It’s hard to describe exactly what makes Barbados so special. Read below all about Barbados and what makes it the ideal place for your holiday destination. The quintessence of the Bajan experience is the island’s iconic beauty and people. They exude a warmth and friendliness that capture your heart and with nearly 350 years of British rule many are ardent Anglophiles. Here it is considered one of the most stable island-nations in the Caribbean, perhaps due in part to the exceptionally high literacy rate of 98 per cent. More than 40 per cent of visitors to the island return, and the British truly see Barbados as a home from home. Everything is geared to enable the tourist to relax, and you won’t find a more comprehensive array of sport facilities in the Caribbean, together with modern music and lively entertainment to keep night-owls amused until dawn.
Natural attractions on the Island are plentiful, including tropical fish and coral, Harrisons Caves, Andromeda Gardens, The Flower Forset, The Wild Life Reserve, Orchid World, Sunbury Plantation House, Fisherpond Plantation House (can book for dinner) and shopping at Walkers World.
The English settled here in 1627 at Holetown and stayed until independence in 1966. The island is 14 miles wide by 21 miles long and lies outside the main island chain in the path of the cooling trade winds. This small pear-shaped island has about 260,000 inhabitants, although you will rarely be aware of crowds, except on shopping day in Bridgetown, the Capital. Driving is on the left and the island is divided into 11 parishes. St James on the West Coast is home to Porters Court.
The language is English with Bajan dialect due to a blend of English, African and North American cultures. It is tropically beautiful from pristine Caribbean beaches edged with palms, to the windswept Atlantic coast with its high cliffs and rugged appeal. Unlike the neighbouring volcanic islands, Barbados is capped by limestone and coral, and when rain falls it is trapped underground to be drawn in a pure state from wells. Hence, it is free from many tropical diseases. It is not deemed necessary to have yellow fever or typhoid vaccinations here but it is if you visit Trinidad and Tobago. With an average annual temperature of 26 degrees it’s no wonder Barbados is named ‘The Island in the Sun’.
British passport holders do not need a visa, but your passport should be valid for at least six months after your arrival. You must also be able to show a return or onward ticket.
The average annual temperature is 26 degrees, with no big differences from month to month. Rainfall occurs mostly between June and November but tends to be of the ‘heavy afternoon shower’ variety and it’s warm! Last hurricane was Janet in 1955.
Barbados is four hours behind GMT, or five hours behind BST. It takes about eight hours to fly there from the UK.
The currency is in the Barbadian dollar (Bds$). Barbadian dollars and US dollars can both be used – US$1 is worth about two Bajans dollars. Credit cards are accepted in most places, you can also make cash withdrawals at banks and ATM’s
Bring lightweight clothes for the tropics. While not enforcing a dress code, some of the swankier restaurants on the West Coast are quite dressy places in the evenings. Don’t forget sunglasses sunblock and beach footwear. Topless sunbathing is frowned upon by the locals, as is wearing skimpy beach gear away from the beach.
If you plan to hire a car, a Barbados driving permit is required, available from car hire companies for Bds$10. You should also bring your national driving licence or an international driving permit.
Barbados, and particularly the west coast, has a number of top quality restaurants. However many of these also match London prices. There are listings for all the restaurants on the island in the villa guide. Below are some of our recommendations.
Gourmet Restaurants Reservations recommended
The Cliff Beach Club. 432 0797
The Cliff 432-1922
L’Acajou Sandy lane 444-2000
Lone Star 419 0599. A 5-minute walk from the villa
Tides 432 8356
Fish Pot 439 2604
The Lobster Pot 432-0287 (Provides transport)
Casual Dining just turn up
Jujus 5 min walk from the villa
Zaccios – 432 0134
Patisserie Flindt (just on the right as you get into Holetown) sell tasty salads, rolls, sandwiches, quiches, etc for lunch on the deck or for a picnic on a day out. The cakes are fabulous and it’s worth going down for morning coffee or afternoon tea.
Good Choice Chinese – 432 8249 Sunset Crest
East Winds – Chinese – towards Speightstown
Sittar – Indian, Good to eat in or takeaway. In Holetown
The Monkey Bar at Sandy Lane Hotel is a wonderful “grown up” cocktail bar, well worth a visit.
For sports fans, there are a few sports bars in Holetown that regularly show major football games, boxing, etc – the Surfside is a casual outdoor place on the beach opposite the petrol station and the sports bar at the Mango Bay hotel is indoor and air-conditioned. The Coach House Pub along the coast to the South also regularly shows English football matches.
The Lone Star and most of the West Coast hotels also have bars where it is not mandatory to eat
Hands-on approach to guests’ wellbeing is available by visiting a host of spas offering luxurious treatments:
-Té Spa at Villa Nova, St John 246 433 1524 www.villanovabarbados.com
-The Spa at Sandy Lane, St James 444 2000 www.sandylane.com
-The House, Paynes Bay, St James 432 5525 www.eleganthotels.com
-Royal Westmoreland Golf & Country Club, St James 422 4653 www.royal-westmoreland.com
There is no need to stay on the beach on a Barbados villa holiday. Just visit the above website and view the numerous activities available during your holiday rental. Our luxury villa is situated within easy reach of everything.
