Blessed with a sizzling tropical climate and palm-fringed white sand beaches, a villa holiday in Barbados is close to paradise. There’s so much to discover – from the natural beauty of tropical flowers and breathtaking rural landscapes, to plantation houses and historic towns proudly preserved in Bajan culture. The gentle, laidback rhythm of the island is both captivating and calming – the perfect combination for a summer holiday. The friendly, fun-loving Barbados natives are also famous for spicing up the balmy atmosphere with live Caribbean music, soul food and colourful calypso dancing.
Where else personifies paradise like Barbados? Visitors are seduced by swaying palms and silver sands, however it’s the ethos that places it among the most desirable holiday destinations. Living like a local gives the most authentic experience, with villas in Barbados a popular choice.
To discover some of Barbados’s colonial history, pay a visit to St Nicholas Abbey, a fascinating Jacobean style former sugar cane plantation house built in the mid-17th century with a rum distillery and steam mill. There’s also Sunbury Plantation, one of the island’s most popular museums, with its collection of horse drawn carriages. Plant lovers will enjoy the Flower Forest’s 53 acres of tropical flora and trees and the Andromeda Botanic Gardens, set on the hillside overlooking the Atlantic with its rare species of succulents, palms and bearded fig trees. Folkestone’s Marine Park near Holetown is well worth a visit. If you’re an experienced diver you can visit the amazing artificial reef just off the coast created by sinking the fire-damaged ship, Stavronikita. Snorkellers can still explore the inshore reef and there’s a visitors centre with plenty of information on the area’s marine life. For magnificent views of rolling waves crashing onto the rocky shore, visit the dramatic east coast beach at Bathsheba. Known as the ‘Soup Bowl’, the venue holds regular local and international surfing competitions and it’s a great place to take a picnic and watch the experts.
As sun goes down, there’s still plenty of fun to be had, with a whole range of nightlife options to enjoy, from historic shows to romantic cruises, exquisite fine dining to open-air concerts. Each resort has its share of superb restaurants and bars, many taking on a livelier ambience as the night goes on. Live music is a regular feature, often a mixture of reggae, calypso, steel pan and rock, and live entertainment includes dancing and dinner shows.
There are plenty of shopping opportunities throughout the island, with crafts, paintings and prints by Bajan artists some of the favourite buys. Bridgetown is undoubtedly the main shopping location, with department stores, boutiques and market stalls selling all manner of goods, both local and imported. Look out for locally-produced rum, handcrafted pottery and batik products. As a popular cruise destination, the capital also has a large number of duty free outlets, with high-end watches and jewellery – in particular gold, emeralds and diamonds – among the most desirable itemd. At Oistins market, pick up fresh flying fish to grill at your private holiday villa, along with a bottle of the island’s famous hot pepper sauce!
Whichever location you choose for your villa holiday, you’ll want to sample some of Barbados’s magnificent beaches for yourself and there are certainly plenty to choose from. The western Platinum coast has a gorgeous silvery shoreline lapped by gentle Caribbean waves and each resort has access to the nearest beaches, many offering watersports, parasols and sun loungers. Snorkelling in the clear turquoise waters here is a great way to view the shoals of tropical fish inhabiting the island’s coral reef. You can even swim with turtles offshore at the beautiful Paynes Bay. For those who enjoy a little more surf, the pink-hued Crane Beach on the southeast coast is simply breathtaking, backed by limestone cliffs and swaying palm trees and great for bodyboarding. Along the dramatic east coast, the waves of the Atlantic Ocean are wild, wonderful and ideal for surfing and it’s a great idea to take a trip over there during your stay for a very different beach experience.
Barbados Holidays - Points of Interest
Cool down on an underground tram ride through the beautifully illuminated limestone stalactites and stalagmites, deep pools and cascading waterfalls of the amazing Harrison’s Cave. It’s located around 20 minutes inland from Holetown and easily accessed by bus, taxi or car.
Barbados’s submarine trips are a great way to discover life beneath the waves without even getting your feet wet. Spending around 40 minutes at depths of up to 150 feet, this is an unforgettable experience, viewing shipwrecks, coral reefs and shoals of brilliantly coloured tropical fish up close.
Don’t miss the Friday Night Fish Fry at Oistins, a weekly social event for locals and visitors of all ages. Try freshly caught flying fish, marlin or swordfish, all cooked to perfection on the barbecue, followed by live music and dancing. If you visit the fish market during the day you can buy the catch of the day to grill in the comfort of your own private villa.
Take to the seas for a pirate party on a sailing ship, or perhaps a peaceful sunset cruise along the island’s idyllic coastline.
Set among 750 acres of tropical gardens and rolling hills, with its own beautifully maintained golf course, the Royal Westmoreland Estate offers outstanding service and facilities in an exceptional location.
Sandy Lane’s stunning location and exceptional facilities have made it one of the most famous and exclusive resorts in the Caribbean. With a pristine 18-hole golf course, an exquisite coral sand beach and some of the island’s best restaurants on offer.
At the heart of this exclusive development is a chic marina berthing some dazzling cruisers and luxury yachts. Delightful beaches extend either side of the marina entrance, with its smart restaurant and bar set on a manmade island in the bay.
Schooner Bay is a cluster of elegant apartments and villas set among tropical gardens in a gated development along this enchanting beach. The calm waters of the bay are perfect for snorkelling and the resort is only a short walk from Speightstown.
With its beautiful stretch of beach, plenty of sun loungers and parasols on offer and those turquoise waters to entice you in for a swim, Mullins is a firm favourite for many Barbados visitors. The popular beach bar and restaurant is an added bonus.
This luxurious development fronts a gorgeous white sand beach where baby sea turtles take their first steps into the sea. The resort has its own bar and restaurant, gym and beauty salon and is just a short drive from all the attractions of Speightstown.
This state-of-the-art, recently built marina has been designed for a relaxed life on and around the water. A large free form pool, modern gym, relaxing spa and lovely restaurant make it easy to stay put and enjoy the restful environment.
Gibbes is one of the island’s most peaceful and secluded beaches, gently sloping into the clear waters. It’s an ideal choice for those who love to escape the crowds yet with all the facilities within easy reach.
A charming Bajan town, Speightstown was the first port on Barbados from which sugar-laden ships set off for Bristol and London in the 17th century. Guests staying along this stretch benefit from the amazing beaches and enjoy its range of eateries.
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James Recommends - Barbados villas
Need some inspiration to help choose your perfect villa? Looking for a pool with a view, a villa in the centre of the action, or a property that sleeps a large group? James can recommend villas to suit you. Browse through our villas that have that specific something you're looking for.
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Views and opinions in these reviews are solely of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of James Villa Holidays (JVH). JVH provides no assurances regarding the accuracy of the information and cannot accept liability for complaints, loss or damage resulting from the article. It does not form part of the contract made when a holiday is booked with JVH and the information provided is not intended to be a rider or replacement to the booking conditions. Reference to the service or product of a third party, is not an endorsement or recommendation and JVH accepts no liability as a result of complaints, loss or damage arising from their use.
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