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Wondering how much it costs to visit Barbados? This Barbados cost of living break down will help you budget for your trip to this fabulous Caribbean island!
I’m a frugal girl at heart, so when we decided to travel to Barbados earlier this year, my first question was “How much is this going to cost?” In my mind, Barbados had a reputation for being a more luxurious travel destination. I pictured rows of modern villas with those fancy glass railings, overlooking perfect beaches. I was worried that I might end up eating only ramen noodles for months – not ideal, but manageable while in paradise I suppose.
Even though I wouldn’t consider Barbados a budget travel destination, I was happy to discover that it’s possible to visit Barbados without totally breaking the bank. In this post, we’ll look at how much it costs to visit Barbados and I’ll share some tips to help you save money while you’re here.
Before we dive into it, I have this pet peeve about articles that state the definitive cost of visiting a place. There are about a zillion factors that can influence the cost of your trip. The length of your stay, the number of organized activities you do, the time of year you travel, your dining habits, and your general comfort level will impact your costs immensely.
So to help you get the most accurate picture possible, I’ll try to give you some different examples and offer ranges of what certain things might cost in addition to my personal experience. That way, you can get a better idea of how much visiting Barbados costs for you and your situation.
Throughout the post, I’ll use both Barbados dollars (BBD) and United States dollars (USD) when referring to price. The conversion rate is 2 BBD to 1 USD.
The prices and deals listed in this post might change and fluctuate over time. The price you see might be different than the price I saw on my trip. I’m not offering any kind of price guarantee, I’m just sharing my personal experiences. Thanks!
Is Barbados Expensive?
Let’s tackle the biggest question first: Is Barbados expensive? Yes… and no. I find that overall, the prices for accommodation, dining, and activities are comparable to prices back home in the USA. Other travelers I met from Canada and the UK agreed that their costs of living were pretty similar to back home too.
Groceries are more expensive in Barbados but it’s possible to save money by shopping locally. Some specific household items like contact solution are difficult to come by and much more expensive than back home. But on the other hand, travelers have unlimited access to some of the best beaches in the world totally for free. It’s cheap to get around the island using public transportation and rum prices can’t be beaten!
Overall, your costs will vary depending on how long you’re staying in Barbados and what months of the year you visit.
Long-term rentals are almost always less expensive than nightly or weekly accommodation. When traveling longer, I find that I’m more likely to space out my activities, learn about local dining spots, and cook at home – all of which would keep costs down.
The cost of living in Barbados also drops dramatically during the low season. From May to November, everything from apartments to rental cars are less expensive.
So while I would not consider Barbados a cheap travel destination, it’s possible to have an amazing time on a more modest budget.
How much does it cost to fly to Barbados?
For being such a small island, Barbados is surprisingly well connected! During normal travel times, flights run daily between Barbados and London, Toronto, and Miami and frequently to other destinations. Usually, these fares are quite reasonable.
I did some research on Skyscanner to get an idea of how much these tickets cost over the course of the year. Below are the average round trip prices, from the time this article was written. (Note that prices may fluctuate over time.)
- Miami to Barbados is about $300-$400 USD
- New York to Barbados is about $400 – $500 USD
- London to Barbados $500 – $600 USD
- Toronto to Barbados $300 – $500 USD
When I flew from London to Barbados, my one-way ticket was around $300 USD. I booked a separate one-way ticket from Barbados to Atlanta via Miami which also cost about $300.
Obviously, travel right now looks a bit different than normal. If you’d like to read about what it’s like to travel to Barbados during COVID, check out this post!
Cost of Accommodation in Barbados
Barbados has a wide range of accommodation, but it tends to be on the more expensive side compared to popular budget travel destinations (I’ll always miss my luxurious highrise apartment in Vietnam for $400/month!)
You can rent a simple studio for $50 per night or you can splash out on a $10,000 per night celebrity villa just a few minutes up the road. Barbados has it all.
The best way to keep accommodation costs low in Barbados is to use Airbnb or find a private apartment rental, which we’ll look at more in a minute. Unfortunately, Barbados doesn’t have much of a hostel/backpacker culture.
