|Sandals Barbados||Oistins||7 nights||FI|
|Sandals Grande St Lucian Spa & Beach Resort||Gros Islet||7 nights||FI|
|Overnight Travel||1 night|
Set on the south coast of Barbados, Oistins is a historic fishing village that plays host to one of the island’s most famed and festive attractions - the Oistins Fish Fry. Every Friday and Saturday night, an area near the jetty lights up with music, visitors and vendors selling a sublime array of fresh fish, lobster and other Caribbean culinary specialties such as macaroni pie. Besides the vibrant atmosphere and fabulous food, the market is also a great place to pick up locally made crafts and jewellery. The Oistins seafront is made up of a series of beautiful beaches, including some of the island’s most idyllic, such as Welches Beaches, with its salt-white sand and glittering turquoise bay.
The small fishing village on the northwest tip of St Lucia is within walking distance of the resort town of Rodney Bay - the popular tourist hub of the island. This quiet gem is ideal for visitors looking for some respite from the loud bars and tourist traps. Colourful buildings, an old church and street stalls create the charm of the village, and there’s a picturesque beach out front too. Every Friday night the streets are closed to traffic and food vendors, rum stalls and live Caribbean music fill the lanes. Try out Gros Islet’s famous fish grill.
The easternmost of the Caribbean islands, Barbados is a traveller’s paradise blessed with lush vegetation, friendly people, superb dining and idyllic palm-fringed beaches - wild and windswept on the south and east, pristine and tranquil on the north and west. Once a British colonial outpost, and much of this history is reflected in the nation’s architecture, street names, and passion for cricket. There’s an enormous amount to see and do on Barbados: Take a jeep safari to the untamed east coast, known for its world class surfing, or head to the rugged southern coast, where secluded coves are hugged by craggy cliffs. If you prefer calmer , the north and west coast will be your thing, powder-fine white-sand shores melting into serene bays perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Barbados’ capital, Bridgetown, has excellent shopping and sightseeing, while the island’s relatively flat interior is dotted with beautiful gardens, verdant nature reserves, glittering caverns, and breathtaking viewpoints.
Barbados Dollar (BBD; symbol BD$) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of BD$100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 2. Coins are in denominations of BD$1, and 25, 10, 5 and 1 cents.
The Barbados Dollar is tied to the US Dollar.
The import of local currency is unlimited but should be declared on arrival. The export of local currency is prohibited. There are no restrictions on the import of foreign currencies providing declared on arrival. The export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on arrival.
Banking hours are generally Mon-Thurs 0800-1500, Fri 0800-1700.
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted in the resorts, but cash is preferred for customs duty payment. ATMs are widely available.
Travellers cheques are accepted by all banks and most hotels. Opt for traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling to avoid additional charges.
Commercial banks offer the best rates for currency exchange. The Barbados National Bank and a range of international banks each have an office in Bridgetown with branches in Hastings, Holetown, Speightstown and Worthing.
A good network of roads covers the entire island, but many are unpaved and covered in potholes (except for the main highway). Road safety is a national concern, especially after dark. Hiring a car is the best way to explore Barbados, thanks to the fact it’s a well-developed, small island measuring just 34km (21 miles) long and 23km (14 miles) wide. Anything from a Mini Moke to a limousine may be hired at the airport, at offices in Bridgetown or at main hotels. Petrol is comparatively cheap. Traffic drives on the left. Drivers must be between 21 and 65 years of age to hire a car in Barbados, with a minimum of three years driving experience. Visitors to the island are easily identifiable on the road by the 'H' number plate. Locals are usually accommodating and make allowances for any confusion. Seat belts are compulsory. Speed limits are 40, 60 and 80kph (25, 37 and 50mph). A Barbados driving permit is required. This can be obtained from car hire companies, the airport or some police stations. The permit costs US$5 and is valid for one year. A valid national licence or International Driving Permit and a small registration fee are required.
Barbados has a modern, reliable bus network, which operates from 0500 to midnight.
