FAMOUS for its crystal clear waters, incredible cultural events, delicious cuisine and being the birthplace of rum, Barbados has an abundance to offer visitors.
Located in the southeastern Caribbean Sea, the island provides a unique experience steeped in rich history and rooted in remarkable landscapes.
Each year, Barbados hosts several world-class events, including the annual Barbados Food and Rum Festival, which celebrates the island’s spirits production since the 1700s, the Barbados Reggae Festival and the Crop Over Festival.
Thousands of people travel to the island from all over the world to participate in these events and experience the island coming alive in celebration.
But whether you prefer sipping cocktails by the warm watered beach, delving into the island’s history, indulging in its world-famous seafood or partaking in Kadooment day, there is sure to be something for you to enjoy.
Incredibly proud of their traditions, Bajans welcome visitors with open arms to experience the Crop Over festival, which officially begins after the Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes, held this year on July 1.
However, the festival unofficially begins in May with a series of free community events to build excitement for the activities to come.
Crop Over is one of the oldest festivals in the Western Hemisphere, dating back to the 1780s when Barbados was the world’s largest producer of sugar.
The celebration was carried out by enslaved workers and later free labourers to mark the end of another successful sugar cane harvest. However, as the industry declined, so too did the festival, which led to it being terminated in the 1940s.
Over thirty years later, it was revived and since 1974 it has continuously grown through incorporating various elements of Bajan culture.
Today, the festival is one of the most diverse in the world, with a mixture of heritage, creative arts, parties, music and masquerade — and is completely unforgettable. Thankfully, we arrived just in time to experience the spectacular events.
As the festival progresses and builds momentum, the volume of events increases and by the end of July into August, an average of seven to ten events take place each day.
The two-month long extravaganza features dusk-till-dawn parties, art and craft markets and culinary-driven street fairs for locals and visitors alike, making it a great time to visit the island.
On the festival’s final day, known as Kadooment Day, Barbados holds the largest summer street parade of masqueraders, which takes place on the first Monday in August.
Preparation begins in the early hours of the morning as those taking part dress to impress in amazing outfits complete with feathered wings and bold make-up.
The Kadooment Bands parade along the street behind large music trucks and culminate on the Mighty Grynner Highway as calypso music echoes throughout the streets.
Another fantastic way to see the beauty of the island is to take a Safari tour, where you will learn more about Barbados’ incredible history while taking in the breathtaking scenery and sites.
With exciting, off-the-beaten-track routes through plantation lots exposing you to the island’s most scenic locations, the exuberant guides will give you an insight into what makes Barbados one of the most beautiful places in the world.
And if you feel like heading out to sea, there is nothing better than a cruise. We indulged in a Cool Runnings catamaran trip.
Once aboard, we were treated to various activities, such as snorkelling with sea turtles and exploring a shipwreck, before being taken to a secluded bay for lunch.
Barbados has more than 80 pristine white-sand beaches, with unlimited ways to have fun, including jet-skiing, boogie boarding, paddle boarding, surfing and kitesurfing.
The perfect holiday destination, don’t leave it too long before you go.