Barbados will draw you in with its laid back charm and long, untouched stretches of beaches, and after a week-long sunshine-filled stint here, you’ll find it hard to leave.

This Caribbean island is a cultural petri-dish, bringing together a varying mix of art, music, festivals, food and people. It’s exciting, the energy infectious, and everyone has a story to tell.

The island is just 21 miles long, easy to navigate, and offers some of the most memorising views, world-class beaches and historical landmarks in the Caribbean. There’s so much to eat, see and do, that a trip to Barbados can be relaxing or exhilarating as you like. Here’s a handful of our favourite experiences on the most magical island in the Caribbean:

1. For Local Fare: Oistins Fish Fry

The Lowdown: The secret to finding the best places to eat in Barbados is to visit where the locals go. Each Friday and Saturday, Oistins Fish Fry is buzzing with Barbadians who come and fill their boots with local fish, and to soak up the live music. Oistins is a basic outfit; canteen-style tables fill the area, while several shack-like restaurants churn out portions of freshly fried chicken and BBQ’d catches of the day for less than a fiver. And it’s enough to feed a family of four: the portions are huge. Seating is plentiful – all you have to do is pitch up, nab a few chairs and the friendly servers will take your order. The atmosphere fizzes with excitement; you’ve got local bands, people dancing, rum punch flowing and the hum of friends and family chatting. Don’t miss the mac n’ cheese pie – it’s worth the trip alone.

Photo Credit: Flickr, Dan Costin

2. For Water-Based Fun: Tiami Catamaran Cruise 

The Lowdown: The best way to truly experience the best of Barbados (read: nature, weather and the most dazzling blue sea) is to leave dry land behind and set sail on one of Tiami’s catamarans. Cruises are ten a penny in Barbados, but Tiami are well known for putting on one of the best experiences on water. Bask in the warmth of the Caribbean sunshine as you set sail for the sea. Drinks flow from the moment you step on board; rum punch, Bank’s beers and soft drinks are plentiful. There’s time to stop for a dip, and snorkel gear is provided in hope you catch a sight of a family of turtles. A buffet lunch is another talking point: the bountiful supply of chicken, local fish, mac n’cheese pie (a Barbadian delicacy), rice, coleslaw and banana bread for afters hits the spot.

Photo Credit: Tiami Catamaran Cruise

3. For a Rum Education: St. Nicholas Abbey

The Lowdown: Barbados has several well known and well-love exports: sugar, molasses, Rihanna and rum. Widely credited as the birthplace of rum, there’s a handful of distilleries found across the island. For an in-depth tasting and tour, St Nicholas Abbey, a sugar plantation dating back to 1658, is a good place to start. The tours, which run regularly, offers an interesting insight in the process of making this iconic spirit, along with the history of the drink, and preservation, all of which takes place in St Nicholas Abbey’s great house, built by Benjamin Berringer in 1658 (one of just three Jacobean-style mansions remaining in the Western Hemisphere). Shunning mass production and complex mechanical systems, St Nicholas Abbey’s rums are made via the traditional distillation process. The result: a rum that is smooth, fruity and spicy.

4. For an Annual Celebration: Crop Over Festival

The Lowdown: Dubbed the most colourful festival in the Caribbean, Crop Over Festival celebrates a 200 year-old tradition that honours the end of the sugar cane season (around August-September). Barbadians don’t do parties by halves, and the six week festival includes day to night parties, breakfast knees up, parades, concerts and culinary-centric events. The final week is the big one, culminating in a parade full of life, culture and plenty of colourful costumes.

Photo Credit: Visit Barbados Tourism 

5. For a Good Time: Discover the Nightlife

The Lowdown: When the sun goes down, Barbados comes alive. Rum shacks all over the island buzz with groups of people and bars, with local local bands playing calypso and reggae to R’nB, are where the drinks flow and everyone dances into the early hours of the morning. In St Michael, visit Garry’s Rum Punch to marvel at Garry’s notorious rum collection and sample his world famous rum cocktails, available in 19 flavours, no less. Also in St Michael is The Boatyard, well liked by both tourists and locals alike, the bar is open 365 days of the year – and each night, you’re guaranteed a good time. Other establishments worthy of a visit are upscale rum-shop-type restaurant and bar, Shakers; local joint, The Golden Anchor; and Drift Ocean Terrace Lounge for sea views.

 

Seven nights at Sandals Barbados, in a Crystal Lagoon One Bedroom Butler Honeymoon Suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub from £3,439 per person:

A seven-night stay at Sandals Barbados, staying in a Crystal Lagoon One Bedroom Butler Honeymoon Suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub costs from £3,439 per person. Price includes Luxury Included® (all-inclusive) accommodation, return economy flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick and resort transfers. Price is valid for travel on select dates between 1st September – 11th October 2019. Prices are date specific and subject to availability at the time of booking and may change.

Seven nights at Sandals Royal Barbados, in a South Seas Crystal Lagoon Club Level Barbados Suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub from £2,085 per person:

A seven-night stay at Sandals Royal Barbados in Barbados, staying in a South Seas Crystal Lagoon Club Level Barbados Suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub costs from £2,085 per person. Price includes Luxury Included® (all-inclusive) accommodation, return economy flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick and resort transfers. Price is valid for travel on select dates between 26th May – 9th July 2019. Prices are date specific and subject to availability at the time of booking and may change.

To book or for more information on Sandals Resorts visit www.sandals.co.uk, call 0800 597 0002 or pop down to the Sandals Luxury Travel Store at 135 Fulham Road, London.