Barbados: A bit of Britain in the tropics…polo and cricket…very good restaurants and nightlife…beautiful white sandy beaches edging a calm turquoise sea and facing a tropical sunset…one of our favorite islands.
Barbados is often referred to as the gem of the Caribbean. Steeped in English tradition, Barbados has been providing the royal treatment to the wealthy and famous for centuries. The British influence remains quite strong and most hotels still serve afternoon tea and cricket is the national pastime. Bajans, as the islanders are known, have perfected combining British-style manners with a Caribbean friendliness and openness-a combination that makes travelers feel most welcome and pampered. The mood on the island is unmistakably civilized with a British air of formality.
An enchanting island, Barbados is culturally rich and blessed with beautiful white sand beaches and a strong infrastructure, which has enticed investors from around the globe to build magnificent homes along the shores of the renowned West Coast. From stately plantation great houses to ornate chattel houses, the island has a wonderful tradition of stylish homes.
Barbados offers many activities and attractions that are perfect for a family vacation. Explore the island capital of Bridgetown where the careenage is lined with boats, bars and boutiques and Trafalgar Square has a statue of Lord Nelson that predates London's by 36 years. Explore the ocean depths in an Atlantis Submarine, stroll through botanical gardens, explore subterranean caves and watch history come alive in the restored Plantation Houses.
Barbados offers the opportunity to enjoy all conceivable watersports…from swimming and snorkeling to Barbados diving, water skiing, parasailing, jet skiing, windsurfing and sailing. Barbados offers the full catalog of Caribbean Watersports. Barbados diving is one of the more entertaining and active expeditions.
Barbados Diving and Snorkeling: Barbados diving spots offer exceptional close-in snorkeling directly off their spectacular white sand beaches. The best underwater adventures are found on the west coast of the island where reefs, shipwrecks and myriads of aquatic life abound. Barbados Watersports provide the perfect opportunity to enjoy an active Barbados diving and snorkeling, making your Barbados vacation even more enjoyable.
Barbados water sports are unique opportunity to explore the option of Barbados diving. There are over 20 fabulous Barbados diving locations surrounding the island's coasts. Many divers come to Barbados because they have come to love the Barbados diving facilities. Many of these same Barbados diving locales are also ideal for snorkeling in Barbados. Much of the best Barbados diving is in the serene waters of the Western coast. There are sunken ships and coral reefs to explore in some cases while diving in Barbados.
There are many Barbados diving spots to choose from. Each Barbados diving spot offers something different, allowing for all levels of experience to participate in diving in Barbados. Some Barbados diving spots have incredibly close encounters with tropical fish, while Carlisle Bay offers a protected are to view shipwrecks while diving in Barbados. No Barbados diving vacation is complete without a nice shell souvenir, but please exercise caution and restraint while on Barbados diving expeditions.
Barbados Windsurfing: Barbados is one of the world's top destinations for windsurfing in Barbados. Barbados is ranked in the top 10 for ideal conditions with year round winds and warm waters. Indeed, Barbados hosts numerous events on the professional windsurfing circuit. Most of the competition in Barbados takes place on the island's south coast at a spot known as Silver Sands. Much of the event can be viewed just a short drive from many Barbados Villas. International windsurfers visit annually for events that include the Barbados Cup and the Professional Windsurfing Association's Silk Cut Purple Wave Grand Prix
Barbados Deep-Sea Fishing: Vast arrays of big game fish live in the oceans surrounding Barbados, many of the same fish found at Barbados diving spots. Several different companies on the island offer guided Barbados fishing excursions with a focus on big game fish like marlin, sailfish, tuna, dorado, barracuda and kingfish.
Barbados is known for its spectacular beaches. The exclusive West Coast of the island is often referred to as the "Gold Coast". The West Coast borders the gorgeous Caribbean Sea and offers outstanding sugar white sand beaches and clear calm waters. All of the beaches on the island are open to the public. Barbados has no nude beaches and nudism is actually illegal due to its history of conservative British traditions.
On the island's fashionable West Coast, visitors will discover a virtually continuous white sand beach, edging a calm turquoise sea and facing glorious tropical sunsets. The island offers over 70 square miles of sandy beach.
Warm and sunny with temperatures between 75 F and 90 F year round. During the winter, the nights are slightly cooler and so it might be a good idea to bring a cotton sweater. Hurricanes have traditionally avoided Barbados. The last hurricane suffered on the island with a direct hit occurred in 1955.
The Bajan dollar is converted at the rate of $1.98 BDS to $1.00 U.S. The BDS dollar is fixed to the U.S. Dollar and does not fluctuate. The U.S. Dollar is widely accepted as well travelers' checks, U.S. and Canadian currency. Major credit cards are widely accepted as well.
