Supermarkets and other businesses were evacuated and people moved away from the shore right after the quake hit. Earthquakes are common in the Caribbean but this was particularly strong and shallow.
There were no reports of any injuries or damages, according to Kerry Hinds, the acting director of the Department of Emergency Services in Barbados. Nevertheless she urged residents to be cautious, given the size of the quake.
"With earthquakes, there is the possibility of aftershocks so please be mindful of that," Hinds said.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude-6.4 quake was centered 81 miles (132 kilometers) northeast of Bridgetown at a shallow depth of about 3 miles (5 kilometers). It hit at 11:16 a.m. local time. (15:16 GMT).
A Facebook page maintained by the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center included comments that showed the earthquake was felt across much of the Caribbean, from nearby St. Vincent and the Grenadines and to Venezuela, Guyana and Trinidad in the south.