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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Barbados Social Profile
Barbados Culture and Social Profile - TravelPuppy.com
Food & Drink

There are a great amount restaurants offering both international and traditional Bajan cuisine at a variety of prices. Local specialities include lobster, flying fish and crane chubb. The sea urchin (sea eggor oursin) is a particular speciality. Other local foods include breadfruit, sweet potatoes, plantains, yams and such fruits as avocados, soursops, pears, pawpaws, bananas, figs and coconuts. An exchange ‘Dine Around’ system is operated between some hotels of the same class and guests are allowed to eat at other hotels for no extra cost.

Local drink specialities include all types of rum based cocktails, rum punch, planters punch, sangria and pina coladas. The local beer in Barbados is Banks. The 2 most famous rums are Cockspur’s Five Star and, for the connoisseur, Mount Gay (the oldest rum blend on the island). There are several bars which emulate the British pub and serve genuine British bitter and stout.

Nightlife

Nightclubs, discos and bars provide entertainment including limbo dancing, steel bands, fire eaters and dance bands. There is a small cover charge. As in all Caribbean countries, swinging nightspots tend to come and go according to seasons. Coastal boat trips with live entertainment are very popular, most sail 2 times a day and run buffets, bars and live music. Calypso and reggae will always be in the air, ready to inject the night atmosphere with that lively West Indian ambience.

Dinner shows are always popular. The Harbour Lights Extravaganza Dinner Show offers a truly tropical evening of dancing, with a barbeque serving food and free drinks until 3.00 am. The Bajan Roots & Rhythms at the Plantation Theatre is highly interactive with a party atmosphere which is family friendly, dishing up a traditional buffet for those who have exhausted themselves dancing.

Shopping

Shopping is a pleasure in Barbados and there is a wide range of goods with visitors being able to take some purchases home duty free on production of their passport and air ticket. Cigarettes and liquor are sent to the airport or port for collection on departure, whilst other items can be taken away at point of purchase.

Prices tend to be on the high side, however for such things as jewellery, clothing and ceramics, the high quality often makes the expense worthwhile. Special purchases include straw goods, rum, coral and shell jewellery, prints (batik) and woodcraft.

General shopping hours are Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, Saturday 8.30 am to 4.00 pm (supermarkets are open longer on Saturdays).

Social Conventions

Social attitudes, like architecture and administration, tend to echo the British provincial market town. However, the optimistic attitude, laid back manner and wonderful sense of humour of the Bajans is well appreciated by several tourists. Casual wear is acceptable in the majority of places. Dressing for dinner in hotels and restaurants is advised. Smoking is usually unrestricted.

Restrictions

Topless bathing is glared upon. Particular homosexual acts are illegal.

Tipping

In restaurants or nightclubs, tips are usually 10 % to 15 %. Porters’ tips are at the customer’s judgment.