Barbados on a Budget – Top Tips for Travel to Barbados

Barbados. All the beautiful images you’ve seen on postcards are accurate.

Turquoise blue waters, white sandy beaches, stunning sunsets and rum punch by the pool.

Barbados on a Budget – Top Tips for Travel to Barbados

Barbados. All the beautiful images you’ve seen on postcards are accurate.

Turquoise blue waters, white sandy beaches, stunning sunsets and rum punch by the pool.

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

We may earn affiliate commissions from websites we link to, at no cost to you. Click here for details.

barbados on a budget

When you travel to Barbados, you’ll find beachside cocktail bars, fresh BBQ fish grills and turtles to swim within the waters.

It’s true, this island isn’t known as a cheap Caribbean destination, but is it really possible to visit Barbados on a budget? 

Barbados is sold as a luxury destination, and it’s clear to see why. There are so many gorgeous beaches and bays to choose from, but in the end, you’re in control over how to plan your vacation before you’ve arrived. It’s also up to you how you spend your money once you’re here.

Many visitors buy a package deal, which includes accommodation at resorts or hotels, car hire and pre-purchased tickets for excursions or day trips and that’s fine, but it’ll cost ya. Let’s talk about how you can travel to Barbados for the best price.

Affordable Travel to Barbados. What’s the secret?

If you’d like to visit Barbados without the huge price tag, you just need to be clever about how you spend your dollars here. Visiting Barbados on a budget is possible because we just did it.

You can stay in beautiful accommodation, get around the island easily and eat good food for a fraction of the cost as the packaged tour visitors.

Our Best Tips to visit Barbados on a Budget

barbados on a budget

When to go

Barbados experiences a wet and a dry season. Both seasons coincide with the low and high seasons for tourists, with most visitors booking their holidays in the cool, drier months that run from December to May.

Many people travel to Barbados at this time because the weather is at its best.

The wet season can see intense downpours, however, unlike the rest of the Caribbean, thanks to its position, the country is not as affected by hurricanes and storms as other islands.


Barbadian Dollar (BBD). At the time of writing, 1 USD = 2.00 BBD.

The Barbadian dollar is pegged to the USD and it is possible to pay with US currency on the island and you’ll receive BBD in change. I’d recommend withdrawing some local currency from many ATM’s around the island (most ATM’s charge will charge 6.00 or 10.00 BBD for the transaction, which is quite expensive so make sure you get enough to sustain your stay to avoid more bank charges).

You can also bring USD currency and easily change this to BBD in any bank, these are well located around the island too.

How to get to Barbados on a budget

The cheapest flights to Barbados can be booked online depending on where you are travelling from. We researched a few different websites; however, Skyscanner always seems to have the best connections and the lowest prices.

We flew in from London and we found direct flights from London, Gatwick with Thomas Cook. The fare we paid was about GBP 230 per person for a one-way flight. This is a great deal for an 8.5-hour flight.

Return flights (direct) from Miami are less than $500 per person on this website!

Using Skyscanner, you can view a whole week or month of flights to compare prices. This is ideal for this destination, as costs can vary greatly depending on the travel days and from what city you are flying to.

How to get around

Minivans and local buses are great

Barbados is one large island. The hub is the capital of Bridgetown, also a popular cruise port for visitors cruising around the Caribbean islands. The bus and minivan network on the island is very good.

Most transport starts or changes here to then go towards your destination or past the beach you’d like to visit. All buses/vans have a number on the front of the vehicle and they have signs in the front window for the direction they’re going to.

The local Barbadians are very friendly people, so if you’re unsure of how to get to where you’re going, just ask somebody. Barbados is an English speaking nation.

How much does it cost?

Each ride will cost you 2.00 BBD or USD $1. If you leave one van/bus and change to another, you must pay again for the next ride.

There are many small bus stops located all over the island. Simply flag down the driver as he’s driving past and press the convenient buzzer when you’d like to get out.

Pay the driver when you jump out, it’s best to have correct or small change if possible.

barbados on a budget
Rockley Beach in Barbados.

Private Taxi

Private taxis are available, however, they’re quite expensive. Remember to negotiate the rate with the driver before you begin the journey.

How to take the bus from the airport to your accommodation:

TIP: If you don’t have any small USD notes or BBD currency, there is an ATM in the baggage collection hall. It charges a 10.00 BBD ($5) transaction fee, but you’ll need it to pay for transport to get to your accommodation.

Exit the airport and directly ahead and across the car park, near the main road you will see a bus stop. Take the bus from here.

If you don’t know the van/bus number, just ask a local at the bus stop or ask the driver when he arrives if he is going in your direction.

Taxi from the airport:

Once you walk out of the arrival halls, there is a board with prices for your taxi, depending on where you’re going. Look for the authorized taxi stand right next to this and someone there will ask where you’re going and arrange your taxi. He’ll write you a paper receipt and ask you to pay the taxi driver directly, with cash. Only USD or BBD is accepted.

Our flight arrived quite late on arrival, so we took a taxi from the airport and paid 24.00 BBD to our driver once we arrived at our Airbnb accommodation in Silver Sands.

Stay Connected in Barbados with eSIM

It’s so easy to get connected in Barbados with eSIM. Read more about what is an eSIM and how it works here, or check out this  1GB eSIM valid for 7 days for $9.50.

It’s super easy to buy it, download it to your phone and activate it – so you’re ready to go! Buy this Data Plan for Barbados.

Where to Stay in Barbados on a budget

If you’re aiming to visit Barbados on a budget, yet you’d still like to stay somewhere that is clean, comfortable and well located, the room we booked in a house on Airbnb was perfect!

Our host, Elease has a two-level open and breezy Caribbean home with 3 bedrooms for guests.

We had access to two guest bathrooms and our room and bed were very comfortable. We paid USD $39 per night to stay here and we absolutely loved it.

where to stay in barbados

Our accommodation had everything we needed and more

The house has a large kitchen downstairs with your own space in the fridge and cupboards to store food. There is a coffee filter machine and an espresso machine, so bring your own coffee to enjoy each morning. There’s a dining area to enjoy meals and a large living area with a big TV hooked up to Netflix.

The wifi is super strong in any room and there is a cute little veranda where you can chill out in the evening with a rum or tea.

The best part is that you can walk to nearby Silver Sands beach (less than 10 min) and there’s a small supermarket a few minutes away. You can also walk less than a minute along the road to catch convenient little minivans that run all over the island.

Each trip is BBD 2.00, and it’s an affordable and great way to explore the island.

To check out this accommodation located in Silver Sands, here’s the link.

If sharing a house or space just isn’t for you, here are some other great value options in this area. Check out these properties below.

Ocean View Apartments – Studio Apartments located on the beach in Christ Church from $75 per night.

Adulo Apartments– Studio Apartments are located near Rockley Hills. This place has excellent reviews, and prices start from $85 per night.

Shambhala Homestays – Located right on Maxwell Beach, and fantastic transport options close by to reach anywhere on the island. Prices from $85 per night.

The West Coast is popular among tourists and tends to be the more expensive side of the island. These are the best deals in this area.

Silver Sands Beach Barbados
Silver Sands Beach in Barbados. A short walk from our accommodation

Kenridge Residences – Featuring air-conditioned accommodation with a patio, Kenridge Residences is in Saint James. This property offers access to a balcony, free private parking and free WiFi, and is 70 metres from Fitts Village Beach. The apartment has 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, bed linen, towels, a flat-screen TV with streaming services, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a terrace with sea views.

Sungold House Barbados – From $75 per night, this holiday home features accommodation with an outdoor pool, free WiFi, barbecue facilities and a garden. Located in Speightstown, one of the most popular locations on this side of the island.

The East Coast is a little more remote and peaceful. A great place to stay is:

Rest Haven Beach Cottages – Located in Bathsheba, Rest Haven Beach Cottages offers free WiFi access and complimentary private parking. Each room here will provide you with a patio and a seating area. Complete with a refrigerator, the dining area has kitchenware and a dining table. Featuring a shower, the private bathroom also comes with a bath and a shower. You can enjoy sea view from the room. Extras include a sofa and a fan.

Car Hire

You can also hire a car on the island, however, it’s not cheap. Discover Cars usually offer the best deals on car hire.

Prices start from around BBD 130.00 (USD $65) per day. NOTE: Petrol here is quite expensive too.

Get Connected with eSIM

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Use our code: RACHEL5045 to get $3 off your first purchase!

Where to Eat?

Barbados is a pricey island, particularly for meat and fresh salad and vegetables. If you decide to eat in restaurants on the island, expect to pay around USD $30 for a nice meal or USD $20 at mid-range establishments.

