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An island guide to Barbados – Caribbean coastline, island communities and tropical sunsets

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White powdery sand, sweeping tropical sunsets and a Caribbean warmth that extends to its locals, Barbados offers one of the most idyllic island escapes. Attracting year-round visitors with its balmy temperatures and glistening Caribbean Sea, unsurprisingly, beachside relaxation and water sports remain the two biggest draws to the island.  Away from the developed west and south coasts, however, a hidden world of rolling limestone hills, lush botanical gardens and colonial museums embody the true spirit of Barbados.

Sally & Keith Miller

My Destination local expert on

Barbados

Beaches

 

Beaches and Barbados are like a bucket and spade; they go hand in hand. Undoubtedly forming part of the island’s unrivaled allure, 70 miles of unspoiled coastline shimmer with endless opportunity. On the west coast, you’ll find calm waters ideal for swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing, while on the south coast, choppier waters make for excellent boogie boarding and surfing conditions. The east coast has a few hidden swimming spots; however, high Atlantic waves and rougher sea conditions showcase a different side to the picturesque Bajan landscape. Whichever shoreline you select, though, here on the beaches of Barbados, you’ll witness the laidback island vibe and relaxed local culture.
Boat trips and water sports

 

With everything on offer from snorkeling to scuba diving, jet skiing to kayaking, windsurfing to surfing, and of course, swimming with Bajan sea turtles, the water sports of Barbados are simply incomparable. Plenty of travelers choose to spent time on the island exploring gleaming coral gardens, sunken wrecks and exotic marine life, making Barbados a number one aquatic destination. Sail around the island on a sleek catamaran, bob along the water’s edge on a glass bottom boat, or, plunge beneath the crystal-clear surface to study shoals of tropical fish.

 

 

Arts and culture

 

Boasting such inspirational landscape, it should come as no surprise that Barbados is filled with creative talent. Works by resident artists, artisans and painters decorate the walls of local restaurants, hotels and art galleries all around the island. Breezy and relaxed - like the island itself - these cultural hotspots offer a window into the island’s colonial past as well as a glimpse at its contemporary art trends.

 

 

Nature and wildlife

 

Home to limestone caves, botanical gardens and unique colorful wildlife such as the whistling frog and Barbados Green Monkey, natural attractions are abundant in Barbados. For a local’s favorite, head to the Barbados Wildlife Reserve and Grenade Hall Forest to admire bushy-tailed monkeys scampering around the mahogany forest. Alternatively, marvel at the subterranean waterfalls of Harrison’s Cave or tuck into a gourmet picnic amongst the tropical flora of Hunte’s Garden.

 

 

Rum Shops

 

The birthplace of rum, Barbados has achieved international success with this homegrown spirit. Formed from sugar canes and refined in nearby distilleries, this tasty tipple has become ingrained in local island culture. Rum shops can be found dotted all around Barbados, offering neat or rum cocktails – including the classic rum punch – to weary locals looking for refreshment. Somewhere to unwind, drink and chat amongst friends, rum shops are the perfect place to soak up local Bajan life.