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Country Reports

Barbados Country Report

Overview

INTRODUCTION

The small Caribbean island nation of Barbados (population 292,000) offers generally good travel conditions, although visitors should take note of a few potential concerns, notably rising crime rates and the presence of tropical diseases.

CRIME

Barbados experienced a rise in crime rates in 2017, notably an increase in gun violence. In August 2017, Barbados Defense Force (BDF) units were deployed to help police address this concern. Homicide rates remain moderate, at an annual rate of 10.0 per 100,000 inhabitants (2017).

Basic precautions should be taken (avoid walking alone at night, conceal signs of wealth, park in well-lit areas at night, etc.) to minimize the risk of being targeted by criminal elements. As criminals may be armed, never offer resistance in the event of an attempted robbery.

There is also a risk of credit and debit card fraud. Criminals obtain card information by installing card skimmers in ATMs (cash machines). To minimize this risk, avoid using ATMs located on streets, opting instead for those located within banks.

SOCIOPOLITICAL CONTEXT

Violent protests and disruptive strikes are rare.

However, the size and frequency of demonstrations will likely rise in the weeks and months leading up to legislative elections, which will take place by May 2018.

NATURAL RISKS

The country can be hit by hurricanes and tropical storms during the annual hurricane season that officially runs from June 1 to November 30. In August and September 2017, hurricanes Harvey and Maria passed near the island, bringing violent winds and torrential rain that resulted in flooding and power outages, though no major damage.

Barbados is also located in a seismic zone and earthquakes sometimes occur.

HEALTH

The quality of local medical infrastructure is high, at least in the capital Bridgetown, although ambulance response times can be slow. All travelers to the country are advised to purchase comprehensive travel medical insurance prior to departure.

There is a risk of contracting various mosquito-borne diseases, including dengue fever, chikungunya, and the Zika virus. While transmission rates of all three were relatively low in 2017, standard precautions against mosquito bites remain advised.

There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in Barbados. However, travelers arriving from an at-risk country may be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry.

TRANSPORTATION

Visitors should be careful while driving; secondary roads are sometimes quite narrow and buses and taxis often travel at seemingly unsafe speeds. Public buses (blue and yellow) are generally safe, while privately-owned bus companies are often less so. If taking taxis, use only licensed companies.

Note that cars drive on the left side of the road in this British Commonwealth.

LEGAL

Some homosexual acts are illegal in Barbados and homophobia is relatively widespread; public displays of affection between same-sex couples could draw negative attention.

Climate

The climate in Barbados is tropical. The dry season lasts from November until May and the rainy season from June until October. Average temperatures range from 25°C to 35°C and days are usually sunny.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +1 246 Police: 211

Electricity

Voltage: 115V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

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