Located in the North Atlantic Ocean just east of the Caribbean Sea, BARBADOS is the easternmost island of the Lesser Antilles (see map here). The island is said to be shaped like a leg of mutton, with a total area of 166 square miles. It’s topography consists of lowlands separated by rolling hills that run parallel to the coast line. This destination is so well-loved, in fact, that in 2014 USA Today ranked it at number seven in a list of the Top Ten Caribbean Islands. Temperatures range from an average 75 to 82 degrees annually. Northeast trade winds help to keep the island relatively cool, in the face of hot humid days. The (BD$) is the currency of Barbados, and is fixed to U.S. currency at a rate of $2(BD) = $1(USD).

Most Caribbean vacationers head towards the islands for the world-famous beaches, and Barbados offers over 70 square miles of beach property. Wind surfing is especially popular here, especially between the months of November and April when the wind conditions create excellent swells. You will most likely feel more comfortable on the southern and western coasts of the island, which are the most populated areas of Barbados. Bridgetown, the capitol is the commercial center of the island, and is a great place for dining and nightlife. Along the east coast, the terrain is more green & lush than sandy. Locals call this area quiet and lacking in much to do, but for visitors who prefer seclusion and time to explore the rugged beauty of Barbados, this is the perfect place to stay. The island’s highest point of elevation is Mount Hillaby at 1120 feet above sea level.

The people of Barbados “Bajans” (about 284,000) maintain the British traditions introduced to the country during colonization. Residents speak British English with a gorgeous combination of an island lilt and British accent that makes otherwise “ordinary” English sound absolutely charming. Tea time is strictly maintained on the island, so don’t be surprised if shop owners, business people, and even cab drivers take a break in the afternoon to enjoy their tea. One of the more amazing things about Bajan culture is the modern attitude of the city despite a traditional culture. There is as much development on the island as there is preservation of natural beauty, which leads to an interesting blend of attitudes among locals. 

The Crop Over Summer Festival is Barbados’ most popular and colourful festival in the month of August. It’s origins can be traced back to the 1780’s, a time when Barbados was the world’s largest producer of sugar. At the end of the sugar season, there was always a huge celebration to mark the culmination of another successful sugar cane harvest – the Crop Over celebration. As the sugar industry declined, so too did the Crop Over festival and in the 1940’s the festival was terminated completely. However, the festival was revived in 1974 and other elements of Barbadian culture were infused to create the extravaganza that exists today …. an event that attracts thousands of people from across the globe.

Tourists from every walk of life are drawn to Barbados; from those who prefer city life to those looking for seclusion and that get-away-from-it-all setting.  When it comes to planning a trip to Barbados, it truly is hard to come up with a reason why not to go.

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