Barbados has all the perfect Caribbean ingredients (turquoise waters, palm fringed beaches, and friendly people), but there’s also something uniquely familiar about holidaying here. Known as ‘little England’ locally, the island still has many traces of its colonial past, and it’s unlikely you‘ll venture too far on your Barbados holiday without seeing a red phone box or familiar place name. The island combines Britishness with a more relaxed Caribbean attitude, and this together with its stunning natural scenery, makes it a unique and characterful island that’s perfect for a memorable holiday.
Things to do
Get up close to the friendly sea turtles
For a truly unforgettable experience, why not book a catamaran cruise and get the chance to swim with Barbados’ sociable sea turtles. You set sail in the morning, travelling around the island’s picturesque coastline, before stopping in a quiet bay for swimming or snorkelling with the fascinating turtles. Afterwards, an excellent lunch and drinks are served on board before you head back to harbour. The turtles themselves are extremely gentle and friendly creatures and you also get to see the other dazzlingly colourful marine life living in and around the reef.
Sample the Island Rum
Whether you want to learn more about the rum making process on a distillery tour, or you’d prefer to take a more relaxed approach to tasting in the island’s bars, no holiday to Barbados would be complete without a chance to sample the local rum. A great place to do this is the seafront area known by locals as ‘The Gap’. Here, you’ll find an array of nightspots, playing all types of music, from calypso to reggae and jazz, and the drinks continue to flow all night long. The area is also lined with street vendors selling wonderful Bajan cuisine, including cou-cou, (a delicious type of polenta made with cornmeal and okra), and Flying Fish, cooked in a spicy stew made with onions, tomato, garlic and herbs.
The island’s capital, Bridgetown is the place to visit if you’re looking for some serious retail therapy. The shops you’ll find collected around Broad Street are the place to browse for designer fashions, fragrances and electronics at duty free prices. Or if you’re on the lookout for something more uniquely Barbadian, head for Pelican Village Craft Centre or Oistins Market on a Friday evening, where you’ll find talented locals selling a wide range of handicrafts, including stunning collectables, jewellery and art made in the local area.
Where to Stay
The south coast is the perfect place to base yourself if you want a breathtaking location that is accessible, and yet still close to the action at Bridgetown and St Lawrence Gap. The area’s beachfront resorts are suitable for both families and couples, and many are close enough to take an evening stroll into town and sample the many restaurants, bars and nightspots of the local area.
Fashionable Holetown in the St James district on the west coast is another great base for a 5 star holiday, with some excellent restaurants and bars and a slightly more relaxed vibe than you’ll find in the south. There are also some stunning beachfront resorts, from impressive all-inclusive offerings to boutique hideaways for those who want to unwind and relax.
Flight time from the UK (London): Approximately eight hours.
Arrival Airport: Grantley Adams International Airport.
Entry details (for British passport holders): A visa is not required for visits up to six months, but you are normally only granted 28 days entry on arrival. Visa extensions must be applied for at the Immigration Department, Bridgetown. Passports need validity for the duration of your stay. Before you depart, check the latest travel advice at www.fco.gov.uk.
Time difference: GMT -4 hours
Currency: Barbados Dollar.
Here to help
A local Thomas Cook Signature representative will meet you at your arrival airport and direct you to your pre-booked transfer vehicle. You will receive a welcome pack containing local information and all contact details. A welcome meeting will be arranged at your hotel and should you need advice during your stay, local representatives will make regular visits to your resort.
Best time to go
Barbados has an average daily high temperature of 26C, over 3000 hours of annual sunshine, and one of the lowest daily rainfall averages of the entire Caribbean. So it’s no surprise that many think it has the near perfect climate for the ultimate 5 star holiday.