Barbados is just crying out for you to engage with its colourful culture, so drink some rum with the locals, maybe cosy up to a sea turtle and brush up on your drawing skills while trying to capture the island’s stunning natural beauty. We promise, the memories of these experiences will last a lifetime.
Play Cricket in Barbados
Forget stuffy sporting decorum and yield to the whooping, hollering throng that is the Bajan cricket crowd. For us, it’s all about banging a drum, limboing to Calypso rhythms and swigging from a bottle of rum, as the batsman whack a “6” – this is cricket at its most atmospheric. Barbados Cricket Association, +1 246 274 1325, www.bcacricket.org.
Swim with Hawksbill Sea Turtles
There’s nothing like an encounter with Barbados’ population of magnificent hawksbill turtles, once endangered by over-fishing but now protected and monitored island-wide. We love to watch them play and feed along the inshore reefs and, if we’re feeling adventurous, even join them for a swim amongst the coral. Jammin’ Cruises, Bridgetown, Barbados, +1 246 422 1152, www.jammin.com. Daily, 1-4pm.
Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival
The Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival is one of our favourite events in Barbados. This 4-day gourmet extravaganza sees chefs, restaurant owners and food producers join forces to whet the appetites of everyone on the island. We love browsing the stalls of fresh, local ingredients, sitting in on the winemaking demonstrations and tasting delicious treats at the sizzling outdoor cook-offs. If you’re a foodie, like us, you’ll love the chance to sample local Bajan flavours – Barbados is the first and only Zagat-rated Caribbean Island. Barbados, +1 246 427 2623 (Barbados Tourist Board), www.foodwinerum.com. Mid-November (annually). Locations island-wide.
Surfing at the Soup Bowl
According to the world’s greatest surfers, the swells in Barbados are some of the best on the planet, and we’re particularly fond of those on the east coast at the Soup Bowl surf spot. Powerful surges travel thousands of miles from the east, south, north and west to unleash their foam surf over Barbados' coral reefs to dramatic effect. Bathsheba Beach, Barbados
Art Classes with Fielding Bapp
To really make the most of the dazzling, bold hues on the island, and the landscape blessed with wonderful natural shapes and a diversity of textures, we think an art classes is a great way to try and capture it. Under the guidance of Fielding Bapp, a reputed Bajan artist, you tackle crashing waves, flower-filled gardens and empty beaches – just turn up with an HB pencil and a desire to learn. We’ve found plenty of artistic inspiration across the island, from the golden skies and the red and yellow tropical foliage, to a seascape washed with numerous variants of blue, and, of course, there are plenty of multi-coloured fish and birds. With its sleepy pace, Barbados is the perfect place for a relaxed introduction to watercolours, oils, charcoal or pencil sketching. And classes run in intimate groups, or as a 1-to-1, depending on what you’d prefer. The Main Guard Veranda, The Garrison, Barbados, +1 246 228 7554. Open: 1pm-3pm Thurs. Booking essential.
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About the author: KatieKatie Manning
Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning