Barbados: the Brit’s favourite Caribbean island

EXG OCT 13 Travel

EXG OCT 13 Travel - Credit: Archant

Old Barbados hands will tell you that there’s something intrinsically British about this particular Caribbean island. Well, there ought to be, because we ran the place from 1665 until its independence in 1961 and we are still pretty good friends today.

After all, who wouldn’t want to have a friend you could go and stay with where the year-round temperature is around 30?C, the pace of life is relaxed and one of the major problems is having to decide whether you want to stay on the west coast for the super fine sand or the east coast for its surfing.

Decisions, decisions. In fact it’s such a poser that true fans wouldn’t dream of going to any other island, so keen are they to work out this great Caribbean conundrum.

It may be the air, it may be the people, it may be the rum, but whatever it is, Barbados just seems to have the right sort of atmosphere for us Brits; truly laid back, yet with an air of ‘can do’ prosperity that is reflected in the relaxed, but efficient way in which things get done. No waiting, but no rushing.

You could say the same about the island’s attractions. For those visitors who want to take a break from the arduous business of catching the rays and swimming with the fishes, there are indeed places to see, but they are restful and interesting.

Places like Hunte’s Gardens – Trip Advisor’s top attraction out of 104 – which is a tropical garden created by Barbadian Anthony Hunte planted around a stand of 70-foot palm trees. Or St Nicholas Abbey, which is in fact a very fine example of one of the luxurious plantation houses that were built when Barbados was the centre of the Caribbean sugar trade. You’ll also find a lot of seriously-fun rum bars and informal restaurants serving local cuisine, not to mention a range of watersports.

So, while you can go surfing and wind surfing and diving and sailing and ziplining and touring and shopping and golfing and fishing and wandering slowly round botanical gardens completely covered in things we would call pot plants, you won’t find the atmosphere spoiled by any tacky theme parks. They’re just not a Barbados sort of thing.

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What you will be able to do, for the first time this summer, is to sample the delights of the island’s first all-inclusive resort dedicated solely to couples. And just to make things easy, it’s called Couples Barbados and will be opening at what was previously the Casuarina Beach Resort on the south coast, east of Bridgetown, not far from the Rockley Golf Course and the Graeme Hall Nature Sancturary.

Old Barbados hands will also tell you that spring and early summer really is the best time to visit the island with perfect weather and lots to do and see and everything fresh and ready for the new season. And there are flights from all around the UK, so there’s really no excuse for making this year the one where you and your partner have the times of yours lives in this most British of Caribbean islands.