Here are some of our favourite places to eat on the island for affordable prices and good local food.

Oistins Fish Market

Everyone will tell you to go and eat at this place if you tell them you plan to travel to Barbados. Yes, it’s a little touristy, but the food is good. The best time to go is on Friday nights when the atmosphere is busy with lots of people, locals and music to enjoy.

Take a bus to Oistins and choose from one of the little wooden kitchens here cooking fresh seafood of the day with sides. A typical meal here of your choice of fish served with rice, vegetables and some side salads sets you back between USD $12-15. Order a cold beer or rum punch for an extra $2-5.

best food in barbados
Eating fresh seafood at Oistins Fish Market

Our favourite wooden hut is called Pat’s Place. It’s a little green hut located along the road front with others. Pat’s does the best seafood and local fare at the markets. You can’t travel to Barbados without stopping by Pat’s Place.

Chicken Rita’s

Only 15 min walk from our Airbnb accommodation. Small place, plastic chairs and tables. Best fried chicken on the island, and great prices too.

Fisherman’s pub

Located in Speightstown, the ‘Little Bristol’ of the island. Canteen style food, lots of local specialities and you can pick and choose what you like. Located right on the beach, a good plate of food for under $10 is found here.

Cuz’s Fish Stand, Bridgetown – Pebbles Beach

Best flying fish sandwich around! Just ask the locals. If there’s a line, wait in it…it’s good! I’d travel to Barbados again just to eat here again.

Save money and self-cater

It can get costly to eat out for every meal, so if you choose to book a room in a house as we did, you will have a full kitchen to cater for yourself. We tried some local dishes from affordable places in Barbados; however, we took advantage of the kitchen in our accommodation. We cooked the majority of our meals during our stay, and it was the key to us being able to visit Barbados on a budget.

There are larger supermarkets located in the capital, Bridgetown and in the more touristy beach areas such as Rockley Beach and Oistins. If you’re here for several days, it’s best to stop by one of these supermarkets and stock up.

Things to do in Barbados

Harrison Caves

This is one of the most loved tourist attractions in Barbados. Found in the jungle-covered highlands of the country, this limestone cave is an interesting place to explore. There’s a small tramway that rolls its way through the extensive cave network—a great look into the underground world.

Mount Gay Rum Distillery

Barbados is renowned for its quality rum, and the Mount Gay brand is one of the island’s most famous exports. Dating back to the early 18th century, Mount Gay Rum is a renowned institution, and it’s possible to experience the history on a distillery tour to learn more about Barbados and the rum trade. Maybe leave the car at home and take the bus, as a tour here will include some tastings too.

Barbados has a long colonial history and much of the current culture was built around the plantations that ran the thriving sugar cane industry. Both St Nicholas Abbey and Sunbury Plantation houses are worth a visit.

Other Popular Day Tours in Barbados

Affordable or free things to do in Barbados

Relax on any beach you like

All of the beaches in Barbados are public access, meaning you can enjoy the same beaches as the people staying and paying for luxury resorts. The more popular beaches will have free parking (if you have a car) and facilities.

Many of the smaller beaches you may have to yourself. Bring your own food/picnic, snorkelling gear, and a good book, and you’re all set to go.


Go Snorkelling

Bring your snorkel and some fins and head to the west side of Barbados on the bus. This is the best place to go in search of marine life. The water is clear and calm and where a large population of turtles swims off this shore. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to swim with them.

There are so many incredible beaches to explore here and too many to name; however, my favourites were Miami Beach, Cranes Beach, Brownes Beach, Carlisle Bay, Rockley Beach and Bathsheba.

Barbados #visiteverycountry
At Rockley beach in Barbados

How much do things cost (in USD) in supermarkets?

**Index of prices** Price shown in USD

  • 1.5L bottled water (Note: tap water is OK to drink) $1.75
  • Butter $2.50
  • Canned tomatoes $0.90c
  • Canned tuna $.0.80c
  • Small bag red onions $1.20c
  • Small block cheddar cheese $3.00
  • A loaf of bread $1.50
  • 6 Pack of bread rolls $2.20
  • Bananas $1.20 for 4
  • A small bag of tomatoes $2.00
  • 6 eggs $3.00
  • Box muesli Alpen $10.00
  • 1 x small bottle beer $1.70
  • Bag spaghetti 500g $0.80
  • Bag potatoes $1.20
  • Small bag of fresh garlic $0.80
  • 2 min noodles 0.50c
  • Bottle of wine $13.00

So there you have it. Travel to Barbados is a great idea, and you can also visit Barbados on a budget. We had a fantastic time here, and we could have easily stayed a couple of extra weeks.

