Last month, we blogged about some of our favorite island destinations for a summer vacation. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be focusing on individual islands as part of our Destination Spotlight series. Get ready to learn something new about your favorite destinations!
Looking for a taste of England in the Caribbean? Barbados was founded as a British colony in 1625, is still very English today. In fact, the island is commonly referenced as “Little England” and bears some of the same characteristics.
Some fun facts about Barbados:
- Barbados was named after the ficus barbata, or bearded fig tree
- Someone from Barbados is called a Bajan
- Barbados is the birthplace of rum.
- Barbados has high levels of education (nearly 99% literacy rate), income and life expectancy. Bajans frequently live to 100 years old.
- If you don’t believe that Bajans are crazy about cricket, take a look at the country’s five-dollar bill. One of its legendary players, Sir Frank Worrell, is pictured on the currency.
- A 1,000-year-old baobab tree sits on the grounds of the Queen’s Park House in Bridgetown. The tree is something of a mystery because baobabs are native to Africa, and this one predates the arrival of settlers from east of the Atlantic Ocean. Nobody knows how it got there.
This picturesque island still falls on some core English traditions, including afternoon tea time, a love for cricket as well as an emphasis on education and impeccable manners. In fact, some may find the Bajans a little more reserved than other residents of the Caribbean.
Sidebar: This is where we mention that Rihanna is from Barbados. Reserved? Hmmm…
That said, Barbados offers a level of efficiency that is not always found with the relaxed pace of other Caribbean destinations. There is a level of refinement here that upscale travelers will enjoy.
Barbados is a smaller island at only 14 miles wide, but it has a diverse landscape. While Barbados does NOT have the lush rain forests and mountains that you’ll find in other parts of the Caribbean, it does have natural caves, rocky cliffs, blowholes by the sea and miles of sugacane fields.
Sightseeing in Barbados
There is a lot of history in Barbados! It’s a good island for someone who wants to learn as well as relax. A visitor can trek to see the 1,000 year old Baobab tree in Queen’s park, see colorful stained glass at St. Michael’s Cathedral or visit the Mount Gay Rum distillery tour. There are dozens of museums, including the history of sugar making at the Sir Frank Hutson Sugar Museum.
Food Scene in Barbados
Barbados is known as the “Culinary Capital of the Caribbean,’ and even offers some of the only Zagat rated restaurants on the Caribbean sea. One of the most interesting parts of the Barbados culinary scene is how multi-cultural it can be: When in Barbados, you can find Caribbean, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Thai, and Polynesian fare.
A unique time to visit Barbados is in November, with the introduction of the somewhat new Barbados Food and Rum Festival. Barbados is fast becoming known for its appeal to the most seasoned foodies, who continue to flock here for fine dining and beverages in exquisite, internationally acclaimed restaurants.
Today, over 50% of Barbados’ tourism traffic comes from the cruise lines (the second busiest cruise port in the Caribbean). Nearly 40 different cruise lines dock in 14 berths in Deep Water Harbour, just west of Bridgetown (the capital). While cruise traffic is heavy, those staying a resorts up the coast will barely notice.
Where to Shop in Barbados
Art galleries and luxury shopping is huge in Barbados. There are four major shopping areas outside of Bridgetown: Sheraton Mall, Dome Mall and Sky Mall (not to be confused with the airplane catalog!) feature local brands. LImegrove LIfestyle Center features upscale brands like Louis Vuitton, Burberry and more.
You should visit Barbados if…
- You like a quiet, sophisticated island with lots of spas, upscale restaurants and shopping
- You have an interest in history, particularly British history
- You like a refined experience with gourmet food options
- You want a place to relax and reconnect as a couple
A huge thank you to Travel 42 and the Barbados Tourism Marketing crew for their help with this destination spotlight! Looking for more info about Barbados? Click on over here to set up your free vacation consultation.