I usually don’t go to the Carribean since I don’t love all-inclusive resorts and beaches, but I recently had the chance to visit Barbados and I had a fantastic time. I went to the island with an open mind and I was blown away by the culture, activities, and food.
Sure, you can stay at your resort the entire time and relax, but the island has so many things worth exploring and experiencing. From rum tastings to exploring caves, Barbados has a lot to offer for people of all ages.
What you likely want to know is how much does it cost to go to Barbados? Prices can vary quite a bit depending on what time of the year you go and which hotel or resort you choose. You also need to factor in how many excursions you’re going to do. Overall, it’s hard to come up with one exact number that will apply to everyone, but below is an estimate of how much you should budget and what you should check out during your Barbados vacation
|Food and drink||$280|
The above estimate is in American Dollars, so please use xe.com to find out the average costs in your home country. I should mention that although the local currency is the Bajan dollar, just about everywhere accepts USD while some places also accept Canadian dollars. The exchange is locked a 2 Bajan dollars to 1 USD at most places, but some hotels may charge a small mark up e.g. $1 USD = 1.95 Bajan.
The above budget also assumes a single person, so you’ll need to double your costs for everything (minus the hotel) if your travelling as a pair.
The cost of flying to Barbados can vary quite a bit depending on where you’re coming from and what season you’re flying. I’ve estimated a flight will cost you $475 but they could easily fall between $350 – $750.
If you’re looking for cheap flights to Barbados, then fly during the low season which is between mid-April and mid-December. Keep in mind that if you’re booking an all-inclusive package, your flight is usually included so your overall prices can drop a bit. Adding a second week to your Barbados vacation will also lower your cost per day.
If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the American Express Platinum Card gives you a signup bonus of 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which have a minimum value of $600 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has no foreign transaction fees and it comes with airport lounge access.
When it comes to accommodations, your Barbados vacation can vary quite a bit. You can rent a home, stay at a nature retreat, or enjoy a Barbados all-inclusive. The choice is really up to you.
As you can imagine, the quality of the property you chose will affect how much you spend. Generally speaking, the west coast (known as the platinum cost) is more expensive than the south coast. There are some more expensive properties on the south coast, but that’s where you’ll find many moderately /budget priced properties.
For the purpose of this how much does it cost to go to Barbados article, I’ve estimated $175 per night. This should get you a mid-range hotel or resort during the low season. I want to remind you again that there are a lot of vacation companies that offer flight and hotel Barbados deals which are often reasonably priced.
Keep in mind that Airbnb is also an option as there are a lot of choices available throughout the island. Choosing a resort is a personal preference, so I’m not going to make any suggestions, but there are two unique properties on the island that you need to know about.
Built in 1887, The Crane is one of the best luxury beach resorts in Barbados. From junior suites to a two bedroom suite that sleeps six and comes with a private 28’ pool, The Crane has a variety of suites that won’t disappoint. The property has direct access to Crane Beach, an adults-only pool that overlooks the ocean, and a cascading pool complex that’s great for all ages. As for dining, there are multiple restaurants serving a variety of cuisines including Asian, Italian, and American. Many of the suites also have full kitchens if you want to cook.
If you’re looking for an escape, then head to the hills of St. Joseph Parish where you’ll find Naniki and its breathtaking views of Barbados. The property has 10 cottages with 20 bedrooms available for occupancy. While here, you can enjoy a yoga retreat, hike through the valley, or enjoy a meal on the outdoor patio while taking in the surroundings. Note that Naniki offers day passes if you’re just looking for a getaway or wellness retreat.
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. Americans should strongly consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card since you can earn up to 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and $200 back at U.S. restaurants as a welcome bonus (must apply by May 15, 2021).
Canadians should consider the BMO World Elite™* Mastercard®* since it typically has a sign up bonus worth more than $200 and the annual fee is normally waived for the first year. There’s also the Marriott Bonvoy American Express which gives you 65,000 Marriott Bonvoy when using a referral link. That’s enough points for up to five free nights at some hotels which could easily have a value of over $700.
Getting around Barbados may seem complicated at first but they have a pretty reliable public transportation system. Buses run by the Barbados Transport Board (blue) will get you to the main attractions and will only cost you $1 USD per ride.
Another popular mode of transportation is a mini-bus or mini-taxi which are come much more frequently than the local bus. They’ll cost you about $5 USD, per person for a one-way ride.
