by Andy Parr and DefinitiveCaribbean.com

Welcome to my Barbados naked series. This series of articles provides you with details of things to see and do on the island and recommends restaurants, bars and excursions that I have either experienced myself or had guests tell me just how good they really are. I hope that you find the information useful for your trip to the island. Please enjoy reading the articles which I will be posting weekly. The series starts this week with an introduction to Barbados. Next week we will find out about restaurants and food on the island. I’ll be supplying details of the best restaurants in each town and district and giving you a flavour (if you’ll pardon the pun!) of what they offer. We also have a free report that you can download by going online to our website. Details at the bottom of this report.

Week two will bring ‘Activites’. There are lots of activities to get engaged in from relaxing on the beach to the more energetic pursuits such as diving, watersports and or course, golf.

Week three will be ‘Excursions’ with a guide on what to do and when. This guide gives you all you need to know to actually ‘do it yourself’, a full breakdown of the island with contact details for excursion providers.

You really can’t go all the way to Barbados and not sample the nightlife now can you!! Well click during week 5 of my Naked Barbados series to find out which are hot and which are not. From beach bars to the high life of the West Coast this instalment has it all. Barbados naked it most certainly is!!

Week six has an in-depth look at the best beaches. I’ll be reviewing nearly all of them on the island so you can feast your eyes on those that the tourists don’t know about.

And we finish in week eight. A whistle stop tour of all that is Naked Barbados!! I’ll round off my series with specialist trips to the island.

So with no time to waste here is my opening piece.

FLIGHTS/GETTING THERE

Barbados is well connected to Britain and North America, and currently has a limited service from Continental Europe. With so many incoming flights it acts as a hub to other islands within the South Eastern Caribbean. This makes the island an excellent island hopping base if you intend on visiting other islands. VIPvillas.com can organise separate stays in luxury villas on more than one Caribbean island for you. The following airlines serve Barbados:

UK: British Airways from Gatwick Virgin Atlantic from Gatwick and Manchester Caribbean Airlines (former BWIA) from Gatwick using British Airways codeshare BMI from Manchester.

Europe: Martinair from Amsterdam Condor from Frankfurt

USA: US Airways from Philadelphia American Airlines from New York & Miami Air Jamaica from New York (JFK) Delta Air Lines from Atlanta.

Canada: Air Canada from Toronto

ISLAND HOPPING

Map of Barbados

One very useful fact to know is that there are a number of flights from Barbados to the Grenadines, both as day tours and as transfers, that are known as ‘shared charters’. Practically speaking they run every day, but because they are run by charter airlines, rather than scheduled companies, they are not listed on the international computer systems. See below for the airlines that offer shared charter to the Grenadines.

REGIONAL AIRLINES

LIAT Caribbean Airlines (former BWIA) Air Jamaica SVG Air Mustique Airways Trans Island Air/TIA 2000

Day trips to other islands: Grenadines Discoveries Fly to Union Island and join a Catamaran for a day sail, with snorkelling and swimming stops in Mayreau, Tobago Keys and Palm Island. $640 including lunch and drinks.

THE AIRPORT

Grantley Adams International Airport (airport code BGI, after Bridgetown, the island’s capital) is located approximately 10 miles/16km south east of Bridgetown city centre.

PASSPORTS & VISAS

As a visitor to Barbados you will require a passport which is valid for at least 6 months from your date of entry, along with a valid return airline ticket. This now applies to all American and Canadian citizens, whilst British citizens are required to hold a full 10-year passport. American, Canadian, British and EU citizens do not require a visa for short stays. Other nationalities please check with the Barbados High Commission or with your travel organiser for entry requirements

CAR HIRE

Hiring a car is an excellent addition to a visit to the Caribbean, but particularly so in Barbados because there is plenty to do and because the island is surprisingly good to explore. There are some delightful beaches cut into the cliffs of the south east, which make for an excellent day out and picnic, and the Atlantic coast is wonderfully dramatic. Finally, there are all the restaurants to visit in the evening. There are a staggering 1719 kms of paved road network on the island.

A local driving permit is required to drive in Barbados. This costs Bds$10 and can be obtained from the car hire company when you hire the car, or at any police station. If you are visiting during the winter season and know that you will want a car then it is advisable to book it well in advance otherwise, due to demand, it will be impossible to get hold of one. VIPvillas can secure excellent car hire rates for you; better than the main car hire companies. You must have held a licence for at least two years to hire a car in Barbados, and be at least 21 years of age and under 75 years of age.

TAXIS