The Barbados Tourism Authority showcases the best of the island’s opportunities and leisurely experiences available to those wishing to visit
Writer: Marcus Kääpä | Project Manager: Matt Cole-Wilkin
Barbados is a tropical paradise known for its stretches of beautiful white sandy beaches, the vivid greenery of its land and hills, and the impossibly serene coastal waters that sweep under the hanging leaves of swaying palm trees.
The island’s capital, Bridgetown, shows off these elements of Barbados. Sitting on the south-west corner of the country, Bridgetown mixes the natural beauty of the island with iconic colonial-era architecture, brought to life with energetic Bajan culture. Away from the beautiful coast and lively city, the wilderness of inland regions offer limitless adventure.
And for those who visit Barbados, the opportunities for leisure activities, cultural and historical learning, and to experience a variety of traditional foods, drinks, and festivities, are boundless. With opportunities such as these, there is no wonder why the tourism industry is such a substantial contributor to the nation.
The Barbados Tourism Authority
The Barbados Tourism Authority aims to increase travel to the island so that visitors can experience what it has to offer. As the nation has been somewhat reliant on tourism for the past few decades, maintaining the attraction of Barbados to its global customer base is highly important. But it also provides visitors with a unique experience they will not forget. For many, the perfect mixture of white beaches and tranquil waters is a rare and exciting prospect – a place to relax, sunbathe, and take in the vast ocean-filled horizon while the sun sets.
The Barbados Tourism Authority is focused on the maximisation of possibilities to all those who visit the island.
Festivals and arts
Various festivals are celebrated in Barbados annually. From January till December several venues on the island come alive in celebration for one reason or another.
The Barbados Music Awards starts the celebrations in January, followed by the Holetown festival in Holetown St. James in February. Agrofest, an agricultural fair also takes place in February in Queen’s Park in the capital Bridgetown. March offers festivals catering to the foodie and to the horse racing enthusiast.
These festivals are Oistins Fish Festival in Oistins, Christ Church and the Sandy Lane Gold Cup held at the Historic Garrison Savannah. The Barbados Reggae Festival which culminates at the historic Farley Hill National Park in St. Peter keeps the festivities pumping in April. Gospelfest a Christian celebration of poetry, dance and song is also staged at Farley Hill in the month of May.
The remaining months of the year consist of several other festivals inclusive of Visual Arts, Pan Pun De Sand, NIFCA (National Independence Festival of creative Arts) and Run Barbados to name a few. The variety of festivals on offer cater a myriad of interests and are sure to intrigue.
The largest and most important festival in Barbados however is Crop Over, which celebrates the end of the sugarcane harvest. This summer festival is celebrated over several weeks and includes fairs, fetes, parades and contests. Crop Over culminates on Kadooment Day. This day features an explosion of colours, food and masqueraders dancing rhythmically to the pulsating beats of Calypso along the streets towards Brandons Beach on the Spring Garden Highway. It is truly the sweetest Summer Festival.
The organisation has actively developed its online presence for an increasingly digital age. On top of email subscriptions and other forms of contact, its website, www.visitbarbados.org, showcases a huge variety of places, activities, and events that occur around the island – a platform that provides access to knowledge about Barbados with amazing ease. If you were unsure of what Barbados had to offer, and you wanted to maximise the opportunities at your fingertips, the website provides visitors with a range of informative points through which to ensure that they can experience everything they wish to and more.
The website also allows visitors to learn about the best locations to stay, help with holiday trip planning, and even a podcast that keeps you up to date with the latest in goings-on in Barbados allowing those who wish to be as informed as possible.
In the face of the world-changing COVID-19 pandemic, the organisation has worked to introduce a 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp. This is a new remote work programme that can provide a visa to eligible individuals and allows them to work remotely within Barbados for up to 12 months – a brilliant opportunity for people wishing to work abroad.
The visa can be granted to anyone who meets the visa requirements and those whose work is not bound by a specific location, whether they are individuals or families. This stamp had given people the chance to work abroad, who otherwise may not have been able to do so.
Why visit Barbados?
For the Barbados Tourism Authority, the main reason to promote Barbados is of course its weather, tropical climate, and coastal holidaying areas for the average visitor to relax, enjoy, and kick their up feet with a rum-based cocktail.
But there is more to the island than the stunning geography. The Bajan culture of the island includes celebrations and parties, unique cuisine, and many other specific customs and traditions that are brilliant to experience and take part in. From urban nightlife, shopping facilities, and spa treatments, to world heritage sites, culture tours, and wedding planning, Barbados is an island of many wonders.
One such culture tour is the visitation to rum distilleries, of which there are several on the island, including multiple within the capital. Barbados is known as the “birthplace of rum”, boasting the smoothest and most delicious rum taste in the world. The country has been producing the “Caribbean elixir” for over 350 years, the oldest rum of which visitors to the island can try from Mount Gay Rum Distillery in Bridgetown.
