Where it is: On the west coast
Why it’s special: Although it’s hugely popular, the size of Paynes Bay means it rarely gets over-crowded, particularly at the northern end furthest from the local hotels.
Added extras: The reef in front of the Treasure Beach Hotel is a perfect spot for snorkelling and spotting a wide variety of marine life. Even better is the fact that turtles gather offshore. Local tours will take you out to the turtles, which are so tame they’ll let you swim amongst them and even touch their shells. Visit early in the morning before too many people arrive, and your experience with the turtles will convince you that this is one of the best Caribbean vacation spots.
The beaches may help to make Barbados one of the leading Caribbean tourist attractions, but there’s much more than sun, sea and sand to recommend it. Visit Harrison’s Caves
to enjoy a stunning underground tour through caverns and caves, explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site
of the garrison at Bridgetown for a taste of the rich history of the island and stop off at the Mount Gay Rum Distillery
. At the distillery, you’ll discover what a vital role the production of rum has played in creating the identity and even the landscape of the island and, having seen how it’s created, you’ll of course get to sample some of the most famous Barbados export.LUSH
The interior landscape of Barbados is packed with lush vegetation and exotic wildlife. For a somewhat eccentric view of the local flora and fauna pay a visit to Hunte’s Garden
. Created within a deep sinkhole, this botanical wonderland features not only the palms and vivid flowers you’d expect, but also background classical music and seating upon which you can relax and soak it all in.SHOPPING
If you want to snap up some locally made items, then pop along to the Pelican Craft Centre
, on the outskirts of the capital Bridgetown
. Cheapside Market, which is just a quick stroll away, offers the chance to buy local fruit and vegetables and, on a Friday and Saturday, mix with the friendly, lively locals.CONTRASTS
Deciding exactly where to go in Barbados can sometimes be tricky because of the sheer variety on offer. What can be guaranteed, however, is that you won’t be disappointed whatever you decide to do. From the upmarket beaches and villas of the west coast to the bustling nightlife
of the south coast and the untouched tranquillity of the east coast, every facet of Barbados offers another experience. The interior rises to the spectacular viewing point of Mount Hillaby and is dotted with fields of sugar cane, historic plantation houses and vibrant botanical gardens. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Barbados, and the one which has people returning time after time, is the people who call it home. Bajans
are friendly, welcoming and justly proud of their island nation. Whether you’re eating out in one of the many top-class restaurants, partying the night away in the clubs and bars of St Lawrence Gap
or taking in the spectacle of the annual Carnival, you’ll enjoy the kind of hospitality that simply won’t be matched anywhere else.