Barbados, things to do, what to do in Barbados, about Barbados, Barbados villa rentals

ABOUT BARBADOS

Barbados is a magnificent jewel set in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. It has golden sandy beaches, calm clear blue waters and amazing restaurants. The English speaking ‘Bajans’ or ‘Barbadians’ are amongst the friendliest people  in the world. Passionate about cricket, Barbados hosts world cup cricket at the Kensington Oval and is a very special place for a holiday.

The West Coast of the island often known as the 'Platinum Coast', enjoys wonderful sunsets and the calm clear Caribbean sea. It is  upmarket and served by the very best hotels and restaurants with beautiful quiet beaches and some of the best golf courses in the world.

The South Coast is a little more casual and slightly busier and the sea is wavier but with so much going on it is ideal for young visitors. The South Coast is generally less expensive than the West Coast. It is lively and beautiful but slightly more crowded with wide sandy beaches.

On the East Coast the Atlantic Ocean rolls in and the coastline is rugged and dramatic . Surfing is popular here. However, it is less accessible to many of the restaurants and activities available on the West and South Coasts.  The East Coast is not really suitable for young children to swim unless supervised.

Each coast is very different and each has its own charm.

The island is approximately 21 miles long and 14 miles wide. It covers an area of 166 square miles and has an estimated population of 284,589.

There is so much to do on Barbados it is hard to know where to begin. For those who want to relax there are wonderful uncrowded beaches and sunshine through most of the year. We have luxury villas to rent or luxury  hotels to enjoy all year round.

Weather in Barbados

Whilst a little hotter and slightly more humid in the summer months Barbados offers fantastic weather virtually all year round. It is now extremely popular during July and August when the children in Europe are on school holidays. If you are thinking of visiting the island in school holidays it is advisable to book flights well in advance. Barbados weather is generally warm and sunny all year round with an average daytime high of 30°C / 86°F.

With the northeast trade winds blowing steadily throughout the year so, whilst it is generally bright and sunny, Barbados is not unbearably hot. The nights are usually slightly cooler  and rain typically comes in quick showers. The dry season usually lasts from January to June.

Which airlines fly to Barbados?

Barbados is now extremely accessible with direct flights  every day to Barbados from London Gatwick (BA and Virgin Atlantic) and 5 direct flights a week from Manchester in the winter months (Virgin and Thomas Cook). There are 2 flights each week from Manchester (on Virgin Atlantic) in the summer months. There are also direct flights to Barbados in the winter months from Birmingham and Glasgow (Condor/Thomas Cook). This makes Barbados the perfect place for a holiday.

There are many direct flights from the US to Barbados. Jet Blue and American Airlines fly direct from New York and Miami daily. Delta fly direct to Barbados from Atlanta. There are also direct flights to Barbados from Toronto with Air Canada or West Jet.

Things to do in Barbados

If you are active (or just like to watch activity) there is:

Things for families to do in Barbados

As well as all the above activities there are so many other wonderful things for families to do and see:

Swim with turtles;
Enjoy a sunset catamaran cocktail cruise or a 3 hour lunch cruise with lunch and booze included;
Party on a party barge- a comfortable flat motor boat with great bar and music ideal for partying;
Visit St Nicholas Abbey- an historic plantation house where you can taste the fine Barbados rum still distilled there and you can watch a video telling the history of Barbados in pictures;
Visit the Animal Sanctuary and watch green monkeys and giant turtles roaming in their natural habitat;
Explore Harrison's Cave and travel by tram through the extensive cave system to view amazing stalagmites and stalactites which have formed over thousands of years ( You can even get married there!);
Enjoy Barbados under the water in a submarine observing magnificent coral, sting rays, eels, turtles and colourful tropical fish;
If you like horticulture enjoy the colour and peaceful botanical beauty of the Flower Forest, Andromeda Gardens and Orchid World;
Watch horse racing and mingle with like- minded people at the Barbados Turf Club;
Jeep Safaris- take a tour of beautiful Barbados by Land Rover jeep safari. Learn Barbados culture, history and go to off the beaten track places in 4x4 Land Rover vehicles where you will have amazing photo opportunities to share with (and make you the envy of) friends on Facebook, twitter and Instagram;
Island hopping-for those who want to see some of the other islands in a day take a 40 minute flight to the Grenadines and see some of the Grenadine islands on a catamaran. You can also island hop in a day to Mustique and Bequia;
Enjoy the Concorde Experience- Barbados is home to one of the magnificent Concorde fleet and you can visit the Barbados Concorde Experience which is next door to Grantley Adams International airport. A truly unique experience;
Shop until you drop at Lime Grove Shopping Centre in Holetown which is host to most of the designer brands including Breitling, Burberry, Bulgari, Cartier, Diamonds International, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Mont Blanc, Ralph Lauren, TAG Heuer and Vilebrequin;
Cinema-enjoy a luxury cinema experience with a twist in Lime Grove Lifestyle Centre. It provides an outstanding movie/cinema experience. Leading films are delivered in outstanding Dolby 3D and Dolby digital sound. You may pre-order your amazingly comfortable leather seats. You can even buy a reclining seat with full foot rest.  At either of the luxury cinemas in Lime Grove customers can order food with a touch button control and the food is delivered right to your seat! Kids (and adults) just love it.

