Barbados is an island where each coast has a different treat in store for your holiday. Firstly, the rugged north coast gives out to spectacular panoramic views. Secondly, the lively south coast offers reef-protected, pristine white beaches, perfect for all types of watersports. Thirdly, the picturesque east coast is great for surfing. Finally, along the tranquil west coast, crystal turquoise waters beckon swimmers, sailors and windsurfers.
The island is a country in the West Indies and also part of the Lesser Antilles. Surprisingly, it measures just 34 kilometres long, and 23 km wide. Its capital and largest city is Bridgetown.
Sailing along the scenic west coast involves gliding gently through the azure waters of the Caribbean, as the generous wind fills your sails. Hence, this part of the world is a haven for luxury catamarans and yachts.
The original inhabitants were are range of Caribbean tribes, including the Kalinago people. Subsequently, Spanish navigators “discovered” the island in the 15th-century, claiming it for the Spanish Crown. Additionally, Portuguese explorers visited the island in 1536, but left Barbados unclaimed. However, they delivered wild hogs to the island to breed. It appears that they planned to provide a good supply of meat for the next visitors or settlers, preferably Portuguese!
The English Colonials
The Olive Blossom, an English ship, arrived in Barbados in 1625. The Captain took possession of the island in the name of King James I. Consequently, the first colonists came from England two years later, to create an English (later British) colony. Sugar and fruit plantations provided a healthy income for the English settlers. This led to the island becoming a centre for the African slave trade. Finally, this barbaric trade ceased in 1807. After it became illegal, It took nearly 30 years to emancipate every African. Now, the population is predominantly of African descent.
Barbados has not forgotten its rich colonial history. The restoration of many of its important buildings gives you the chance of a glimpse of the past. You can visit an authentic plantation house and explore the historic towns on the island. The capital is Bridgetown. The town´s historic Garrison is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Additionally, you can imagine the tall ships in the harbour (there are some replicas to help you) and see the islands towering lighthouses that once led ships to safety.
On 30 November 1966, Barbados became independent. It remains a Commonwealth realm, with the British monarch as Head of State. Like most of the Caribbean, Barbados is a leading tourist destination. 40% of visitors are from the UK. The US and Canada make up the majority of the other tourists who holiday here.
One of the legacies of the British heritage is the game of Cricket. Barbados is the hub of the West Indies Cricket team. Much to the chagrin of the Brits, they often do exceptionally well in local and international matches!
Barbados has a plethora of nature parks and natural beauty. Scenic views are everywhere, inland or out to sea. Celebrities and wealthy visitors favour the island as a holiday or retirement home. Many have bought luxury villas here.
Local cuisine is abundant with fresh fish, coconuts and spicy delicacies. Flying fish and Bajan curries are the local specialities, and both are delicious. And of course you can wash them down with local dark rum – European wine is costly here. “The Cliff” restaurant is a celebrity hangout with a fantastic, live marine life show. The restaurant hangs over the floodlit waters of the Caribbean Sea, so you can enjoy the sea while you dine. The rich and famous favour Sandy Lane Hotel and Golf Club as a place to spend Christmas. You will often see Simon Cowell or many famous actors here, in December.