This is a guest post by Royal Westmoreland, a luxury golf and beach estate located on the beautiful west coast of Barbados.
With white sands and idyllic blue waters, Barbados really is a paradise. From the sunny temperatures and chilled atmosphere to the tasty food and drink, the Caribbean island is the perfect place to sit back and relax with a rum punch in hand. Whether you’re craving adventure or simply want to escape the bustle of everyday life, here are ten reasons why you need to visit Barbados this year…
1. Soak up the sun
If the winter blues have been getting you down, there’s never been a better time to book a trip away. With the sun shining all year round, the island is sure to instantly lift your mood. The people of Barbados are very friendly and like to make tourists as welcome as possible, so embrace their hospitality and allow yourself to be pampered a bit. If you’re worried you’ll scorch under the sun though, there’s usually a gentle sea breeze to cool you down.
2. Dive into the sea
Make the most of the whole island by diving into the sea and taking part in the various watersports on offer. For the truly adventurous at heart, try your hand at surfing. The town of Bathsheba is known for its legendary waves, coined as Soup Bowl by the locals. Most of the beaches have instructors if you’re not sure where to get started though. You could even try out jet skiing, kitesurfing or windsurfing.
If surfing’s not your thing, there are plenty of other activities to choose. Delve underwater and discover a rainbow myriad of sea life and reefs, or strap on a snorkel and swim alongside the turtles. Leaving the soft sand of the island really is worth it to marvel at some of the ocean’s most glorious habitats.
3. Embrace the festival culture
Barbados is known for its vibrant culture and carnivals. Make sure you look out for any local festivals during your stay. The island’s big summer festival, Crop Over, takes place in July and August. Initially started in the 1780s as a celebration of the end of the sugar cane harvest, the festival is still one big party all these years on. There’s a whole host of live music, markets and dancing to enjoy.
Another traditional festival, Holetown, commemorates the first settlers on the island. Reveling in the spirit of Barbados with its own street parades and performances, the festival is not to be missed if you’re on the island in February.
4. Treat yourself to traditional cuisine
Prepare to be spoiled by the glorious cuisine. From Barbados’ national dish, flying fish and cou cou, to macaroni pie and fried chicken, Barbadians pay particular attention to the flavors of their dishes. Restaurant menus are ample with seafood dishes and special Bajan spiced curries. You might spot a coconut or two on the menu as well, among other tropical fruits.
5. Grab a rum (or two!)
Speaking of dining, you’ll need something to wash down the glorious food. And there’s a good reason that the Caribbean is known for its rum. From tropical cocktails on the beach to locally distilled bottles in the island’s many rum shacks and roadside pubs, rum is the Barbadian equivalent of our tea or coffee. Mount Gay Rum is considered the oldest rum distiller in the world, so whatever your choice of rum, you won’t be disappointed.
6. Delve into the island’s history
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bridgetown has so many historic sites to explore (not to mention shops), including the National Heroes Square, formerly London’s Trafalgar Square, home to Lord Nelson’s statue. There’s also the St. Nicholas Abbey on the other side of the island; a 350 year old property which served as a sugar plantation and is now linked with Barbados’ elite.
7. Explore the tropical environment
Get off the beaten track with a jeep safari. You’ll venture into the Barbadian jungles, passing remote beaches, tiny rum shacks and sugar plantations along the way. It’s the best way to get from one side of the island to the other. If you’re lucky, you might pass a Barbados green monkey too…
8. Visit a botanic garden
As well as the beautiful scenery the island has to offer, there are a number of botanic gardens dotted around. Bursting with beautiful flowers such as begonias and orchids, the gardens really are idyllic against a backdrop of waterfalls and streams.
9. Watch the sun set
There’s nothing quite as romantic as watching the sunset. The sun casts a tropical kaleidoscope across the sky which is different every night. Settle up on the west coast and make the most of the views. Just remember to pack your camera for that picture-perfect postcard shot. For something truly special, saddle-up and take a horse-ride along the beach with your partner to enjoy the sunset with the best company.
10. Take a boat ride
Venture further afield by taking a boat ride around the island. There are many cruise hotspots where you can jump on a catamaran or jetty and soak up the sunshine in the middle of the sea. Often a ticket includes a complementary rum punch so what’s not to like? If you want to escape the crowds though, why not hire a kayak each and paddle around the waters.