Exploring Barbados

Barbados - Saturday, January 17th, 2015

For a long time, the Caribbean has enjoyed a reputation of being one of the major tourist and vacation regions in the world. One of the major countries responsible for such prestige is Barbados. Consisting of an island that is 21 miles long, up to 14 miles wide, and covering an area of 167 square miles, Barbados is the easternmost of the Caribbean nations. As a leading tourist country, Barbados is notable for its tropical resplendence and rich culture.


Geologists theorize that the island that comprises Barbados is about a million years old, formed out of the merging of two land masses. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the island was known as Ichirouganaim by the Arawaks, the dominant Amerindian tribe that lived in the region at the time. Some historians believe that Barbados was named “Los Barbados” for the beard-like appearance of the island’s fig trees, and that the name came from the Portuguese explorer Pedro a Campos. Despite the presence of Spain and Portugal, Barbados was eventually claimed by Great Britain, which transformed it into a sugar cane-producing colony built on slave labor from West Africa. Barbados gained its independence from Great Britain in 1966.

Main Attractions

When the British arrived in the island in early 17th century, they found an island almost totally covered in thick jungle. And much of it still remains. The Flower Forest is arguably the most popular section, comprising more than 50 acres of pathways adorned with flowers and trees, with about seven acres of wild garden. The Welchman Hall Gully Tropical Forest, which includes a ravine formed by the collapsed roofs of caves, is ideal for vacationers who like a mix of nature, hiking, and natural history. Barbados is also renowned for its beaches, which surround the entire island. Each section is unique in the pleasures it offers. For instance, Bathsheba is notable for its foamy surfs and in-shore pools, Cattlewash is ideal for visually soaking in its unparalleled landscape, and Bath Beach is one of the best in Barbados for swimming and sea bathing.

Entertainment and Culture

Barbados is an interesting blend of West African and British cultures, which is evident in its music, sports, and food. As the island that gave the world pop star Rihanna, Barbados is strong in calypso, jazz, reggae, and soca; and the country hosts the Barbados Jazz Festival every January. Perhaps more popular is the five-week Crop Over, a traditional harvest festival that showcases singers from multiple musical genres. Like other Caribbean nations once colonized by the British, cricket is a very popular sport in Barbados. African, Indian, and British influences are evident in the cuisine, which prominently features fish, and includes food items such as corn, okra, English potato, rice, cassava, and yam. 

With so much to see and do, the small island country of Barbados makes for one big adventure. Be sure to follow along as The Maritime Explorer, Dale Dunlop offers his insight on his visit to Barbados in early February. The Canadian travel explorer invites you to follow along all of his adventures by following him on Twitter or Facebook and keeping up with the latest posts on his travel writing blog.


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