Affordable Travel Guide to Barbados

A Spot of Tea, Please, Under a Palm Tree on a Beach

Barbados

That’s Barbados! After 300 years of British sovereign rule, Barbados gained its independence in 1966, but judiciously kept the best of its British roots, and is still sometimes referred to as “Little England”. Indeed, it’s one of the few locations in the Caribbean where one can still enjoy cucumber sandwiches and clotted cream at high tea. Civility and sunshine!

There are roughly 270,000 permanent residents in Barbados, many of those of white English ancestry; the balance of the population is the descendants of black slaves that were imported from Africa to work the sugar and banana plantations. Many locals live in the capital, Bridgetown, and are employed by various government agencies, but there is a huge swath of this densely populated island that lives and works around its coastlines, largely the western and southern shores, in the many resorts, hotels and restaurants that make this a tourist mecca, and a haven for folks who favour the creature comforts on a Caribbean vacation or honeymoon.

Barbados has varied terrain, which gives it an interesting topography and more to do than just bask on the white sand beaches, snorkel or tour in a glass-bottom boat. The Island is more or less that shape of a teardrop, so there I no north coast, per se. The beaches and resorts dot the sandy beach of the south and west, and on the east, there is a dramatic change of scenery: rugged terrain, waves crashing into rocks and spewing high in the air, coral reefs and pebbly shorelines.

Because Barbados boasts fertile land, and has a continually warm climate, with no mountains, it produces a range of crops, and is laden with stunning gardens, many private, but some open to the public. There are gobs of colorful flowers amid dense green foliage everywhere you look. Sunsets in Barbados are equally colorful, striated pinks, purples and oranges. It’s a romantic island!

What is there to do in Barbados when you’ve had enough sun and sand? Try these ideas for fun:

  • Rent a moke (similar to a small golf cart) and tour around the island’s parishes.
  • Play golf; there are numerous excellent courses.
  • Walk. Many of the beaches are interconnected and so it is possible to walk for miles (take a hat and sunscreen).
  • Go for a cruise on The Jolly Roger pirate ship; it leaves from the harbor at Bridgetown, and cruises along the western shore (be careful with the complimentary rum punch, it packs a wallop!).

Barbados is an island for the discriminating. Certainly the range of prices for hotels and resorts runs from cheap package deal to high-end all inclusive vacations, but the island and its people are among the more civilized and cultured in the Caribbean. It’s a great place to start if you have never visited the Caribbean before. All that old British influence makes for a delightfully organized, safe and pleasant vacation.

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