Barbados is a tropical paradise with sophistication, culture and a rich history. Pear-shaped Barbados. Isolated in the Atlantic Ocean, 161km due east of St. Lucia, it stands apart from its neighbors in the Lesser Antilles archipelago, a graceful arc of islands stretching from the Virgin Islands to Trinidad.Words Nikki Beach Global
The little island packs a great deal of punch offering a winning combination of the familiar and exotic, with Anglican churches and cricket greens in every village, yet wild monkeys running the streets and gardens.
Broad sandy beaches, craggy cliffs, and numerous coves make up the coastline while the island interior is consumed by forested hills and gullies, not forgetting the acre upon acre of sugarcane.
Without question, Barbados is the most British island in the Caribbean – it has a turbulent colonial past – and is sometimes referred to as Little England. But though afternoon tea is a ritual, and cricket is the national sport, the atmosphere is far from stuffy. This is still the Caribbean, after all.
The third most developed country in the Western Hemisphere after the United States and Canada, Barbados is a melting pot of flavor, color and dynamic spice. It’s an island where everything works, and the Bajans – local people of Barbados – are welcoming, self-confident and characteristically warm natured.
The beaches are good and varied, with the sea usually glassy-calm on the west coast, and gnarly surf in the south. Nikki Beach Barbados occupies a prestigious spot adjacent to Port Ferdinand on the island’s west side, also known as the Platinum Coast, synonymous with luxurious hotspots. Just 20 minutes from capital Bridgetown, Port Ferdinand, a 16-acre luxury marina development community, is often dubbed the Barbados Riviera and is frequented by celebrities including Mick Jagger, Simon Cowell, Sting, David and Victoria Beckham, Hugh Grant and Tiger Woods.
Explore bustling capital city, Bridgetown, with its downtown shops and historic sites, just a short walk or taxi ride from the famous pier.
ABOVE: Barbadians go crazy for afternoon tea, cricket, which is also the national sport, golfing, scuba diving & sailing.
Stroll between colonial buildings, along Broad Street and pedestrian-only Swan Street, for great shopping and enjoy the rhythmic buzz of local culture. The entire downtown area, including the Garrison was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012 for its historical significance, of which the locals are extremely proud.
A plethora of museums are easily accessible, providing a valuable, compelling and thought-provoking insight into the island’s proud democratic heritage. On the north side of National Heroes Square are two stone-block, neo-Gothic-style buildings constructed in 1871. The western building with the clock tower contains public offices; the building on the east side houses the Senate and House of Assembly.
Barbados is known as the land of the Flying Fish and the national dish is flying fish and cou cou. These foot-long fish, which “fly” over the water for up to 200ft, are found in other waters but Bajans appear to have refined the skill of de-boning them. Caught mainly during the winter and spring months flying fish is a tasty, slightly oily fish that is delicious shallow fried in soft breadcrumbs with just the right amount of Bajan seasoning. It’s a must try meal.
- Season November - August
- Airport Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI)
- Boat Coordinates 25° 47' 26.354" N 80° 7' 48.164" W
- Time Zone GMT-4
- Currency BBD, USD
- Language English, Bajan (dialect)
- Electrics 120 Volts, 60Hz
When to visit
In terms of the weather, the best months are January through to April, as they are the driest and least humid, and usually a couple of degrees Fahrenheit cooler than other times of year.
The vibrant island plays host to an astonishing array of annual events including world-class sports, music festivals, theatre performances and the much-loved Barbados carnival during the Crop Over harvest festival celebrations, the Grand Kadooment, considered one of the best festivals in the world. Origins can be traced back to the 1780s when Barbados was the world’s largest producer of sugar. A celebration was held each year to mark a successful sugar cane harvest – the Crop Over celebration. This year the festival begins on June 25 with the Opening Gala and Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes. Celebrations last several weeks and end in mid-August.
International cricket test matches at the Kensington Oval, a jam-packed music schedule including Reggae on the Hill, as well as outdoor theatre and musical performances hosted in the sublime gardens of Holders Great House, mean there’s enough to keep even the wildest traveler busy.
St Nicholas Abbey is a Jacobean plantation house with an operational cane-grinding steam mill that operates in the winter months, and a rum distillery, offering tastings. It’s a fascinating insight into home life in Barbados in the 1930s and is well worth a visit.
Today Polo in Barbados is a popular sport, played by international teams to a local crowd, as well as polo enthusiasts and tourists. The first polo match was played in 1884 and today international teams play from January to May, including British royalty Prince Charles.
If you believe that Barbados’ interior is all rolling fields of sugarcane, think again.
Welchman Hall Gully is a tropical forest of spectacular palms, soaring bamboo, and mahogany, fustic, sandalwood and baobab trees. A highlight is John’s Path at Andromeda Botanic Gardens, which passes an astonishingly vast Bearded Fig Tree, with aerial roots shooting in all directions. It is a poignant stop as Barbados is believed to be named after the fruit tree. In 1536 Portuguese sailors spotted the island, en route to Brazil, and called it Los Barbados, meaning ‘Bearded Ones’, after the trees covering the island.
ABOVE: Barbados is an island nation surrounded completely by the Atlantic Ocean. It belongs to the Lesser Antilles (a group of islands in North America).
What to expect
Barbados has lots to see and do – you should make time to visit the wild, wave-pummelled east coast and a plantation house or two hidden among the sugarcane fields inland. The island is loosely broken down into five parts. The upmarket west coast, now home to Nikki Beach Barbados – is where narrow but pretty beaches are lapped by calm water and kept watch on by guests in luxury hotels and villas above. Second, there’s the more heavily developed south coast, where the sea off the beaches is sometimes too rough for safe swimming.
Then there’s the tranquil and unspoiled east coast, battered by Atlantic breakers and popular with sports enthusiasts and surfers. Next you have the island’s rolling interior, with some absorbing sights such as plantation houses, botanic gardens and caves, and then there’s Bridgetown the capital. While not as appealing as the rest of island, Bridgetown is a historian’s playground.
Set on the northwest part of the Caribbean island, Nikki Beach Barbados sits on 1.4 acres of pristine beachfront and features a restaurant, pool and beach club with oceanfront seating for up to 200 guests. The Nikki Beach signature, swim-up octagon wet bar is the centerpiece, surrounded by oversized, luxury pool beds and VIP cabanas, showers, changing rooms and a world class restaurant. Enjoy the freshest catch from a globally-inspired menu including signature sushi boats, dishes with local flair, fresh fish and seafood, an on-site rotisserie and the world famous Nikki Beach Mojito made using the finest Caribbean rum.
Chill out to your own personal sound track courtesy of resident DJs, and an in-house saxophonist, percussionist and violinist.
Nikki Beach Barbados