Taxis in Barbados tend to be fairly safe and reliable. Taxis are unmetered but charge fares are regulated by the government and are based on the distance travelled. Check the rate before travel - it can be in US Dollars or Barbados Dollars. Special deals apply for a full-day hire. Licensed minivans, identifiable by their 'ZR' licence plates, operate around the island and can be flagged down. There are no fixed schedules, but service is frequent. Rates are the same as for buses, although minivans tend to be quicker - but can be a tight squeeze.
Scooter hire is available - you'll need to pay a small deposit and wearing a helmet is required by law.
Smart casual clothes in lightweight natural fabrics will work best - It is warm and sunny but not unbearably hot all year round. However the nights tend to be a little cooler and a sweater is worth taking. Daytime essentials include t-shirts, camisoles, sarongs and shorts as most people spend their time on the beach. Remember your sun hat and sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen. Mosquitoes can be a problem, so take insect/mosquito repellent and cover up with long sleeves and pants when you can, particularly in the evenings if you are outdoors. Avoid wearing any scent or perfume. Keep your swimwear for the beach, beach bars and hotel pools. There are a number of up-market restaurants where the dress code is super smart - so you might like to include a smarter outfit. Do not wear or carry any army/combat type clothing or print, as this is illegal in Barbados. If you plan to explore the island, take some lightweight comfortable shoes for walking.
Barbados's water is said to rank amongst the purest in the world; it is filtered naturally by limestone and coral and pumped from underground streams. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption.
Eating out in Barbados is pricier compared to other Caribbean islands. Expect to pay around £20pp in a mid-range restaurant. There is an eclectic choice of food available, with everything from global cuisine served in smart, world-renowned restaurants, such as The Cliff, to Bajan fare available in street markets such as Oistins. Replica British pubs are popular and serve genuine British bitter and stout - often with fish-and-chip bar snacks. There are more than 100 rum shops across the island, which are simple, sometimes shabby, but always friendly where policeman and locals sip a mid-afternoon drink, it’s something to be experienced. A smoking ban in public places was enforced in October 2010 and anyone caught breaking it could face a fine or imprisonment.
A 10% tax is added onto the final bill. Allow for 10 to 15% in restaurants, round-up taxi fares and tip porters at around a dollar a bag.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in Barbados are very similar to the electrical outlets found in the United States and Canada, and if your appliance has a North American plug, it's possible that you won't need any adapter at all in order to plug in there. However, there are two potentially very important physical differences that may need to be addressed with an adapter: grounding and/or polarization. If your plug has one or both, and the socket doesn't, then the plug may not physically be able to fit into the socket without an adapter.
In the case of a North American appliance plug, grounding is accomplished by the third, round pin beneath and below the two vertical blades on the plug. Polarization is accomplished by the left vertical blade being taller than the right, so that the plug can't be inserted upside down. U.S. and Canadian sockets are required to be both grounded and polarized. But in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Japan and other areas which use U.S. style sockets, grounding and polarization often are not required, and in fact, the majority of sockets in many of these areas do not accept the taller blade and/or the third grounding pin. This will prevent a North American appliance plug from being able to plug into these sockets, if the plug is either grounded or polarized.
So what it boils down to is this: If your appliance has a North American plug, these adapters serve as a "just in case" fallback. Should you find that either grounding or polarization prevents your appliance from plugging into the Japanese or Central/South American socket at your specific location, these adapters address those issues and allow you to plug in. You may not need them. But for many travelers, it's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in Barbados usually supply electricity at between 110 and 120 volts AC. If you're plugging in a U.S. or Canadian 120 volt appliance, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.
But travel plug adapters do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adapter will still be the same 110-120 volts the socket is supplying. If your appliance is from another part of the world, and it is built only for 220-240 volt electricity, or a Japanese appliance built for 100 volts, then a travel plug adapter by itself won't be sufficient. The voltage will have to be changed from 110-120 volts at the socket, to whatever voltage your appliance requires. This is accomplished with a voltage transformer.
Constant sea breezes cool Barbados's balmy, tropical climate but the island is still sunnier and drier than the other islands. During the so-called wet season (July to November), some brief rain showers are likely. Average sunshine hours per day are eight to ten from November to March and eight to nine from April to October. Tropical storms and hurricanes may occur between June and November.
