Safety and security in Barbados


What are the health risks in Barbados? Is it safe and where are the places with the highest crime rates?

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Health risks

There are no significant health risks in Barbados. The entire Caribbean is a hotspot for dengue fever, for which there is as yet no effective antidote, so consistent use of repellents and mosquito nets (provided in hotels) is recommended. However, large outbreaks of dengue fever do not occur in Barbados and so this risk is not a major concern for holiday planning.

A health risk is the high intensity of sunshine, especially for tourists from Europe or Canada who are not used to it. Consistently use sunscreen if you are prone to sunburn.

Compulsory vaccinations

Barbados requires a mandatory yellow fever vaccination if you are travelling from countries where the disease is prevalent. This applies, for example, when travelling from most countries in South America.

No special vaccinations are otherwise required in Barbados.

Risks of swimming in the sea

Swimming in the waters around Barbados is relatively safe, but due to the lack of enclosed bays, there are occasionally large dangerous waves when black flags are displayed at lifeguard stations prohibiting swimming in the sea.

The entire eastern and much of the south-eastern coast is prone to high waves, as well as to dangerous currents.

There are no particularly dangerous creatures in the sea here. For example, shark attacks on humans have never been recorded in Barbados waters.

Is the tap water drinkable?

Tap water is safe to drink in Barbados.

Dangerous animals

There are no dangerous animals living in Barbados.

You may come across a scorpion or some species of spider that may bite, but contact with them is not dangerous to humans.

There are very few snakes, mainly due to the overpopulation of mongoose, a small marten-like predator that feeds mainly on snakes, rats and small rodents. Mongoose were introduced to the island during the British Empire and have completely dominated the food chain.

Barbados is one of the very few islands in the Lesser Antilles where you will encounter virtually no stray dogs.

Danger may be waiting for you under the sea, where you should avoid poisonous fish like Lionfish and Stone Fish. However, they are not found here in abundance.


Crime in Barbados is minimal and there are no particular dangers. Still, it's a good idea to guard your belongings from pickpockets on the streets and beaches.

The use and transportation of drugs is illegal in Barbados and if detected can lead to harsh and long-lasting penalties. In fact, drug-related crime is the most common in Barbados.

Violent crime is rare and is almost exclusively associated with drug gang activity and does not target tourists. Barbados also has a very large police force, which is one of the safest countries in the world.

In Bridgetown, but also in other parts of the larger cities, it is quite common to encounter homeless or drunk people. As a rule, don't make any contact with them and they will leave you alone.

Disaster risk

There is a risk of hurricanes in Barbados and it's a good idea to be prepared for one during the rainy season. It is therefore a good idea to keep an eye on the site for current weather and possible warnings during this period:

However, of all the surrounding islands, Barbados is the least at risk from hurricanes and on average only hits the mainland once every 20-30 years.

Important contacts

In an emergency, call the following numbers (no need to dial the national area code):

  • 211 - police
  • 311 - fire department
  • 511 - ambulance service

The international telephone code for Barbados is +1.

There are only a minimum of foreign diplomatic missions in Barbados. The UK, USA, China, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba have embassies here. The European Union Mission for the whole Caricom region is also based here.

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