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Is Barbados Safe?

If you’re concerned about whether Barbados is safe, rest assured that you have nothing to worry about.  In addition to its beauty and its distinctly Caribbean hospitality, tourists flock to Barbados year after year because it’s one of the safest islands in the Caribbean. While some gang-related violence is known to occur, these are isolated incidents, and tourists are rarely involved. 

Hurricanes also occur much less frequently in Barbados compared to other Caribbean islands, since Barbados lies southeast of the central hurricane belt. Hurricane season falls between July and November. If you travel during this time you might experience heavy rains and violent windstorms that can damage buildings (like the damage caused by Hurricane Elsa passing south of the island in 2021), but a hurricane hasn’t hit land in Barbados since 2010

As of July 2023, the United States Bureau of Consular Affairs issued a Level 1 Travel Advisory for Barbados. This means that travelers only need to exercise normal precautions while visiting the country. Here, we’ll sum up what Barbados is doing to keep tourists safe and list a few extra precautions you can take to stay safe while traveling in Barbados and to other amazing destinations. 

What is Barbados Doing to Stay Safe?

For such a small island, Barbados has a large police force. The island is divided into 3 territories, manned by over 1,000 uniformed officers and over 300 civilian members. Resorts in Barbados, of which there are many, work closely with local police and stay up-to-date on local safety concerns, and their presence is especially noticeable in touristy parts of the island. 

Barbados is also 1 of 3 countries involved in the Regional Tourism Health Capacity Enhancement and Digitisation Project, which enhances health and safety measures in the Caribbean by introducing and implementing early warning, monitoring, and response systems in the tourist sector.  

Barbados’ Safest Areas: Where Are They?

Barbados’ East and West coasts are quite different from each other, but there are multiple safe areas on the island. For white sand beaches with calm water that’s perfect for snorkeling, stay on the West Coast. St. James, Gibbs Beach, Bridgetown, and Carlisle Bay are safe beach towns that are popular with tourists. 

Surfers should stick to the East Coast where the terrain is rugged, the beaches are more rocky, and the waves are powerful. The Eastern shores of Barbados are where you will find the world-famous Soupbowl, a beach in the town of Bathsheba with constant rolling waves and huge swells. If you’re not a strong swimmer, getting in the water can be dangerous, but if you prefer a more dramatic landscape, there are lots of hiking trails and other land attractions like the botanical gardens in St. Joseph. 

Safety Tips for Travelling in Barbados

Barbados is a very safe place to travel, but there are some precautions you should take when visiting any unfamiliar place. Check local and international travel advisories before you go, and take a peek at the weather forecast for your vacation dates especially if you’re traveling during hurricane season. 

Pickpocketing and robbery can occur anywhere, and you’re more likely to be targeted if you’re distracted, wearing expensive jewelry or lugging around a high-end camera. When you leave the resort, leave expensive belongings behind, or at least be discreet, and always be aware of your surroundings. Keep some extra cash somewhere other than your wallet, and never bring all of your credit cards out with you. Don’t walk around alone, especially at night, and don’t take any shortcuts through alleyways or residential streets.

If you encounter wildlife, don’t try to feed or pet it. One of the most common animals in Barbados is the green monkey, a small primate that’s cute and cuddly unless it feels threatened; green monkeys have been known to attack and bite humans when they get anxious. 

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