Barbados


Barbados destinations

about While it's justifiably famed for its fantastic beaches, Barbados is an island that has it all. In addition to fine powdery sand and brilliant turquoise bays, you'll find smashing nightlife, a Unesco World Heritage–listed capital, a beautiful interior dotted with gardens, and wild surf on the lonely east coast, all inhabited by a proud and welcoming populace.

There is so much to learn about Barbados! Where do you start? This section of our guide will give you a good base of information to get a feel of the island , what we are about and where we came from.

Barbados is an island of the Lesser Antilles, 21 miles in length, as much as 14 miles in width and divided into 11 parishes. It is located at 13.4N, 15.4W. The island is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic Ocean and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea. Barbados is relatively flat with the exception of one major high point, Mount Hillaby, which measures approximately 1,115 feet or some 343 metres above sea level. The west coast of Barbados offers calm, clear water which is quite conducive to your many beach activities, while the east coast opens up beautifully to crashing waves and an environment that is more suited to sun bathing, walking, jogging, surfing and even meditation.

As of mid-2000, the population of Barbados was recorded at some 274,540. The diverse ancestry of the island attributes to its current unique cultural blend which includes Arawak Indians, British settlers, European Indentured Slaves, African Slaves and East Indians. Overall, the people of Barbados (or Bajans as we are known) are quite friendly so fitting in with locals will lend itself quite easily to your peace of mind.

The Tourism Industry in Barbados is the impetus for the economic development on the island as it has impacted significantly on the lives of all Barbadians. It is a very vital aspect of the economy of Barbados and it is always within our best interest to ensure that your comfort and safety is first and foremost. Despite this, we still strongly recommend you exercise caution with regards to your valuables and even frequenting certain areas.

Barbados is awash with history, the arts, nightlife, fine dining, things to do and even luxury living. Getting around the island is a ‘breeze’ (pun intended) as options are somewhat endless when it comes to your choice of transportation. The people of Barbados are quite helpful when it comes to giving assistance with regards to making your way around the island.

The main language of Barbados is English but bajan dialect (broken English) is widely spoken as it is almost a natural way of life. We can’t promise you that you will always be able to make complete sense of what the people of Barbados have to say but we recommend you give it a listen and even a try, as it will only augur well to adding a ‘sunshine feel’ to your stay on the island.
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Wandering bustling Bridgetown, with its many sights and old colonial buildings, can easily occupy a day. There is good shopping, especially along Broad St and on pedestrian-only Swan St, which buzzes with the rhythms of local culture. The entire downtown area and south to the Garrison was named a Unesco World Heritage site in 2012 for its historical significance.

With a population of about 110,000, Bridgetown is the island's largest and most vibrant city! After all, it is the capital and commercial centre of Barbados. Steeped in rich history and culture, Bridgetown today reflects a mix of the old and the new, with historic sites and buildings sitting amongst modern structures like multi-storey offices, financial institutions and shopping malls.

There is almost always activity in this lively city, as locals and visitors alike go about their business and partake in the diverse shopping, dining and cultural experiences Bridgetown offers. Pleasure craft like yachts, catamarans and fishing boats conveniently dock right in the heart of the city. Visitors will also appreciate the abundance of duty free shopping opportunities available in Bridgetown, as well as the local charm the city brings.

Cool down with a refreshing snow cone Street vendors with their colorful trays of fresh produce and goods can still be found plying their trade in certain locations across Bridgetown. Not to be missed are the enjoyable experiences to be had at local bars and restaurants and the historic walking tours of one of the Caribbean's oldest cities. After a stroll through the city streets, nothing is more refreshing than an ice cold snow cone!

Now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this historic city is also home to the Parliament Buildings of Barbados and the Bridgetown Port where cruise ships dock. Bridgetown is also the central hub for the island's public transport system.

Sights

Bridgetown is a compact city and all the main sights in town are located within walking distance.

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Activities

Boat Trips

Day cruises are a popular way to explore the island, especially the west coast, from a pirate’s vantage point. Many of the larger boats are floating parties, while the smaller operations tend to be more tranquil. For those who want the scuba experience without getting wet, there are submarine cruises. Most boats dock near Bridgetown, but take passengers from across the island; ask about transportation options when you book.

Sleeping

Few visitors stay in Bridgetown and there aren't many accommodations available. Aquatic Gap, just south of town, is the first spot with any hotels to speak of, though it's worth heading the few minutes further to Hastings, Rockley, Worthing, St Lawrence Gap or beyond for a more relaxed beach atmosphere.

Eating

Bridgetown is the best place to enjoy genuine local food and genuine local prices. You can find cheap eats at any of the markets around town, which are generally open from 7am to late afternoon Monday to Saturday.

Drinking & Nightlife

Bridgetown’s many rum shops are patronized by local regulars, though visitors are not unwelcome. Along Baxters Rd, just north of the center, you’ll find a concentration of these bars, where alcohol flows and fish is fried until late at night. Although women will not be turned away, be warned that rum shops are a macho haunt.

On the south side of town, along Bay St, there is another collection of rum shops and bars, but stick to the main drag because one block back you'll be among shady Nelson St's brothels.

For a daylight drink, check out the beach bars right on the sand at the northern end of Carlisle Bay.

Shopping

Broad St, in the city center, is the place for higher-end shopping, while Swan St, one block back, is more blue collar with plenty of shops hawking cheap products.

Travel with Children

Barbados is generally a family-friendly destination. A number of resorts have organized children’s activities or in-house day care and babysitting.

Most beaches are safe for children to play on and many of the southern and western beaches are calm enough for younger swimmers. The east-coast surf is too powerful for novice swimmers of any age.

Older kids enjoy surfing lessons.

LGBT Travellers

Barbados is a conservative and religious place that is generally opposed to homosexuality. That said, there are a few openly gay Bajan couples, although they still tend to be discreet.

Gay visitors to Barbados will need to be judicious outside of international resorts, and especially in smaller, more traditional towns, but are unlikely to run into any major problems.

What to do in Bridgetown

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