A popular destination for honeymooners, families, couples and groups, Barbados has something for just about everyone. The most eastern island of the Caribbean, Barbados has the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other.
The west coast of the island has coral shore beaches of fine white sands and tranquil waters ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving, the south coast seas offer gentle waves for body surfing and some of the best windsurfing in the world. While the east and north coasts have a lively surf, with the east coast being particularly popular with experienced surfers.
The parish of Christ Church is located on the south western coast of Barbados, formed by a series of small resorts linked by a coastal highway. The most lively tourist area is St Lawrence Gap, home to many restaurants, bars and clubs, while Oistins is its largest town, famous for its weekend ‘fish fry’, where tourists and locals alike congregate to east freshly cooked fish, served with the local dish macaroni pie.
The popular St Lawrence Gap is a hive of activity both day and night, ‘the Gap’ as it is known locally is the main centre for nightlife and dining. The numerous bars and nightclubs offer a diverse range of music, including of course reggae there’s also rock, calypso, R&B, salsa and live music most nights of the week, there’s also an excellent range of restaurants offering a variety of international cuisines. Backing onto Dover Beach, this area has plenty of hotels, guesthouses and apartments to choose from.
Located on the west coast, St James is the upmarket parish, where you’ll find many excellent hotels and the crème de la crème of fine dining restaurants and duty free shopping as well as the Royal Westmore Golf club.
The largest town in St James is Holetown which was the first area to be settled in Barbados in 1627 and home to several good restaurants, shopping areas, hotels and night spots.
The main shopping area is Broad Street in the capital city, Bridgetown, here you will find two large department stores along with duty-free shops. Pelican Village, on the outskirts of Bridgetown, is the place to get local handicrafts including baskets, wall hangings, batik, pottery, artwork and more.
Chattel Village shopping areas are becoming increasingly popular in Barbados, these feature shops made in traditional chattel house style (originally the design of the plantation workers home, modest wooden buildings set on blocks so that they could be easily moved from one lease holding to another), selling souvenirs, gifts, clothing and local arts and crafts. You can find these chattel villages at Holetown and St Lawrence Gap.
In addition to sunbathing, there are other pursuits to enjoy; including the national passion of cricket, golf, polo and watersports. Barbados is a great place for snorkelling and scuba diving thanks to the miles of coral rich with marine life, wrecks and numerous locations for equipment hire.
Tour the island on an organised tour or hire a car and explore the island, there are some pleasant tropical gardens to wander and of course plenty of sandy beaches to laze on. For an underwater adventure with a difference take a submarine tour and enjoy the exotic fish in the blue Caribbean Sea, or visit the Mount Gay Rum factory and discover the secrets behind Barbados’ finest spirit.
Another must see is Harrison’s Cave, this crystallised limestone cavern is at least 2.3km long and its largest cavern ‘the Great Hall’ measures 15metres (50feet) high. An active cave as it carries water; the stalagmites are growing by less than the thickness of a piece of paper each year (apparently very fast in geological terms).
For some organised evening entertainment the Plantation Theatre combines dinner with dancing, enjoy a 3-course meal followed by the spectacular Bajan Roots and Rhtyhms floorshow, which depicts Barbadian life and history through song and dance.
With the average annual temperature at 24-29ºC (75-80ºF), the weather in Barbados doesn’t vary much from season to season. The hurricane season runs from June until November, when humidity can be quite unpleasant.
High season runs from mid-December to mid-April when there is little rain and lower humidity thanks to the cooling trade winds.
Bus: There are two types of bus service in Barbados; blue buses with yellow stripes are government-owned and the smaller yellow and blue striped buses are privately owned. The main difference is the privately owned mini-buses tend to have shorter routes than the government buses. Exact change is required for both buses and generally their destination is displayed on the front of the bus.
Taxi: As is the case on many Caribbean islands, cabs are not metered in Barbados and rates are regulated by the government (approx $20 (USD) per hour), always agree a fare before your journey. Those travelling with small children should bring their own child seats as taxis do not provide them.
Car hire: Traffic in Barbados drives on the left hand side making it easier for us Brits, along with well maintained roads and low speed limits (20mph within city limits and 45mph in the countryside). Those travelling with small children should bring their own child seats as car hire companies do not provide them.Posted : Friday, March 5th, 2010 at 11:46