Hotels and Resorts
For shorter stays, hotels and resorts are popular options.
If you’re looking for a higher-end vacation, hotels on the west coast (also called the Platinum coast) are a good bet. Fitts Village, Holetown, and Speightstown all have beautiful beaches and upscale attractions. Here, it’s common to see hotels listed for around $250 USD per night and go up to several thousand dollars per night.
On the east coast, there are fewer accommodation options available because it’s more remote. Most rentals on the east coast are beach houses so it’s best to rent something with a group of people or as a family. The east coast is ideal for surfers and travelers who want a quiet vacation.
Accommodation costs are generally lowest on the south coast. The neighborhoods of Hastings, Worthing, St. Lawrence Gap, Oistins, Freights, and South Point are all lovely places to stay and offer more affordable accommodation options.
Airbnb In Barbados
For people who want homey touches and travelers on longer trips, staying in private apartments or Airbnbs is a popular choice. Most people I’ve spoken to pay between $1000 – $2000 USD per month for their apartment. It’s possible to find places for lower than $1000 USD per month, but you’ll have to do a bit of digging.
To start, I’d recommend setting your Airbnb dates to at least one month to see any discounts for long-term bookings. If you’re not staying for a full month, don’t worry! Many hosts also offer weekly deals in addition to monthly deals.
Oistins is a less expensive but super fun area to stay in, so you can use the Airbnb map feature to highlight listings in that area. Listings under the $1000/month range often don’t have air conditioning so make sure to read the listing carefully if this is a priority for you.
We found our first apartment on the south coast through Airbnb. It was a 1 bedroom, 1 bath unit with air conditioning in the bedroom and a small kitchen.
The best part? It was just one street away from the beach! We could also walk to restaurants, the grocery store, a coffee shop, and plenty of restaurants. It wasn’t fancy, but it did the job and was comfortable for two people.
This place was one of the most affordable options we could find and it turned out to be a great value. You can check it out here to see current prices and availability!
Remember that Airbnb’s often offer discounts when you book monthly, so you can find better rates by plugging in a full month when you search.
Some Affordable Barbados Apartment options to start your search:
- 1 Bedroom Apartment in Worthing, South Coast: See it here!
- 2 Bedroom Home in Hastings near Bridgetown: See it here!
Check out the map below to see what Airbnb’s are available in Barbados now!
Private Rentals and Facebook
Facebook groups are packed with hidden accommodation gems if you’re visiting Barbados long-term. I would only go this route if you’re staying on the island for longer than a month, but Facebook groups can be a great way to find deals that aren’t listed on Airbnb or Hotel booking sites.
I’d recommend booking your first week on the island in a hotel or Airbnb, then using Facebook groups to apartment hunt after you’ve had a few days to explore. That way, you’ll know which areas you like and you’ll be able to go see apartments in person.
Here are some good Facebook groups to start your search.
- Barbados Expats: For those planning longer stays in Barbados, this group covers lots of topics and is a good place to find accommodation connections.
- Houses Apartments for Rent Barbados: Great marketplace for apartments and houses for rent and for sale
- House/Apartment for Rent Barbados: Another group where you can find rental apartments and homes in Barbados
How much does it cost to get around Barbados?
While it’s possible to walk around some areas of Barbados, high temperatures and limited sidewalks mean that at some point, you’ll probably need another means of transportation.
Most people choose to either rent a car, take public transportation, or hire a taxi to get around the island. Renting a car is ideal, but not required. Having a car will allow you to get to some of the more remote locations like Bathsheba and Animal Flower Cave independently, but it’s possible to get pretty much everywhere on the island by bus if needed – it just might take a while.
Renting a Car in Barbados
We were able to rent a small car for about $550 USD per month with Drive-A-Matic. (Keep in mind that prices might change at the time you’re booking. Check their website for the latest prices.)
Parking is free almost everywhere on the island. Gas is pricey – around $3.50 BBD ($1.75 USD) per liter at the time I’m writing this.
Public Transportation Options
Barbados has excellent and affordable public transportation. Many of our friends didn’t rent cars and were still able to get to most places just fine using ZR vans, buses, and taxis.
