It’s no secret that Barbados is a favourite vacation spot for many visitors around the globe. In just 166 square miles, there are so many options for activities, food and just plain fun. Some travel for hours to escape the cold winters and bask in the tropical sunshine. Others come to enjoy the local cultural events throughout the year and some make the trip simply to spend time with friends and family. Whatever the reason, our visitors always speak of how refreshed and rejuvenated they feel when the time comes to leave (with many feeling sorry that they have to go). That’s because Barbados is known to have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of residents and visitors alike. Here’s how!
Spas, Massages and More
There are several spas in Barbados which offer a range of treatments including massages, facials, manicures etc. And if you’re staying at a property without those on-site facilities, you can visit a spa or book an appointment to have a massage or beauty therapist come to you. To some, these sessions may seem like vanity, but such self-indulgence has been proven to have benefits to both mental and physical well being. Spa days in Barbados can help to relieve stress and anxiety and promote better sleep. They can also support weight loss, relieve muscular pains, address several skin problems, lower blood pressure and detoxify the body. Barbados is home to world class Caribbean spas here are a few properties you can consider for your visit:
- Accra Beach Hotel and Chakra Spa Barbados
- Golden Sands Hotel (Golden Touch Spa Barbados)
- Hilton Barbados Spa
- Reflections Spa Barbados
- Schotherapy Internationale Day Spa
- Sandy Lane Spa Barbados
- The Crane Resort
Sanctuary for Meditation
When talking about health and wellbeing, we cannot forget that our mental health plays an important role. Meditation promotes a healthy mental state by reducing anxiety, enhancing self-awareness and reducing stress. Some people practice meditation by going to a physical place with a like-minded group, while others are drawn to a more private, personal experience. Either way, you can find a suitable haven for wellness in Barbados, where you can retreat to focus on your mental wellbeing. Meditation truly is a personal journey, and it is best experienced in an environment which speaks to your own needs.
That environment may be at the seashore, in a garden, at the top of a serene hill or in a forested area. Whatever your preference, you can find a sanctuary for meditation here on the island. If you’re looking for a group or guided meditation experience or a yoga retreat in the Caribbean, check these out:
- Ocean View Yoga Retreat Caribbean (at Ocean Echo Stables)
- Santosha Yoga Barbados
- Sunshine Kula Yoga
- Yoga Samudra
Have you ever considered going to the “natural gym” in Barbados? There are several ways to explore Barbados while giving yourself a full-body workout. Many of the activities on land and sea are fun and physically challenging and can help to build strength and endurance. Enjoy hiking, cycling, paddle boarding, surfing, swimming or taking a run along the roads or on the boardwalks and more – all while experiencing and enjoying the island.
These activities are a definite plus for your wellness as they can reduce the risk of health challenges associated with conditions such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. They also help with weight management, increasing your energy and reducing fatigue. And if that isn’t enough, these types of activities help to boost your mood, reduce anxiety and improve your sleep. So if you’re travelling to Barbados, remember to walk with some gear to join in the workout fun! Check out some of the providers who offer these physically challenging activities:
- Barbados Hiking Association
- Barry’s Surf Barbados
- Bike Caribbean
- Paddle Barbados
- Xtreme Hikers Barbados
Many visitors love Barbados because of the pristine beaches that surround the island. On the eastern side, you will find generally rougher waters since that is where the Atlantic Ocean meets the land. However, on the western side, beaches are significantly calmer. Those west coast beaches are particularly suited for persons who want to exercise in the water or have a quiet swim without the rolling waves. It’s a form of aqua therapy. The therapeutic properties of the water are ideal for pain relief associated with conditions such as arthritis. The ocean also provides a safe environment to increase your strength and flexibility without putting your body through extreme physical strain. What’s even better is that if you feel sore or tired after a workout, you can simply sit in the water and allow it to soothe tired or tight muscles.
