Barbados is a truly phenomenal holiday destination, and geologically unique; a coral island, initially pushed from the sea as two separate land masses by volcanic activity many years ago. Over time these two land masses merged together creating the isle we now know as Barbados. Barbados lies on the boundary of the Caribbean and South American continental plates making it unlike any other Caribbean Island. Within the core of the island, made up mainly of coral sediment, numerous caves and underground lakes can be found. Arguably the most famous of these is Harrison’s Cave; a network of caves, waterfalls, pools and fantastic stalagmites and stalactites.
Descendants of the indigenous Arawakan-speaking tribes tell that the original name for Barbados was ‘Ichirouganaim’ meaning ‘red land with white teeth.’ The reason for the later name Barbados is controversial; some believe that the Portuguese, en route to Brazil, were the first Europeans to come to the island. Others say that it was this Spanish which gave it the Spanish name ‘Los Barbudos’. The word Barbados means ‘bearded ones’ but it is really personal preference as to whether ‘bearded’ refers to the long, hanging routes of the bearded fig-tree (Ficus citrifolia) indigenous to the island; to the allegedly bearded ‘Caribs’ who once inhabited the island; or, more romantically, to the foam spraying over the outlying reefs, giving the impression of a beard.
When visiting Barbados, the first thing you are sure to notice are the gorgeous and renowned flat white sand beaches. On the west coast of Barbados, miles of coral shore beaches and fine white sands stretch along a hypnotising turquoise sea. The West Coast of Barbados is also fringed with countless breath-taking Coral Reefs to provide excellent snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities. The South Coast also offers something for everyone, and is a curious mixture of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Here you can swim in calm waters, snorkel over the inshore reefs and tidal pools, and at the southernmost tip of the island, you can windsurf.
The East Coast of Barbados has fantastic and lively surfing opportunities, blown briskly by the strong and constant trade winds; the constant breeze of these trade winds give Barbados its mild and pleasant tropical climate. Along the east coast, huge Atlantic waves crash along the shore and so the beaches are better suited for walks and sun-bathing, with a few enchanting places to have a dip in the sea – as the waves break over rocks and reefs, small pools are formed close to shore forming delightful natural swimming pools!
Inland Barbados is delightful to explore, enchantingly quiet and rural, there are endless fields of sugar cane dotted with old plantation houses. Barbados has a rich and interesting history and has preserved and restored many of its historic buildings – you can visit a plantation house for a trip back in time, see the towering lighthouses that once led ships to safety, or explore the historic towns that are an important part of the island’s past and present.
Whilst on Barbados, a taste of the island’s rum is a must! The isle has been producing rum for over 350 years, and it is recognised internationally for its quality. Many tours and taste sessions are available at the local distilleries.