Barbados has it all. Balmy beaches, brimming cities and more rainbow-coloured festivals than you can count - this is where tropical soul reigns. Spend days on the picture-perfect Crane Beach, find treasure in Animal Flower Cave and get to grips with the island’s history on a tour of St Nicholas Abbey, one of the oldest plantation houses in the Caribbean. If you happen to visit in October, make sure to swing by the Barbados Food and Rum Festival. Mingle with local Bajan chefs, wine experts and mixologists for the know-how on what best to pair your Mount Gay rum with. If October doesn’t work, no sweat. Every month is rum season in Barbados, and we know just the place. Read on for things to know before travelling to Barbados.

Food and Drink

With an annual Food and Rum Festival that celebrates its Bajan roots in every way possible, Barbados certainly has no trouble living up to its reputation as the Caribbean’s culinary capital. In fact, every day seems to be a foodie celebration here. Eat like a local at Oistins Fish Fry, where – you’ve guessed it – fish is the main feature. Sink your teeth into tuna, swordfish, mahi-mahi and flying fish and watch old-timers play dominoes while tapping their feet along to the beats of Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff. Swing by local legend’s Cuz’s Fish Shack which is famed for its cutter (think Caribbean salt bread and a fillet of crispy fish served with pickles, salad, cheese and a fried egg) and wash it down with a rum tasting at Mount Gay distillery, the oldest commercial distillery in the world.


Barbados may be small, but it has one of the most comprehensive and user-friendly transport systems in the Caribbean. Buses are easily recognisable, decked out in the country’s national colours (blue and yellow), and run often. If you’re short on time, you can hop on minibuses, which take the same route as the blue government buses and go twice as fast (you’ve been warned) or take a fast, friendly and fairly affordable taxi. Prices are fixed according to distance but begin around B$10.


Despite Barbados’ laidback atmosphere, it doesn’t mean anything goes. A cheery ‘good morning’ will go a long way, while a bikini or swim trunk attire away from the beach will not. The island has long-held strong Christian values, so make sure when entering a church or restaurant, you cover up. When it comes to tipping in restaurants, you’ll find that they are already added but if you want to give a little more you are welcome to.


Barbados is a safe country and has a reputation of being one of the best family-friendly destinations in the Caribbean. The country has a low crime rate. However, it is an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage. LGBT travellers should be mindful of local attitudes and aware that certain acts are illegal in the country.


Must-sees in Barbados start and end with the beach. Boasting more than 80 beaches with crystalline waters and paper-white sand, you have the choice between rugged Atlantic shores where rolling surf and strong winds are ideal for surfing and kiteboarding and the island’s easy-going Caribbean side – perfect for sunbathing and napping. If you’re able to unfurl yourself from your sun lounger, Harrison’s Cave is well worth a visit. A one-and-a-half-mile-long network of coral caves, it is geology like you’ve never seen it before. Wander past soaring stalagmites, jagged stalactites and freshwater streams and reward your efforts with a Barbadian staple – rum – at St Nicholas rum distillery to the north of the island.


The Barbados dollar (BBD)

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