Get Away and Destress
We all know that stress is a silent killer and affects how we function in our day-to-day lives. We encounter stressors at home, at work or elsewhere, and sometimes we just need to get away from it all… and breathe. This is where a Caribbean spa vacation comes in... A short stay on the island allows you to simply destress and relax. Unfortunately, we can’t wave a magic wand to make your stressors disappear, but taking a break from it all can help to give you the clarity you need to better deal with your challenges. While in Barbados, you can disconnect from the world and simply take time to enjoy the things that you love – from watching a sunset to rock climbing to surfing giant waves. You can find spaces which are ideal for unwinding. Overall, escaping to Barbados can help you to stay positive and better manage the challenges that come with daily life.
Barbados has long been marketed for its sun, sea and sand. Still, there is also a growing interest in other features that the island has to offer, such as beautifully landscaped gardens and natural forested areas. Such features provide the perfect backdrop for natures therapy which allows you to explore your relationship with nature. Communing with nature engages all of your senses and promotes a healthy state of mind by improving your mood and reducing mental fatigue.
Activities in nature, such as walking and forest bathing, also help to positively affect creativity and problem-solving abilities. Your respiratory system will welcome the clean air of forested areas, especially if you are accustomed to concrete jungles and industrial environments. In Barbados, you can have these experiences in nature on your own, or you can contact some of the persons who lead guided tours/hikes and forest bathing sessions. Here are some of the places you can visit to enjoy the nature of the island:
- Andromeda Botanic Gardens
- Coco Hill Forest
- Flower Forest
- Hunte’s Gardens
- Orchid World
- Welchman Hall Gully
Sunshine, Glorious Sunshine!
Barbados has a tropical climate, and that means year-round warm temperatures – and sunshine! It is the norm to visit beaches and see tourists lying in the sun and enjoying the heat. Other than a golden tan, exposure to sunlight has positive benefits since it allows our bodies to naturally produce Vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Being in the warm sun is also great for boosting your mood and has been proven to counter the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder which tends to occur during winter (when there’s less sunshine). Being in the sun has also been said to build your immune system since white blood cells increase with sun exposure. In short, a visit to an island where there are 12 months of tropical sunshine is almost guaranteed to make you feel good – just remember to wear your sunblock to protect your skin from the risk of sunburn!
Laid Back Lifestyle
Sometimes we get into a routine where rushing becomes the norm. We rush to get ready for work or school; rush to get the bus or beat the traffic; rush to eat breakfast or lunch; rush to meet deadlines. We can get so accustomed to that hectic way of life that we don’t realise the negative impact that it has on our health. It causes stress, anxiety and several other complications that can be difficult to detect at an early stage - vacationing in Barbados counters that constant need to be in a hurry. It may take some getting used to, but the island life is laid back, and people are generally in less of a rush than in larger countries. You will likely encounter the ‘island time’ phenomenon, where schedules are flexible, and people are not as fixated about being ‘on time’. You can relax and enjoy the slower pace of life in Barbados, but be warned – if nothing else, your flight will likely be scheduled to leave on time!
That constant rush in big cities often means that people don’t have time to stop and chat while conducting business or moving from one place to another. In Barbados, however, we have a different reality. It is common for strangers to smile and say ‘hello’ when passing you on the street or say ‘sorry’ for accidentally bouncing into you. You can often find someone willing to share a story, help you if you’re lost, give advice on what to eat and where to go. And while this might seem insignificant, these small gestures can have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing. Such social contact makes you feel welcomed, reduces anxiety and can also contribute to a longer, happier life.
If your main reason for visiting Barbados is just to have fun, that’s ok! But just know that even having fun is a significant boost to your health and wellbeing. It reduces stress, improves your energy, increases your confidence and undeniably makes you feel happier. And there are several ways to have fun in Barbados, especially since it’s a part of the lifestyle of the residents. You can participate in the festivals and cultural activities (like Crop Over or Oistins Festival); or visit a rum shop; hang out in Oistins, Holetown, St Lawrence Gap or Worthing Square Food Garden. If you’re a lover of dancing, learn to ‘wuk up’ at a local fete and burn some calories. Come on over and submerge yourself in the culture of the island, all the while enhancing your mental and physical health!