Destination Islands: Barbados

Barbados is one of the names that immediately evokes visions of an island getaway – blue sea and sky cradling between them flawless white beaches ringing lush greenery, warmed by a benevolent Caribbean sun. An idyllic playground, a romantic escapade, a vision of paradise on Earth.

Caribbean islands are often boxed into the sand, sun and sea category but Barbados features an amazingly wide variety of adventures that await every intrepid traveler. From gastronomy and fine dining to its cultural heritage of earthworks and pottery, from the 300-year old rum distillery to horse racing and from shopping to unique wildlife, Barbados is a goldmine of new discovery at every turn.

Of course, if you did sign up for a Caribbean island holiday for the sun, sand and sea, a veritable wonderland of thrilling experiences awaits on the island. The warm, crystal clear water glistens aquamarine, turquoise and blue, inviting you into the sea or into the series of temporary lagoons that form with the tide.

There is probably no site in the world that offers the kind of underwater beauty there is to discover off the Barbados coast. The colorful, hue-changing fish, fans, corals and reefs give those fortunate enough to see them first-hand memories that last a lifetime. If snorkeling and scuba diving are too adventurous, you may still enjoy the vista from inside the mini submarines that dive 130 feet beneath the waves.

The music of the Caribbean is best enjoyed and experienced in its pace of origin. The laid-back atmosphere of the island means that you may get to hear the hypnotic, enthralling beats anywhere. Of course, to experience the skills of dedicated musicians is something else, and there is no shortage of bars and clubs that feature live music, and where the dance floor is always open and never too crowded. Gyrate away.

The local cuisine is varied from its blend of Indian, African and British influences and as lively on the tongue as Barbados citizens are on the dance floor.

The national dish is Cou-Cou (cornmeal and okra) and fried flying fish served with a sauce. Pickled pork and spiced sweet potatoes are another favorite that visitors fall in love with. Seafood is cheap and prepared in more ways than most visitors ever have the time to discover. Because of its position as a leading tourist destination, every type of fine and casual dining is easily available across Barbados. The locally-produced rum is a popular accompaniment.

The endless series of cruise ship stops has made Barbados a popular trinket-shopping center. If you want something more authentic, however, it is best to venture a bit further from the moor-side markets.

Barbados captures imaginations simply when its name is uttered – why not discover why for yourself?

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