Barbados. Even the sound of it feels good. Images come to life of stunning, honey coloured beaches and idly waving palm trees. It’s a picture so vivid that you can almost hear the reggae. But there’s so much more to Barbados than even that.

Barbados sits in the Eastern Caribbean, and wears its British heritage proudly on its sleeve. In the capital of Bridgetown, you’ll see policemen wearing a tropical version of the British uniform. There are still red phone and post boxes, and cricket is elevated almost to the status of a religion rather than a sport. It’s reassuring for many, and garnished with a healthy dollop of warm Caribbean sun. Even the tradition of afternoon tea is observed almost as zealously as it is back in the mother country.

You can enjoy afternoon tea at one of the stunning old plantation houses, once surrounded by crops of sugar cane that the island economy depended on, Barbados is no Victorian English theme park. For all it’s English infused charm and elegance, Barbados is very much the real Caribbean.

See the beaches on the west coast. washed by the warm surf of the Caribbean,  It is these that show the island at it’s leisured, indolent best. Blinding white swathes of sand dotted with parasols, hammocks swung in idle ease between towering, lethargic palms. jet skis tearing up the briny. Para gliders floating skittishly across a brilliant, petrol blue sky. Scuba divers and rum swizzles at sunset. In very many ways, Barbados is the quintessential Caribbean dream island.

You can still see fields of sugar cane blossoming in the centre of Barbados. On the east side of the island, you’ll encounter far rougher waves, where the shore is assaulted by the surging Atlantic rollers. The surfing community claim this part of Barbados as their own.

Strolling Briidgetown itself reveals a pretty, appealing little town, with brilliant, brightly coloured clapboard houses built out over the water. Numerous shops, restaurants and open air bars line the yacht thronged waterfront, and there’s even a small, beautifully formed beach within a couple of minutes’ walk of the town centre.

British tinted in parts, and yet as utterly unique as a human fingerprint in its own right, Barbados remains without doubt one of the crown jewels in the magical waters of the Caribbean.

Getting around: The cruise terminal is an approximately fifteen minute walk from the centre of Bridgetown, over even ground. Otherwise, you can take a taxi at a cost of around three dollars.

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