This pear shaped island with gently rolling hills is 21 miles long and is 100 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Island chain that arcs from the Virgin Islands to Trinidad. Because of the very successful sugar cane business (in the 18th century 26 forts guarded the 21 miles of coastline), the island has marvelous old plantations and mysterious ruins to explore. Barbados is also a wonderful mix of British tradition and Caribbean style. Bajans still loves cricket, rugby, afternoon tea and polo. And while people tend to dress for dinner in many restaurants and hotels, Barbados is hardly stuffy. Bars and nightclubs dot the island, serving of course, the favorite local rum, Mount Gay.
One of the most popular locations is in the parish of St. James on the tranquil Caribbean coast. Here one finds beautiful old houses (some of which were designed by famed British set designer Oliver Messel), lovely beaches and first class lodging like the renowned Sandy Lane Hotel. This very lush area also many good and diverse restaurants. The Atlantic side of the island has miles of beach with bigger surf, rocky cliffs and dramatic views. It offers a totally different feeling from the West Coast. Island activities include visiting historic plantations and gardens, the train trip through the enormous and fascinating Harrison's Cave as well as lots of shopping, good golf courses (including the Tom Fazio designed one at Sandy Lane Golf Club), riding, fishing, diving, sailing and snorkeling.
Local currency is the Barbados dollar though US dollars are widely accepted. Several airlines fly non-stop into Barbados.