Destination spotlight - Barbados
If you’re looking for a picture-perfect Caribbean island then Barbados is the place for you. This little island has it all: beautiful beach resorts, surf spots, impressive nightlife, a Unesco World Heritage capital, gorgeous tropical sights and notoriously friendly people.
This charming island is brimming with Caribbean charm, yet British travellers will find tons of familiar things - from cricket greens and churches to the English-speaking locals and tap water that is safe to drink. It is also widely regarded as one of the safest of all of the islands in the Caribbean, which means that visitors can feel confident and comfortable venturing out of their hotels and exploring all that Barbados has to offer.
When to Go
Barbados is a beautiful island to visit all year round, making it popular throughout the year with people looking to experience a slice of Caribbean sunshine. If you want to avoid the rainy season then plan a trip towards the beginning of the year; April tends to be the driest month, with only seven days of rain, while July is the wettest with up to 18 days of rain.
However, this can mean that the beginning of the year is busier, as the tourist high season runs from mid-December until mid-April. Some people choose to avoid hurricane season, which runs from June through October, although many years see no hurricanes occurring. If you’re looking for a quieter time to visit and are willing to risk the potential bad weather, then the autumn can be a good time to visit.
What to Do
There are plenty of exciting things to do all year-round in Barbados, so it’s well worth checking out an events calendar or two before you book your trip. If you’re planning on travelling during the earlier part of the year then the Holetown Festival, in February, is the perfect excuse to plan a party - Barbados style. Enjoy street fairs, dancing, gospel music and pageants at this impressive annual event.
If you’re focused on finding some delicious food then the Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival in November is the place for you. Chefs from around the world flock to the island, often known as the ‘culinary capital of the Caribbean’, so there is sure to be tons of tasty treats on offer. The festival is the perfect place to experience a high-quality take on beautiful Caribbean food and drink, with wine experts and mixologists on hand to make sure that guests have an experience that stimulates all of their senses. Enjoy a rum punch or two while you experience some of the delicious treats.
Where to Stay
The island of Barbados can be broken up into roughly five areas. If you’re looking for a slice of luxury then head to the west coast, where many of the luxury hotels and villas reside next to the mill-pond calm ocean. Crystal Cove Hotel is regarded as one of the island’s best premium all inclusive resorts and offers a range of delicious food, beautiful surroundings and fun-packed activities.
The east coast, however, is perfect for those who want a taste of natural, unspoilt Barbados, with the sound of the crashing Atlantic peppering the days. Sea-U Guest House is the perfect B&B to experience this side of the island; relax in a hammock or take a wander through the tropical gardens - you may even make friends with a green monkey!
If you want to catch a few waves then the south of the island is where you need to be. This area is more developed, with a host of excellent restaurants, bars and shops for you to explore. Southern Palms is the perfect base for your adventures, located in St Lawrence Gap just a short walk from all of the attractions and things to do. Plus, the beach opposite the hotel is an active nesting ground for the endangered Hawksbill Turtle, so be sure to keep an eye out if you visit during hatching season!
Not to be Missed
- Relax on Accra Beach - Located near the village of Hastings, Accra Beach is the largest beach in the area with a backdrop of beautiful trees and swathes of soft, golden sand. Wander along the boardwalk to take in as much of the view as possible.
- Head to Harrison’s Cave - Head to the central uplands of this beautiful island to visit Harrison’s Cave. This underground wonder features towering pillars, flowing streams and plenty of other breathtaking sights.
- Visit The Museum of Parliament - Barbados has the 3rd oldest Parliament in the Commonwealth, which is why a visit to these historic buildings is a must. Located in the capital, Bridgetown, be sure to stop in at the National Heroes Gallery too.
- Experience a tropical paradise at the Flower Forest - If you want to experience Barbadian nature at its finest then head to the Flower Forest; 53.6 acres of protected botanical gardens located 750ft above sea level.
- Take a trip to Oistins Fish Fry - Head down to the fishing town of Oistins on a Friday evening to experience some of the freshest fish on the planet. People come from all over to pile a plate high with delicious lobster, tuna, swordfish, mahi-mahi and much much more - all cooked in front of you. Pull up a chair and listen to the calypso music while the old-timers play dominoes.
Getting to Barbados: Direct flights to Barbados from London take around 8 and a half to 9hrs.
Visa requirements: Visas are not required for citizens of the US, Canada and most European and Commonwealth countries
Currency: The currency in Barbados is Barbadian dollars, although US dollars can often be used. At the time of writing, £1 equals 2.62 Barbadian dollars.
Time zone: Barbados is four hours behind UTC/GMT, using Atlantic Standard Time.
Language: English is the official language in Barbados, although some Bajan dialects may be used in informal settings.