National Trust walks enjoy National Trust guided walks throughout the beautiful countryside;

Holders Season- a celebration of opera, music and theatre held at Holders in March each year. This is an internationally acclaimed festival of cultural activity; 

Cookery courses-at places like Flindts

Bus Tours-take a tour on one of the old fashioned recently refurbished Bajan buses

Dining/ Restaurants

Barbados has some of the best restaurants and finest food in the world. You could dine in a different amazing restaurant every night of the week from grand haute cuisine, to wonderful beach front restaurants to local shanty bars and rum shacks. This island has it all. There is something for every taste. Try The Cliff, Tides, Cin Cin, Fish Pot, Lone Star, Bombas Beach Bar, Daphnes and many more. Read our thoughts on the Top Ten Restaurants in Barbados.

VIP Arrivals Service

If you want to beat the queue at immigration on arrival contact us and we will provide our customers with  a personal VIP service which will whisk you through immigration and customs avoiding the queues.

Barbados Currency

The local currency is the Barbados dollar and there are currently around 3 Barbados dollars to each UK pound (referred to as 3 to 1) or 2 Barbados dollars to each US dollar (2 to 1). Most places will take US dollars but generally items are priced in Barbados dollars. You can obtain Barbados dollars before you go but in the UK, exchange rates for Barbados dollars tend to be quite poor and you may be better to order US dollars in the UK (M&S and Thomas Cook usually offer good exchange rates). Alternatively, wait and use your cashpoint card on arrival in Barbados. It is always a good idea to let your bank and credit card companies know before you travel because Barbados still does not use chip and pin. You may therefore find your cards are sometimes stopped by your bank’s fraud detection systems if you have not pre-warned them.

Visas

As long as you have a UK or US passport with not less than 6 months left to run you will be able to gain entry to Barbados without a visa.  Residents of other countries will need to check the entry requirements and can do so by checking at Barbados.org.

Car Hire/Auto Rental

We recommend car hire/auto rental so that you can explore Barbados. It gives you the flexibility to stop off whenever and wherever you like. The east coast is wilder and more rugged than the west with the Atlantic waves on that coast rolling in and the views are breath taking.  It would be a shame to miss out on the island’s beauty when car hire is relatively inexpensive. Driving is on the left as in the UK.

We have partnerships with many of the car rental/auto rental companies and are are able to obtain some of the most preferential rates available. If you wish to book a car, whether you have booked a holiday with us or not, we will be happy to arrange car hire/ auto rental for you.

Time Zone

Barbados is in the Atlantic time zone and the standard time is Greenwich Mean Time minus 4 hours. Barbados has no daylight saving time so in the GMT winter months it is minus 4 hours and in the GMT summer months it is minus 5 hours. If you are from the East coast of America you will have no time difference at all to concern yourself with.

Weddings/Getting Married in Barbados/ Honeymoons/2 centre holidays

We frequently have guests who wish to marry and honeymoon in Barbados or perhaps do a two centre holiday. Why not marry and honeymoon in Barbados and then move to another island for a second week. We are specialists in two centre holidays. Who wouldn’t want to marry in the balmy Caribbean sunshine on a beach or in a tropical garden? We are always happy to assist with the arrangements. We can find suitable properties for wedding receptions to take place. We can introduce you to local wedding planners and we can assist in finding accommodation of all sizes to accommodate the happy couple and their friends and family.

We can even sort out hire cars for the wedding party and their guests.

Getting married in Barbados is relatively straightforward.  Each member of the couple must apply for a marriage licence by attending in person at the office of the Ministry of Home Affairs.  The couple will need to bring with them:
•    Valid passports and birth certificates.
•    Return airline/boat tickets.
•    If either member of the couple was divorced, an original Decree Absolute (The Decree Nisi will not be sufficient).
•    If either member of the couple was previously married and widowed, a certified copy of the Marriage Certificate and Death Certificate in respect of the deceased spouse.

