Location of the Workshop

The Bellairs Research Institute of McGill is located in Barbados (a south-east Caribbean island close to South America), 40 minutes from the airport. Bellairs can house max. 40 people in double rooms. The price (US dollars) per room is very low: for students $25 - $35 / night, for professors $30 - $45 / night, depending on if you choose a room with a private bathroom or not. The room prices are really low (especially considering that Barbados is in general quite expensive), but of course this also means that you should not expect a 5 star quality either. There is a shared kitchen available for the guests, and there is a cooking crew that can come in a prepare lunch / dinner for the guests if desired ($7 for breakfast, $8 for lunch, $25 for dinner).
There are two air-conditioned meeting/presentation rooms, there are several outside areas with blackboards, and of course there are many calm places on the beach where discussions can take place. There is a wireless network (shared by all guests) that provides Internet access, but the speed is not impressive. But of course it is enough to check your email and keep in touch with the rest of the world.

Basically the idea of the Bellairs institute is similar to Dagstuhl: provide everything necessary for researchers to spend an intense week working on an inspiring research topic in "isolation".

Getting to Bellairs

The official Bellairs contact information is:

  1. Bellairs Research Institute

  2. Holetown, St. James Parish, Barbados

  3. Tel.   : +1 (246) 422 2087 (main office)

  4. Tel.   : +1 (246) 422 2034 (dining hall)

  5. Fax    : +1 (246) 422 0692

  6. e-mail : bellairs@caribsurf.com

  7. Manager: Richard Haynes

The Barbados airport is located at the South of the island. Bellairs is located on the North side of Holetown. To get to Bellairs from the airport, you can:

  1. Take a taxi. Ask to be taken to the Bellairs Research Institute in Holetown. Most taxi drivers know where Bellairs is (thanks to the many workshops as well as the field semesters for students). In case they don't know, say it is located in between Folkstone Park and the Coral Reef Club on the North side of Holetown. The taxi price is typically around $70 Bds. There is now a sign at the airport which gives fixed prices for several destinations. You can find a list at barbados.org. Some amount is added for each extra passenger and for luggage. Note that those prices are only for rides from the airport. You negotiate the price in the opposite direction. You may ask the Bellairs secretary to book a taxi for you to take you to the airport. The taxi ride takes between 40 minutes and 1 hour, depending on traffic. Bellairs frequently uses taxi drivers Jason +1 (246) 256 82 35 and his wife Nicole +1 (246) 256 83 37. Taxi driver John is also very reliable: +1 (246) 420 15 89 (office) or +1 (246) 230 41 99 (cell).

  2. Take the bus ($1.5 Bds, exact change required, no change given on the blue official government buses). Note that you can change money inside the airport baggage claim hall. That gives you the opportunity to get some small change. If you want to take a bus, there is a direct bus (destination Speightstown) on Sunday and holidays. On weekdays, buses are more frequent, but you need to first take a bus to Oistins (buses to Bridgetown will also stop in Oistins) and switch there to a bus to Speightstown. Note that there is no "transfer" ticket. When you switch in Oistins you need to buy a new ticket. Bus schedules can be found on the Transport Board website. Buses are not always on time. The Airport - Bellairs trip takes around 1.5h, depending on traffic. The bus takes a longer route (along the coast) than a taxi (which takes an internal "highway"). The bus stop is right in front of Folkestone park and the Bellairs entrance is 30m farther down the road. Note that traffic on Barbados is on the left-hand-side of the road ! On the way back to the airport, take buses going to either Airport or Kirtons (stops at the airport) or to Oistins and switch there to get to the airport. Switching in Bridgetown is not advised (I'm told one needs to transfer between bus terminals).

A detailed map shows where exactly Bellairs is located. When you arrive at Bellairs just go straight to the dining hall (see Bellairs Facilities map). There, you will find either people or a message for you on the bulletin board or the blackboard telling you which is your room. If you don't find anyone in the dining hall, look for us on the beach. I am arriving on Saturday evening, and I still have to figure out how to handle things for people that arrive earlier that stay at Bellairs. Those of you who stay at Palms Resort should probably go there directly first, and then look for us at Bellairs.

Other Practical Information

  1. One Barbados dollar is worth 0.5 US dollar. US dollars can be used almost everywhere to pay cash, though change is given in Barbados dollars. If you plan to take the bus to Bellairs from the airport, you need exact change. You can get Barbados dollars at a small exchange place in the airport, just behind the baggage carrousels, after you go through immigration and before you go through customs.

  2. Bellairs is situated on one of the best beaches in Barbados, so don't forget your bathing suit for swims before breakfast and in between work sessions. There is a (partially alive) coral reef right in front of Bellairs, and a really nice coral reef at 15 minutes walk from Bellairs, so if you like snorkeling, bring your finns and mask.

  3. Above all, don't forget sunscreen!

  4. Depending on the weather conditions and other factors, we may get some mosquitoes (this is typically more of a problem during the rainy season). You should bring some bug repellant just in case. Some people also bring a mosquito net to hang over the bed for the night (you can get cheap ones at Ikea, for instance). Note that there is no malaria on the island of Barbados.

  5. House rules:

  6. 1.Kitchen and Food

  7. We are responsible for washing all of our dishes if we use the kitchen. Please leave the kitchen clean.

  8. We can make coffee in the kitchen any time we want. The available coffee at Bellairs is of the instant variety. If you wish to bring your own coffee (and share) that is appreciated.

  9. Breakfast ($7) and dinner ($25) is provided by Bellairs (cook comes in in the afternoon and prepares wonderful roast chicken, local fish, ...). If you need specific food, you will most likely find it at the local supermarket. There is a guest fridge in the dining hall where we can keep our own private food. Please label your food and remove any left over when you leave.

  10. 2.Showers and Sand

  11. Sand in the shower drains can cause enormous blockage problems. Please be sure to rinse off the sand from your feet before entering your rooms. There are water taps outside both blocks of rooms for this purpose.

  12. 3.Locked Doors and Valuables

  13. Please leave your room locked when you are not in.

  14. You can leave your money and other valuables in the safe in the main office. If you leave some money in your room we suggest you put it in a purse inside a locked suitcase inside a closed closet; certainly do not leave it within arm's reach of the back windows facing the public park.

  15. 4.Telephone and Computers

  16. Computers are available. Internet connection speed reasonable, most of the time. The speed is high enough to use Skype, which is far cheaper than buying local phone cards. Since a few years, there is also wireless internet (which works most of the time).

More Pictures

Check out more pictures of Bellairs and the facilities here.

Last modified: November 23, 2015, Jörg Kienzle