Located towards the east of the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of North America, is the island country of Barbados. Barbados stands out for its tropical beaches, vibrant food and culture, a wide array of activities ranging from sightseeing to snorkelling and its welcoming and hospitable natives. The Island’s historical roots that are tied to the Spanish, Portuguese, African and English travellers and invaders are still visible in the architecture, culture and the overall lives of its native ‘Bajan’ people. The dry season from December to April, with less rainfall and temperatures averaging 86 degrees Fahrenheit is the best time to visit the island to truly immerse yourself in everything that the island has to offer. It is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Caribbean.
Let’s look at some of the top 11 reasons to visit Barbados this year:
Barbados by Jean-Marc Astesana:Flickr [link]
History and Culture
Barbados has established its own distinctive identity drawing upon its West Indian, English and African roots which is evident in the customs, traditions, values and rituals that are expressed through the history, cuisine and the way of life of its people. The locals are called ‘Bajans’ and are known for their lively and high-spirited culture, food and music.
You can delve into the rich historical past of Barbados by visiting one of the numerous museums, churches or other historical sites across the island. The Barbados Museum and Historical Society will allow you to look at some rare West Indian documents, photographs and books highlighting its rich past and the Museum Shop with books, maps and other unique Barbadian souvenirs is the ideal place to shop and take back a piece of this paradise with you when you return.
The George Washington House and Museum will take you back a couple of hundred years with its architectural style, history and the centuries-old mysterious tunnels underlining the house. The Sir Frank Hutson Sugar Museum, Arlington House Museum and the St. Nicholas Abbey are some of the other historical sites that will truly take you back hundreds of years to understand and live through the struggles, pain and victories of its people, making the island country what it is today.
The beaches in the Island are one of the most popular tourist attractions of the country and span for over 70 miles offers you the perfect opportunity to take that calm and laid-back vacation you’ve wanted, away from the chaos and cacophony of the outside world. You can visit some of the popular beaches on the island or take a different route and discover some of the secret beaches, away from the crowd, and immerse yourself in a piece of paradise. The Pebbles beach in Bridgetown boasts of clear waters and magnificent views.
Among the more popular beaches in the Accra beach which is thronged by sea and sunbathers and has access to public transportation and other amenities. The Silver Sands beach and the ever-lively Mullins beach are the perfect locations for sailing, surfing and other adventure water-sports.
Barbados offers a number of activities to satisfy adventurous souls and adrenaline junkies. You can engage in some of the numerous water-sports including jet skiing, surfing and high-octane kitesurfing as well as go on a deep-sea excursion, beach comb or take a small boat trip to swim with the turtles. One can also go kayaking, try your hand at spearfishing, spend a day aboard a luxury catamaran and take a deep-sea fishing charter.
Discovering the water-carved caverns of Harrison’s cave or taking a hike across the Flower forest will refresh and calm your senses, making you want to come back for more.
Birthplace of Rum
The oldest and greatest export of this island is its famous rum. The Barbados experience is incomplete until one has sampled and discovered the stories, mysteries and secrets behind this finest and most celebrated spirit. The island is believed to be the birthplace of rum and the Mount Gay distillery which was founded in 1703 boasts to have produced the oldest rum found anywhere in the world.
The Barbados rum tour will take you back 350 years in time, through the production and distribution of the spirit as well as give you the chance to sample the wide variety of ‘liquid gold’ that the island has to offer.
Barbados is often referred to as the ‘culinary capital of the Caribbean’ for its unique culinary experience stemming from the merging of African, Caribbean, West Indian and European influences. Fish is an important part of the Bajan cuisine and the waters surrounding the island provides it with an abundance of saltwater delicacies including shark, tuna, shrimp and lobster.
The ‘flying fish’ which is also the national symbol of Barbados is a popular delicacy across the island. Some of the traditional favourites that one must try here include the cou-cou, pelau and macaroni pie, rice and peas and the pudding and souse.
Nature and Wildlife
Nature and wildlife are popular reasons to visit Barbados. The subtropical weather has supported a vast array of flora and fauna on the island and nourished lush gardens that are the most varied and exquisite in the world. The island supports two of the rarest sea creatures in the world- the Leatherback Turtles and the Hawksbill.
Green sea turtles can be viewed close to the shore of Mount Standfast and visitors can swim and mingle with them. One will also find Green Monkeys across the island. Some of the most interesting species of wildlife including exotic tropical birds can be seen at the Barbados wildlife reserve.
The Crop Over festival in the months of July and August which is attended by locals and tourists alike is the largest cultural event that takes place on the island. The carnival-like festival marks the end of the sugar cane growing season and showcases the island’s Calypso and Soca music and features various musical competitions and activities.
You can delve into the culture of the locals as they celebrate with vigour and vitality, in keeping with their Caribbean heritage. The Holetown festival which takes place in mid-February features street parties, parades and market stalls giving you the chance to showcase your dance moves to local folk music.
The people of this island country demonstrate a passion for a wide array of sporting activities including horseracing, water sports, polo, golf and the crowd favourite- cricket. The island boasts of a number of world-class sports facilities which have drawn competitors and sports enthusiasts from overseas for national and international tournaments.
Sir Garfield Sobers, who is regarded as the greatest all-rounder to ever play cricket is from Barbados. The most famous cricket ground is the Kensington Oval which is located in Bridgetown. The Cricket Legends of Barbados Museum in Fontabelle packed with memorabilia back from the early 1900s will take you through the wonders and treasures of the sport.
Barbados is one of the most coveted duty-free shopping destinations in the Western Hemisphere. You can find the highest quality products here including fine crystals, fragrances, jewellery and leather goods.
You can also take a stroll through the local markets and take home exquisite collectables and fine art crafted by the local craftsmen of the island. Special markets and craft fairs also feature some of the top works created by the artists of the Island.
Barbados is the perfect destination that suits the likes of the rich and famous. The island provides you with peace and privacy from the outside world making it the go-to destination to unwind and rejuvenate yourselves. Plush, exclusive hotels and resorts with top-end amenities and services line the shores of the island.
The warm hospitality of the Bajan people and the accessibility to services for self-indulgence and pampering make this the most preferred destination by those seeking luxury.
Music, dance and socialising are an integral part of the lives of the locals here. Nightclubs are mostly located towards the south coast of the island with music catering to the likes of calypso, reggae and pop.
Hotels offer dinner shows where you will be enthralled by the limbo stunts, fire eating and stilt walkers as they entertain you under the night sky. You will also notice gyrations on the dance floor as the Bajans lose themselves and showcase their mind-blowing dance moves. You’ll get a hand of this soon enough and by the end of the evening, you’ll find yourself swaying and moving like a true local.