YEAR OF TRAVEL: 2013
HOW WE GOT THERE: Flight to Grantley Adams airport, 10 miles from the capital, Bridgetown.
FLIGHT HIGHLIGHTS: Disembarking the plane; a sign when arriving at Customs says, “Relax, you’re in Barbados”.
Barbados is an island paradise. The crystal blue water, beaches of bright white sand, and relaxed and friendly population make it the perfect getaway destination.
The island is small, at 21 miles long. The west side faces the Caribbean, and the sea is calm and flat. The east side is exposed to the Atlantic, where the waves are much choppier. Both sides of the island have breathtaking beaches.
There’s scope for diving, snorkeling, and surfing, or just lounging on a beach with a rum punch.
Hire a sailboat for the day and swim with giant turtles.
There’s also local history to explore, with sugar plantations, rum-making, and the spectacular northern tip of the island.
* Weather-wise, the best time to go is January through May. Christmas is high season, and can be the most expensive time of the year.
* Currency: the Barbados dollar is pegged at around 2:1 to the US dollar, so prices are pretty easy to navigate. Just divide everything by two for U.S prices.
* It’s best to rent a car to see the sights and get round the island. Car hire can be found in Bridgetown.
* Buy some Mount Gay rum to bring back to make cocktails at home.
* Oistins Fish Market; Speightstown; St. James’s; and the beaches (see below).
* Sandy Lane – Some of the fanciest hotels in the Caribbean are along the west coast of the island, including Sandy Lane, if you really want to splurge.
* The Crane
– Daphne’s, to dine among celebrities.
– Tides, for amazing sea views.
– Or, for a relaxed Friday night of dancing and fried flying fish: Oistin’s Fish Fry.
– Beaches: There are many amazing beaches around the island. Try Crane Beach on the east coast, where the waves are rough enough to surf. Surely one of the most beautiful in the world. There’s also Accra Beach on the south of the island. Another favorite: Bottom Bay Beach.
– St. Nicholas Abbey, a historical plantation house with working plantation with a sugar mill and rum production facility.
– And if you’re like one of many travelers who like visiting caves, we have one for you: Harrison’s Cave.
For more information about Barbados and what this lovely island has to offer, please visit the country’s tourism web site.
Other Entries In Our “Stopover” Series:
Lead-In: PHB.cz (Richard Semik)/Shutterstock.com
Surfing Pic: Scott T Slattery/Shutterstock.com
Map: Globe Turner/Shutterstock.com