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Reviewed on 9 Sep 2019
Reviewed on 15 Sep 2019
Barbados has truly been blessed by nature, as is clearly demonstrated by its fantastic fine-powdered sand beaches, set among the brilliant turquoise waters of its bays and by its stunning sunsets. The island also boasts an array of welcoming resorts, a vast choice of hotels, and a vibrant nightlife. That's to say nothing of the glorious history that awaits you in its UNESCO-listed capital and the dramatic surf on its east coast, as well as its gorgeous gardens, colourful coral and world-class cricketing scene.
Like we said, Barbados has been truly blessed.
This island nation in the Caribbean lies just northeast of Venezuela. Its long association with the UK has led it to being known as Little Britain, but Bajans have a proud culture and rich tradition all of their own.
The name Barbados comes from the Portuguese explorer, Pedro Campos. In 1536 he called the island Os Barbados, or the bearded ones, on seeing its fig trees and their hanging aerial roots.
Barbados officially exists as a country with 11 parishes, which can be simplified into 4 broad areas to help you find your ideal hotel.
The capital city of Bridgetown is a highly attractive spot to set up shop. There are a number of wonderful sights here and the streets are packed with charming Colonial buildings. Pedestrianised streets, such as Swan Street, are perfect for shopping and buzz with the vibrant energy of Bajan culture. The entire downtown area leading to the garrison has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s important to note that staying in the capital does not mean forsaking your beach hotel in Barbados. There are a number of beachfront hotels near the garrison, such as the Radisson Aquatica Resort or the Hilton Barbados Resort; you’ll enjoy the cultural highlights of the capital and proximity to some of the nation’s best beaches, bringing the best of both worlds to your doorstep.
The east coast is Barbados at its most rugged. The resorts here tend to be quieter and more isolated than the rest of the island, and the Atlantic Ocean regularly ensures conditions that are ideal for surfers. This area consists of the parishes of Saint Andrew, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Joseph and Saint Thomas.
The waters may be calmer on the Caribbean side of the island, but it’s also livelier at night and plays host to a great deal more visitors. This area consists of the parishes of Saint James, Saint Peter and Saint Lucy, and is centred around the towns of Holetown and Speightstown.
The south of the island sees things get even more vibrant. Saint Lawrence Gap is where many of Barbados’ most popular bars, restaurants and clubs are located. This is also the most convenient area for access to Grantley Adams International Airport. This quarter comprises the parishes of Christ Church and Saint Philip.
Every guest should sample the local cuisine. Street vendors will offer you fish cakes, barbecued pig tails, fresh coconut and roasted peanuts, but there are also many fine restaurants to visit, including The Cliff and Cin Cin, both on the west coast.
Elsewhere it’s not hard to find flying fish, the symbol of the island. These are usually served lightly breaded and fried, with a yellow sauce. You could also try pepperpot, a traditional pork stew in a spicy, brown sauce, and cutters, delicious sandwiches made with salt bread.
The place to sample the best of Bajan cuisine is the town of Oistins, on the south coast. Every Friday a fish fry is held here where you can buy fresh fish cooked according to local recipes, before joining the locals to dance the night away until the early hours of the morning.
The main thing to do in Barbados, however, is get out there and enjoy those beaches. Surfing, kite surfing, scuba diving and many other water sports are available, alongside boat trips exploring the secluded coves and turquoise waters of the island.
If you can tear yourself away from the beach there is a fantastic Botanical Garden in the interior or the chance to catch an innings of the national sport, cricket, at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown.
The history of Barbados is inextricably linked to sugar plantations, so it seems only fair to drop by the capital’s Mount Gay Rum Distillery for a tour and a spot of rum tasting. Or you can take a tram ride underground to escape the sun for an afternoon in Harrison's Cave, Saint Thomas, where stalactites, stalagmites and waterfalls await you.
If further beachside bliss is calling your name, you need look no further than Florida. Hotels in Miami promise the finest sands North America has to offer, while Orlando hotels place its nightlife highlights a stone’s throw away.
You can save even more money on your booking if you arrange both your flight and your hotel in Barbados with Expedia.