The couple should apply for a marriage licence but first they must arrange for a magistrate or marriage officer to perform the wedding ceremony.

Fees for the marriage licence range from between US$22.50 (BDS$45) and US$100 (BDS$200) depending on whether or not either party is a citizen of Barbados (if neither party is a citizen the higher fee applies). There is also a nominal fee payable for a stamp. This will not usually exceed US$12.50 (BDS$25).

Fees for civil marriage ceremonies range from US$125 (BDS$250) to US$175 (BDS$350) depending on whether the ceremony is held in or out of court. Ceremonies held in the court are generally cheaper.

If you are getting married in Barbados do always check local bank holidays which differ from those in the UK. Marriage ceremonies are not usually performed on Barbados bank holidays.

Our office in Barbados and our concierge service

Ourlocal  team on the ground in Holetown are highly experienced and will be happy to help you with bookings or simply to direct you to the right places. We are here to help ensure that your holiday in Barbados really will be a dream holiday.

 

Barbados restaurants

OUR TOP TEN FAVOURITE RESTAURANTS IN BARBADOS
Here are www.Barbadosdreamvillas’ top 10 restaurants. Stephen and Leila have been lucky enough to try all of these restaurants many times and these are their favourites.


Other places we love to eat in on Barbados

Whilst it is fun to enjoy the wonderful upmarket food and setting of the restaurants above, sometimes it is just as fun to enjoy a more low key local experience. For that sort of experience we recommend:

Bombas Beach Bar at Mullins.  A small, simple chattel house restaurant on the beach. Simple fresh food including chicken and fish with a new vegetarian option every day. Service can be slow so only go if you are not in a hurry and want a local experience in a sea front setting.  See Tripadvisor reviews.

Ju Ju’s near Lone Star. Popular, scruffy laid back beach bar on the water. Food can be good (but not always)-service is hit and miss but the location is wonderful and it is fun and feels very local. See Tripadvisor reviews.

Lemon Grass in Lime Grove shopping centre, Holetown. It serves extremely tasty and reasonably priced Thai food.  See Tripadvisor reviews.

Mullins Beach Bar at Mullins. A fun, lively place right on the beach. Great for kids. Relaxed atmosphere with great views of the sea and reasonable prices.  Ideal for laid back lunches. See Tripadvisor reviews.

Little Bristol Beach Bar  in Speightown.  Happy people, simple food, music and a beachfront, unpoilt and rustic ambiance.

Zaccios in Holetown. This was a favourite of our kids when they were little and it was then called Cocomos. Brightly coloured tables. Large restaurant right on the beach with a good beach bar and some tables on the water. Great for families and kids. Kids can run and play on the beach after their meal. Extensive menu with chicken, fish,  pizza, rotis etc.  Not too expensive. Lovely, fun spot  for a sundowner.  See Tripadvisor reviews.

Surfside in Holetown.  A sports beach bar. Friendly staff, ok food, right on the water with sun beds available too. See Tripadvisor reviews.

Spago on Second Street in Holetown. Small, friendly Italian style restaurant offering delicious food at reasonable prices.  Nothing fancy. Best to try to get a table on the small terrace so you can watch the world go by. See Tripadvisor reviews.

Jumas, Speightstown.  Lovely setting overlooking the beach. Good for lunch and dinner. Simple local food including pumpkin soup and rotis.  Mixed reviews. Romantic setting in the evening with lava lamps lighting up the beach. See Tripadvisor reviews.

Oistins Fish Fry, Christchurch. See Tripadvisor reviews.

The Roti Den, Paynes Bay. We think these are the best rotis in Barbados but you generally have to take away. Not much room to sit. See Tripadvisor reviews.

 Cutters on the East Coast near the Crane Hotel. If you are heading over to the east coast stop by at Cutters. A rustic chattel house with amazing home cooked food including pizza and macaroni pie. Best rum punch on the island. Service can be a little slow but we think it is worth the wait. They will even do pizzas to go to take down to Crane beach or to have delivered to you on Crane beach. See Tripadvisor reviews.

The Atlantis, St Joseph. A great place to spend a Sunday when they do the Caribbean fixd eprice buffet. A huge array of local dishes. We particularly enjoy the fishpot. Rustic setting with wonderful views of the east coast waves crashing in.

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