The Caribbean island of St Lucia is home to beautiful, volcanic, palm-fringed beaches, excellent reef-diving sites, countless little luxury resorts and some charming fishing villages. With a lush interior featuring soaring mountains, dense rain forest, fertile valleys, and acres of banana plantations, St. Lucia is mostly distinguished by the Pitons - a pair of dramatically tapered mountains on the southwest coast. Hike through the rainforest to discover magnificent waterfalls, zip-line over forest canopies or see boiling sulphur springs bubble away atop a volcano. If you’ve still got the energy for a night out, you will find a lively party scene the north of the island. Whether you're after romance, rejuvenation or adventure, Saint Lucia is the perfect destination.
Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD; symbol EC$) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of EC$100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of EC$1, and 50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. US Dollars are also accepted as legal tender.
The Eastern Caribbean Dollar is tied to the US Dollar at EC$2.7 to US$1.
There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency.
Banking hours: Generally Monday-Thursday 08h30-15h00, Friday 08h30-17h00. Some banks at Rodney Bay Marina are open Saturday 08h00-12h00.
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted at all large shopping centres, restaurants, hotels etc. Most banks have ATMs.
Travellers cheques are accepted. US Dollar cheques are preferred and will help to avoid additional exchange rate charges. Change may be given back in EC$.
When exchanging currency US Dollars ensure a better exchange rate.
Helicopter transfers operate between George F L Charles and Hewanorra airports.
All major centres are served by a reasonably good road network. The main cross-island route runs from Vieux Fort in the south of the island to Castries in the north. Roads are narrow and mountainous roads are steep, often with hairpin bends which are not marked. In rural areas watch out for livestock crossing the road.
You can hire cars in Castries, Soufrière and Vieux Fort, or through hotels. Most cars are suitable for driving in St Lucia, but if you're driving through mountainous terrain or in bad weather conditions, a 4-wheel drive may be your best option. Hotels and local tour operators run coach trips for groups. Vehicles are driven on the left side of the road. You need to show your national driving licence or International Driving Permit to obtain a temporary local licence. These are available from car hire firms or police stations for a small fee.
Hiring a taxi is easy and cheap. Standard trips usually have fixed rates, but you should agree upon these before you get in as tourists are vulnerable to being overcharged. Doublecheck what currency the taxi driver is quoting (US Dollars or EC Dollars). When hiring a taxi at night, always choose a reputable company. Tipping is unnecessary.
Boat charters are easily available at Castries, Marigot Bay and Rodney Bay. Water taxis are an easy way to access private beaches or go island hopping.
In general, light breathable fabrics are best, along with beachwear. A light waterproof jacket may also come in handy during rain showers. Hikers should pack sensible footwear and warm clothes as temperatures drop at higher altitudes.
Mains water is normally chlorinated, and whilst relatively safe, may cause mild abdominal upsets. Bottled water is available. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat but take care to ensure that all foods are properly prepared and cooked. Barracuda should not be eaten due to risk of ciguatera poisioning.
St Lucian food is a combination of Creole with French and West Indian influences. Most hotels have restaurants, in addition to a wide range in the major towns serving many different types of food. Waiter service is the norm.
Tipping: An optional 10 to 12% is sometimes added to bills.
Electrical sockets in Saint Lucia are the "Type G " British BS-1363 type. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in.
Electrical sockets Saint Lucia usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. If your appliance is not compatible with 220/240V output, a voltage converter will be necessary.
The weather in St Lucia is typical of most Caribbean islands. There is a hot, tropical climate tempered by trade winds throughout most of the year with temperatures ranging from 21°C (70°F) to 32°C (90°F). The driest period is from December to May and there is increased rainfall in summer and towards the end of the year (June to November). Regionally, there is some variation. The beaches around the North (Castries, Gros Islet) whilst hot, receive cooling trade winds, whilst the rainforested interior of the island can get very hot and humid. St Lucia can also suffer from hurricanes; typically the hurrican season runs from June to November.