Facilities and Health Information
The main medical facility in Barbados is Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Medical care is good for the region, but medical transport can take hours to respond and ambulance attendants are prohibited from applying lifesaving techniques during transport. Minor problems requiring a visit to the emergency room can involve a wait of several hours; private clinics and physicians offer speedier service. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services, and U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in Barbados, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Driving in Barbados is on the left-hand side of the road. Registered taxis and large public buses are generally safe. Private vans and small buses are often crowded and tend to travel at excessive speeds. Travelers are cautioned against riding in private mini-buses, known as “Z buses”, as the owners frequently drive erratically. Night driving should be done with caution because of narrow roads with no shoulders and pedestrian/bicycle traffic. Visitors are warned to be extremely careful when driving, riding in a vehicle, or crossing roads on foot.