About Barbados

Barbados is an independent island nation in the western Atlantic Ocean just east of the Caribbean Sea. The country lies in the southern Caribbean region, where it is a part of the Lesser Antilles island-chain. Its closest island neighbours are St. Vincent and St. Lucia to the west, Trinidad and Tobago to the east and the South American mainland to the south.

The island’s climate is tropical, with constant trade winds off the Atlantic Ocean serving to keep temperatures mild. Some more undeveloped areas of the country contain tropical woodland and scrub land. Other parts of the interior which contribute to the agriculture industry are dotted with large sugarcane estates and wide, gently sloping pastures, with many good views down to the coast.

The 280,000 Bardadians live on this island of approximately 430 square kilometres (166 square miles).

The official language of Barbados is English.

The currency used is the Barbadian dollar which is equivalent to approximately $.50 U.S. dollars (and currently about $.50 Canadian dollars).

Barbados has one of the highest standards of living and literacy rates worldwide. Barbados’s human development index ranking is consistently among the top 50 in the world. For example, in 2006, it was ranked 31st in the world, and third in the Americas, behind Canada and the United States.

Duty Free
General duty free allowances in Barbados.
Personal Effects: 1 litre of potable spirits or wine, 200 cigarettes (one carton) or 100 cigars or 50 cigars and cigarettes not exceeding 230 grammes in aggregate.

All articles in excess of this exemption are subject to the relevant duty and tax.

Personal effects are passengers’ baggage containing apparel and articles for personal use which a traveler may reasonably require during his vacation e.g. clothing, cosmetics and accessories.

Restricted or Prohibited Items.
The importation of certain articles are restricted or prohibited in order to protect the community, to maintain animal and plant life, among other reasons. Prohibited articles such as illegal drugs and pornography will be seized and persons may face penalties or prosecution.

Restricted items may be released after inspection by the appropriate agency or detained until conditions of the restrictions are met. Receipts are issued for all articles detained by customs. Among the restricted items are:

Fruits and Vegetables. All fruits, vegetables, plants, cuttings, seeds or unprocessed plant products must be declared to customs and presented for inspection by a Plant Quarantine Officer. Fresh fruits from certain countries are prohibited in order to prevent the spreading of pest and plant diseases. Certain plant, seeds or cuttings may require an import permit and a photo sanitary certificate. Request for import permits and further information should be addressed to:

Plant Quarantine
Ministry of Agriculture,
Graeme Hall
Christ Church
Tel (246) 428-4150

BRITAIN – Duty Free Allowances for Returning British Citizens
Each returning resident over 17 years of age may take back:

  • 1 litre of alcohol
  • 200 Cigarettes or 250g of tobacco
  • 60cc of perfumes
  • Up to £145 worth of other goods

CANADA – Duty Free Allowances for Returning Canadian Citizens
Persons whose stay is in excess of 48 hours can claim up to $100 in each calendar quarter. Persons whose stay is in excess of 7 days can claim up to $300 in each calendar year.

Each returning Canadian resident may take back:

  • 40 ounces of alcoholic beverages
  • 50 cigars
  • 200 cigarettes
  • 2 lb. of tobacco
  • 24 12-oz cans/bottles of beer

Minimum age for alcoholic beverages vary with port of entry.

No duty or GST is charged on purchases under $300. GST charge on entire total purchases. Duty varies on alcoholic beverages.

Gifts: Persons while abroad may mail casual gifts (except tobacco and alcoholic beverages) free of duty and taxes, to friends and relatives in Canada, providing the value of the gift does not exceed CAN$40.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – Duty Free Allowances for Returning American Citizens

Each returning citizen whose stay is in excess of 48 hours may on his return, take back, free of duty, articles totaling up to US$400 (based on the retail value of the items in the country of purchase).

Duty on purchases in excess of the US$400 exemption is 10% on the next US$1000, and thereafter at the rate duty applicable.

Duty free liquor is allowed at one litre per person for persons over the age of 21.

Gifts: In addition to the US$400 exemption, each person can mail back gifts valued at $50 each to friends and relatives back home, provided the addressee does not receive more than one gift parcel a day. No declaration is required, and no tax is levied.

Every person entering Barbados, including all North American citizens (Americans and Canadians), should be in possession of a valid passport and a valid return ticket.

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