The people were very welcoming and it’s a super relaxing place to be. We seriously can’t wait to return, and as we mentioned to our host – we will be back!

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You might also enjoy reading our post about the 11 Caribbean Islands Best Beaches to visit.

We travelled through many countries in 2019, around forty of them. We visited many Caribbean Island nations that year, and you can read our recap of the Caribbean islands and countries visited in 2019.

Before we visited all of the island nations, we had no idea that the food would be so good! Our favourite foods in the Caribbean include these 10 popular foods in the Bahamas, and 10 delicious dishes in Haiti that you must try!

Travel Tips for North America

We have many travel guides and tips for North America— a fascinating continent!

We love travelling in Mexico and have many food and detailed guides. Read them here

These top 6 travel hacks to save money are great to read when planning your travels.

Are you interested in visiting these 15 best places to travel in the USA,  the ten best foods in New York, or searching the 12 best cheap eats in Vancouver?

If you plan to travel long-term after leaving North America, these 21 cheapest countries to visit will help you make your hard-earned dollars stretch a bit further.

For food lovers, don’t miss our top 10 countries for foodies; one is in North America.

You’ll need to stay connected while travelling in North America. We recommend eSIM. They’re easy, reliable and affordable. View eSIMs for individual countries, or consider a regional eSIM for North America.

If your travels in North America are part of a much larger global adventure, then a Global eSIM may be the answer. It connects you in 124 countries, offering data-only eSIM and data/call/text eSIM. The Global eSIM has been a game-changer; we couldn’t imagine travelling without it now.

If you want to travel with like-minded travellers, consider joining a group tour. View the best deals on group tours in North America.

Check out our best-ever travel tips compiled from more than twenty years of experience.

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Travel Planning Resources

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👫 Group ToursG Adventures OR compare multi-day tours worldwide with Tourradar.

📸 Day Tours & TripsGetYourGuide & Viator are the only two platforms you need.

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✅ Check out our Travel Gear and Travel Resources for more valuable tips to save you money!

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6 Comments. Leave new

  • Enjoyed reading your Barbados budget tips Rach. It’s a pity that we have a reputation as an expensive destination but as you’ve shown it’s possible to fully enjoy the island without breaking the bank.

    Another tip for your readers is to take advantage of the daily happy hours on offer daily at many bars and restaurants – usually 2-for-1 specials on all or selected drinks or special deals on local beer. I’ve setup to help Bajans and visitors keep track of the best spots.

  • Thanks for the tips I will be taking myself to Carlisle bay and it is nice to have a recommended stall for Oisten’s fish market. Do you know how late the buses run?
    I am curious if you find the highlighted activities to be worth the big splurge if you are traveling on a budget? They are very expensive. Even without a tour if you take a bus to the doorstep the cave is $57USD to enter, Abbey and Train $60USD ($30 each) and $70USD for the rum distillery according to their websites. I have done similar things elsewhere but have never paid so much, or even half. Were any of these that exceptional and unique? Is it just because people on a cruise ship will pay it that it is so pricey? In a way I am okay not doing the major activities with it as it gives me an excuse to sit on the beach, snorkel, and relax without rushing around.

    • Hi Amanda,
      The buses around the island run from 05:00 – midnight, so it’s very convenient. With regards to the activities and things to do in Barbados being expensive, we agree 100% with you! And yes, the high prices are probably because the market is geared to the cruise passengers.. We found the same thing on a couple of other islands, particularly Jamaica. Pretty much every activity or everything you would like to see or do has a high surcharge, even’s a little crazy, we thought. We thought the rum distillery was expensive too, but we enjoyed it..But we really like rum 🙂 And if you just want to explore different beaches and snorkel and grab some local food to keep costs down, you’ll have an awesome time! Happy Travels!

  • Hi How long do you need in Barbados Please?

    • Hi Lisa,
      It all depends on what you’d like to see and do when you’re there, as everybody has different interests when they travel. We’d say that 5-7 days would be enough to take in some of the highlights and have time to relax and enjoy the beaches too.


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