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Home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, if not the world, cheap flights to Barbados are a sun-seeker’s hot ticket. The perfect destination to laze and soak up some rays, the island has a reputation for being laid back but Barbadians definitely know how to have a good time – the world’s oldest and most acclaimed varieties of rum are made here.
The island nation also happens to be one of the most developed in the region, although this is not to say that it has given in to commercialism – unlike some of its neighbours, Barbados has legislation banning private beaches, so its white sands are free for all to enjoy.
This sense of fair play might be attributed to its still-evident British colonial roots, according to some. The island has a culture and identity all its own, but it’s certainly where the Barbadian love of cricket, that most quintessentially Commonwealth sport, comes from.
Widely known as one of the most prestigious Caribbean destinations, Barbados’ reputation precedes it. Holidaymakers flock to the island in droves, whether to dive and snorkel among the wildlife in its fabulous undersea environment, to enjoy the beaches ashore, or to explore its music, cuisine, and the Barbadian way of life.
The climate in Barbados is warm and pleasant throughout the year, although it can become a little sticky during the more humid months of the hurricane season where rain can also be expected. Light showers that pass relatively quickly are more common than torrential rain or storms, however.
Barbados’ high season is from mid-December to May, due to this being the driest period of the year. December and January are also busy months due to the popularity of Christmas and New Year visits.
Flights and accommodation are usually cheapest from September until mid-December, because this period includes the height of the hurricane season which begins in June and continues until November. The months of September and October in particular are the most humid of the year and most prone to rain.
From November to mid-December, Barbados’ rainy season has usually passed but visitor numbers and prices will not yet have risen again to peak levels. June and July – when the showers begin and the weather starts to become more humid – are also a time when prices drop but hurricane season hasn’t yet entered full swing.
Public buses of various kinds are an inexpensive way to get around the island. Blue government-operated buses (which require exact change), yellow privately operated ones, and white route-taxis (sometimes known as “ZRs”) all charge B$1.50 per person , per trip, which is around 80 Australian cents.
Taxis, not as cheap and more popular among visitors than locals, are easily found, especially in tourist areas. They are unmetered but fares are regulated by the government. Be sure to agree upon the fare before entering the taxi.
The usual international car-rental chains don’t operate in Barbados, but instead you will find a variety of smaller local operations. At the cheaper end of the scale, small open-sided buggies called mokes or mini mokes are frequently available among other options.
A short-term drivers’ permit is required and rental companies will likely be able to arrange this for a fee.
(prices quoted are from London)