Caressing breezes, intimate beaches, a romantic past and a graceful pace of life—is it any wonder that lovers adore Barbados?
This island nation is unlike any other in the Caribbean. Geographically, it isn’t even in the Caribbean Sea, but set dreamily apart, 100 kilometres east of St. Lucia. Conjured from coral and limestone, Barbados is all rolling hills, lush with tropical forests and sugarcane. It’s dotted with elegant plantation houses and surrounded by pristine beaches.
What really sets Barbados apart, though, is its mix of warm Caribbean hospitality and cool British style that dates back to the sugar plantations of the 17th century. Today, polo, cricket and afternoon tea are as much a part of Bajan tradition as lively rum shacks, colourful chattel houses and festive fish fries.
Sophisticated, but never stuffy, Barbados is an ideal destination for couples searching for a romantic getaway that offers more than just beautiful sunsets (though it has plenty of those, too).
Other destinations may offer man-made theme parks to keep the kids entertained; in Barbados, nature has created her own. Harrison’s Cave is a massive, living stream cave system that shimmers with stunning limestone formations perched amid deep, crystal-clear pools. Kids of all ages will be awed by the beauty water can leave in its wake.
The many shipwrecks off the coast draw scuba divers beneath the clear Atlantic waters, while snorkellers head to the inshore reefs to swim with friendly leatherback turtles. But visitors don’t need to leave dry land for a Barbados adventure—Island Safari 4×4 tours reveal a hidden side of the island as they race off the beaten track through gullies, forests and seemingly inaccessible parts of the spectacular shoreline.
Barbados is famous for its beaches, with their fine white sand, swaying palm trees and exotic coral formations, such as the ones at Bathsheba. Each beach has its own personality, so there’s bound to be one that suits you, whether it’s the calm waters of the west coast, the pounding surf of the east, the intimate beaches tucked amid the cliffs in the north or the breeziness of the south that makes it so ideal for water sports.
Discover the elegant remnants of Barbados’ colonial past in well-preserved plantation houses like Sunbury House or George Washington House, and explore the living museum (and terrific shopping zone) that is the capital city, Bridgetown. The island’s historic centre and garrison are now on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
No visit to Barbados is complete without a taste of its rum culture. After all, historical documents show the sugarcane spirit was said to be invented here in 1703, and it is still traditional to welcome guests with a frosty glass of rum punch. Visit the Mount Gay Rum Distilleries in Bridgetown, drop by a rum shack or sample what the next generation of craft distillers is working on at St. Nicholas Abbey. And, if you’re visiting in November, savour all that’s delicious at the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival.
The Best of Rum: Tours, Tastings and Tips
From sipping rums and rum-based cocktails to touring distilleries like Mount Gay in Barbados, there are plenty of rum-filled things to do on your next Caribbean vacation. Here, we share everything you need to know about this storied spirit, including its history and tasting tips from rum master blender Joy Spence.
The Best Beaches in Barbados
The small island of Barbados is home to more than 80 beaches that offer thrilling waves for water sports, craggy rock formations and soft, white sand. While each beach has its own merits, here are five that are ideal for relaxing, surfing, dining, playing in the water or enjoying some quality family time.