This Caribbean island gained independence from the UK in 1966 and is famed for its 80-plus beaches. It also has an intriguing history: by 1650 it was the world’s biggest sugar producer, and its people, the Bajans, speak English with a distinct accent, spiced with words in West African-English pidgin.
And, of course, there is the rum. The island is considered the birthplace of the tipple as the Mount Gay distillery, founded in 1703, is believed to produce the region’s oldest rum. No doubt about it, Barbados is a destination that merits raising a glass.
Cruise ships dock at the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal, approximately a mile from the capital city.
The terminal has a range of shopping options, with up to 60 businesses including duty free outlets, clothing stores and plenty of places to pick up souvenirs. There is also a tourist information centre and internet access.
Local artists and school choirs entertain guests from time to time, as do steel and tuk bands.
NEED TO KNOW
Barbados is usually warm all year round. Shopping in Bridgetown is centred on Dacosta’s Mall and Cave Shepherd, although there are plenty of smaller, authentic Bajan shops dotted around the city. There are also four main shopping centres outside of Bridgetown – Sheraton Mall, Dome Mall, Sky Mall and the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre.
The Barbadian dollar is the main currency on the island. Buses are fairly regular, although a taxi could be a better alternative if time is of the essence.
WHAT WE LOVE
Beaches: There’s plenty of choice for sun seekers in Barbados – some are suitable for water sports and surfing, while others are the epitome of relaxation. A smattering of some of the more popular locations include Mullins Beach on the west coast, Gibbes, also on the west of the island, and Enterprise (or Miami) Beach, which is popular with the locals. Safe to say, there’s a beach to suit all tastes.
Rum tour: Crack open a bottle of the island’s favourite tipple on a Barbados rum tour, which includes a visit to the Mount Gay Rum Factory – the oldest distillery on the island, followed by a trip to a number of rum shops. Additional visits to other distilleries are also included.
Historic Bridgetown: The UNESCO-listed historic Bridgetown and its garrison have played an important part in Barbadian history. Bridgetown port has been crucial for trade and the transfer of ideas and culture – Barbados was also the first port call for ships undertaking the transatlantic crossing. The garrison, of course, was present to ensure the island did not slip from English control.
Harrison’s Cave: One of the island’s most prominent natural attractions, this cave is full of stalactites hanging from the roof and stalagmites springing up from the ground. Opened to the public in 1981, Harrison’s Cave is approximately 2.3km long, and tours can last for up to three hours, depending on the type chosen.
- Anyone who wants pristine beaches will feel right at home in Barbados
- Clifftop restaurants serve traditional Caribbean cuisine
- A trip of a lifetime for rum connoisseurs