The ZR Van
I love taking ZR vans. They are a convenient, inexpensive, and easy way to get around the island. ZR Vans are white vans with red stripes that drive everywhere on the island. Each van is numbered based on its route. For example, the 11 van runs along the south coast from Bridgetown to Silver Sands.
You can catch these vans anywhere along their route and they let you off any time for a flat rate of $3.50 BBD ($1.75 USD). They run from sunrise until about 10 pm at night.
Buses in Barbados
Buses also run over most of the island and cost $3.50 BBD ($1.75 USD) per ride. Bus stops can be found along almost all main roads.
To check the bus schedule, you can use the Moovit app. With Moovit, you can put in your starting and ending destination and it will tell you which bus to take and when it will arrive.
Both the ZR vans and buses take cash only, so make sure you have some change before hopping on.
Taxis in Barbados
Unlike the ZR vans and buses in Barbados, taxis are pricey. We rarely took taxis because the ZR vans were so much more convenient, but sometimes you’ll want to go somewhere not on a bus or ZR route and a taxi can come in handy.
Taxis in Barbados are not metered, so you’ll need to agree on a price before the trip begins. After a few short taxi rides came out to around $20 USD, so we decided to rent a car instead.
How much does it cost to go out to eat in Barbados?
There is tons of delicious food in Barbados, and the good news is it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg!
A meal in a local restaurant or at a market like the Oistins Fish Fry will typically cost between $20-$30 BBD, or $10-$15 USD.
My favorite lunch place on the island, De Roti Shop, costs around $13 BBD, which is $6.50 USD.
At fast-food restaurants like Chefette or Burger King, you can get a meal for $10-$20 BBD or $5-$10 USD.
A fancy latte or cappuccino at a cafe will usually set you back around $10 BBD or $5 USD.
If you want to go out to a nicer restaurant, main dishes start around $40-$50 Barbados Dollars ($20-$25 USD) and go up from there. Restaurants right on the ocean with nice views are a little more expensive.
For example, one of the nicest meals we ate was at Cafe Luna on the South Coast. Cafe Luna was running a set menu deal where you could choose one appetizer, one entre, and one dessert for $79 BBD ($39.50 USD). The quality was amazing and the restaurant has a beautiful view out to sea.
Local beers like Banks and Deputy cost $4-$5 BBD ($2-$2.50 USD) at a casual restaurant and $6-$8 BBD ($3-$4 USD) at an upscale place.
How much do groceries cost in Barbados?
Grocery shopping in Barbados is an adventure. In general, grocery stores are very well stocked with a variety of foods, but most of the food is imported. You’ll find brands from the UK, Mexico, Canada, and the USA, and this can mean higher prices.
My biggest tip for grocery shopping is to look VERY carefully at the price tags before grabbing an item. Sometimes very similar items will have very different prices.
For example, in the refrigerator section, there is a whole row of similar-sized yogurt containers. One might be $10 BBD ($5 USD) and the other might be $18 BBD ($9 USD). Make sure you’re checking the prices as you go to avoid sticker shock at checkout.
With produce, locally grown fruit and vegetables are very affordable. You can get huge slabs of delicious pumpkin for less than a dollar and okra is only $5 BBD per kg ($2.50 USD). Bananas and plantains are also inexpensive.
A large bag of imported lettuce runs around $13 BBD ($6.50 USD) but local lettuce will only set you back about $2 BBD ($1 USD).
Here are some prices for popular items from the last time I went to the grocery store. The specific prices fluctuate but hopefully, this will give you a general idea of what to expect.
