Why visit Barbados
Popular with celebrities, Barbados is the quintessential Caribbean island, with 113km of magnificent white sand beaches edged by the azure sea. It boasts world-class resorts and spa hotels on its gorgeous west coast, known as the Platinum Coast for that reason. Here, top restaurants and championship golf courses complete the picture for a jet-set Barbados holiday.
For those who prefer a more secluded trip, there’s the south coast, home to some of the island’s best beaches, while the east coast, on the Atlantic Ocean, is popular with surfers. The colonial capital, Bridgetown, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historical value. A trip to Barbados involves plenty of fun, exploring the island by motorbike or Jeep and hitting the beach. The excellent resorts and hotels will look after all your entertainment and activities, ensuring you get to kick back and relax.
Why visit Barbados
- It’s the most luxurious Caribbean island of all.
- Shopping in the farmers’ and craft markets is superb.
- Its nightlife is renowned, especially the nightclubs in St. Lawrence Gap.
- The island is only 34km long but offers a wealth of sights and activities.
- The weather is glorious year-round.
- Its rum is worth sampling – time and again.
- Its numerous festivals offer plenty of entertainment and include jazz, sailing, reggae, horse racing and rum.
Barbados is extremely British, thanks to being a colony until 1966, and its quaint villages, historical monuments, plantation houses and exquisite gardens are a testament to this. Whether you’re looking for an active holiday or would like to relax and unwind, Barbados is the ideal travel destination. Thompsons Holidays will take you there for a definitive Caribbean island holiday.
Things to do in Barbados
This classic Caribbean island is known for being the most refined and elegant. Barbados is also flatter than its counterparts, and distinctly British, thanks to 340 years of occupation by the British under colonial rule. A Barbados holiday involves plenty of sports like cycling, hiking, tennis, horse riding and golfing. Watersports abound, and the scuba diving and snorkelling are excellent, as is the fishing, kite surfing, parasailing, surfing and kayaking. The rainforest in the interior offers numerous water pursuits. In contrast, the west coast offers excellent golf, shopping and spa treatments when you’re not enjoying the beach.
Exploring this charming island is another favourite pastime, to see its natural landscapes that include many exquisite British gardens with their own stamp of tropical splendour. There are so many exciting sights to see and things to do in Barbados, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Things to do in Barbados
- Explore Bridgetown’s historical sites, including National Heroes Square.
- Take a day trip to Harrison’s Cave with its clear pools and waterfalls.
- Enjoy snorkelling in the colourful reefs.
- Spend a Friday evening at Oistins Fish Market for a street party to remember.
- Bask on the soft pink sands of Crane Beach.
- Indulge your sweet tooth with fresh coconuts, mangos and sugarcane.
- Explore shipwrecks in Carlisle Bay.
- Discover the magical Flower Forest to see numerous indigenous tropical plants.
- View seahorses and giant sand eels on a scuba diving adventure.
- Go ziplining through the rainforest at Walkes Spring.
Legends of piracy, plenty of rum and mouthwatering seafood all add to Barbados’ iconic Caribbean charm. Add a hefty dose of water sports, including surfing and diving, a little bit of golf and some world-class spa treatments. Not forgetting the enchanting UNESCO-listed sights to discover, the friendly local and the astonishing scenery, and Barbados is a bucket list holiday destination. Book your Barbados holiday package from South Africa now.
Know before you go...
- The best time to visit Barbados is in the dry season, from December to early April.
- The official hurricane season in Barbados is from June to November. However, most storms occur from August to late October (as the locals say, “June is too soon; by October it’s all over!”).
- Flight duration from Johannesburg to Bridgetown in Barbados with one stopover: 24 hours.
- Flights from South Africa to Barbados are infrequent.
- South African passport holders do not require a visa to enter the Bahamas for a stay of up to 180 days.
- If you are flying via the USA, you will require a visa to enter the USA.
- Passports must be valid for 6 months after departure from Barbados.
- Barbados is 6 hours behind South Africa.
- Daylight saving is not observed in Barbados.
- The official currency is the Barbadian Dollar (BBD).
- US dollars are widely accepted in Barbados, but you will receive change in local currency.
- Credit cards are widely accepted & ATMs are prevalent.
- Tipping is an accepted custom in Barbados – hotels & restaurants add 15% surcharge to the bill.
- The official languages are English and Bajan.
- Christianity is practised by 95% of the population. The most popular Christian denominations are Anglicanism and Protestantism, followed by Catholicism.
- When visiting sacred sites and temples, dress conservatively. (See ‘What to pack’).
- It is safe to drink tap water in Barbados. Bottled water is also readily available.
- Vaccinations are not currently required but check with your travel clinic before you go
What must I pack?
- Lightweight clothing in summer, layers for the colder months, although it is still warm.
- Comfortable walking shoes, slip slops.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- In Barbados, transport includes rental cars, buses, taxis & shared taxis.
- The best way to get around is by car, preferably one you’ve rented.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Instead of using plastic bags, take fabric shopping bags with you.
- Respect each other’s cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Out of season
We’re sorry! The holiday you’re looking for is not in season. Luckily, we have loads of other exciting options. Take a look!