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Barbados is an island in the Caribbean, northeast of Venezuela that is often portrayed as the Little Britain of the Caribbean because of its long association with the UK as a British colony.
Bridgetown is the capital of Barbados, the eastern most island of the Caribbean. Bridgetown is the only city on Barbados and well over half the island's residents live there. Bridgetown is the port of call for many cruise ships and is known for its duty-free shopping as much as for its more cultural and historical attractions.
This article covers everything in Bridgetown itself and also the rest of St Michael Parish.
Sir Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) is a large international airport for Barbados's size and boasts dozens of flights arriving in the high season from the UK and Canada, as well as the United States.
Driving is on the left. The bus system is extensive, cheap and fast if you are headed to somewhere on the main route, but a car (or mini-moke) is the only way to see many of the out-of-the-way sights. Many drivers will hold a bus for you if they see you are from out of town, reflecting the typical welcoming spirit.
There are also more than enough taxis to take you wherever you need to go on the island for reasonable prices. They do not use meters and it is best to negotiate the price before you get in. However, most taxi drivers are honest and you are unlikely to be overcharged. Be sure to ask the management of the hotel or the friendly locals what the going rate is for a cab ride to your destination.
Renting a car is expensive. If you are driving, be aware that the roads on the island are generally quite narrow, with the exception of the ABC highway. It is advisable to be extra cautious as many roads on the island have sharp turns, steep inclines, and are generally quite bumpy, although most are paved.
Mopeds and bikes can also be rented to explore sites not easily reached by cars. This not recommended however due to the poor condition of many of the secondary and residential roads. Except for the main highway, all the other roads provide a hazardous journey to the moped or bike rider due to no sidewalks, frequent pot holes, sharp corners and speeding local buses.
Another fun way to get around is to rent a moke available from any number of local car rental agencies.
The official language in Barbados is English. Bajan uses a mixture of West African idioms and expressions, such as Igbo, along with British English to produce a unique Barbadian/West Indian vocabulary and speech pattern. Communication will not be a problem for any English speaker, and Barbados has one of the highest literacy rates in the Western Hemisphere.
What to see
Barbados Museum, St. Ann's Garrison, St. Michael. Housed in the former British Military Prison, the Barbados Museum is an excellent place to go to catch up on the history of the island though you'll have the place to yourself.
The exhibits start from the time the coral island first appeared; briefly cover the history of the indigenous people of Barbados; the arrival of Europeans and African slaves and the culture of the island during the colonial period; the emancipation of slaves; independence from the British; and more recent history.
St. Mary's Church, Bridgetown, Barbados. The current Georgian building was constructed in 1827 but there has been a church here since 1630.
Parliament Building in Bridgetown
What to do
World class water sports including surfing at the Soup Bowl on the east coast and various breaks along the west when the swell is up. The south coast has great surf and a spot on the world windsurfing tour at Silver Sands.
Travel inland to various plantation houses which put on meals and exhibitions. Visit the animal flower cave or Barbados wildlife reserve.
Barbados has amazing conditions for Kitesurfing. The wind blows most of the year but the best months are January to July. Main kite beach is at the south part of the island at Silver Rock.
A catamaran cruise with opportunities to snorkel with sea turtles and snorkel above shipwrecks. The tours usually include transportation to and from the harbour as well as all drinks (alcohol included) and a buffet lunch. Turtle-snorkelling-only cruises are offered as well.
Scuba diving. There are also many diving tour operators for every level of experience to explore coral reefs as well as sunken ships. The waters around Barbados are some of the most transparent in the Caribbean.
Aerial Trek zipline, Jack–In-The-Box Gully, St. Thomas, Barbados. If you love adventure you might enjoy ziplining over a tropical forest & gully. It's a pretty small course with just 8 platforms. Friendly guides put safety first. edit
Swimming with sea turtles. Several catamarans offer sailing tours that include stops to swim and snorkel with sea turtles. Lots of fun and a somewhat unique experience. Note there are no swimming with dolphins options off Barbados. edit
Golf. There are several world class courses.
Cricket. Barbados has several cricket teams, including some playing at international level. A match is the opportunity for the Bajans to gather around the TV and support their team.