A taste of Barbados

A taste of Barbados

Updated on 22 July 2018 • Written By SquareMeal

A taste of Barbados

With its delicious cuisine, fascinating culture and exciting activities, this relaxed Caribbean island has all the ingredients for an unforgettable holiday 

You’ll receive a warm welcome in Barbados, a tropical paradise with stunning beaches, turquoise seas and clear blue skies. No wonder travellers arrive here from all over the world, to explore the beautiful scenery, enjoy the unique culture and experience the laid-back vibe of an island that’s rightly described as the jewel of the Caribbean.

Nowhere else offers such a vibrant mix of experiences for holidaymakers to discover. Whether you’re an adventurer ready for surfing and open-water swimming; a culture vulture in search of historic houses and local legends; a nature-lover seeking out tropical gardens, forest wildlife and unspoiled rugged coastline; or a passionate foodie with a taste for the best local produce and delicious native dishes… Barbados really does have something for everyone.

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Appetite for discovery

In fact for hungry food-lovers there’s never been a better time to jump on one of the many direct flights from London to Barbados, as 2018 is the Year of Culinary Experiences on the island. A whole host of festivals, special events and activities are taking place across the year – in addition to the diverse range of local restaurants, cafés, pop-ups and rum shacks that are just waiting to be discovered.

Did you know that Barbados was the first – and is still the only – Caribbean island to be Zagat-rated and that it boasts over 100 different restaurants? The choice is unrivalled on any other island and provides a perfect showcase for the distinctive flavours of Bajan cuisine.

Reflecting the unique history and culture of Barbados, as well as the bounty of its sea and land, the native cooking style is an eclectic mix of European, American and Asian influences. There’s an abundance of fresh seafood, from flying fish and swordfish to shrimps and lobster. Look out for the Bajan national dish of cou-cou with flying fish – a combination of okra and cornmeal mixed with pepper, salt and hot sauce, served with fried or steamed fish – and tasty street-food dishes like ‘bread and two’: savoury salt bread stuffed with two fish cakes.

You’ll understand why Barbados is known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, when you try to decide where to eat on each day of your visit. Whether you choose a rustic seafood feast with locals at Oistins Friday Fish Fry or a romantic dinner overlooking Batts Rock Bay at Cin Cin By The Sea, you won’t be disappointed. 

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Sweet temptation

As well as its unforgettable food, no trip to Barbados would be complete without trying the island’s famous rum, distilled from local sugar cane. You can find out more about rum by visiting the Mount Gay Distillery for a tour and tasting or the 300-year-old Sunbury Plantation House, a beautifully restored sugar plantation.

A distillery tour is just one of countless highlights of a holiday in Barbados. Make Instagram-worthy memories you’ll never forget as you take a thrilling island safari tour, meet chattering Vervet monkeys in Welchman Hall Gully, explore Harrison’s Cave, peek inside private homes with the Barbados National Trust’s Open House programme, dance the night away to steel bands or simply relax barefoot on the sand with sundowners to watch the beautiful Barbados sunset. 

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When to visit

18-21 October: Barbados Food and Rum Festival

Stimulate all your senses with a visit to the ninth edition of this international festival that attracts top chefs from around the world, as well as food writers, gastronomes and curious foodies. Highlights this year include the Oistins Bay Gardens Cook-Off on Thursday, The Signature Rum Event on Friday and a unique series of fine-dining events that pair top local chefs with international guest chefs on Saturday. The four-day festival culminates with an exciting beach party at the Hilton Resort Barbados and unforgettable fine-dining experience at one of the signature local Bajan restaurants.

7-11 November: Barbados Open Water Festival

Take the plunge in spectacular Carlise Bay, which comes alive every November as hundreds of people from around the world take part in this popular swimming festival. Once a bustling seaport for the island’s historic capital of Bridgetown, today the bay is part of a protected marine park and designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. This unique setting offers ideal conditions for open-watering swimming, while Bajan hospitality ensures there’s a wonderful camaraderie among swimmers as they take part in practices and social events leading up to the 1.5K, 5K and 10K swim races.

7-9 December: Run Barbados Marathon and Half-Marathon

The Run Barbados 10K has been taking place every year since 1983 and is one of the oldest races in the Caribbean. With an AIMS-IAAF-certified course through historic Bridgetown and along the scenic west coast of Barbados, the 5K and 10K races offer runners an unbeatable Caribbean sporting experience. The course is fully equipped with support stations – plus you’ll get plenty of encouragement and entertainment along the route from the locals, who always turn out to cheer on the runners in their signature Bajan style.

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