I assume the best time of year to visit is the winter. Isn't the summer insufferably hot?
To the contrary, summer is a great time to visit Barbados! It's rarely over 90 degrees Fahrenheit at the hottest point in the day (around 80 at night) and we enjoy a breeze off the sea that cools the island. Also, flights and accommodations are generally less expensive in the summer.
What are your busiest times? The big day of Crop Over, our festive carnivale, happens the first Monday of August, but people come weeks ahead of time for the music and parties leading up to it. December through March is the time of year when people from colder climes especially appreciate our beautiful climate and warm sea. There's no time of year when "nobody" wants to visit Barbados, but these are our peak times. Photo at right: a woman at Crop Over.
Which airport do we fly into, and how far is it to St. Lawrence Beach Apartments?
Grantley Adams International (airport code: BGI) is the only airport in Barbados, located in the southeast area of the island. We are a 20-minute drive away.
How do we arrange transportation from the airport to your condo?
Taxis are plentiful right outside the airport. The price to get to our place is around $20 US, including tip, and it takes about 15 minutes. After you clear customs, you'll find the taxi stand immediately outside the airport. Tell your driver that you want to go to St. Lawrence Gap. There is only one entrance to the Gap. After entering the Gap, tell your driver that St. Lawrence Beach Apartments is on the right-hand side, immediately following the church. (Car rental info is below.)
What documents do I need to enter the country?
You need an immigration form, which you’ll be given on the plane, and your passport. On the immigration form, you’ll be asked for a local address. It is: St. Lawrence Beach Apartments, St. Lawrence Gap, Christ Church, Barbados. Our phone number is 246-230-8594. Note, the back of the immigration form is your Customs form; be sure to fill out both sides.
Is there a departure tax? Yes. Each passenger leaving the island by sea or air must pay a $25Bds departure tax. It's payable in cash (there are ATMs inside the airport) at the airline check-in counter.
You're located in the middle of restaurants and clubs. Does that mean it's noisy in your condos?
The downside of being in an area of Barbados where restaurants are right outside your front door is that there can be nighttime noise. (Daytimes are very quiet.) The master bedrooms of all our condos face the sea where noise is not an issue. Second bedrooms that face the Gap can experience noise. All apartments described on this site have double-pane windows on their street side; this helps keep them quiet. If you want an absolutely quiet getaway, we are not the place for you. If you want to be where the action is, we are! Below, the entrance to St. Lawrence Gap off of Hwy 7. We are located approximately 100 yards from this point.
We’ll have a full kitchen; are there grocery stores nearby?
Yes, you’ll have a completely outfitted kitchen. There’s a small grocery down the Gap, about a 2-minute walk. It has all the essentials: bread, milk, butter, cheese, soda, ice cream, cereal, alcohol, and a limited selection of fresh fruit. It also carries a few drug items such as bug repellent, antacid tablets, suntan lotion, etc, as well as clothes washing detergent. "Big B," a large grocery store, is a short drive from us.
Is food expensive?
Almost all food is imported and, hence, prices are higher in Barbados – probably 15-20% higher than in the States.
How is tipping handled, and how much is appropriate?
A service charge is usually added to your bill in restaurants, so check your bill; leaving a bit more is at your discretion. Tipping of taxi drivers and other service personnel is consistent with the UK, US, and Canada.
What kind of clothes should we bring?
We’re casual here, but not as much so as on US beaches. Sport shirts and shorts for men, summer dresses or shorts and top for women. Shoes are required in restaurants. It is illegal to wear camouflage clothing or accessories in Barbados.
Are your beaches clothing-optional?
No. Nudity is not allowed on any Barbados beaches.
What is the exchange rate and where do we go to trade?
$1US = $2Bds. Any bank can exchange currency, but you may not need to – see below.
Can we pay for things in US currency or by credit card?
All restaurants and shops take US dollars and major credit cards. They do not generally take sterling or Canadian dollars, however.
Are there ATM machines?
Yes, many. Two ATM machines are about a 2-minute walk down the Gap.
Should we bring our own dive gear?
Yes, but dive gear is available for rent as well (DivePros is a short walk from us; they can outfit you and take you out on dives). Also, you can rent surf boards and buy snorkeling gear and boogie boards on the island.
