Barbados Travel Guide

Barbados Vacations

Barbados, often called the “Little England” of the Caribbean, blends the finer elements of British tradition with warm island hospitality. Barbados is one of the first democracies in the New World and a regional leader in education and commerce. Explore the many beaches, rolling countryside, charming villages, old sugar mills and plantations that represent the colonial past of the island. Tour the East Coast where the Atlantic Ocean’s waves are a surfer’s paradise. Shop in the capital city or stay out late to party in the nightlife. The average annual temperature ranges from 70°F–87°F.

Easternmost of the Lesser Antilles, Barbados sits apart from its peers both geographically and culturally speaking. Though independent since 1966, Barbados was a British subject for three long and prosperous centuries; unlike other nearby isles, it was never a pawn in territorial bickering and so displays to this day the white-glove customs of a parliamentary society. Not thatBarbados lacks authentic West Indian charm; far from it. Time and again, travelers remark on the festive street life, the fresh spicy food, and the inclusive warmth of their Bajan (native Barbadian) hosts.

Befitting its British ties, Barbados is a more formal (and pricey) island than most. In the best restaurants, jackets are required for dinner, and nowhere is topless or nude bathing allowed. High tea and cricket are cultural fixtures, driving is on the left, and casinos are nonexistent. Though casual outposts are hardly rare, this island is not an ideal choice for travelers who want to lounge round the clock in bikini and flip flops or dance till dawn. Nor is it ideal for those who want isolation or unspoiled wilderness, for Barbados is as populous as it is temperate and welcoming. Two hundred and fifty thousand people inhabit 300 square miles, and while much of the interior offers a serene vista of sugar fields and, to the north, rough green moors, the island’s longtime agricultural prominence entailed widespread deforestation.

Sporty travelers, however, will be thrilled with the variety of gamesmanship and recreation. Barbados boasts three fine golf courses, numerous tennis and squash courts, and, for the avid spectator, horse racing and polo. Since coral reefs hug the island on all sides, scuba and snorkeling are excellent (though marine life has not been as aggressively protected as on other islands). The underwater caves of the rugged north coast are a favorite haunt of experienced divers, while the south coast is a mecca for windsurfers, who love the heady currents of the open sea off Oistins.

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