One of the British Islands until 1691, Barbados today is a country of contrasts; from serene Caribbean waters and coral beaches for sunbathers and swimmers to an Atlantic coastline ideal for surfers and sailors. Meadows of golden sugar cane and historic plantation houses are a short walk away from the bustling port of Bridgetown. A range of full-service resorts, quaint bed and breakfasts, private villas and self-contained apartments accommodate all types of travelers from families to couples. Visitors will find excitement in recreational and island activities – from golf and scuba to Harrison’s Cave and Orchid World. Rich in culture, Barbados is known for friendly people and entertaining events year-round.
The Barbados Jazz Festival, held each January, offers tropical ambience with top international artists, while The Crop Over Festival heats up every July, and is a celebration of music, masquerade and tradition signifying the end of the sugar cane harvest.
The first indigenous people were Amerindians arriving from Venezuela. The first English ship touched the island in 1625, and it was claimed on behalf of King James I, remaining a British colony until internal autonomy was granted in 1961. The island gained full independence in 1966, and maintains ties to the British monarch represented in Barbados by the Governor General. Barbados is a member of the Commonwealth.
Despite 40 years of independence from Great Britain, cricket is still played throughout the island,with International matches every spring. Bajan cuisine such as Cou-Cou and Pepperpot are worth a taste, as is flying fish, an island favorite. With daily non-stop and direct flights out of major US cities that will have you on the beach in time to catch the afternoon sun, Barbados is closer than ever.
The island nation is divided into 11 parishes: St. Lucy, St. Peter, St. Andrew, St. James, St. Joseph, St. Thomas, St. John, St. Michael, St. George, St. Philip and Christ Church. The infrastructure of Barbados and the business operations are highly advanced, allowing convention and meeting bookings to flourish at a host of internationally acclaimed resort hotels.
The Sherbourne Center is among the Caribbean’s finest conference facilities, featuring state-of-the-art technology, and a wide selection of meeting spaces and special services.
Barbados has a wide range of accommodations, from elegant resorts to intimate guesthouses. Dining in Barbados is a feast for all senses. Choose from folk recipes for Flying Fish (a “national treasure”) to culinary experiences that rival the world’s finest. Diverse sightseeing options feature a wide array of natural attractions, abundant sporting choices, world-class shopping and lively nightlife. With all this, and a temperate, year-round climate of sunshine and warm breezes, it is clear how Barbados has remained the Caribbean’s most re-visited destination.
The European settlers established tobacco and cotton plantations, and during the 1630s, sugar cane was introduced to the agriculture. The Barbadians dominated the Caribbean sugar industry in these early years.