Barbados lifestyle

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The Barbados lifestyle is hard to beat. Our island offers a productive place to do business, in the most beautiful and enviable location. And yes, one of our biggest draws is that image of relaxing on an idyllic beach, rum punch in hand

This alone tips the balance for many people. But when it’s time to dust off the sand, you’ll see that there’s so much more on offer, and our small island packs a punch. 

Accommodation

Imagine waking up to the sound of waves crashing, gentle breeze rustling through the trees, and birds chirping. Imagine waking up at home in Barbados.

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Barbados offers something for everyone – from budget-friendly apartments to sprawling beach-front luxury villas. Short-term options give flexibility and cater to vacationers, while long-term contracts give better value for money.

Picture yourself in a spacious modern apartment overlooking the sea or a beautiful family home with gardens and shaded verandas. Either way, enjoy the classic Bajan indoor-outdoor living.

There are many real estate agencies offering short and long term rentals, as well as properties for sale. And there are no restrictions or taxes for foreign-owned property. Explore Barbados accommodation options with the where to stay guide from Visit Barbados.

Education

With a world-class education system, Barbados offers a range of schooling options to suit all families, producing highly-employable, future-focused young minds.

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Barbadians are some of the best educated in the region, boasting a literacy rate of 99.6 per cent (2020 UN Human Development Report). That’s thanks to our top-quality, free government education from primary to tertiary levels, with 20 per cent of the government’s annual budget dedicated to education. Schooling is based on the British education model, but students sit Caribbean-based exams.

We also have a good selection of primary and secondary private schools – including an international baccalaureate school – catering to the expat community. Tertiary and adult education includes community and technical colleges, the University of the West Indies – Cave Hill Campus, offshore medical schools, and others. 

Read more about the Barbados education system.

Healthcare

Rest assured, you’ll be in safe hands in Barbados. Our excellent healthcare system offers a mix of private and free government services.

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The Barbados healthcare system is robust and comprehensive. Community healthcare is administered through a network of government-run polyclinics offering free treatment for nationals and residents. There are two well-equipped hospitals. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown is a public hospital – offering inpatient and outpatient services in radiology, paediatrics, obstetrics, ophthalmology, plastic surgery, oncology and more. The other is Bayview Hospital, a private facility with an intensive care unit, maternity unit, operating theatre and more. Barbados also has a wide selection of private medical facilities and many specialist doctors in private practices. 

International health insurance is widely accepted, and there are reputable local companies offering comprehensive coverage for residents and citizens of Barbados.

Dining

Discover traditional dishes like cou cou and flying fish and enjoy exquisite fine-dining fare – your taste buds are in for a treat in Barbados.

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Gastronomy in Barbados is evolving. There’s a renewed energy focused on what the island produces, with an emphasis on sustainable, locally-sourced ingredients. Bite into buttery breadfruit, juicy guavas, top-quality locally reared meat and the ocean’s freshest seafood. Add the modern techniques that our internationally-trained chefs bring to the kitchen, and you’re served up with innovative, mouth-watering creations.

You’ll be spoiled for choice dining in Barbados, with trendy farmers’ markets, food trucks, and a wide range of restaurants offering flavours from around the world. There’s a bite for every budget from the cheap and cheerful, to our exciting and varied selection of four and five star eateries.

Barbados Foodie and Ins & Outs of Barbados publish annual guides to get you started.

Sports

There’s plenty to keep you active and healthy in Barbados, with world-class sporting facilities and a good level of competitive and amateur sports.

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Bajans are competitive and sporty. It’s part of the Barbados lifestyle, so you’ll be in good company. From homegrown Bajan road tennis, to international triathlons, there are endless opportunities to chase a ball, or a personal best time, here in Barbados. Our sporting facilities are world-class – Barbados boasts six golf courses, a national stadium, an impressive sports complex, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, track and field facilities, multiple tennis courts, hockey facilities and much more.

There’s also a packed calendar of spectator sporting events, with horse racing at the Garrison Savannah, international cricket fixtures, car racing, polo, surfing, sailing and more. Many of these are hosted by DirecTV or the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, and broadcast internationally.

Sporting Barbados provides contact details for sports clubs, event listings and more.

Things to Do

The Barbados lifestyle means you’ll never be stuck wondering what to do. Entertainment options abound, catering to the demand from visitors and residents.

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For outdoor enthusiasts, adventure awaits. Dive in for surfing, stand-up paddleboarding and scuba diving, and then dry off for nature trails, caving, golf and more. History and culture buffs will be delighted by our museums, galleries and well-preserved sites. Check out our UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Bridgetown and the Garrison, and the Caribbean’s oldest rum distillery. And if you’re in need of retail therapy, our large shopping centres and smaller boutiques are stocked with international luxury brands and locally produced artisanal items.

Life in Barbados is never dull. We host a range of events and activities throughout the year – open days at historic homes, international sporting events, horticultural shows, theatre and opera, jazz festivals, food festivals, film festivals. And of course the biggest festival of all -– the annual Crop Over Festival at the beginning of August – a multi-day celebration with music events, street parades featuring vibrant costumes and more. It’s not one to miss.