WHY WE LOVE IT
- Superb resorts, soft, calm Caribbean beaches, friendly if button-down locals, and the wild Atlantic coast.
- Sunset cruises, buggy rides round Harrison’s Cave, visits to historic houses and rum distilleries.
- The best golfing in the West Indies, with several world-class courses.
- Sports you’re unlikely to see much at home, like cricket and polo.
- Swimming with hawksbill turtles, diving to shipwrecks, surfing the gnarly Soup Bowl at Bathsheba beach, parasailing together into the sunset.
- Nightlife that's not in your face but totally there if you want it.
- Music galore! Ballroom and disco at Oistins Friday Fish Fry, calypso at the Crop Over Festival, one of the Caribbean’s biggest jazz festivals, in January.
WHEN TO GO
From December through mid-April come high-season high rates. Find bargains during the (unlikely) hurricane season, from June through October.
WHAT TO PACK
Bathing suits, polarized sunglasses, sunblock, camera, U.S. passport, U.S. dollars in small denominations (bills, not coins, accepted in some stores), binoculars (if you’re a birder). For evenings, bring smart-casual clothing; a few of the fancier restaurants request that men wear jackets for dinner.
WHAT TO BUY
Locally made Mount Gay and E.S.A. Field rums, funky square plates from Earthworks in St. Thomas, calypso and soca CDs.
To marry in Barbados, you both must apply at the Ministry of Home Affairs. Foreigners are not required to bring birth certificates (or certified copies of them), although they are recommended. If you’re divorced, you’ll need a certified copy of the divorce decree; if widowed, a death certificate and a previous marriage certificate. The fee is BDS$200, in cash (BDS$1=US50¢/CAN50¢). There is also an additional BDS$25 stamp for the marriage license that must be brought on arrival before going to the Ministry of Home Affairs. Check out the special wedding and honeymoon site: idobarbados.com.