Caribbean: Barbados, an Overview

Escape from it all (including hurricanes) on this small island famous for windsurfing, rum and cricket.

This small, sophisticated expat island in the southeast Caribbean offers plenty of British charm sans the gray weather (it even lies outside the hurricane zone!). Here, afternoon tea and cricket matches mix with spicy food and sherbet-shaded sunsets for a stress-free escape.

In a Word: Sports

Bajans (as Barbados residents are called) are crazy about cricket (May to December) and golf (four courses dot the island). The rocky, wind-whipped Atlantic coast is one of the world's best windsurfing spots, while the tranquil west coast that faces the Caribbean Sea -- called the Platinum Coast -- is lined with posh resorts.

Why We'd Go: 6 Features You'll Never Forget

  • Rum: Yo, ho, ho! Sip this sweet elixir, called Bajan Gold, at the Mount Gay Rum Visitors Centre or the Malibu Visitors Centre, where Malibu Caribbean White Rum with Coconut is produced.
  • Green monkeys: Frolic freely with Mother Nature's little creatures at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, then picnic at picturesque Farley Hill National Park.
  • Tunnel of love: Gaze at the 40-foot waterfall and crystallized limestone formations of mile-long Harrison's Cave. Reserve your seats on the tour tram early by calling (246) 438-6640.
  • Sailing: Hop aboard a catamaran in Bridgetown for lunchtime snorkeling along the coast, or set sail for a sunset dinner cruise and sip a Banks Beer as the sun surrenders to stars.
  • Island eats: Indulge your taste buds with spicy French-Caribbean cuisine at the cliff-side tables of Carambola, or grab a seat on the intimate, torchlit terrace overlooking the Caribbean at The Cliff.
  • The Beat: Dance the night away in "irie" oblivion to live soca, reggae, or calypso at Harbour Lights or After Dark, home of the longest bar on the island, both in the Christ Church area.

Pucker Up: Best Places to Smooch

The Flower Forest near Mt. Hillaby offers a heady mix of aphrodisiac fragrances and tropical flora to lull you into each other's arms.

When to Go: Barbados at its Best

  • Best Weather: The climate in Barbados is tropical with the rainy season lasting from June through December. The temperature is usually pleasant and hurricanes are infrequent.
  • Best Prices: early September through mid-December; exact rates vary by hotel.
  • Festival Highlights: Crop-Over, Barbados' most popular and festive celebration, originated in the late 18th century as a festival marking the end of sugar harvest season. Today, Crop-Over, which takes place during July and early August, is a colorful festival highlighting the many facets of Bajan culture and culminates with the Carnival parade.

Photo: Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia

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