There are also taxis available, but none of them run on a meter. You’ll need to negotiate prices before you depart so ask your hotel for rough costs of a taxi before you depart.
Many taxis can also be rented by the hour if you’re looking for a private driver. Rates are roughly $40 – $50 USD per hour depending on the size of your party, but this can be a good value since you can see many of the top sites on the island in 4-6 hours.
Some excursions such as catamaran tours include transportation, but if you’re going to any sites in-land, you’re going to need a driver.
Overall, you’ll want to budget about $75 USD for local transportation but that really depends on how often you’ll leave your hotel and if you need a private driver for a few hours.
Generally speaking, most people will do two attractions or excursions which will run you about $200 during a one week stay in Barbados. If your trip to Barbados will last two weeks, then plan for 3-4 excursions and a slightly higher budget for attractions. What attractions you do is really up to you, but here are a few of the most popular things to do in Barbados.
Opened to the public in the early 1980s, Harrison’s Cave is now accessible to the public in a variety of ways. Most people opt to take the tram (yes, a tram takes you down into the cave) where you’ll get a chance to see the cave’s formation up close. There are multiple stops on this one-hour tour so you’ll feel like an explorer. If you really want to rough it, you can join the 3 ½ hour eco-adventure tour where you’ll trek along a nature trail as the original explorers did.
Tiami Catamaran Cruises
A trip to Barbados wouldn’t be complete without seeing the island from the water. Tiami Catamaran Cruises has a half day cruise that includes three swim/snorkel (gear provided) stops including swimming with the turtles, a hot lunch buffet, open premium bar, and snacks. Tours start at $96 USD and it includes transportation from your hotel. They also offer afternoon and sunset dinner cruises if the timing is better for you.
Mount Gay Rum Distillery
Mount Gay Rum is the world’s oldest commercial rum distillery and is visited by people from all around the world. As you can imagine, the focus here is rum and how it’s produced, but you don’t have to love the drink to appreciate the history of this place. It’s also kid-friendly since they just recreated a historic train which takes you to the top of Cherry Tree Hill where you’ll get a stunning view of the island. Be aware the Mount Gay Rum is NOT sold at the airport, so buy it here if you plan on bringing some home.
Food and drink
The great thing about Barbados is that their food options are diverse. It’s easy to find restaurants that serve different cuisines and the majority of them will have gluten-free and vegetarian options. As you can imagine, seafood is popular here (try a flying fish sandwich), but so is chicken. You won’t find a McDonald’s on the island, but there’s Chefette which is their local fast food joint.
When estimating the cost of food and drink, things can be a bit complicated. Many people stay at Barbados an all-inclusive so they technically don’t need to spend any money on food. They might go out for one meal off property, but that still won’t cost them very much.
If you’re staying at a regular hotel, you’ll probably do a mix of eating out, cooking (if your room has a kitchen) and eating some fast or prepared meals. Overall, an estimate of $40 per day is a good (and likely high) for your trip.
One thing you don’t want to miss while in Barbados is the Oistin’s Fish Fry. It happens every night in Oistin’s, but the busiest day is Friday and Saturday nights. It’s essentially fresh fish (or chicken) with sides where you eat it outside on shared tables. It may seem touristy, but many locals come here too. There are dozens of vendors to choose from, but Pat’s Place is one of the most popular spots. Expect to pay $12-$14 for fresh fish and two sides.
Another culinary experience worth splurging on is a food tour. Lickrish offers a food tour during the day in Bridgetown as well as one at night at the St. Lawrence Gap. Both tours will have multiple stops where you’ll be able to taste food from local chefs, beer brewed in Barbados, street food, and specially created cocktails.
Not including tips, and everything listed above, you likely won’t be spending much in Barbados. Sure, you may buy some souvenirs including arts and crafts created by locals, but it’s not like you’ll spend a ton of extra money on random things. $50 is a good estimate, but you may want to budget more if you plan on bringing home a few bottles of rum (be mindful of what your limits are).
So how much does it cost to go to Barbados? I’ve estimated $2,305 but you could easily spend much more than that depending on which property you’re staying at and what excursions you do. It’s also possible to spend less if you plan on just renting an Airbnb and cooking all your meals. Either way, your Barbados vacation will not disappoint.
For more inspiration, check out my guide on Bermuda.