- Brick of cheese $4 BBD ($2 USD)
- Carton of Milk $6 BBD ($3 USD)
- Regular Sabra Hummus $13 BBD ($6.50 USD)
- A dozen eggs $8 BBD ($4 USD)
- Bag of salt bread $3.79 BBD ($1.89 USD)
- Box of pasta $2.50 BBD ($1.25 USD)
- Box of imported cereal $13 BBD ($6.50 USD)
- Large bag of lays potato chips $17 BBD ($8.50 USD)
- Large bag of local brand tortilla chips $8 BBD ($4 USD)
- Small bag of granola $7 BBD ($3.50 USD)
- Package of chicken mince $10 BBD ($5 USD)
- Small frozen pizza $18 BBD ($9 USD)
- Fuji apples 1kg, $2.90 BBD ($1.45 USD)
- Granny smith apples 1kg, $11 BBD ($5.50 USD)
- Imported green peppers 1kg, $17 BBD ($8.50 USD)
- Local belly pumpkin, 1kg $2.50 BBD ($1.25 USD)
Beer in the grocery store is around $16 BBD ($8 USD) for a six-pack and wine starts at about $20 BBD ($10 USD) a bottle.
Rum in Barbados is exceptionally cheap and you can buy large bottles of high-quality rum starting around $20 BBD ($10 USD) each.
Cost of Activities in Barbados
Your Barbados cost of living will also vary based on what kinds of activities, tours, and excursions you do. Below are some popular things to do in Barbados. Remember these prices might fluctuate so you should check with the attraction before going.
- Animal Flower Cave: $25 BBD ($12.50 USD)
- St. Nicholas Abbey Tour: $35 BBD ($17.50 USD)
- Harrisons Cave: $60 BBD ($30 USD)
- Mount Gay Rum Tasting: $50 BBD ($25 USD)
- 2-hour Surfing Lesson: $120 BBD ($60 USD)
- Day trip on a catamaran: $150 – $200 BBD ($75 – $100 USD)
- Snorkel with sea turtles tour: $80 BBD ($40 USD)
- Admission to Boatyard Beach Club: $50 BBD ($25 USD)
- SUP or Kayak Rental at Pebbles Beach: $20 BBD ($10 USD)
Luckily, all the beaches in Barbados are free! You can swim, snorkel, sunbathe, or picnic while enjoying some of the most picturesque beaches in the world, totally free of charge.
How to save money while visiting Barbados
Barbados isn’t exactly a budget travel destination, but it certainly has a lot to offer! These tips will help you have an amazing time and save money while visiting Barbados!
Visit during low season
The low season in Barbados is from May to November. There are fewer crowds and the prices of accommodations and rental cars are generally lower. You’ll also have more options to chose from with less competition.
Renting a car might save money
Renting a car for a day or two might be cheaper than doing a guided tour and it gives you more flexibility. If you’d like to do excursions that are far away, consider renting a car for a few days and doing them on your own.
Travel with a friend or partner
Barbados becomes much more affordable if you can split expenses like accommodation and a rental car with a friend or partner. If you’re planning a trip, ask around to see if any of your loved ones want to join you!
Bring your own beach essentials
If you’re staying in Barbados long-term, consider buying your own portable beach chair and umbrella. Renting chairs and umbrellas adds up over time.
If you want to explore the underwater world, consider bringing your own snorkel gear. There are plenty of awesome snorkel spots that you can check out from the public beaches, which means you won’t have to spend money on guided snorkeling tours.
Looking for an inexpensive beach day? Try Boatyard Beach Club
Boatyard Beach Club is one of my favorite budget-friendly activities in Barbados! At Boatyard, you pay an admission fee of $50 BBD ($25 USD) and you get a voucher for $40 BBD ($20 USD) to use at the restaurant or bar. Meanwhile, you have access to all of the club’s beach amenities, chairs, umbrellas, volleyball courts, and water toys.
Your ticket even includes a half-hour snorkel trip to the shipwrecks in Carlisle Bay and a popular sea turtle spot. Normally, a snorkel trip alone would cost around $40 USD! Considering that you get almost all of your admission fee back in food and drink credits, this is a super good deal!
Final Thoughts: How much does it cost to visit Barbados?
While I wouldn’t consider Barbados to be a budget-travel destination, there are ways you can enjoy a high quality of life without totally breaking the bank. Traveling with a friend or loved one, visiting during low season, shopping local, and taking advantage of all the stunning free beaches on the island makes it possible to keep prices lower while still enjoying the best of Barbados.