The Southern Caribbean – roughly, the area east and south of Puerto Rico – is dotted with islands that served as colonial outposts and changed hands through the years among the French, the Dutch and the British. The island of Barbados is an exception, as it was associated only with the United Kingdom for more than 300 years until it became independent in 1966.
Today, the island retains a British flavor – motorists drive on the left side of the road, English is spoken everywhere and you can enjoy a high tea in the late afternoon. However, these British traditions play out in a spectacular Caribbean setting of turquoise water, soft sand beaches and lush tropical foliage – quite different from London.
Strictly speaking, Barbados lies just outside the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea, about 100 miles east of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. While not officially a Caribbean island, it’s included on many cruise itineraries that also feature islands like Martinique, St. Lucia and Grenada. Barbardos lies outside the usual Atlantic hurricane belt, although some recent storms have affected the island.
Cruise ships dock at the cruise terminal in Bridgetown, where it’s an easy walk or cab ride to the capital city’s downtown area. To get a sense of local history, visit the Cathedral of Saint Michael, the statue of Lord Nelson in National Heroes Square or the collection of rare English cannons at St. Ann’s Garrison.
There are gorgeous beaches along the island’s western and southern coasts; some are secluded, others are lined with lively cafes and bars. Crane Beach, with pink sand backed by dunes and cliffs, is one of the prettiest. Some beaches, such as Harrismith Beach and Bottom Bay, have caves to explore. Note that at some beaches, the surf is too rough for swimming, while others are ideal for snorkeling and playing in the water.
The island’s north coast isn’t known for beaches, but for scenic views of the Atlantic surf pounding against the cliffs. For more great views, visit Farley Hill, a national park with the ruins of a grand manor house and a charming hilltop pagoda.
To find out more about cruising to Barbados, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
Read more about Barbados here.