From the rum-swilling buccaneers and colonial sugar barons of old, to the modern day jet set playing cat-and-mouse with the paparazzi on board their luxury yachts, Barbados has long enticed adventurers and pleasure seekers to its platinum sands. Today this tiny island in the eastern Caribbean offers everything from magnificent, tranquil beaches to dramatic cliffs, rugged rolling hills, superb restaurants and picture-perfect golf courses. And it’s particularly popular with British travellers; the quaint little villages, with their churches and cricket pitches, are rather redolent of home, albeit with the occasional monkey in the trees to remind you that you’re in the tropics.
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The west coast is where it’s at for endless white sand beaches and grandiose high end hotels, and if you need a new outfit for dinner then hit the chic boutiques of Holetown’s Limegrove shopping mall and get your fix of designer shopping. Jump on a local reggae bus to get into the island spirit, or hire a car and spend a more sedate afternoon exploring the east coast’s sleepy local villages and dramatic Atlantic coastline. Bajans and tourists alike head to the buzzing bars of St Lawrence Gap in the south of the island to party when the sun goes down, and the Friday night fish fry at Oistins is a veritable Barbados institution. The bustling capital, Bridgetown, is also well worth a visit, home to colourful chattel houses, rum shops aplenty and some impressive colonial architecture.
Dining out on Barbados can be smart or barefoot, with reservations essential in high season. We highly recommend The Cliff (simply the best restaurant in the Caribbean), but you’ll be spoilt for choice as there are so many other superb places to eat on the island, including Daphne’s, elegant Cin Cin by the Sea and the cool, contemporary Lone Star Garage. For a taste of authentic Bajan cuisine, try Angry Annie’s or Ragamuffins in Holetown, Pisces at St. Lawrence Gap or Champers overlooking Accra Beach.
Beyond the beach...
Visit the impressive Harrison’s Cave with its amazing gallery of stalactites and stalagmites. Then head to the Barbados Wildlife Reserve where you can stroll freely among the animals. Spend the rest of the day wandering around the beautiful Andromeda Botanical Gardens, a six-acre garden with one of the largest collections of tropical plants in the Caribbean.
Oistins Fish Fry
This little fishing village on the south coast comes alive every Friday evening with a lively party atmosphere. The local fishermen cook their catch of the day, which they serve up with big helpings of macaroni pie (the Bajan staple) and lots of fresh salads. The setting is very rustic and it’s definitely not fine dining, but the fish is fresh out of the sea and tastes amazing. Go early if you want to browse the souvenir stalls, or later for the dancing and partying which will take you into the early hours.
In Barbados most people think that west is best, but if you want to blow the cobwebs away and see a totally different side to the island, hire a jeep and spend a few hours exploring the rugged Atlantic east coast. Wild, deserted beaches and sleepy local villages are here in abundance and you’ll love Bathsheba, the main fishing village in the parish of Saint Joseph.
Day trip to the Grenadines
Sailing around the Grenadines is an unforgettable experience and we can help you arrange it. Fly from Barbados to Union Island where you’ll board a catamaran and set off for Palm Island to swim, snorkel and enjoy the beach. You’ll then sail to Mayreau and Salt Whistle Bay, before reaching the stunning Tobago Cays for more swimming and snorkelling with the turtles on Horseshoe Reef.
The Insider's Guide to Barbados
For some useful background information on responsible tourism issues in Barbados, as well as practical tips on what you can do to make a positive difference, check out the Travel Foundation's Insider's Guide to the island...
Recently the Caribtours team was fortunate enough to be invited to Barbados to experience one of our most popular destinations first hand, and although for most of us it wasn't our first trip to the island, it was a timely reminder of just why it remains such a popular destination.
Barbados enjoys excellent, regular air services from the UK. All flights are non-stop and flying time is approximately 8 hrs 45 mins.
British Airways Up to 10 departures per week from Gatwick in high season and daily in low season.
Virgin Atlantic Daily departures from Gatwick and up to two departures per week from Manchester.
Note: All our inclusive holiday prices are based on British Airways World Traveller or Virgin Atlantic Economy flights.
4 hours behind GMT and 5 hours behind BST.
Barbados dollar. US dollars and major credit cards are widely accepted.
A full British passport is required for Barbados and it should be valid for 6 months after the return date of your holiday. Visas are not required for British citizens. No special health documentation is necessary for residents of the UK who have not recently visited parts of the world where cholera or yellow fever is a problem.
It is illegal to wear any camouflage clothing anywhere on the island. Any camouflage clothing found by customs will be confiscated and not returned.
Please note that as of 1 October 2010, smoking is prohibited in all indoor areas in Barbados, including guest rooms, balconies, restaurants and bars. Smoking will still be permitted in designated outdoor locations.