Barbados is the most easterly island in the archipelago of the Caribbean islands located at 13º N Latitude and 59º W Longitude.
It is believed because of its location, the island is constantly fanned by the refreshing trade winds travelling at approximately 7-8 miles per hour.
Barbados is 21 miles long and 14 miles wide.
It is divided into eleven parishes. These parishes are St. Lucy, St. Peter, St. James, St. Andrew, St. Joseph, St. Thomas, St. John, St. George, St. Philip, St. Michael and Christ Church.
The capital city, Bridgetown is located in the parish of St. Michael. The highest point on the island is Mount Hillaby, which is 1,116 ft above sea level. The sea on the West Coast (Caribbean Sea) is calm, with almost no waves, while on the East Coast it is rough (Atlantic Ocean). The south Coast has small waves and the South-East Coast has larger waves, but is still safe for swimming.
Barbados is made up largely of thick layers of limestone and sand clay, which are covered by a coral cap: coral reefs surrounding the island contribute to its white, sandy beaches. The coral and limestone are extremely permeable, and allow rain water to filter through which is collected in catchment areas and then pumped to the taps by the various pumping stations around the island. This unique filtering system provides Barbados with the purest drinking water in the world.
The official language of Barbados is English, but the Bajan dialect is widely spoken.
The name Barbados comes from the island’s Portuguese christening of Los Barbados, named after the bearded fig tree, which grew abundantly on the island at the time of its discovery in the 16th century. This tree is unusual in that it sends aerial roots from its branches, thus giving the impression of being bearded.
Barbados has a British past. Her ties with the Mother Country began in 1625 when Captain John Powell claimed the island for James I of England and they did not totally end with Independence on November 30, 1966. A great deal of the island’s charm comes from that complex relationship.
Bajans celebrate many festivals all throughout the year. These festivals include The Jazz Festival, Holetown Festival, Oistins Fish Festival, The Holders Season, The Congaline Music Festival, Barbados Gospelfest Festival, Crop Over and The National Independence Festival of Creative Arts.
The exchange rate in Barbados for United States currency is US$1 = Bds$1.98.
US dollars are accepted island-wide, and most stores and restaurants accept major credit cards and traveler’s checks.
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