For many travelers, Barbados is one of those special places that keeps them coming back, year after year. With spectacular white sand beaches and sparkling turquoise surf, a vibrant local culture and bustling city vibe, this island is unlike any other in the Caribbean. From rum shacks to fish markets, lush, tropical mountains and wild, deserted coastline, Barbados is a destination that’s pretty hard to beat. Here are 7 reasons why we can’t seem to stay away.
1. Beaches for all
It’s not on every island that you find beaches for every type of traveler, but Barbados has all the bases covered: All along the posh West Coast, the water is clear, shallow and calm. Protected from the wind, these shores are ideal for families with small children. On the South Coast, the water is a bit livelier and wavy, perfect for diving or for those who are just learning how to surf. For strong swimmers and seasoned surfers, there’s no better place to be than Bathsheba, a rugged part of the East Coast on the Atlantic. Unspoiled surf for miles, this is truly a big wave paradise.
2. Oistins Fish Fry
Every Friday night, locals and tourists alike head to Oistins, a fishing village on the South Coast for their informal weekly celebration of food, music and drinks. With many vendors to choose from, just look for the one that has the biggest crowd and take your pick of what was caught fresh that day. Top off your grilled or fried fish with a local Banks beer, life doesn’t get much better.
3. Hitting The Links
With some of the best championship courses in the Caribbean, Barbados not only offers visitors some of the most exclusive courses around, but the views from the fairways are enough to make you skip the cart and take the time to walk. From the Sandy Lane Golf Club (where Tiger Woods was married) to Apes Hill and Rockley Golf and Country Club, there’s no shortage of glorious greens here.
4. Rum shops
A fundamental part of Bajan culture, rum is the drink of choice for many islanders, and rum shops can be found almost everywhere you go. But this isn’t the clear white liquid you mix with a Coke (although you certainly can); drinking the local rum here is more like savoring a good scotch– straight up with some ice on the side. Deep, flavorful, caramel colored and complex, if you weren’t a rum fan when you arrived, you will be before you leave.
5. Tip Top Cuisine
The food scene in Barbados is a cut above. With a strong local food culture as well as as lots of European influences, there are plenty of food options for all tastes and budgets. Aside from the popular local food chain Chefette (for the best rotis around), and the famous flying fish sandwiches at Cutters, there is also amazing Indian food at Aspara Samudra, incredible Italian at Cin Cin’s and for a very special evening, The Cliff is one of the top restaurants in the whole Caribbean.
6. Undisturbed East
Not only a surfer’s happy place, the East Coast is where many locals go to get away from the tourists and daily bustle that exists on the rest of the island. In fact, many Bajans take vacations or weekend long trips to this side of the island to soak up the wild landscapes, admire the famous rock formations along the beach, and picnic in Bathsheba park.
7. Private Villas
There’s no better way to experience the island than within the comfort of your own private villa. With the freedom to explore Barbados and all its charm at your leisure, you can take a day to lounge by the pool or relax with a book on the beach, then head out to dinner, or have something prepared by a top local chef right in the comfort of your home.
Where to stay in Barbados
Images: c/o Sandy Lane; The Cliff/Gareth Sambidge; Shutterstock