After indulging on the sweetness of rum, you can expect to find a high-energy evening environment at local bars and restaurants where you can dine on a variety of different dishes, local or international. Classic Bajan cuisine can be found to be a wonderful amalgamation of flavours and ingredients from around the world, such as chicken curry and beef stew, or the island itself, such as Flying Fish and Cou Cou (a combination of cornmeal and okra).
And in the light of the tropical midday sun facilities all over the country allow visitors to fulfil their adventurous wishes. Surfing is a popular island-wide activity, and the coastal waters provide veteran surfers, or those who are simply keen to try it out, the perfect environment to make their surfing dreams come true. If surfing is not on your to-do- list, abseiling, jet-skiing, kayaking, and of course swimming and snorkelling among underwater wildlife in the warm ocean waters are just some of the water-based activities to be enjoyed – even the opportunity for a submarine journey into the deeper corals just off the island’s coasts!
Further inland there are rural beaten paths that wind their way into the green hills and through peaceful woodlands desirable for the active walker or hiker, and off-road bike hires are open across the island, and safari tours enable visitors to witness native wildlife first-hand.
But on the flip side, if you are looking for a place to rest, relax, and watch the sun set with a cool drink in your arms, Barbados is the place to be.
Events and celebrations
There’s always something happening all year-round in Barbados, so add to your Caribbean experience by planning your getaway around your favourite festivals and events.
Barbados holidays can include much more than just beautiful beaches and the great outdoors. This vibrant island plays host to an astonishing array of annual events including world-class sports, music festivals, theatre performances and our much-loved Barbados carnival during the Crop Over harvest festival celebrations - called Grand Kadooment, it’s considered one of the best festivals in the world.
Check what’s on in Barbados before you travel, and make online bookings for popular events such as international cricket test matches at the Kensington Oval, our jam-packed Reggae on the Hill event, and the annual season of outdoor theatre and musical performances hosted in the sublime gardens of Holders Great House. Come and join us!
A social and lively atmosphere…
For local cuisine in a laid-back environment…
If you fancy international or Asian…
To experience everything the island has to offer…
Accra Beach Hotel and Spa
is home to a variety of luxury opportunities, from its relaxing pools to its high-end dining experiences, and of course, its extensive range of spa treatments that cater to all your leisure needs. Situated on the beautiful coast of the capital Bridgetown, Accra combines the opportunity for ocean-based activities, urban culture trips, and inland experiences, giving you access to everything Barbados has to offer at your fingertips.
For a high-end and communal stay…
For a relaxed stay with a partner…
To sail the ocean and explore what’s within…
For those who wish to experience classic meals…
If you want to try the spirit of Barbados…
Focus On: Bridgetown
The thriving capital of Barbados, Bridgetown is a hub of energetic celebration and an experience for the senses.
During the day, the city is home to an array of shopping opportunities, from malls to unique street markets where visitors can browse the ranges of traditional wares and try out exotic street foods on offer. Favourite local eateries supplying authentic Bajan food can be discovered in walking food tours of the city, allowing tourists to experience the delicious dishes unique to the island’s people if visitors fancy a different experience to restaurant dining.
The variety of historic buildings present harken back to the nation’s colonial past, including a 17th-century garrison and horseracing track, and its culture born of a diverse mixture of international influences. Shipwreck dive sites and locations such as Browne’s Beach add a sense of adventure to the city, allowing visitors to take part in a multitude of activities unique to Barbados, and unavailable in other urban areas of the world.
The city’s rum distilleries are a chance to try out the country’s national beverage in all its natural glory. Some of these institutions have been around for hundreds of years and they are as deeply rooted in the island’s culture as the various celebrations enjoyed throughout the year.
Morgan Lewis Mill
Interested in the history behind the island? Morgan Lewis Mill is one of the last sugar mills to have operated in Barbados, now converted into a museum for any visitor open to exploring the rich history of the nation.
Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Bathsheba Beach is a haven for surfers and those interested in aquatic life. Here, the sea rocks the coast with dramatic waves ideal for those keen for water sports. The power of the waves along this coast is shown in its erosion, that have formed a multitude of rockpools ideal for aquatic life in the shallows.
Carlisle Bay, Barbados
The central beach of Bridgetown, Carlisle Bay is a made up of white beaches stretched beside tranquil waters. It is a picturesque area of the coast, popular with swimmers, scuba divers, and thrives next to a hub of urban activity.
Getting There and Around
Visitors will arrive via plane at the Bridgetown/Grantly Adams Airport, where they can reach the capital within half an hour by taxi or car hire. Once in the city, visitors can take buses or hop in taxis for short car journeys to specific locations or hire a car in the city centre to explore the island freely for a unique and personalised adventure.
In the capital everything from pristine white beaches, to hotels, restaurants, bars, markets, and historic sites are all within walking distance. If you fancy going further afield while enjoying the fresh air, bike hire is always available. Alternatively, visitors can enjoy a luxury cruise to and from Barbados and take to the seas aboard several different ships to reach the various coasts of the island.