Vast arrays of big game fish live in the oceans surrounding Barbados. Several different companies on the island offer guided Barbados fishing excursions with a focus on big game fish like marlin, sailfish, tuna, dorado, barracuda and kingfish.
Barbados was colonized by the British in the 1600s and is home to many lavish estates and mansions that brim with history. In the past, these homes were often owned by the operators of sugar plantations. Today these beautiful estates and plantations provide interesting history lessons and are frequently situated in the most picturesque locations on the island.
Barbados enjoys a high standard of living and, therefore, does not have the same widespread third world poverty, which is so common on so many of the other islands. The United Nations Development Index (1996) ranked Barbados third in terms of quality of life among 160 developing countries worldwide (Hong Kong and Cyprus ranked first and second respectively).
Barbados has the third oldest parliament in the world with 358 years of uninterrupted parliamentary government.
While independent since the 1960's, the island still retains a delightful British flair with such customs as high tea and cricket games.
Barbados is an exceptional golfing destination, offering world-class courses as well as family oriented par 3 courses. The championship course at the Barbados Gold Club is open to the public and offers challenges for all levels of play. The Sandy Lane Resort offers players exceptionally lush greens and premier conditions.
A variety of hiking opportunities exist on Barbados. The rugged east coast is popular with adventure seekers while those looking for a more leisurely hike head inland or on the Arbib Nature and Heritage Trail, which explores the history of Speightstown. Additionally, the Barbados National Trust lead hikes throughout the year that provide interesting information on the history and natural beauty of the island.
While Barbados is frequently known as "Little Britain", it was in fact the Spanish that first arrived. After conquering the Carib Indians, the Spanish departed and were replaced by the Portuguese who named the island Los Barbados (the bearded ones) because of the beard like appearance of its fig trees. In 1625, after the Portuguese had deserted the island, Captain John Powell landed and claimed the island of behalf of King James 1. Within ten years, British colonists established a House Assembly, which remained the governing body until the island's independence in 1966.
England was generous to its wealthy citizens and allocated them land, which they used to develop into tobacco and cotton plantations. In the 1630's, sugar cane was introduced to the island and because a huge success. Indeed, Barbadians dominated the Caribbean sugar industry and Barbados became a cash cow for England as the island's sugar industry prospered. The "landed gentry" made enormous fortunes off of sugar and were able to enjoy an extravagant and lavish lifestyle with great houses and plantations built in the Georgian style that remain even today.
Unfortunately, to meet the production demands of the sugar industry, slaves were shipped from England as well as convicted criminals. When the need for even more labor increased, slaves were supplied from West Africa. In 1834 slavery was abolished and many former slaves took advantage of the island's superb education system and went on to prominent political offices on Barbados.
Although tourism dates back to the 1700s when visitors like George Washington came to the island for its healthful climate it was not until the 1950's that the island a favorite destination for wealthy British travelers. By the 1970's the allure had spread to North America. Today, over one million visitors come to Barbados each year.
Several companies on the island offer guided tours that lead visitors through spectacular scenery as well as riding through the surf on deserted beaches.
Barbados offers three seasons that run throughout the year and race days are gala events with bands and dancers. The main event of the season is the Sandy Lane Gold Cup (formerly known the Cockspur Gold Cup) with a prize that attracts jockeys from the Caribbean, United Kingdom and Canada. Your luxury charter yacht offers a spectacular setting for a post race celebration.
The official language is English spoken with a unique sounding Bajan dialect. The Bajan dialect is based on Afro-Caribbean rhythms tinged with an Irish/Scottish lilt. An amazing 98% literacy rate is a sign of the island's sophistication.
Barbados provides a most exceptional setting for Barbados Weddings. Charming and sophisticated, Barbados offers an extraordinary opportunity for the wedding you've dreamt about. Barbados weddings may take place on the serene estate of a Barbados villa or on your luxury charter yacht, with tropical surroundings adding to the touch of the ceremony. The light caribbean breeze and beautiful environment give Barbados weddings a special element, a memory to be savored. Arranging a wedding in Barbados is relatively easy and couples may even get married on the day of their arrival. Marriage licenses must be obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs (Phone: 246.431.7750, Fax: 246.437.3794. To arrange Barbados weddings couples must be prepared to provide a passport or a birth certificate with a photo ID, US $150 in fees and a $25 revenue stamp, which is obtainable from the post office. We are also happy to provide our clients with the names and phone numbers of personal wedding consultants and planners for coordinating Barbados weddings. When organizing Barbados weddings one will find the same services they would require in planning weddings at home. Barbados weddings are a tradition in the Caribbean and as such the people on the ground ensure that Barbados weddings will go smoothly and planned. Barbados weddings provide a perfect memory and a tremendous experience.
