If you plan a Barbados Honeymoon, you will be traveling to a small, island nation in the Atlantic Ocean, about 100 miles west of the Caribbean Sea. A constitutional monarchy, it is governed by a prime minister and as part of the British Commonwealth, claims Queen Elizabeth II as the Queen of Barbados. Despite technically being located outside the region, it functions as part of the larger Caribbean community.
It is relatively flat, although the elevation rises as you travel toward the center of the island. Barbados is surrounded in great part by coral reefs, and it has the distinction of being outside the main hurricane pathways in the Atlantic so extreme weather Is infrequent. The climate is moderately tropical, with prevailing breezes most of the year. It does experience two main seasons: the “wet season” runs from June to November. The “dry season” begins in December and lasts until May. Temperatures vary little throughout the year, ranging from about 70° F to 88° F.
The island is divided into eleven parishes, each named after a saint except for one at the southern tip, Christ Church. The capital, Bridgetown, is located in Saint Micheal Parish. The entire island is only 166 square miles.
Barbados has a population of about 290,000 people, most of which are of Afro-Caribbean descent. The people of Barbados enjoy a relatively high standard of living, and Barbadians have one of the highest literacy rates in the world. While English is the official language of the country, locals tend to speak Bajan in informal settings. Bajan is a dialect created by mixing British English with West African languages, slang, and a Caribbean accent.
Planning Your Barbados Honeymoon
You can fly non-stop to Barbados from New York, Miami, Charlotte, Toronto and Montreal in four to five hours. Smaller carriers also connect from other parts of the Caribbean and Latin America. In addition, it’s a popular port of call for cruise ships.
Once on the island, you can rent a car, or catch taxis or buses. Remember, if you are driving, it’s left hand drive in the style of the British!
Rental villas with private pools are popular accommodations in Barbados. You will also be able to find name brand hotels, small boutique inns, luxury resorts, and guesthouses ranging from rustic to romantic.
Barbados balances its British, African and West Indian roots in a comfortable mélange. While casual shorts, wraps, and sundresses are fine for the daytime, it is expected that suitable attire (jackets for men, dresses for women) will be worn when dining out in the evening, and that bathing suits stay at the beach. Locals tend to be patient and friendly with tourists—especially when it comes to driving on the “wrong” side of the road. The lifestyle is generally relaxed and most shops close at 4:30 or 5:00. When the shops close, though, you’ll be able to find plenty of nightlife.
Why Honeymooners Love Barbados…
Great Seafood…and It’s the Birthplace of Rum
Barbados offers an incredible variety of fresh seafood including snapper, tuna, shark, dolphin fish (not to be confused with Flipper, Americans know it as mahi-mahi), crab, and shrimp. The national dish of Barbados, though, is the flying fish, traditionally served with cou-cou, a polenta like dish made with cornmeal and okra. And Barbados has been distilling rum for almost four centuries!
Barbados is awash in wonderful restaurants, although the best are a bit pricy. Here are some selections for a special meal, and also a few just for fun.
Daphne’s is that perfect combination of dazzling food, an excellent wine list, and a romantic setting with silk curtains and carved wooden panels. Combining Italian and Caribbean flavors, it’s a favorite of visiting celebrities, and the staff will treat you like a star.
Paynes Bay, St. James
The Tides Restaurant has a stunning seaside location and gives the feel of dining in an elegant tree house. Built around living casuarina trees, the food is as spectacular as the setting. The fresh seafood often has Asian influences.
Balmore House, Holetown, St. James
Champers – If you’d like a view of the surf pounding on the rocks served up with some striking fare, Champers is a terrific choice on the south coast. Start with a shrimp and mango salad, crab crepe, or Champers ceviche. Need a break from seafood? Try their spiced pork loin chop or herb crusted rack of lamb. Make a reservation in advance for a table on its open-air terrace.
Skeetes Hill, Christ Church
Brown Sugar – For the best of authentic Bajan cuisine and a delightful patio set off by flowers and greenery, Brown Sugar is the place to go. A lunch buffet is both a great value and a terrific way to taste a variety of local dishes such as macaroni pie, pepperpot stew, and bread pudding with rum sauce.
Aquatic Gap, Bay Street, St. Michael
Tapas – Share some Asian and Mediterranean inspired small plates at this hot spot situated right on the boardwalk in Christ Church. The atmosphere is elegant and modern. They also have an interesting, but not inexpensive, wine list.
Hastings Main Road, Hastings, Christ Church
The Cove – For an entirely unique lunchtime experience, join cookbook author and chef Laurel Ann Morley for a home-cooked meal at the small veranda restaurant attached to her home. Her husband serves up a wicked rum punch to complement the Caribbean flavors.
