Barbados is a beautiful, coral and limestone island, and is the most easterly of the Caribbean islands. Barbados measures 14 x 21 miles, and has eleven parishes. The capital city Bridgetown is located on the island's southwestern coast in the parish of St. Michael. Barbados has three other towns: Oistins in the South, Holetown in the West and Speightstown in the North.
The name LOS BARBADOS was given by the Portuguese upon seeing the bearded fig trees which grew abundantly on the island. The "Los" was subsequently dropped and the island became known as Barbados. However, although the Portuguese and Spanish visited the island first, it was the British who colonized Barbados in the early 1600s. During the colonization period, Barbados experienced slavery, and as a result, the current population are descendants of slaves. Barbados was ruled by the British until 1966, when the island gained independence.
Barbados experiences a tropical climate which is tempered by an almost constant sea breeze from the northeast in winter and early spring and from the southeast during the rest of the year. Temperatures range from 21 to 30 degrees Celsius. There is a wet season from June to December, but rain falls periodically throughout the year.
The population of Barbadosis estimated at 279,912 and is made up mainly of people of African descent with some European, Asian, Hindu, Muslimand Syrian influence. The people of Barbados are friendly, fun loving, warm and are always ready to welcome you with a smile. You will always feel at home in Barbados.
Barbados has its own currency issued by the Central Bank of Barbados. Two Barbados dollars are equivalent to one US dollar. Notes are issued in denominations of $100, $50, $20, $10, $5, and $2. Coins are issued in denominations of $1 and 25, 10, 5, and 1 cents. Travelers cheques and most major credit cards are also widely accepted.
English is the official language. However, the Bajan dialect, which is the local language is heard all over the island.
Stores in Bridgetown are open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Malls are open until 9:00 p.m. and most stores are closed on Sundays.
The electrical supply is 120/240 volts, 50 cycle. Many hotels provide converters for European or Asian appliances, but North American appliances will not require converters.
Medical services in Barbados are offerred by both the public and private sector. There are two hospitals; the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Bayview Hospital both located in St. Michael. In addition to these, there are two private accident and emergency medical centres: FMH Emergency Medical Clinic and Sandy Crest Medical Centre, on the West Coast.
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