Did you know that Barbados is the most popular island throughout the Caribbean? It makes sense when there’s so much for tourists to see and do on a vacation there. But for someone who has never experienced Barbados, you might not know exactly what to expect. That’s why we want to share some tips on what the island is like, what kind of activities it offers, and everything else you can expect from this luxurious tropical vacation.
All About the Glittering Sandy Beaches
If you’re planning to bring the whole family to Barbados, the beaches on the southern and western coasts are great places to visit. The water on the West Coast is extremely calm so it’s ideal for little ones or people who just want to relax. The most family-friendly locations are Accra, Folkestone, Miami, and Brighton. Each of these beaches comes with beach rentals, public facilities, and restaurants either right there on the beach or nearby.
More experienced and looking for an adventure? Think about heading to the island’s eastern side. Seek out Cattlewash. It borders the Atlantic and has some crazy waves that surfers will want to check out. However, it’s not the best spot for swimming so keep that in mind. The water can be rough so it’s best for those who want a serious adventure.
What to Know About Customs and the Locals
Are you worried about fitting in and getting along with the locals? One of the things you should know is that Barbados is an island full of friendly individuals. There’s no need to worry about feeling out of place. Everyone is polite and willing to help with whatever you need.
As far as the culture goes, Barbados has a mix of African and British traditions. The people there love telling visitors about the island and will always respond to a hearty hello. Locals tend to prefer that visitors dress modestly when away from the beach and at bars, restaurants, or even their vacation homes. As such, there is no nude bathing on this island.
Time of Year to Visit Barbados
One of the biggest perks of visiting Barbados is the outstanding weather at all times of the year. It’s nearly always warm so there isn’t a bad time to go, but the prices and weather do vary to some extent based on when you choose to take your trip. The peak travel period for Barbados starts in November until Easter. The Christmas and New Years period is highly popular so book well in advance.
Cuisine to Enjoy on the Island
If you try nothing else that is Barbados related in terms of food, the national dish is a good way to go. This is flying fish and cou-cou, which can be ordered with fried, steamed, baked, or grilled fish. The cou-cou is a mixture of okra and cornmeal that offers a creamy texture. Another local favorite is pudding and souse, which incorporates pickled pork and sweet potato.
Pickling is popular with all sorts of dishes like breadfruit, pork, and sweet potatoes. The pickling is done with ingredients including cucumber, hot peppers, lime, and onion. Going out for lunch? Try cutters, which are made of Bajan salt bread, and your choice of egg, fish, cheese, ham, or chicken livers. Some other dishes you can expect to see in Barbados include macaroni pie and plantains.
Popular Restaurants Throughout Barbados
No matter what kind of cuisine you’re in the mood for, Barbados is bound to have restaurants to serve it. The island has a fast-food chain called Chefette for those who want cheap roti and pizza. If you want to try some great cutters, Cuz’s Fish Stand is considered a great option and is down on the beach in Bridgetown.
For family meals on the south coast, guests can visit places like McBride’s Pub, Lucky Horseshoe, Harlequin Restaurant, and Café Sol Mexican Grill. Affordable fish dinners can also be found on the southern coast of Oistins if you head to the Oistin’s Fish Fry on Friday evening.
The Top Attractions to Visit on the Island
One of the most popular attractions in Barbados is Harrison’s Cave, which offers access to some of the most natural wonders in the Caribbean. Some of the other places that you might want to visit include the Folkstone Marine Park coral reef, the Welchman Hall Gulley nature park, and the Barbados Wildlife Reserve.
If you want to take in a historic site, the capital of Bridgeton has an old garrison and several parliament buildings. The building housing the Barbados Museum is at the garrison, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also acts as the headquarters for the Barbados Museum and Historical Society.
Barbados’ Best Shopping Destinations
The island has a huge number of duty-free shops, shopping malls, and gift shows where you can get souvenirs and more. Many of the gift shops are located on the island and feature inexpensive unique local crafts. You should also keep in mind that the local vendors are happy to haggle over prices for items like jewelry and beach wraps, especially if you’re buying several things at once.
The prime luxury mall on Barbados is the Limegrove Lifestyle Center that features the luxury fashion houses and fabulous eateries.
You can find locally handcrafted pottery on the island at places like Earthworks Pottery in St. Thomas Parrish. Some of the other souvenirs that are popular among tourists including handmade jewelry, locally woven baskets, and wood carvings. The locally-made rum is also a fantastic souvenir, as is the Bajan rum cake and the hot pepper sauce. Most of these items can be found at any supermarket.
Where to Stay on Barbados
Barbados is a beautiful place that is filled with things to see and do. The cuisine is magnificent, the sights are breathtaking, and the locals are friendly. If you are spending some time in the Caribbean, this is where you want to do it.
The most popular location for accommodations is along the West Coast north of Bridgetown and south of Speightstown.
Along this stretch you will find gorgeous beachfront complex such as Old Trees and Schooner Bay with magnificent beachfront estates such as villa Mirador and the ultraluxurious villa Kiko.
Barbados features golf communities with luxury estates. Sandy Lane villas and villas at Royal Westmoreland are ideal accommodations for those seeking a country club experience with golf outings.
Barbados has an accommodation for all tastes and budgets.