After spending nearly 6 weeks in the island paradise of Barbados, I’ve come up with a pretty detailed cost of living index for travellers. In this article, I’m going to break down some of the main costs for travelling in Barbados so that you can properly budget your next independent vacation to the island.
The cost of all accommodation on the island depends on the location. If you want to be on the beach, you’ll pay a premium.
Budget – On this end of the scale, you can find some good value budget hotels and guesthouses. You wont likely fine a dorm bed, but you can find budget double rooms for around CA$35 per person (CA$70 for 2 people in one room).
Midrange – There are plenty of midrange options in Barbados. These can be found for anywhere between CA$100 – CA$150 per night.
Top End – Get your wallet ready! Some top end hotels will cost you over CA$1,000 per night. Many of these luxury accommodations line the west coast of the island and offer all-inclusive packages.
Even on the budget end of the spectrum, food in Barbados isn’t cheap. You can find some great deals at barbecues or street stands, but for the most part, you’ll pay far more for food in Barbados than in places like North America and Western Europe. Even groceries are pricey here. Expect to pay upwards of 50% more for imported food compared to what it would cost in the US.
Budget – Find yourself a nice little roadside shack to get delicious and affordable food in barbados. A flying fish cutter (snack sandwich) at Cuz’s Fish Stand near Carlisle Bay will cost you B$8 (CA$5). Usually, barbecued chicken, pork or fish on the street will cost you about B$15 (CA$9) per plate with salad and fries.
Midrange – There are quite a few nice, sit down restaurants on the island. Typically a sit down dinner for two will cost around B$100 (CA$65).
Top End – The sky is the limit here! There are countless luxury restaurants lining the streets along the west coast and in Bridgetown. The ones on the beach will cost you a pretty penny. Think around B$150 (CA$100) per plate or more! There are some excellent chefs here though and the food can be fantastic at these places.
Luckily, booze can be found at good prices all around the island, but the cost difference between a beer at a local restaurant compared to one at a touristy beach restaurant can be astronomical. In nice restaurants, expect prices to be similar to those in North America and Western Europe.
Budget - At the grocery store, the local beer called Banks is around B$2 (CA$1.30) per bottle. Wine will cost you at least B$20 (CA$13) at the grocery store and triple that at a restaurant. You can find it for B$2.50 (CA$1.60) at some barbecue stands and street food shacks around the island. A rum punch is usually around B$5 (CA$3) at a food stand.
Midrange – The midrange alcohol is that found in the cheaper sit down restaurants. You’ll typically find beers for B$6-8 (CA$3.75-6) at these places, while cocktails will cost you around B$10 (CA$6). A glass of wine is around the same price as cocktails at most restaurants.
Top End - Enter into one of Barbados’ many chic bistros or stylish lounges and the price quickly sky rockets. Beers will cost you at least B$10 (CA$6.50), while cocktails will start at around B$15 (CA$9). A glass of wine here will cost you around B$15 (CA$9) as well.
Budget – Luckily, there is a very good public tranportation system that is perfect for budget travellers. Any ride around the island will cost you just B$2 (CA$1.30).
Midrange – Now we’re getting into local taxis. These will cost you around the same as you would expect in most western countries. There is an excellent list of taxi costs in Barbados that can be found here.
Top End – Luxury cars and limos are also available in Barbados. A limo with driver will run you around $100 / hour and a luxury car will be around $50 / hour. There are even Bentleys available for those who really like to ride in style.
For the sake of this article, we’ll consider “entertainment” as being shows, tours, excursions and other popular tourist activities.
Shows – Harbour Lights is one of the more popular shows on the island. You get a tasty beach barbecue and free drinks from 7:00 pm to 2:00 am. Tickets cost between B$150 – B$185 (CA$95 – CA$110), depending on the date and the type of show.
Diving – Dives on the island typically cost around CA$95 per dive, including all equipment. There are sometimes discounts for multiple dives.
Snorkelling – You can snorkel with turtles and loads of fish in Barbados! These day trips typically cost around B$100 (CA$60) including a snack on the boat, a guide, and snorkel gear.
Tour of Barbados By Land – There are some 4X4 jeep tours that will take you around the island for a day. These typically cost around B$185 (CA$110) for 5.5 hours of adventure.
Other Activities – A rum tour at Mount Gay distillery will cost you around B$90 (CA$60), a plantation tour at St.Nicholas Abbey is B$200 (CA$130) and a tour through Harrison’s Cave will cost you B$60 (CA$35).
A Daily Budget in Barbados
Budget – If you’re staying in budget rooms, cooking your own food or eating at street food stands, doing few tours & excursions and always taking public transport, you could potentially get by on around CA$80 / day.
Midrange – Staying at midrange hotels, giving yourself some extra cash for tours and excursions and eating at sit down restaurants will bring up your costs significantly. Expect to spend at least CA$200 / day as a midrange traveller.
Top End - The sky is the limit for a luxury traveller in Barbados. You could easily spend more than CA$2,000 / day in this bracket.