Every week in Barbados you will find plenty to do and see from water sports to hiking to fish markets to world class restaurants with world class prices. Polo, jazz, golf, snorkelling, swimming with turtles, deep sea fishing, night clubbing, shopping, eating, drinking.
Barbados in a Nutshell:
FOR WATER SPORTS ON THE WEST COAST OF BARBADOS:-
SHORT VIDEOS OF THE BEACHES OF BARBADOS.
INS AND OUTS OF BARBADOS.
BARBADOS WILDLIFE RESERVE.
GYMS & WELLNESS.
ST. NICHOLAS ABBEY.
LIMEGROVE LIFESTYLE CENTRE.
CURRENCY CONVERTER:- If you wish to see how much the pounds sterling (United Kingdom Pounds – GBP) rates on this web site currently equate to in any other currency – (e.g. United States Dollars – USD) – click on:- www.xe.com/ucc
BARBADOS CRICKET:– For information relating to Cricket in Barbados www.windiescricket.com
BARBADOS HORSE RACING:- For information relating to race days at The Garrison Savannah course
THE BARBADOS CONCORDE EXPERIENCE:- For information relating to The Barbados Concorde Experience click on:- www.barbadosconcorde.com
HARRISON’S CAVE IN BARBADOS:- For information relating to Harrison’s Cave email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbados is special because there is so much to see in such a small area. The landscape changes often from parish to parish and there are more attractions per square kilometer than in any other Caribbean island.
There are many ways to see the Island, and tours by Land Rover, coach, mini van, limousine, taxi or helicopter are available. Information at villa.
Andromeda Botanic Gardens in Bathsheba, St Joseph – Six acres of brilliant blooms and lush flora– the garden is home to a spectacular collection of heliconia, orchids, bromeliads, hibiscus, palms, and other tropical species.
Hunte’s Gardens – Centrally located in lush hills of St. Joseph’s, are conveniently accessible from all around Barbados. A picturesque and easy-to-walk path offers many surprises, thanks to the superbly created series of mini-gardens embedded within the main large unit, combining vibrant colours and textures of rare exotic plants to offer the visitor a most uplifting and fulfilling experience – www.huntesgardensbarbados.com
The Flower Forest – A must for flower lovers. This serene garden has some of the best views on the island. It overlooks the stunning Scotland District and the wild East Coast. You can walk along trails of this beautiful garden and admire the tropical blooms from all corners of the world.
Orchid World – Set amongst the sugar cane fields in the parish of St George. Thousands of orchids, vivid colours along the paths are unbelievable.
Earthworks – a working pottery producing unique green and blue coloured pieces.
The Garrison Historic Tour
Allows you to return to the past as they take you on a quest to discover the heritage of Barbados with one of the world’s oldest Military Garrisons and Cemeteries. Listen to stories of the past, as you board an old Barbadian bus.
On Sundays, Hike Barbados offers free hikes in the morning and afternoon to both visitors and locals. See the real Barbados learn interesting trivia from the extremely knowledgeable guides. Visit www.barbados.org/events
Among the sugar cane and woods in the interior of Barbados are a handful of historic houses, lovingly restored by their owners. Most began life as the homes of successful cane planters, with long, shaded verandas from where they could survey their estates and elegant dining rooms where they entertained. As the sugar business became more competitive, the homes lost their grandeur, but three are now more splendid than ever and open to the public.
Sunbury Plantation House in St Philip – in the South-East of the island, all the rooms are open for viewing, and are full of antiques, pictures and mementoes recalling 300 years of Barbadian affluence. The house is remarkably airy and, to add to the feeling of relaxation, a small restaurant and shop can be found in the garden behind the house. Tel: 423 6270 www.barbadosgreathouse.com
Fisherpond plantation house – In the centre of the island and also dating from the 17th century restored by John and Rain Chandler. They have filled it with period furniture, collections and paintings. Visitors can relive a bygone era by booking dinner at the house. Tel: 433 1754
Francia Plantation, just to the south, is still owned and occupied by descendants of the original planter and has spacious tropical gardens and terraced lawns to explore as well as the house. Inside, the panelled entrance hall, antique furniture, maps and prints and magnificent chandelier with etched hurricane shades all give proof as to why Francia has been designated a house of architectural interest by the Barbados National Trust. Tel: 429 0474
St Nicholas Abbey – never really an abbey; local speculation says it was just added to impress – in St Peter dates from around 1650. It makes a good addition to a day out along the East Coast, with spectacular hill top views on the drive there, of the panorama over wild Bathsheba. Tel: 422 8725
A less grand building design can be seen all over Barbados. The simple wooden, two-room chattel house was a worker’s home originally designed for portability in case of eviction by the all-powerful plantation bosses. First built from North American pine, the fronts were symmetrical with a central door and a window either side, a steep gabled roof on top. Often there’s a veranda out front and, increasingly de rigueur for some these days, a satellite dish. Few chattel houses are built now – sturdier concrete is favoured – but older examples still remain an attractive feature all over the island. Barbados National Trust Tel: 426 2421.
Malibu Beach Club and Visitor Centre – if you would like to learn how one of the world’s most popular rum is made and a chance to purchase from the gift shop an exciting array of Malibu souvenir items. There is a breathtaking beach where you can enjoy a cool Malibu cocktail.
First the history of Mount Gay, a lesson in refining, ageing, blending and bottling, then sampling. There is a gift shop and restaurant with a view of the sea. Enjoy.