Quick Guide to Barbados
If you're looking for the quintessential Caribbean holiday, few islands do better than Barbados. Particularly popular with Brits, the island's colonial history merges with a colourful modern culture, celebrating everything from cricket matches to carnivals.
But for most visitors Barbados' big draw is the beaches. You will find all the postcard Caribbean features; palm trees, pristine sands, azure blue warm waters and lush tropical scenery. Head to the prestigious Platinum Coast to see the best of the sugar sands - but be warned, Platinum also refers to the most popular credit card colour in these parts.
Barbados has a wild side too: check out the nightlife of St Lawrence Gap to see for yourself. Or the east coast - it's fully exposed to the power of the Atlantic, giving it an altogether different look and feel. In short, it's easy to see why this island attracts half a million visitors every year and will continue to do so in 2017. Have we tempted you into jetting off on a last minute break yet?
Fab holidays for:
Honeymoons, Diving, Blissful beaches
Did you know?
Barbados is very flat - reaching only 1,100 feet at its peak, which is only just higher than The Shard in London!
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Where to stay on Barbados holidays
Barbados is a small island that's crammed full of places to stay. The fashionable west coast is the most expensive location with its classic Caribbean feel. If you're looking for a more affordable west coast experience from your getaway, you should head for Speightstown where the beaches are just as beautiful but the hotel prices a little more manageable. Those looking for a cheap package trip or an all inclusive holiday should aim for the south coast where there's a wider variety of resort hotels. In general, Barbados holidays never fail to disappoint, no matter where you are.
What to do on Holiday in Barbados
Along the west coast of Barbados, coral reefs dot the shoreline which makes snorkelling and scuba diving extremely popular. In Bridgetown you can wander in National Heroes Square and tour the distillery of Mount Gay Rum, the oldest rum in the world. History buffs will also love the Barbados National Museum in the capital. St Lawrence Gap is arguably the centre of the south coast scene with a vast array of bars, restaurants and nightlife.
There are all sorts of events happening here in 2017 and 2018, from cricket to film festivals. Why not visit in February to catch the Holetown Festival, or the Barbados Windfest in May, a three-day wind and kite surfing competition? Bridgetown is the place to be in the summer, with the biggest street fair of the year on Spring Garden Highway in July and Kadooment Day in August which is simply one big street party.
Party in the streets at dawn and dance to calypso beats during Crop Over Festival - held during the summer months, it's one long party that's been thrown since the 1780s. The Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival in November is a safe bet for a good time, and your 2017 holiday will only be made better by watching some of the world's best cinema at December's Barbados International Film Festival.
Family Holidays to Barbados
Thanks to its divine weather, miles of resorts, simple food and calm beaches, Barbados is a popular destination for families. While we're all for spending the entirety of your 2017 holiday on the beach, your kids may be craving a bit more adventure - and Barbados delivers in spades!
The Barbados Wildlife Park lets your little ones have a close encounter with local wildlife, and the island's caves and their unique formations also make for a great day trip. Pirate ship, the Jolly Roger, is a firm island favourite and departs from Bridgetown daily - kids can swing from ropes, walk the plank and swim with turtles while you sample the island's rum at the bar. Many resorts are family friendly, and offer watersports and snorkelling, which will keep the kids entertained for hours. Or, just let them loose at the pool while you enjoy a cocktail and catch some rays.
Activities in Barbados
- The east coast of Barbados is a surfer's dream, with strong Atlantic waves that shaped the imposing cliffs on the shoreline. The Silver Sands resort is one of the windsurfing and kite surfing capitals of the Caribbean, and further south you can find two of the most stunning beaches on the island, Crane Beach and Foul Bay. The latter is more popular with Bajans than tourists, so pay a visit if you're looking to beat the crowds and to experience a piece of the authentic Barbados lifestyle.
- Harrison Caves
- In the centre of the island, away from the glamorous west coast and the developed south, the terrain becomes really unusual. Underneath rolling hills are Harrison's Caves, a three-mile-long limestone cavern with beautiful rock formations and underground lakes. Around the lush green hills you can also explore the little villages and sugar plantations dotted here and there for a taste of Barbados's colonial history.
- Oistins Fish Fry
- Every Friday in Oistins at around 7pm - it's fish time! Enjoy lively locals dancing to reggae music and steel bands whilst sampling some of the finest fish in the area - all this for just under $10 too.
- Hunte's Gardens
- The gardens are located in the lush countryside in the parish of St. Joseph. Walk around and see an array of trees, foliage and tropical flowers. Birds and animals are fond of the gardens too, and you may make a few new furry or chirpy friends whilst you're there. The owner Anthony Hume is still a prominent figure around the place, and you might even bump into him for a chat whilst exploring the gardens.
- If you're heading to Barbados, then be prepared to hit the beach and just enjoy the sun. There's no shortage of beaches, with many providing you soft golden sands, palm trees and ridiculously clear waters, giving you your own slice of tropical paradise.
Getting to Barbados
Direct flights to Barbados are available from a number of UK airports, including Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow, through Thomson Flights, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. You can also find cheap flights departing from different UK airports such as Newcastle and Cardiff if you opt for indirect, but these flights are often more costly than the direct route, strange as it may seem! A direct flight from the UK will take about eight or nine hours.
Barbados's only airport, Grantley Adams International, is about ten miles east of the capital city, Bridgetown, in the south of the island. You can get from the airport to Bridgetown easily, by taxi or bus. Taxis with an 'Authorised Airport Taxi' badge adhere to official fares, unlike private taxis. In any case, neither use meters so it's best to agree on a price before setting off. Buses travel between the airport and Bridgetown every hour.
Getting around Barbados
You can get to most places on the island easily by bus. The blue buses with a yellow stripe are government-operated public buses and yellow buses are run by private operators, but all buses charge the same fare, which is B$1.50 to get anywhere on the island. You also shouldn't have a problem finding a taxi in popular tourist areas. They're marked with a 'Z' on the number plate and usually a taxi sign on the roof. Otherwise you might wish to hire a moped; just watch out on some of the more treacherous roads. Tourists also often hire bicycles in Barbados which is enjoyable because in most of the more popular areas the terrain is fairly flat.
If you'd like total freedom for getting around Barbados, we'd recommend that you hire a car for your holiday. Barbados car hire differs from many Western destinations as you're unlikely to find agents for the major global car hire companies there, but plenty of independent companies instead; despite the variety of providers though, prices don't tend to vary much. Most of these companies won't have booths at the airport but will be happy to delivery your car there or to your hotel.
When to go to Barbados
Barbados's peak season is between mid-December and mid-April, which is when the beaches will be at their busiest and getting here will be at its most expensive. It's popular at this time of year for good reason though; getting away from winter in the UK is a major draw, and plus you'll get to experience festivals like the Holetown Festival and the Barbados Jazz Festival!
The 'low season' is considered to be from July to November so holiday deals will be a bit more plentiful. The weather will be just as beautiful as in the high season but prices will be much lower, great if you're after a romantic holiday without the price tag.