Those considering taking time out in the new year have been spoilt for choice when it comes to locations, and to add to the list, we take a look at the Caribbean island of Barbados and all that it has to offer its potential 2017 visitors
With a population of approximately 275,000 people and an official language of English, Barbados could just be the perfect destination for an intimate yet somewhat familiar holiday – of course with a hint of Caribbean luxury. To give you all a bit of background, the island – with a capital of Bridgetown – is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence, as up until 1966, Barbados was a British Colony. Regardless of this, and despite the fact that it takes an approximate nine hour plane journey to get to Barbados, many British holidaymakers are enticed by the familiarity of the English-speaking destination. Barbadians are typically friendly people, and welcome tourists onto the island with open arms – 39% of visitors claim that the friendliness of Barbadians is their reason for repeated visits.
Getting far away from the typically miserable British weather is appealing to anyone, and although Barbados can’t guarantee sizzling heat all year round, you’ll never experience daytime temperatures below 21 degrees. The country generally experiences two seasons, one of which includes noticeably higher rainfall. Known as the ‘wet season’, this period runs from June to November, while the ‘dry season’ runs from December to May. Annual precipitation ranges between 40 and 90 inches and from December to May, the average temperature ranges from 21 to 31 degrees, while between June and November, it floats somewhere between 23 and 31 degrees. The Barbados climate includes pleasant and revitalising north-east tradewinds almost every day, and ocean temperatures are wonderfully warm all year round.
Speaking of oceans, Barbados is the home of some of the most glorious beaches in the Caribbean, and Crane Beach, in the parish of St. Phillip, has consistently been recognised as one of the top ten beaches in the world. The island is 21 miles by 14 miles and is surrounded by the beautiful Atlantic Ocean the whole way around. Fine white sand and clear blue sea causes thousands of luxury-hungry holidaymakers to vacate to the island all year round. All beaches in Barbados are open to the public and access to them is considered a right of way. Not only are Barbados’ beaches perfect for basking in the sun all day long, they also host an array of sights for the wildlife and animal lovers out there.
Two of the world’s rarest sea creatures make their nests on the beaches of Barbados; the Hawksbill and the Leatherback Turtles. The Hawksbill nests between April and November, mainly on the west and south coasts of the island, whilst the mighty Leatherback, the largest of all turtle species, nests between February and July on the windswept beaches of the cast and southeast coasts. A long history of hunting these animals for their meat, eggs and shells has reduced Caribbean populations to fragments of their former size. As such there is currently a ban on turtle hunting in Barbados to allow population recovery of these endangered species. The Barbados Sea Turtle Project personnel carefully monitor the number of turtles making their nests on the island. The Barbados Sea Turtle Project is based at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. The Project provides a 24-hour Sea Turtle Hotline year round, which the public and visitors can use to call in information on turtles nesting, hatching of eggs, or lost or injured turtles. Project staff are called on to relocate nests made too close to the high tide line, to rescue hatchlings disoriented by hotel lights, and to rehabilitate turtles that have been accidentally hooked or partially drowned in fishing nets. In addition, Project staff patrol high-density nesting beaches nightly during the height of the nesting season, measuring and tagging nesting females and recording nest locations, showing that the preservation of the island and its natural inhabitants is incredibly important to Barbados’ residents.
Barbados is the home of over 39 diving sights, as well as some of the oldest diving wrecks, making it the perfect location for the more adventure- hungry visitors out there. For those who aspire for more than just a day spent upon flawless white beaches and beneath perfect blue skies, Barbados offers a number of exciting excursions to satisfy even the most adventurous soul. Offshore, the ocean beckons with the call of a deep sea fishing excursion or diving expedition to explore the shipwreck capital of the Caribbean. Closer in, the “white horses” provide ample surfing opportunities, including kite surfing and wind surfing along the southern coast, plus board surfing at Soup Bowl in Bathsheba and all along the eastern shore. Inland, the diverse terrain of the island offers a number of activities to enjoy, including biking through the tropical forest, discovering the water-carved caverns of Harrison’s Cave or hiking among the flora and fauna of Welchman Hall Gully, Flower Forest or the Barbados Wildlife Reserve.
Not forgetting the foodies out there, as the “culinary capital of the Caribbean”, Barbados is especially appealing to a vast array of food lovers, and with a multicultural society, feasting and dining in Barbados’ many first-class restaurants promises to, alone, be a sufficient reason to visit the island. Also, with the introduction of the Barbados Food and Rum Festival held in November, Barbados is fast becoming known for its appeal to the most seasoned foodies who continue to flock here to feast on fine food and beverages all year round.
Barbados has all this to offer and more, but don’t just take our word for it, go and taste for yourself!