The Island of Barbados
Barbados holds many cultural festivals throughout the year, and visitors who wish to join the party should plan their vacations accordingly. The largest of these is the Crop Over Festival, which begins in July and culminates with the Grand Kadooment Day festivities and street carnival on the first Monday in August. The Holetown Festival takes place in mid-February and the Oistins Fish Festival over the Easter weekend.
For sports lovers, there are usually international cricket matches and an international junior tennis tournament in March or April; also an international hockey festival, usually in August. For those who wish to partake, golf and tennis facilities are available, and of course the variety of water sports provides something for everyone.
The polo season in Barbados runs from January until May, during which a number of visiting teams make the pilgrimage to the island - some, like Cheshire and the Villages, have been coming for over 20 years, and have formed strong bonds of friendship over the years. Polo is played up to the 14 goal level, with the high points of the season being the Breitling Cheshire tour in February and the Colombian Emeralds Barbados Open in April. Match days may change due to inclement weather, so call the Barbados Polo Club hotline.
Numerous cruises are available--from simply eating, drinking, and partying day or night, to fishing, snorkeling, diving, enjoying a swim with the turtles, or even a submarine cruise. There are also horseback and mountain bike tours.
The numerous duty-free shops and many local handicrafts are all worthwhile--pottery shops, shell craft, painted clothing, mahogany craft, paintings by local artists, and bird carvings are all available.
Other places of interest include Harrison's Cave--a spectacular underground cave, Andromeda Gardens--with beautiful tropical plants and flora, a flower forest, and a wildlife reserve with very friendly monkeys!
If your interest is in the traditional Barbadian houses, the Barbados National Trust holds "open houses" weekly from January to April where you can visit some of the island's loveliest private homes and discover more about the island's diverse architecture and history. There are a few old plantation houses that are open to the public throughout the year. There is also a local museum, and you can tour a rum factory, the local brewery, or visit our complete sugar windmill.
Quick Facts About Barbados
- Barbados is 166 square miles divided into 11 parishes
- The average temperature is 84F/31C The island gets over 3.000 hours of sun each year
- The national language is English with a lilting Bajan dialet
- Driving in Barbados is on the left side!
- Currency on this island is the Barbadian dollar (BBD) Typically, it is half the value of the U.S. Dollar
- Barbados has a modern telecommunications interstructure, Internet and e-mail services are available
- North American electric appliances do not need converters
- Green monkeys live throughout the island but not one snake
For more information about other sights and activities on the island, take a look at this interactive map from the Barbados Tourism Authority.
As a tropical island Barbados is home to many beautiful beaches. Barbados beaches are as diverse as the island and everyone has their favourite.
On the calmer west coast, palms sway on white sandy shores while the azure waters lap gently at the shore. Relax onshore soaking up the rays or take a dip in the clear waters. Jetskiing, kayaking, catamaran cruises, swimming and snorkeling all await you.
Heading south you'll continue to find flawless sandy Barbados beaches protected by coral reefs. The more lively surf in the south and south-east are ideal for a host of watersports such as windsurfing, kitesurfing and boogie boarding. If you've never tried these before Barbados is the perfect place to start, hey you're on vacation after all!
Along the east coast the beaches are wide and wind-blown. Here the shore is pounded by the Atlantic making it a delight for the surfers who come from all over the world.
In the north, coral and sandstone cliffs rise straight out of the sea reaching up to a hundred feet in height. But even here, you'll find the occasional sheltered cove.
All along the Barbados shores large and small beaches are dotted with coral formations, the soft coral rocks weathered by the ocean surf, forming abstract sculptures pleasing to an artist's eye.
Barbados beaches are truly some of the most beautiful in the Caribbean, in fact the beach at The Crane was rated "one of the ten best beaches in the world" by Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
Barbados is a coral island and its beaches are made from finely ground coral forming a clean fine grain. There are few beaches that are not fine sand. Natural sand dunes are not common but some exist in Long Bay on the south-west coast.