Naturally, Barbados is all about the beautiful beaches and the water sports including windsurfing and kite boarding, or the celeb-spotting, rum punch-sipping Catamaran Cruise in which you can partake. But there’s also some interesting natural and historical sightseeing on the island, ranging from the 120-foot plummet into Harrison’s Caves to a tour of George Washington House.
Off-road rum and adventure tours aren't for the faint-hearted.
A huge variety of tours, such as the one offered by the Colony Club, take you around the island.
Barbados is known for its fabulous resorts, which are scattered all over the island. Some of the most luxurious, however, are found on the south and west coasts in the parishes (districts) of Christ Church, where the main airport and town of St. Lawrence are located; St. Michael, with its capital city of Bridgetown; and ritzy St. James, recognized for its noted hangouts in Holetown. While you could get by with shuttles from hotels, to have enough autonomy to cover the mountainous island and visit all eleven parishes, renting or hiring a vehicle is also a possibility.
Barbadians drive on the left hand side of the road.
Take It or Leave It:
While the best deals at the resorts are usually during the summer, it's also hurricane season.
Restaurants in Barbados specialize in fish; in fact, flying fish (served with cou cou, or corn meal) is the national dish. Influences range from West Africa to Portugal and Spain, with a heavy British food culture as well. Hotel concierges are happy to provide recommendations to places like the Waterfront Café or Oistin’s Fish Fry, where locals frequent. Many also overlook the water or are even perched right on the beach, such as Mango’s by the Sea or David’s Place by the Sea.
Take It or Leave It:
Many restaurants offer entertainment of some sort–local musicians, a DJ and dancing.
Be Sure to Sample:
Flying fish with cou cou, salt codfish cakes, pepper pot stew, Bajan black-eyed peas and rice, coconut bread, ginger beer.
Barbados nightlife is some of the best in the Caribbean–just ask Rihanna. Bars, pubs, taverns, rum cruises and restaurants all provide party-like atmospheres in one way or another, ranging from live music to dinner shows to venues like Lexy’s Piano Bar. Densely populated Holetown, where state-of-the-art bars like Priva attract the celeb scene, and British-influenced St. Lawrence are two places to spend an evening drinking, chatting and making island friends.
Barbados has no blood alcohol limit, so stay off the roads if you're unfamiliar with driving British-style.
Unless they're specifically advertising happy hour, most nightlife venues don't really get going until 9 pm.
The island is a shopper's dream: Limegrove is stocked with stylish, chic boutiques; Speightstown is where to go for local arts and crafts; and Chattel Village is rife with souvenirs. Stock up on spices and hot sauces, especially ones based on tamarind, and don’t neglect the sugar and rum factories including Mount Gay Rum Visitors Center and boutique producer St. Nicholas Abbey.
Wrap up shopping early in the afternoon, as traffic around 4 pm anywhere on the island becomes an instant nightmare.
Sherton Mall, which is commercial, and Cave Shepherd, which stocks nothing that you can't get at home.
Best Local Souvenir:
Anything rum, especially the island's famous rum cake.