Atlantic Park Cattlewash, St. Joseph
Cutters – For some easy and delicious carryout at an affordable price, try the generous, made-to-order sandwiches at Cutters. While the roast beef and flying fish sandwiches are particularly recommended, you can also get salads, ice cream, and handmade pizzas. If you’re lounging on the sands of Crane Beach, a staff member will take your order and deliver it to you on the beach. You can also dine in.
Crane Beach, St Philip
Bombas Beach Bar and Restaurant – Bombas is an unpretentious, local favorite on the west coast, serving up some of the best rum punch in Barbados. The menu is not extensive, but focuses on excellent preparation of the catch of the day and Asian style curries. You’ll also find a good beef burger and delicious vegetarian fare. And you might get to see some sea turtles as well.
Turtle Bay, North Mullins, St. Peter
Berinda Cox Fish Market /Millie Ifill Fish Market – If you’re in the mood to cook up a romantic dinner at your villa or apartment, head to one of the many fish markets to pick out your fresh catch just off the boat. The best time to go is between 10 and 11am.
Berinda Cox Fish Market—Oistins, Christ Church; Millie Ifill Fish Market—Weston, St. James
Romance and Frolic
Of course Barbados is known for its sparkling sand beaches and azure waters where honeymooners can swim, sun, walk, and relax. There are a host of other activities available to share with your loved one.
Oistins Fish Fry – A Barbadian institution, the Friday and Saturday night fish fry at Oistins is perfect for a lively, casual, and fun-filled evening of music, dancing and local food. Various vendors serve up fish cakes, fresh fish, sweet potatoes, and the ubiquitous macaroni pie. Outdoor seating is available and you’ll be treated to the sounds of local musicians. Try out Bajan ballroom dancing—it’s easy to learn, and fun.
Oistins, Christ Church
Foul Bay – Don’t let the name fool you: Foul Bay is a hidden gem for those looking for a quieter and astoundingly beautiful beach. While the surf is heavy, and there aren’t any amenities like changing rooms, it’s the beach to go to for some private time with your loved one. Located on Bermuda’s southeastern shore, pack a romantic picnic and enjoy the inspiring panoramic view.
Near The Crane, St. Philip
Harrison’s Cave – Need a break from the sun? Grab your sweetheart and go underground with a fascinating tour of Harrison’s Cave, a breathtaking geological phenomenon. Filled with awesome stalactites, crystal waterfalls, and emerald pools, you ride deep underground in electric trams before having the opportunity for an up-close walk around. And it’s a chance to explore the interior of Barbados.
Atlantis Submarines – Everyone gets a perfect view when you go under the sea with Atlantic submarines. A safe and fascinating underwater experience for those who don’t dive, you’ll have a unique perspective on the ocean’s flora and fauna. For a very romantic experience, go on the night dive and request the VIP upgrade.
Jacobean Mansions, Rum Distillery, & Barbados Wildlife Reserve – Step back into the 17th century with a visit to two of the last three Jacobean mansions remaining in this hemisphere, St. Nicholas Abbey and Drax Hall. Beautifully preserved and furnished, you’ll see how sugar plantation owners lived in the 1930s. You can also visit the working rum distillery making St. Nicholas Abbey Rum. A short distance away, go wild with some Barbados green monkeys, colorful tropical birds, and other wildlife in their natural settings.
Catamaran Cruise – Get out on the sea for a day of swimming, snorkeling, and sunning based from the deck of a catamaran with a full bar and a delicious lunch. Or leave your cares behind and enjoy a spectacular Bajan sunset while you swim with turtles and enjoy cocktails and hors d’oevres.
Jeep Safari – Leave the driving to an expert guide, and take a jeep safari to really see the island. For those interested in sampling the best of the island’s rum punch, there’s even a rum shop safari! And if you’d just like to sample the sights, there are half and full day tours available.
Lexy Piano Bar – Reputedly a favorite spot of Prince Harry’s, the perfect mix of show and party at the Lexy Piano bar will delight those looking for camaraderie and revelry. New York swanky meets Bajan lightheartedness with sing-alongs, dancing, cocktails, and tapas style bites.
TO SUM IT UP…
Barbados is a great honeymoon destination for couples that enjoy a lively atmosphere, but a bit more upscale tone when going out. It’s a foodie haven with terrific fresh seafood, and many excellent restaurant choices. Expect tourists to be enjoying the rum punch, and know that the small size of the island means that many popular beaches may be a bit crowded during peak season. Conversely, the small size of the island means it’s easy to get around, and the more adventurous can garner a lot of information from locals by using the public buses.