8 Things They Won't Tell You: An Insider's Guide to Barbados

By: Tyler Patterson, 3L
Congratulations to Tyler who won Washburn University’s 2013 Study Abroad Photo Essay Contest. You can find Tyler’s amazing photos HERE

#8. Travel by Zadar (za•där)

You won’t see Zadars in the United States anytime soon… Zadar rides are not for the faint of heart. Bajans who plan ahead will walk, drive, or take a city bus to get to their destination, but if they’re in a hurry, a Zadar is the fastest ride on the island. Zadars are privately owned white vans that function like a taxi. Well, a taxi with 20 of your closest friends. The Zadar driver’s motto “the more the merrier” can make your ride a tight squeeze. Tip: It’s a great way to get to know each other if you’re on a first date.

#7. Carnival T-shirts and Fanny Packs

After a couple weeks on the island, you’ll develop a keen sense for spotting tourists in Barbados. Tourism is the number one industry on the island, and local merchants welcome outsiders with open arms. The Port of Barbados is a destination for several major cruise lines. When a cruise ship docks, businesses on the island make sure their doors are open for business. Part of the study abroad experience is developing a new understanding of the Bajan culture… the downside to tourism is the occasional line. You’ll quickly learn t-shirts with pictures of carnival ships, large cameras, and fanny packs, are all red flags you’ve spotted a tourist.

#6. You Can’t Handle the Hot Sauce

Yet another item on this list “not for the faint of heart.” Bajans love spicy food. If you like the feeling of hot flames scorching your tongue, you’ll enjoy the many different hot sauces the island has to offer. If your culinary pallet does not have a high pain tolerance, instead of dousing your food with Bajan hot sauce… test it out first with just a drop.

#5. It’s a Runner’s Paradise

You have already packed your swimsuit and beach towel, but don’t forget to pack your running shoes when you travel to Barbados. If you’re used to walking or running outside in Kansas, it may take a couple weeks to adjust to the hills of the island, but it’s well worth it. A few minutes away from the steps of the University of the West Indies Campus, you’ll have two options: beachside or panoramic views of the island. The scenery is breathtaking, so much so, you might forget you’re even running.

#4. The Dolphin is Not Dolphin

They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning, no-one you see, is smarter than he! **Spoiler alert: You’ll see Dolphin on most menus in Barbados. If you eat fish, go ahead and order it without fear… you are not actually eating your childhood hero! For reasons which I have yet to figure out, when you’re eating Dolphin in Barbados, you’re really eating Mahi Mahi.

#3. You Won’t Get AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon Coverage

As of 2013, U.S. carriers have not extended their coverage area to the island of Barbados. You may not need a cell phone when you study abroad, but you have options once you arrive. For around $50 USD, you can purchase a prepaid cell phone once you arrive. The two main carriers of Barbados are Lime and Digicel. When was the last time you played the “snake” game on a vintage Nokia? The best part of a non-smartphone? Each power charge lasts up to 7 days.

#2. Gas Station Food Ain’t Half Bad

Barbados is known for serving exotic dishes and fresh fish, and you’ll find restaurants that will satisfy even the pickiest of your “foodie” friends. But when heading down to the beach from campus, there’s a Tigermarket close by that really ain’t half bad! It’s clean, quick, and affordable. What more could a law student want?




#1. You’ll Learn how to Spell Caribbean!

C-A-R-I-B-B-E-A-N. It only takes six weeks to get it right.