For men, suit or dress shirt and tie are the normal business attire. Barbadian men sometimes wear a “shirt-jack,” which is akin to a safari-type short-sleeved jacket with matching trousers. For women, a skirt or pant suit or a dress is appropriate. Business hours are generally from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. However, due to COVID-19 protocols, these times may vary. It is recommended that you confirm the opening hours before visiting a business. Appointments are generally required for business meetings. Lunchtime meetings are common. Breakfast meetings are becoming more accepted. Business cards should be presented during meetings.
At the time of writing, a Level 3: Reconsider Travel advisory was issued for Barbados due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further information regarding travel to Barbados can be found at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/barbados-travel-advisory.html.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Travel Health Notice: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/barbados
U.S. citizens must enter Barbados using a valid U.S. passport. U.S. citizens do not need a visa to enter Barbados for stays up to three months. All other travelers should confirm their visa requirements before travel to Barbados. These can be found on https://www.visitbarbados.org/plan-your-trip/visa-and-entry-requirements . COVID-19 travel protocols for visitors from the United States may include mandatory quarantine and pre- and/or post-arrival testing. Travel protocols also change frequently, often with little notice. Travelers should confirm the latest requirements when planning travel to Barbados. More information, particularly on Barbados’ COVID-19 travel protocols, can be found on https://www.visitbarbados.org/covid-19-travel-guidelines-2021 . For U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States, a visa may be required. For more information on the various categories of non-immigrant visas, visa applicants should go to the following link(s): State Department Visa Website .
United States Embassy Barbados Consular Section: https://bb.usembassy.gov/visas
The currency of Barbados is the Barbadian dollar (BBD) which is pegged to the United States dollar (USD) at about 2 BBD to 1 USD. U.S. dollars are accepted in most businesses. Credit cards and travelers checks in USD are also widely accepted. All commercial banks have ATMs across the island. Most ATMs have access to the Cirrus and PLUS networks. ATMs can also be found at some hotels.
Most business offices and hotels have facsimile machines and internet connection. Most hotels also provide business service centers to guests. In addition, hotels are equipped with free or guest access only Wi-Fi in rooms and public areas. There are also Wi-Fi hotspots across the island.
Making telephone calls to the United States and to most parts of the world is generally as easy as making calls within the United States, although the charges are much higher. Touchtone service and direct dialing are available.
There are currently two cellular mobile service providers on island: FLOW and Digicel. Both provide 4G cellular service. Rates are still relatively high but have decreased significantly over the past few years. Generally, most U.S. cellphone services work on the Barbadian mobile networks; however, roaming charges tend to be high. Both cellular companies provide prepaid mobile SIM cards at a nominal fee for visitors.
Barbados uses 110 volts/50 cycles on its electric grid system.
Airport: Grantley Adams International
Runway: L 11,000 feet x W 150 feet
The Grantley Adams International Airport accommodates international, regional, and local traffic, passenger, and freight service.
American Airlines operates direct service to the United States with non-stop flights to Miami and Charlotte with onward connections. JetBlue Airways operates non-stop flights to New York, Newark, and Boston. Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines flies from Barbados to New York. All connections for international flights through Caribbean Airlines must be made through Trinidad or Jamaica. Canadian and British airlines fly direct service to Barbados from Canada and the UK, respectively. There are also seasonal charter flights from some European destinations. The Covid-19 pandemic has reduced some flight availability. Future flight schedules are dependent on demand and travel restrictions and are subject to frequent changes. Please check with the airlines for current schedules.
To date, there are a few small carriers with flights throughout the Eastern Caribbean and to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Regional carriers include InterCaribbean Airways, One Caribbean, Caribbean Airlines, and others. Due to COVID-19 and the disruption of air travel, LIAT has been restructured and only flies to a few destinations. Future flight schedules are dependent on demand and travel restrictions and are subject to frequent changes. Check with the airlines for current schedules.
Barbados operates a public bus transportation system at a nominal fee. There are also privately owned buses and small 14-seater vans that ply certain routes at the same nominal fee. There are privately owned taxis that are usually found next to hotels or in the capital. While taxis are not metered, they are regulated by government. Taxis are also available for pre-arranged bookings. Always confirm the rate with the driver before you begin your trip. There are also car rental companies.
The official language of Barbados is English. It is also the accepted business language in the country.
The main hospital is the 600-bed public Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, and there are several equipped health and emergency care clinics distributed throughout the island. There is also a smaller private hospital, Bayview Hospital. The medical community includes specialists trained in the Caribbean, the United States, Canada, and Europe. There are no specific vaccinations required for visitors travelling to Barbados. However, it is recommended that all travelers have up to date routine immunizations such as tetanus-diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox. The government has issued travel and health protocols to address the COVID-19 situation in country. They can be obtained at: https://gisbarbados.gov.bb/covid-19-protocols/ and https://www.visitbarbados.org/covid-19-travel-guidelines-2021. Travelers should review these protocols carefully when considering travel to Barbados.
Sanitation and the environment are jointly managed through the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Ministry of the Environment and National Beautification. These ministries are mandated to issue certificates regarding health and the environment. The Environmental Protection Department and the BNSI have oversight for the development of environmental standards, which include water and wastewater standards. The Barbados Fair Trading Commission established a Utility Regulation Division which oversees the rates and standard of service for three utilities: telephone (fixed, mobile and internet), electricity, and water.
Local Time, Business Hours and Holidays
Barbados falls in the Atlantic time zone which is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-4). There is no daylight savings time in Barbados. During daylight savings time in the United States, Barbados is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
In Barbados, the work week is generally Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In 2016, a new Shops Act took effect, allowing some business to open longer during the week and on some public holidays. Stores can now remain open for business from 7 a.m. on Mondays continuously through to 10 p.m. on Sundays. Mandatory closing hours are between 10 p.m. on Sundays and 7 a.m. on Mondays. A business may be granted special permission to open on “closed days.” The Act removes public holidays from being “closed days,” except for Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, and Independence Day. Due to COVID-19 protocols, these times may vary.
Banking hours are typically 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. from Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday. Banks are closed Saturday, Sunday, and local holidays. Banks usually institute Friday business hours the day before a local holiday to service their clients. Due to COVID-19 protocols, these times may vary. Check with banks for their opening hours.
2021 Barbados Holidays:
January 01 New Year’s Day
January 21 Errol Barrow Day
April 02 Good Friday
April 05 Easter Monday
April 28 National Heroes Day
May 01 May (Labor) Day
May 24 Whit Monday
August 01 Emancipation Day
August 02 Kadooment Day
August 03 Emancipation Day observed
November 30 Independence Day
December 25 Christmas Day
December 26 Boxing Day
December 27 Boxing Day observed
Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings
Business travelers are allowed temporary entry of materials and personal belongings. The Barbados Customs Officer should be satisfied that the business traveler has no intention to leave the items in Barbados. The Customs Officer can request that the business traveler leave a bond or certified check for the customs duty to ensure that the traveler takes the items with them when they depart Barbados.