While it’s justifiably famed for its fantastic beaches, Barbados is an island that has it all. Beyond the dreamy, white sand beaches, the city boasts a UNESCO World Heritage–listed capital, beautiful gardens, wild surf and warm, welcoming people who are proud to call this island nation home. Aside from having a great selection of shops and street markets, the capital city of Bridgetown is filled with fascinating historic sites to explore. See the National Heroes Square, formerly Trafalgar Square, home to a statue of Lord Nelson or explore St. Michael’s Cathedral and the Parliament Buildings, all accessible by foot. After a day of sightseeing, relax with a refreshing rum punch down by the Bridgetown harbour and watch the fishing boats and catamarans float by.
Wherever you visit in Barbados, sampling the island’s soul food is a must. Street side stands offer the best in macaroni pie, fried chicken, rice and peas. Speightstown is home to the Fisherman’s Pub, a no-frills locals’ spot where you’ll get some of the best flying fish and traditional specialties like cou-cou and pepper pot. For something more upscale, visit celebrity-hotspot The Cliff in St. James or Daphne’s, a waterfront restaurant in Paynes for world class seafood and fusion cuisine. Equally appealing as Bajan cuisine is the rum. A popular attraction for visitors is the Mount Gay Rum Distillery tour which, beyond rum tasting, offers a glimpse at the island’s history. Other popular distillery tours include a visit to the family-run Foursquare Rum Distillery, home to Rum Sixty Six. The more modern Malibu Visitor Centre is worth a stop, featuring tastings of its coconut-flavoured Malibu, all by the picturesque Brighton Beach front.
A party is known as a ‘lime’ in Barbados, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better party than at Oistin’s Fish Fry on Friday and Saturday nights. Attracting 60% locals and 40% tourists, there’s an infectious energy in the air, complete with lively DJ sets, Bajan staples and grilled fish galore. Fish and parties seem to go hand in hand on the island. The fish market in Christchurch where fishermen bring in the catch of the day turns into a party by nightfall. Get your nightlife fix at Calypso, with music and dancing on stage, stalls selling arts and crafts and traditional Bajan BBQ food. Locals also often head to nearby St. Lawrence Gap, home to plenty of clubs and bars.
The Island’s East Coast is famous for being a surfer’s paradise and is host to many surfing championships. If you’re able to catch big waves, head to northern Bathsheba, home to the famous reef break known as the Soup Bowl. This reef-filled part of the Atlantic is for advanced surfers only, however the beautiful rugged coastline, sea front restaurants and unique rock formations that jut out of the sand are worth the visit alone. The West Coast is known as the Platinum Coast; luxury lovers will enjoy a visit to the boutique Lime Grove shopping mall, filled with designer clothes, jewellery and trendy bistros. Those looking for a romantic dinner will find gourmet restaurants and beautiful adults-only spots like The House on Paynes Bay.
The Island boasts immense natural beauty, from the Andromeda Botanic Gardens to the lush oasis of Hunte’s Garden. With dense Caribbean jungle and leafy paths filled with tropical plants, Hunte’s Gardens is an enchanting place to explore. The legendary horticulturalist Anthony Hunte sometimes even greets visitors himself, with welcoming stories and a refreshing glass of rum punch. You can make a day of it by visiting the nearby Welchman Hall Gully, a tropical forest cave home to 2,100 exotic plant species and green monkeys. And close by, Harrison’s Cave reveals stalagmites and stalactites that date back thousands of years.
Destination M members can explore the island from their luxurious home base at The Crane. Named one of the world’s best beaches by Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, this exquisite ocean-view residence features the absolute best in destination club living. The Crane Resort is set on the world-famous Crane Beach in St. Philip and features four cascading freshwater pools, an al fresco hot tub set into a historic 1887 stone surround, flanked by individual pool cabanas and spectacular ocean views.