15 reasons to visit Barbados this year

Barbados is a wonderfully charming Caribbean island with much to see and do.

Beach in Barbados (photo credit: FLICKR)
Beach in Barbados
(photo credit: FLICKR)
Barbados is a wonderfully charming Caribbean island with much to see and do. Here are 15 reasons why you should visit this year.
1) Barbados has more than 70 miles of beautiful beaches to enjoy.  Some of the beaches are considered to be amongst the best in the Caribbean.  The western side of the island is where you will find some Robinson Crusoe style beaches with soft white sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters.  Some of the most popular beaches include Paynes Bay Beach, Gibbes Beach, Mullins Beach and Reeds Bay.  This is called the Platinum Coast and is also where you will find many of the high-end hotels and villas.  The Eastern Atlantic coast is where you will find rolling waves and rugged beauty.
2) Barbados is one of the best islands in the Caribbean to enjoy watersports.  The island also offers superb deep-sea diving.  There are lots of shipwrecks to explore as well as a wide variety of sea life such as stingrays, reef sharks, striped dolphins, flying fish, seahorses and some excellent coral reefs. Also, there is snorkelling, surfing, sailing, paddle boarding, windsurfing, glass bottom boat rides, jet skiing, water skiing and much more.
3) Barbados is considered to be one of the safest islands in the Caribbean.  People here are called Bajans; they are warm, friendly and known for their kind hospitality.  They have a great sense of fun and love to dance and sing.  The famous singer Rihanna is one of their shining stars and is often seen on the island.
4) The island has amazing restaurants.  It has more oceanfront and beachfront restaurants than anywhere else in the Caribbean.  Bajan food is an eclectic mix of African, Caribbean, West Indian and European cuisines.   This mix of cuisines combined with the fact that the locals have access to some of the best and freshest fish in the world is a winning combination.  On the exclusive West Coast of the island, some of the restaurants such as The Cliff, Daphne’s, Tides, The Lone Star and The Fish Pot are famous throughout the world for their dishes. 
5) The very sought-after West Coast has an incredible choice of beautiful five-star hotels such as The Sandy Lane Hotel, The Fairmont and The Coral Cove Hotel.  If you prefer more privacy and more space for the same money, it also has some of the world’s most luxurious villas.  Two companies that are real experts in the Villa Rental Market on the island include Exceptional Villas and Villas Barbados.  They both offer personally inspected and vetted rental properties as well as a first-class complimentary concierge service.
6) If you like to be active on vacation, Barbados is a great choice as there is just so much to do.  Golf, for example, is a major draw with some very famous courses on the island including the Green Monkey which was designed by Tom Fazio at the famous Sandy Lane Hotel.  Other golf courses include The Royal Westmorland and Apes Hill which opened in 2009.  Cricket is another sport that is very popular on the island. It is the Bajan’s national sport, and the local people are completely passionate about it. Many players on the famous West Indies Cricket Team hail from Barbados.  Polo is another exciting sport and at different times of the year can be watched at the Apes Hill Polo ground. The rich and famous, as well as the occasional royals are often spotted playing polo.
7) Barbados is one of the most interesting islands from a historical point of view.  The island has very strong links to The British Colonial Empire.  Many of the islands historical buildings are beautifully preserved, and it is quite possible to spend several days touring the islands most historic landmarks.  Some of these include St Nicholas Abbey which is a genuine Jacobean Mansion.  It is a perfectly and beautifully restored plantation house that dates back to 1658.  History buffs will also be interested in The George Washington House which gives a great insight into the role the President played in settlement of America.  Barbados also has one of the oldest synagogues in the Caribbean. It is called Nidhe Israel founded in 1654.
8) Barbados has some amazing wildlife, and many of the most interesting species are at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve. You will see Green Monkeys everywhere, but you are also likely to see Mongoose, Pelicans, the red-footed tortoise, tree frogs, flamingos. Lizards Brocket Deer and pelicans. The Barbados Wildlife Reserve also has an interesting aviary which is full of exotic and colourful tropical birds.
9) For nature loves, The Andromeda Gardens are a great attraction on the island.  They are located in the parish of St Joseph and are full of very interesting and exotic tropical shrubs, plants and flowers.  You will be amazed at the variety of unique species there are to see.  The Flower Forest Botanical Gardens in St Thomas are also worth a visit.  It is extremely calm and peaceful with some stunning views from the top and some very interesting species of plants and flowers to explore.
10) Barbados has a great authentic Caribbean Culture. There is plenty of reggae, jazz and fun night spots especially on the first and second street in Holetown. If you want to experience Bajan Culture at its very best, head to the authentic fish fry at Oistins which take place every Friday or else to go Barbados’s extremely colourful Crop Over Festival.  The Crop Over runs through August and is a true carnival atmosphere. Not to be missed!!
11) The shopping on the island is amazing. In fact, after the island of St Barts, it offers the best shopping in the Caribbean. There is a full section of designer shops located in the Limegrove Shopping and Lifestyle centre in Holetown. There is a good choice of unique boutiques in the colourful chattel shops in Holetown.  Barbados also has a good selection of tax-free shops where you can pick up some great bargains.
12) Rum is big business in Barbados, and if you are a rum lover, then it is possible to visit the Mount Gay Rum Distillery which is the world’s oldest Distillery and still one of the world's most popular rums. Here you will sample several different types of Rum, learn about its history and see how it's made.
13) If you fancy taking a look at the sea life but don’t want to go deep sea diving, Barbados has a great underwater submarine that will take you to the bottom of the sea bed where you can view everything in comfort and safety. The “Atlantis” tour is loved by both you and old and creates great memories.
14) The island of Barbados is one of the best places to enjoy a day Catamaran cruise.  It is a wonderful way to see the coastline from the sea and also enjoy a fabulous lunch. The snorkelling is amazing, and if you are lucky, you can feed the turtles also.  Of course! “Bajan Partying” is also a well-practised culture while cruising the West Coast.
15) Last but not least, Barbados is great for sight-seeing.  It is a stunningly beautiful country with verdant rainforests, mountains, rivers and beautiful coastlines.  Two of the most popular destinations includes the Animal Flower Cave and Harrisons Cave.