Barbados - People and Places

Barbados is an independent island nation in the Lesser Antilles. Formerly a colony of the British Empire, the island gained independence in 1966 and has been growing ever since. In 2014 it was voted the best vacation destination in the Caribbean (even though it’s not technically in the Caribbean) and has become a destination of choice among more discerning travelers who want a tropical experience without the hassles associated with the more common or crowded islands. The name itself derives from the Spanish and Portuguese word for “the bearded ones” though no one knows why the original European explorers coined it. Once home to Carib and Arawak tribes, the island is now home to roughly 280,000 people of mixed ancestry. Many trace their roots to Africa but a large portion of the island was settled by European expats. Regardless of origin, Barbadians simply call themselves Bajans. Cash crops like indigo, sugar cane, and cotton made Barbados one of the riches colonies in the New World and that affluence has continued through to today as you can see from the photos of Barbados. The mixed economy of Barbados has ensured prosperity and stability for generations. And let us not forget the amazing natural heritage of the island. From the pristine coral reefs that surround it to the tropical forests and limestone caves that dot the landscape, Barbados offers a Caribbean escape unlike any other.

Turtles in Barbados

Turtles in Barbados

Barbados is home to all four major species of sea turtles including green turtles, leatherbacks, and loggerheads. It’s also the second largest breeding grounds for the hawksbill sea turtle in the world. All of these beautiful creatures can be seen in the wild and snorkel and scuba excursion put you face to face with them

Andromeda Tropical Botanic Gardens

Andromeda Tropical Botanic Gardens

The Andromeda Gardens cover 6 acres in the Parish of Saint Joseph in Barbados. The gardens began as the private collection of noted horticulturalist Iris Bannochie but were later opened to the public in the 1970s. Home to over 600 different species of trees, plants, and flowering vegetation, the Andromeda Gardens see almost 40,000 visitors annually

West Coast Barbados

West Coast Barbados

The West Coast of Barbados is the leeward coast, sheltered from the Atlantic by the bulk of the island. The beaches on this side of the island are perfect for leisurely recreation including swimming, snorkeling, boating, and sunbathing. This coast is also home to some of the more prestigious harbors and towns

Red Land Crabs Barbados

Red Land Crabs

The scientific name for this terrestrial crustacean is Gecacinus ruricola. They’re prolific all across the Caribbean island and the Antilles. While they are born in the sea, they spend most of their lives on land eating vegetation. Sometimes, during certain seasons, the populations explode and crabs can be seen moving in massive red waves across roadways and footpaths. The crab is edible and was once the primary ingredient in a local stew

Sunset on the West Coast

Sunset on the West Coast

Nothing is quite so romantic as catching a gorgeous blood-red sunset on the west coast of Barbados. There are plenty of beaches from which one can welcome twilight but for a truly wonderful experience charter a boat and spend the evening bobbing on the waves as the sky explodes with its nightly pyrotechnics

Restaurant Barbados

Sunset Dining

The perfect end to a perfect day. The west coast of Barbados is home to some of the best restaurants on the island–many of which feature outdoor dining. After a day of adventure and exploration, make time to unwind with local delicacies, a fine wine, and the gorgeous sunset

Carnival Barbados

The Crop Over Summer Festival

The Crop Over summer festival in Barbados is the most colorful and lively event on the island. Originating in the 1780s, this festival is the island’s equivalent of Carnival with street parties, dancing, and parades throughout the week. The modern Crop Over festival began in 1974 when traditional Barbadian heritage infused new life into the festivities

Kensington Oval Cricket Ground Barbados

Kensington Oval Cricket Ground Barbados

Located just to the west of Bridgetown (the capital of Barbados), the Kensington Oval Cricket Ground is the preeminent sporting facility on the island. Cricket, the national sport of the island, was brought to Barbados by the British but enjoys tremendous popularity among all nationalities on the island today. In fact, the locals call Kensington “the Mecca of cricket”

Barbados Turf Club

Turf Club

Located in the capital of Bridgetown, the Turf Club in Barbados is the home of horse racing on the island. The season begins with all the pomp and circumstance of the Kentucky Derby and the betting is fast and furious. The VIP pavilion features all-inclusive packages including food and beverage options as well as transportation to and from your vacation home

Barbados Independence Day

Barbados Independence Day

Barbados celebrates its independence on November 30th with exciting events throughout the month. One of the most eye-catching events is the lighting of government buildings in Bridgetown with blue and gold bulbs (the colors of the Barbadian flag). The corresponding National Independence Festival of Creative Arts showcases art of all sorts (music, singing, dance, writing, painting, sculpture, and more) from talented Barbadian artists

