Barbados is known for being the birthplace of rum and the pop star Rihanna, as well as being the winter escape choice for celebs such as Simon Cowell and Wayne and Coleen Rooney. But believe me – there is so much more to this beautiful island.
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT BARBADOS
Barbados boasts a year-round temperate climate that rarely drops below 70 degrees (21 degrees Celsius)
November through June clear skies and sunny days attract the majority of visitors to the island. Christmas and New Year see a peak in occupancy and consequently, prices soar. The best time to visit Barbados is between July and November. Though these months fall within the Caribbean’s hurricane season, hurricanes rarely hit the island, and you could attend one of the lively Crop Over Festival activities if you vacation during this time of year. Don’t forget you will also have the opportunity to walk next to Rihanna in the Carnaval.
For travelers who crave an appealing blend of price, weather, and activity, May is the perfect time to visit. Most of the island’s main attractions are still open, the rainy season has yet to set in, and the winter crowds have long since dispersed.
Barbados is divided into 11 parishes, but for ease of planning your visit, I can tell you there are really only three areas to consider when booking accommodation. For the vacation rentals on Barbados with the best view check Keycaribe.
THE WEST COAST – SPRING GARDEN TO SPEIGHTSTOWN
Known as Barbados’ Platinum Coast, the west is home to manicured beaches, mill-pond calm ocean, and luxury resorts. Plan to stay on the west coast if you have a flexible budget and are keen to sample the very best of island life.
THE EAST COAST – CRANE BEACH TO PIE CORNER
Tranquil and unspoiled the east coast of the island is ideal for travelers looking for a quintessential Barbados escape. Battered by Atlantic breaks the coastline is juxtaposed to that of the west; the beaches are sculpted into undulating dunes and the palm trees grow crooked under the constant strain of onshore winds.
There are very few places to stay on the east coast, however, the Atlantis Hotel is ideal for visitors keen to explore Bathsheba and the rolling hills of the island’s interior.
THE SOUTH COAST – CRANE BEACH TO BRIDGETOWN
Heavily developed and home to the country’s capital Bridgetown, the south coast is the epicenter of the island’s tourist trade. Wide swathes of flat sandy beach and calm bays are perfect for families and couples looking to relax in the sun.
The south is also the center of the island’s party scene which is based in and around St. Lawrence Gap. Affordable accommodation options range from $50 to $180 per night. Don’t forget to check out self-catered options on Keycaribe.
By renting, you can still enjoy all the amenities and benefits as an owner would. These units are homes away from home complete with kitchen facilities, air conditioning, TVs, washer/dryers, dining/living rooms and more! You’ll be dazzled by all the amazing on-site amenities like private beaches, pools, spas, game rooms, ocean-view dining and other enticing activities.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT BARBADOS
Barbados is an island where by and large everything works (transport, communication etc) and you can find almost anything you need. Having said that, visitors should make allowances for the island mentality that makes Barbados what it is, a paradisical island escape.
When one thinks of Bajan Food and drinks, you can’t help but wonder where this will all lead to. Food and drinks throughout the island of Barbados are a superb combination of present and past recipes that have all been uniquely preserved and creatively manipulated.
Bajan food and drinks make culinary arts in Barbados truly stand out. An amalgamation of a strong English, Indian and African influence fused with the availability of freshly grown local produce has added further impact to what we now know as our very own Bajan food and drinks.
Barbados boasts a number of major supermarket chains that stock the majority of items you’ll find in your stores at home. You should note that almost all food and beverage products are imported and so will likely be more expensive than in the UK and major US cities.
sider’s A traditional Bajan meal can be bought in a rum shop – these come in all shapes and sizes and are found in all neighborhoods and towns on the island – for around BB$25. Currently, this is around US$12 and £9. It will consist of chicken, pork, or fish, with macaroni pie, cou cou, or potato, and salad.
BARBADIAN LAWS AND CUSTOMS
Tipping is welcomed (10% is standard) although not expected. Double check to make sure gratuity has not been included in your bill.
The Caribbean style of dancing, especially in bars and clubs, is far removed from that in the USA and Europe. Don’t be alarmed if you see party goers grinding and wining up against each other into the wee small hours.
Topless and nude sunbathing is illegal in Barbados.
It’s an offense for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing. The recognizable print is reserved for the island’s military.
DRIVING IN BARBADOS
Be aware that the rules of the road are practiced in a rather relaxed manner on the island. Indicating appears to be optional, while horn hooting is customary and can mean anything from “Hello mate” to “I’m turning left and you need to get out of my way”.
There is currently no drink-drive limit, however, a driver’s blood alcohol level is still recorded at the scene of any major accident.
Take extra care at dusk as many vehicles drive without lights until long after sunset.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT ON BARBADOS
The public transport system is relatively simple. Routes go one of two ways (to or from the capital) along the three major routes on the island.
Passengers can choose between a blue government owned the bus, a yellow privately owned bus – which often blasts out reggae and soca music from a home-built stereo system, and a privately owned taxi known as a Zadar – noted for their erratic driving style and probably not the safest option.
All buses have the final destination on a wooden plaque in their front window.
Be aware that the potency of the rum punch served across the island can vary dramatically. Those that stew their brew serve up a stronger hit, so remember to pace yourself when trying somewhere new for your sundowners.
You’ll probably find that you’ll be approached by a beach vendor on the pretense selling you a shell necklace, and when you decline they may offer you drugs instead. Politely decline, there’s nothing sinister to be wary of, the locals are business savvy and take opportunities to earn when they can.
Barbados has strict drug laws and it is not advisable to partake in recreational use whilst on the island.