Dreaming of a paradisical destination where you can laze around on soft pink and white coral-sand beaches and calm turquoise seas, then Barbados will be the perfect holiday retreat for you. This Caribbean island is not just a place to lounge and relax, it offers much more when you dig in enough to discover that it's not just a lazy sea-side resort. Popular for known as 'Little England' due to British colonization, English influences are plenty with afternoon tea seen as the norm and cricket as a national passion sport. Not surprisingly English is the official language with locals and natives speaking a regional dialect of the language known as Bajan.
Straight-away head to the stunning and exquisite Crane Beach. Relax on the stunning pink coral sand and get a lovely tan sun-bathing yourself. Tourists also head over to this popular beach to catch a glimpse of the Crane Beach Hotel, oldest hotel in Barbados. Take a trip to the charming village of Bathsheba - central tourist hub on the Atlantic east coast. Some of the attractions nearby are the Andromeda Tropical Botanic Gardens and Flower Forest.
When you spend some time at the Bathsheba Beach, also referred to as the Soup Bowl, one can view large rock formations, which are residuals from an ancient reef carved by the surf and come across like huge mushrooms in the sea. Take a trip to Welchman Hall Gully which was developed when the roof of a series of caves collapsed. Protected and sheltered by the Barbados National Trust, the gully is now home to over 200 species of tropical plants, including wild ginger and bamboo.
Tourists may get a chance to glance at the families of green monkeys romping in the ravine. Nature enthusiasts can spend some time at the Farley Hill National Park, a scenic hill-top garden perched in a forest of mahogany trees. This dense and lush 17-acre park is viewed as a famous site for picnics and weddings. Wild-life fans can explore the Barbados Wildlife Reserve where visitors are given the incredible opportunity of walking among the animals. This mahogany jungle is brimming with deers, agoutis, tortoises, iguanas and a colorful flock of tropical birds. Be sure to also catch a sneak peek at the wild green monkeys who were imported from Africa by early settlers and are usually seen at dawn and dusk.
An artificial reef was developed in 1976 by purposefully sinking a fire-gutted 360-foot freighter ship. It is highly recommended and advised that only experienced divers should attempt the descent to the ship. Snorkelers can go for the underwater trail around the inshore reef discovered in the park's Recreational Zone. Visitors can take a tour around Harrison's Cave,a crystallized limestone carvern, featuring streams, waterfalls, cascades and deep pools. Through a electric tram, visitors can look around the area as well as halt to walk to a waterfall fiercely plunging to a deep pool below. Other impressive features include stalactites, stalagmites and cascading waters. Adjoining the cave is a visitor's center displaying incredible Arawak Indian artifacts.
When it comes to shopping, shoppers will be pleased to learn that due to its duty-free status, prices of goods are generally 30 to 50 % less than in Europe and North America. Head over to Broad Street in Bridgetown to procure everything from designer attires to gold and silver jewellery. Some of the other popular souvenirs are local handicrafts such as straw bags, batiks, paintings, rum and woodwork.
As for cuisine, be sure to try some local delicacies such as Cutters (big flying fish sandwiches, usually served with coucou or conkies - cornmeal meshed with coconut, pumpkin, raisins, sweet potato and spices steamed in a banana leaf. Do try out regional specialities such as Mauby - a non-alcoholic drink, concocted from the boiled, strained and sweetened bark of a local tree.
The stay options in Barbados is abundant with the best luxury hotels, private apartments and lodges as well as cheap accommodations available for tourists to decide which kind to opt for depending on their budget and tastes.
The ideal time to holiday in Barbados is July to November. Temperatures are pleasant during that time of the year and is perfect for travelling.