Barbados Dollar - BBD
Whenever you are asked to think of a destination that exudes luxury, great beaches, sun and much more along the same lines, you will probably put Barbados high on your list of answers. If you do ever visit the country you will use their version of the dollar – the Barbadian dollar. You can find out more about it below.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
As you would expect from a dollar currency, each dollar is split into one hundred cents. There are five coins in use for the Barbadian dollar. Four of these are in cents values – the one, five, ten and twenty five cent coins. There is also a one dollar coin.
There are also six banknotes that are regularly issued by the Central Bank of Barbados. These are the $2, $5, $10, $25, $50 and $100 notes.
From past to present – the history of the Barbadian dollar
We would need to go back over a century to find the first instance of the dollar being used in this country. Originally it was a private currency issued in banknotes but things have changed over time. The first time the currency was used was back in 1882. Before this a variety of different coinage was used, including quite literally silver pieces of eight (yes such a thing really did exist). Even when the private banknotes were first in circulation as the original dollars, they were valued according to the British pound. It would not be until 1935 that the Barbadian dollar as we know it today would be in use on a constant and recognised basis.
Today – and since 1975 – the Barbadian dollar has been pegged to the US currency. It stands at a value of two Barbadian dollars to one US dollar.
How to get hold of Barbadian dollars
If you are planning to travel to Barbados in the near future for a well earned holiday, you will be pleased to know you should have little problem in getting the number of Barbados dollars you require. You can get hold of them prior to leaving on holiday if you wish, but there are other methods you can consider as well.
For example you might like to take traveller’s cheques on holiday with you. You can then cash them in when you arrive; the best bet here is to go to a local bank since hotels sometimes charge extra fees for exchanging them for you.
You can also get hold of the cash you need by using the network of local cash machines you will find across Barbados. The island is immensely popular with tourists looking to enjoy a Caribbean break (even though it is strictly found in the Atlantic, not the Caribbean). As such they have made sure tourists have access to everything they could need – including plentiful amounts of cash they can spend on the island.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Barbadian dollar
This is very easy to do, as you would expect. Just look for a currency conversion website online and enter your home currency and the amount you want to convert. Then choose Barbados dollars as the currency you want to convert to. As is the case with other conversions, this will only give you the straight conversion. It won’t take into account any commission or fees you would pay for ordering traveller’s cheques or dollars to take with you, so bear this in mind. It helps to compare different sites before getting your dollars, especially when it comes to looking at zero commission sites. These generally add the commission into the rate you are charged so be a little wary of it. It’s fine to use them but you should always check you are getting the very best rate.
You can find out more about travelling to Barbados at http://www.visitbarbados.org. This site contains travel information as well as more details about the island and what to expect.
Travelling safely with Barbadian dollars
For the most part Barbados is a very safe place to be. The people who live here are mostly known for their friendliness in welcoming foreign nationals to their island. Much of the business on the island is related to tourist so it makes sense that the people would be welcoming in this way.
Of course this is not to say the island does not have its share of crime that goes on. One common occurrence that you could experience is to be offered drugs when you are there. The Barbadian police do not tolerate any form of drug taking so it is best not to get yourself into situations where you may be offered any drugs of any kind. If you are offered anything politely decline it and remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. You should think twice about taking drugs if you are so minded when you are there too – the police will not be tolerant of tourists who decide to do so if they are caught.
Aside from this there are the odd occasions where tourists are robbed of their money or valuables. To minimise the chance of this happening to you it is best to make sure you keep your money safe and don’t wander around with your wallet or purse on show. Be sure you don’t head into any unpopulated or deserted areas after dark either. As you can see most of these tips are really common sense – they would apply no matter where you were in the world. Tourists are also advised that women should not venture out alone after dark, particularly as a number of rapes have occurred in recent years.
It is worth saying you shouldn’t be put off by the information given here. Most tourists who visit Barbados have a wonderful time and are keen to return again in the future. Common sense and a good sense of personal security will ensure you should be among them when you go there.
Where to spend your dollars in Barbados – and what to spend them on
You will soon realise Barbados has a lot to offer to its tourists. One of the main reasons people love to go to the island is for its famed beaches. Would you believe they stretch on and on for over seventy miles? You could never try them all but you will have your pick of delightful sun drenched sands to enjoy. Of the sixty or so you can choose from, Crane Beach is perhaps one of the undoubted highlights. This regularly features in the best beaches the entire globe has to offer so it is well worth a look.
Elsewhere on the island there are many other natural sights you can enjoy too. Many of these are located in central areas and towards the north of the island. For example if you have a love of orchids you will certainly want to pay a visit to Orchid World, which is virtually slap bang in the middle of the island itself. There are thousands to appreciate regardless of whether you are capable of growing them yourself or not!
One good way of seeing more of the island is to take an organised tour. This is the best way to ensure you see all the best sights without venturing into areas that are perhaps less safe for tourists to find themselves in. Try a 4x4 tour to cover more ground. Alternatively you can get an amazing view of the countryside around you by indulging in the Aerial Trek – a chance to clip onto a zipline that takes you through the trees. You will need a head for heights but if you have one you will definitely enjoy the views you will get.
Shopping is a great way to part with some of your dollars as well. It is worth remembering you won’t be able to shop around the clock as you may do at home. In particular the shops around the island tend to close at midday on Saturday. This means you will need to be prepared to buy whatever you need before that time, because you won’t be able to buy anything else until Monday morning.
One thing worth being aware of is the existence of haggling. This can make some people uncomfortable but it is all part and parcel of trading on the streets in Barbados. Once you have tried it once or twice you may find you rather enjoy it. The street vendors are many and varied on the island, so it probably won’t be long before you find some. Remember that if you express interest in something they sell and ask for the price, they do not expect to get the price they give you. Indeed you may end up haggling it down to less than half that price, so be prepared for a challenge! It is all part of how things work for these vendors – they enjoy the haggling so make sure you do as well. See it as a challenge and one you will enjoy. It will help keep more of those Barbadian dollars in your pocket for other purchases later on too.
Barbados is certainly a delightful place to visit. Don’t let the warnings about drugs and petty crime put you off going there on holiday. If you are careful and sensible you will be fine. You will soon see how friendly the locals are and how easy it is to spend your Barbadian dollars on experiences, attractions, great food and mouth watering drinks. What will you do first?