Barbados really lets its hair down in the evenings. Clubs offer the live sounds of jazz, socca, calypso and reggae. While the west coast offers many more sedate venues, it is the St. Lawrence Gap area that rocks the night with dancing and drinking until near dawn.
Polo matches are held at Holder's Hill on the spectacular west coast of Barbados. Matches are generally held on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from January to May and attract huge crowds.Barbados Population: 254,000
Enjoy some of the finest dining anywhere throughout the Caribbean when you dine in Barbados restaurants. From elegant beachside gourmet feasts, to refined formal dinging, Barbados villas guests have a wide variety of authentic Barbados restaurants to frequent while staying on Barbados. As a service to our guests in Barbados Villas, we have listed a few of the most notable Barbados restaurants below:
Dining in Barbados restaurants is truly that, dining. Many islands have good food, some have great. The restaurants in Barbados fall in to this latter category. Barbados restaurants make that little difference when dining is important. Please take time to enjoy other Barbados restaurants and share your thoughts.
Barbados offers a myriad of tempting shopping experiences. Discover charming wooden chattel houses filled with exotic tropical sarongs and hand painted resort wear or peruse air-conditioned emporiums of linens and fine imported china. World-class jewelers offer rare gems and watches while fragrance shops provide all of the scents you could possibly imagine. A vibrant art community on the island creates handmade jewelry, sculpture and paintings.
Barbados offers a variety of shopping experiences from art galleries to an exceptional selection of fine jewelry. The duty-free merchandise is offered at prices 20%-40% less than in the U.S. or Canada. Popular items include cashmere, fine English china, tobacco and the island's famous rum.
Barbados, also, boasts a thriving artistic community. Visitors will find numerous galleries located throughout the island. Local crafts include mahogany carvings, basketry, locally made jewelry and souvenirs. Hand painted china and local pottery line the craft markets. Visitors will find exceptional black coral jewelry made from fossilized Bajan coral and carefully polished and set into gold or silver.
Rum is obviously another great buy on the island. Mount Gay Rum has been producing fine rum for over three hundred years and a variety of blends are available for purchase.
Cricket, Cycling and Mountain Biking, Golf, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Sports Fishing, Diving, Parasailing, Sailing, Surfing, Polo, Tennis, Kayaking and Windsurfing are all available on the island
Barbados Tennis: The majority of the large hotels and resorts on the island have tennis courts that may be booked even if you are not a guest. Additionally, there are public courts at the National Tennis Center and Folkestone Park. Please note that traditional whites are generally worn when playing tennis in Barbados.
Barbados falls in the Atlantic Time zone, which is one hour ahead of US Standard time. The island does not observe daylight savings time.
A wide variety of exotic wildlife exists on Barbados including the green monkey and whistling frogs.
Offers a unique experience for visitors to experience a variety of exotic fauna, peacocks, ducks, turtles and other friendly creatures that are permitted to roam free on the reserve.
The Barbados Zoo is a unique facility in that it was once a working sugar cane factory until recently.
Although Barbados is frequently known as "Little Britain", it was in fact the Spanish that first arrived. After conquering the Carib Indians, the Spanish departed and were replaced by the Portuguese who began a new period of Barbados history and named the island Los Barbados (the bearded ones) because of the beard like appearance of its fig trees. In 1625, after the Portuguese had deserted the island, Captain John Powell landed and claimed the island of behalf of King James 1, changing Barbados history forever. Within ten years, British colonists established a House Assembly, which remained the governing body until the island's independence in 1966, a momentous day in Barbdos' history. England was generous to its wealthy citizens and allocated them land throughout Barbdos' history, which they used to develop into tobacco and cotton plantations. In the 1630's, sugar cane was introduced to the island and because a huge success. Indeed, over Barbdos' history Barbadians dominated the Caribbean sugar industry and Barbados became a cash cow for England as the island's sugar industry prospered. The "landed gentry" made enormous fortunes off of sugar and were able to enjoy an extravagant and lavish lifestyle with great houses and plantations built in the Georgian style that remain even today as a reminder of Barbados' history. Unfortunately, to meet the production demands of the sugar industry, slaves were shipped from England as well as convicted criminals. When the need for even more labor increased, slaves were supplied from West Africa. In 1834 slavery was abolished and many former slaves took advantage of the island's superb education system and went on to prominent political offices on Barbados. Barbados' history has dealt with many of the effects of the islands economic system. Tourism dates back through Barbados' history to the 1700s when visitors like George Washington came to the island for its healthful climate, it was not until the 1950's that the island became a favorite destination for wealthy British travelers. By the 1970's the allure had spread to North America. Today, over one million visitors come to Barbados each year, adding a new chapter to Barbados' history. Barbados villas have played a major role in the modern landscape of the island. Barbados villas combine the rich Barbados history and beautiful Island with the natural splendor and beautiful climate of the Caribbean.