Oistins Fish Fry

Oistins Fish Fry

Oistins Fish Fry is consistently listed as a “must do” while on Barbados. Oistins is a fishing village located on the southern coast and a party atmosphere fills the town on weekends. There you can sample fresh-caught delicacies like tuna, mahi-mahi, marlin, lobster, swordfish and more all grilled to perfection and served in a dressed-down casual atmosphere

Harrisons Cave

Harrison’s Cave

Harrison’s Cave is a natural limestone cave system located in the heart of Barbados in the Parish of Saint Thomas. Tours are available during which you’ll witness centuries’ old limestone accretions (stalactites and stalagmites) and calm, glassy pools of mineralized water. This excursion makes a wonderful and informative pit stop and gets you out of the heat of the day

Barbados Rum

Rum

Sugar cane formed the backbone of the Barbadian economy for decades and the vast majority of that cane was turned into rum. There are a number of fine rum distilleries on Barbados (perhaps the most famous of which is the Mount Gay distillery). Many of these offer tours and most feature gift shops were you can try samples and buy liquid souvenirs and authorized merchandise

Green Monkey

The Parish of Saint Andrew

Saint Andrew is one of the most pristine of all the parishes on Barbados. With rolling green hills and undeveloped land, it’s the perfect place for the nature enthusiast or photography to get off the beaten path and experience Barbados as the native tribes must once have. Because of its stoic beauty, the parish has been nicknamed “The Scotland District” since colonial times

Parish of Saint John

The Parish of Saint John

Saint John is known for its rugged coastline and spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s also home to Saint John’s Church which itself has a commanding view from atop Hackelton’s Cliff. While beachgoers might be disappointed by the rough surf, photographers (amateur and otherwise) will be astonished

St. Phillips, Barbados

The Parish of Saint Philip


Saint Philip is the largest of all the parishes on Barbados though it’s also one of the most bland geographically speaking. It sits low and flat near the ocean on the eastern most end of the island and bears the full brunt of what the Atlantic throws its way. It’s also a bit industrial, home to Barbados’s oil industry

Parish of Saint Joseph

The Parish of Saint Joseph

This eastern parish is one of the most scenic and is home to two of the most well-known botanical gardens on the island of Barbados: The Andromeda Gardens and Flower Forest. Because it’s on the eastern coast, the surf kicked up off the shore of this parish is perfect for surfing and attracts thousands of visitors a year to the “Soup Bowl,” home to international surfing contests

Christ Church Parish

The Parish of Christ Church

Christ Church is one of the six original parishes on the island created by Governor Sir William Tufton in the 1600s. It’s home to the international airport as well as Saint Lawrence Gap–one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island–miles of bars, nightclubs, hotels, and shops

Parish of Saint George

The Parish of Saint George

One of only two parishes in Barbados that doesn’t have access to the sea, Saint George serves as a central hub, bordering six other parishes. Of historical note, Saint George is also home only a handful of signal stations left over from the colonial period

Saint James Parish

The Parish of Saint James

This parish is known as the “playground of the rich and famous” on Barbados and was also once known as the “Gold Coast” and now the “Platinum Coast” of the island. Most of the expatriates who have made Barbados home live here. Ironically, it’s where the first English explorers and colonists first landed as wellhots

Bridgetown Bethel Methodist Church

The Parish of Saint Michael

Saint Michaels is home to Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados. Not coincidentally, it’s also the commercial heart of the island with the majority of businesses having established headquarters within the parish. Because the parish is home to one of the few deep water harbors on Barbados, it has become not only an important commercial port but also brings hundreds of large cruise ships to the island every year

Saint Nicholas Abbey

The Parish of Saint Peter

Home to the Port St. Charles Marina, the Parish of Saint Peter is one of the more affluent on Barbados. It’s also one of the largest parishes–extending from the east coast all the way across the island to the west. Known for white sand beaches, Saint Peter is part of the “Platinum Coast” that made Barbados a tourist hotspot to begin with

Parish of Saint Thomas

The Parish of Saint Thomas

The second landlocked parish on Barbados, Saint Thomas is home to several natural wonders including the Harrison’s Cave system which has become an important tourist attraction in the interior of the island. It’s also home to the Bagatelle Great House, a former sugar plantation which has been rebuilt into a dining and entertainment venue catering to locals and visitors alike–including amorous couples who wish to get married in this tropical paradise

The Parish of Saint Lucy

The Parish of Saint Lucy

This Parish is located to the north of Barbados and offers some of the most spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean on the island–including those from Cove Bay. Compared to the other parishes on the island, Saint Lucy is a bit quiet–perfect for a laid back day of exploring on your own