Barbados is the most eastern island chain of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. Culpepper Island also belongs to Barbados. The island is divided into eleven parishes and the capital is Bridgetown on the main island. There are three more important towns: Speightstown, Holetown and Oistins. The temperatures are pleasant throughout the year with 26 °C on average. However, travellers should note the rainy season from June to September as well as the hurricane season.
Barbados is a storybook Caribbean island. White sandy beaches, which stretch for miles, turquoise water and coconut palms allure numerous holidaymakers to this recreational paradise every year. The islands were once completely vegetated by tropical rainforest but it had to make room for the vast sugar cane plantations. You find beautiful remainders in Turner's Hall Wood on an area of about 18 hectares. In addition, there are several mahogany forests on the island. The most common animal species are the green monkey, the leatherback sea turtle and hummingbirds. The legendary underwater fauna is much richer. Schools of parrotfish and flying fish live in the island's colourful reef. The tourist highlights are the beaches and Barbados has no less than 60 of them on an area of over 180 km².
Travellers see a great collection of magical island plants in the Andromeda Botanic Gardens. You can go for a walk between colourful blossoms and green palms. A natural highlight of a very different kind is the unique Harrison's Cave. Deep limestone grottoes lead to a lush garden, which contains 200 different types of tropical plants, high banana trees and many Caribbean flowers. The last mahogany forests grow in the Barbados Wildlife Reserve and the Flower Forest lies in the hills of Saint Joseph. The Animal Flower Cave in the north has a pearl colour at low tide when countless mussels and sea animals are washed up.
The island's native inhabitants were the Arawak
and the Caribs
. The Europeans only discovered the island in the 16th century
but they were the ones who gave it its name. Pedro Campos
- a discoverer - slashed his way through the long "beards" of the fig trees and simply called the island "the bearded ones
", "los barbados" in Portuguese. One century later, the British
laid claim on the island and used it as an area of sugar cane cultivation
. Barbados is still known as "Little England
". The country only gained independence
in 1966. About 90 percent of the present-day population are descendants of former slaves. A third of all people live in the capital. The inhabitants proudly call themselves Barbadians
. Due to its well-developed tourism and several oil deposits in front of the island, Barbados is one of the wealthiest Caribbean countries
. The Bajans live under the Caribbean motto "Take it easy
". Time is not as important here as in western countries. Holidaymakers best adopt this stress-free attitude to life
and take things easy.
The historical old town and the Garrison Historic Area of Bridgetown have been part of the World Cultural Heritage of the UNESCO for a long time. St. Nicholas Abbey, which was built in 1650 and is the oldest building on Barbados, is also worth seeing. The country home of the famous pirate Sam Lord was built in 1820 and is now called Sam Lord's Castle. A particularly scenic attraction is the 250-year-old Morgan Lewis Windmill. The former sugar windmill is located near Farly Hill Parks. Holetown is a small historical settlement and the place where the first British people arrived by ship. Not far from it you find the Sir Frank Hutson Sugar Museum and the Portvale Sugar Factory. A true highlight is a visit to the Atlantis Submarine Barbados. Visitors can reach a depth of over 30 metres by submarine and experience the island's breathtaking underwater world at close range.
There is no way around the real rum from Barbados. Its good reputation worldwide is justified and the drink probably tastes best in the producing country. Three distilleries offer guided tours and tastings. You can enjoy the rum neat or as part of a fruity cocktail. The typical island cuisine is a mix of African, Caribbean and European influences and is highly recommended. Specialities are all dishes which are made of products from the sea such as the freshly caught flying fish, which is the country's heraldic animal. Barracudas, snappers and kingfish come directly from the sea and are served grilled as well as seasoned the Caribbean way. Other delicacies are the pepperpot (a spicy dish with pork) or the crispy suckling pig. Typical sides are sweet potatoes and baked bananas. The most beautiful shopping streets are Broad, Swan Street and the ones in Pelican Village. Holidaymakers can admire and buy local art handicraft, rum and jewellery made of mussels here. The island also offers a tropical, lively nightlife with many Caribbean pubs, bars and clubs. This way, travellers also feel the holiday atmosphere at night. A special highlight is the Crop Over Festival at the end of the annual sugar cane harvest.
Barbados is without doubt a beach and water sports paradise. Sailing, water skiing, parasailing and many other kinds of water sports are offered at most beaches here. The island is a popular destination among surfers. In addition, Barbados is the site of the Surf World Cup in January. Divers and snorkellers explore the shallow waters of the reefs, sea anglers go out to sea on their own yacht or as part of a fishing group and visitors who want to swim in the Atlantic Ocean take a catamaran and find their favourite location. There is also a wide range of activities you can do on shore. Holidaymakers can take part in horse races, play golf, polo or run a marathon on the island. The locals enjoy playing cricket the most and viewers have fun watching their matches.
Apart from the hurricane season from July to October, Barbados is a worthwhile travel destination at any time of the year. If you want to rent a car, you should note that there is left-hand traffic and that you have to get a permission to drive on the island beforehand.