Sun worshippers seeking a little sex appeal with their honeymoon destination can look no further than Barbados, a place as hot as its most famous export, Rihanna. The super romantic Caribbean island in the Lesser Antilles visually guarantees sunshine year-round, though it’s best to avoid the island between August and October if hurricanes aren’t your thing (January to April are the driest and least humid months). And it’s easy for Americans, since English is spoken along with Bajan Creole.
Still, the trio of hurricanes that wiped out so much of its neighbors this past fall didn’t affect this small island, which is referred to by some as the culinary capital of the Caribbean and home to the Barbados Food and Rum Festival each November. From outdoor food markets (try Oistins Fish Fry on a Friday or Saturday night) to seaside eateries with epic views—and a local specialty of flying fish, done best at the romantic candlelit Cafe Luna—it’s a rich landscape for those who enjoy eating. The Tides is beloved as one of the best and beautiful restaurants there, with a chicken Thai curry plated inside a coconut shell. But it’s not only a hub for foodies—though who can argue with the ability of a meal to make or break an evening.
The tropical destination is home to sandy white beaches where vivid aquamarine water laps at your toes, limestone caves and verdant botanical gardens. In other words, there are countless romantic locations to hide away for a picnic or to pop a bottle of bubbly. Animal Flower Cave is a magical place on the northern tip with a coral floor and sea anemones (stop by Fish Pot nearby for amazingly fresh pan-fried or grilled fish afterward), and the wondrous underground Harrison’s Cave is a can’t miss, with its dramatic stalagmites and deep crystalline pools to swim in. History and architecture buffs can even find some of that on the island that was formerly claimed by the English and still has a collection of early 17th century plantation houses, the George Washington House (where our first president spent two months on his only trip outside colonial America) and even a synagogue founded in 1654.
The Caribbean Sea is also worth a dip—or a few—from a seaside resort such as the brand-new all-inclusive Sandals Royal Barbados Resort, a suite-only property with Sandals’ first rooftop pool and bar, as well as a four-lane bowling alley in case you get tired of all that natural beauty on display outside. That same eye-poppingly blue water will be in your line of vision from the 34 chic oceanview suites at The House in St. James. The intimate resort features 24/7 service ambassadors, Champagne breakfasts, a fabulous freeform pool and experiences like beachside horseback riding and sunset catamaran sailing trips.
Speaking of, the sunsets are a special time on Barbados—it’s a moment that’s best experienced with a drink in hand and feet in the sand. Both can happen at Saint Peter’s Bay, which also has a lagoon-style pool and villas that look directly at that gorgeous sea. Its sister resort, Port Ferdinand, is only five minutes away on Barbados’ only private luxury marina (if you like a change of scenery, split your time), and offers condo-style luxury accommodations with a top spa, several restaurants and water sports. Don’t forget a candlelit beach dinner for two—a no-brainer when you’re basically living inside a postcard.