3 Things That Set Barbados Apart
Barbados is an intelligent, developed island in the southern Caribbean and also the most British of all of them. There’s cricket, which is the island’s passionate national past time. There’s afternoon tea - another national favorite. There’s also fancy dinners to which one dresses to impress. And yet, with over 70 miles of pristine coastline, Barbados is still distinctly Caribbean in nature. One might call it a sort of sophisticated Caribbean island. The people are well-educated (with a 98% literacy rate) and its capital Bridgetown is cosmopolitan and many of its people well-heeled. Barbados is one unique island, and most definitely worth-seeing.
We’ll begin in Bridgetown, where the capital is in full swing with over 110,000 people in residence. Most people call it “the Town,” and sometimes “the City.” More than half of the island’s residents live here. A few interesting sights to see in the Town are the Barbados Museum, situated within the former British Military Prison. It’s a great place to dive into the local history. Then there’s the Mount Gay Rum Visitors Center which offers a two-hour Bajan lunch tour complete with the island’s signature rum punch. There’s even a cocktail-making contest after the main tour.
Dining & Activities
You’ll probably want to catch a game of cricket at Kensington Oval, Barbados’ answer to Lord’s. Horse racing is the other popular island sport. The Barbados Derby Day and the Barbados Gold Cup Day are the two big horse races on the island. For dining, it’s the local Bajan food which makes a splash on Barbados. Mustor’s Restaurant is a Bridgetown favorite, famous for their homemade burgers, stewed rice and stewed meats. The menu also has goodies like the “flying fish platter,” the “peas and rice with sweet potato and plantains” and a macaroni pie. The setting is casual and it’s a great little place to try the local Bajan food.
Where To Stay
There aren’t a lot of hotels in Bridgetown but two that most people go to are the Hilton Barbados and the Courtyard Bridgetown. The best hotels and resorts are on the coast, however - and there are plenty to choose from. One frugal favorite is the Coral Mist Beach Hotel, located on Worthington Beach. This hotel is just a little over $100 per night. The studios have balconies from which to take in mesmerizing ocean views and the hotel has a gym and outdoor swimming pool.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Tamarind by Elegant Hotels located in St. James. Near to Paynes Bay Beach and the Barbados Polo Club, this hotel runs $500 per night. It’s a definite splurge but if you’re celebrating your honeymoon or another special occasion, it’s well worth it. The suites are absolutely gorgeous, with oversized balconies reaching out to panoramic ocean views. With lots of luxurious packages to choose from, this would be a great place if you’re looking for more of a restorative Barbados beach experience. The resort is spread over a 750-foot long stretch of beach along the island’s west coast. Its has every activity you could possibly want - three swimming pools, restaurants, lounges, waterskiing, snorkeling, windsurfing, sailing, casual dining, fine dining, an array of spa treatments, outdoor lounge chairs from which to sip cocktails, day beds resting on spacious outdoor decks - there’s even a “flying fish kids club.” All are welcome here!
Barbados is also a surfer’s haven, positioned out in the Atlantic Ocean where waves have the wherewithal to travel thousands of miles and then make their way to the coral reefs of Barbados where surfers get to catch the perfect wave. Soup Bowl on Barbados’ eastern coast is known across the world as an optimal surf spot. However, surfers get their pick of the litter as there are also surfing locales along the northwest coast, the west coast and the south coast.
The island’s interior is also a very special place. Sugar cane fields and old plantation homes span the less populated interior and you can tour this area in a number of ways. Many roam across the landscape on horseback while others take the official Barbados safaris. Still others take guided jeep tours. No trip to Barbados would be complete without a trip to Harrison’s Cave, often referred to as the 8th wonder of the world. Located in the central uplands of Barbados, it’s a wondrous crystalized limestone cavern filled with stalactites, stalagmites, streams, waterfalls and reflection lakes.
Like many islands in the Caribbean, Barbados enjoys an average temperature of 86 degrees farenheit all year-round. There’s really no bad time to visit. Although, June through October is hurricane season. The driest months are between February and May and high tourist season runs from December to April.
Barbados is a special place, with its mix of glamour, British colonial flavor, world-class rum and calypso beats. Half-million tourists come here each year to see what the island is all about. Join the crowds and see for yourself!
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