Is Ganja (marijuana) legal?
No. No recreational drugs are legal in Barbados.
Will I need a car?
Depending on the sort of holiday you want, you can rent a car or not. If you want a lazy time hanging out on the beach and by the pool, strolling up and down the Gap, dining out, shopping at our little shops, then you needn't have a car at all and you'll still have a terrific time. If you want a more active holiday, then rent a car. The bus system in Barbados is actually pretty good and there's a bus stop about a 2-minute walk from us.
Do you recommend I rent a car before I arrive or wait until I get there?
You can do either. To rent a car online before you arrive, you might check out ArgusCarRentals.com. Perhaps you'll want to spend a few days relaxing before exploring the island. In this case, when you're ready, you simply walk down the Gap to one of the two car rental agencies we have. Most car rental agencies will also bring the rental over to you. Any car rental agency will help you obtain a temporary local license, as long as you have a valid driver's license from your own country. Also, remember that we drive on the left-hand side of the road, Brit-style.
Do you welcome children?
Absolutely! Children are welcome. However, we don't rent to college kids who come to Barbados to party without their parents.
What about pets? Pets are not allowed into Barbados without a six-month quarantine, as the island wishes to remain rabies-free.
Should I worry about hurricanes?
As the most easterly island of the Caribbean archipelago, Barbados is nicely situated outside the hurricane zone. While we'd never say never, there hasn't been a hurricane in Barbados since the 1950s.
Can I smoke?
Indoors, we have a strict no-smoking policy. We welcome you to smoke on the outdoor patio with the sliding door to the living room closed.
What's the electrical current in Barbados?
Same as the US: 110/120.
Is Barbados safe?
You can feel free to explore all of Barbados as it is a very safe island. We are fortunate to have a stable government, friendly race relations, and a prosperous economy, all of which have led to a very large middle class; these things contribute to our safe environment here in Barbados. Nowhere is "off limits" to visitors who want to explore.
(Left: View from Unit 11 on the 2nd floor, on a windy day)
Still .... What security do you offer at your place?
We have security guards - either Michael or Jerry - on the premises every evening from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. The Gap is alive at night, people drink, and, although we've never had an incident of theft, vandalism, or anything else, we want to ensure that our guests and permanent residents are well looked after.
Can I drink the water – or should I stick to rum?
Haha. The water in Barbados is absolutely safe to drink right out of the tap. In fact, naturally filtered through our native coral stone (photo at right), we have some of the cleanest water in the world. A bit of rum is good, too! Barbados rum, Mount Gay, is world-famous. At right is a photo of the coral that forms the bedrock of this island (the coral is the reason why our beaches are so white; islands of volcanic origin, including Mount Serrat, Martinique, Guadalupe, and St. Lucia, have dark grey beaches).
Is your beach private, for use by guests only?
By law, there are no private beaches in Barbados. All beaches are open to the public. However, our beach is very small and does not attract the public, so it's essentially private. Our jetty is the private property of ours and is a great place to sunbathe or fish.
What about your pool? Is it private? Yes, our pool is only for guests and permanent residents of our building (17 condos). The pool is very rarely crowded.
Where would I get beach activities, then, such as parasailing?
Dover Beach and Sandy Beach are both short walks down the Gap and offer all manner of beach activity.
Do you supply hair dryers, curling irons, etc? Beach towels? We provide these. Bring (or, when you're here, buy) shampoo, toothpaste, and sunscreen.
Is the sea suitable for swimming?
Absolutely! We swim in the sea outside our place frequently. The water is clear blue and clean. There's no undertow, and no large fish. The bottom is white sand. Because we are located at the point that the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean meet, we have more waves and slightly more active water than the west coast of the island. But it's far, far tamer than the east and north coasts of the island. Swimming and snorkeling off our beach is lots of fun. A nearby reef is a great snorkeling spot.
No, no sharks; our water is too warm for sharks.
No, sorry, we don't have dolphins. We have something else, though, something just as magical to behold: giant sea turtles. All of the full-day catamaran sailing trips will take you out to snorkel with these magnificent ancient creatures.
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