A Beautiful Spot in the Sun

As the chill in the air envelops us, we dream of warm destinations where we can relax and enjoy the warmth of the sun. I think back to my travels to Barbados. My first visit to the magical island was remarkable, as I felt like a princess! The people were so warm and welcoming! I remember having a cooking demonstration with a local woman who wanted me to see how she made curry! The best part of Barbados is the people… continuously smiling!

I am happy to say that Barbados understands wheelchair accessibility, access is a priority. Barbados has made vacationing easy by creating an initiative that places them in the lead for ‘inclusive’ vacations for anyone with a mobility challenge.

Barbados is a coral island, pushed out of the sea by volcanic activity in a faraway time. On the West Coast of Barbados, coral shore beaches of fine white sand stretch along a blue-green sea. Coral reefs fringe the Barbados shoreline to provide excellent snorkeling and Scuba Diving. Along the East Coast, a lively surf is blown briskly by the strong and constant trade winds and waves pound against a rocky shore. The constant breeze of the trade winds gives Barbados a mild and pleasant tropical climate.

When you visit Barbados, you will see it is mostly a flat coral island with excellent beaches, but there are rolling hills and many deep ridges and gullies, with an interesting distribution of flora and fauna. Within the Barbados coral core there is a vast array of caves and underground lakes which provide an excellent supply of drinking water that is among the purest in the world. Geologically, Barbados is unique, being actually two landmasses that merged together over the years. This and other anomalies make this Caribbean island quite phenomenal, and there are geological structures that you will find only in Barbados.

One of the most distinguishing features of Barbados is its relatively flat terrain. It’s the region’s only non-volcanic landmass. But once you’re here, you’ll soon discover Barbadian life is far from flat. From the rugged beauty of its rocky eastern shoreline, to the calm, serene waters of its “Platinum Coast,” Barbados packs plenty of punch into 430 sq. km of Caribbean paradise.

While the island’s 350-plus churches are filled to the brim come Sunday morning, Barbadians still know how to have a good time, as evidenced by a thriving nightlife scene and a full calendar of festivals.

Steeped in English tradition while embracing its historic past, Barbados is often characterized by the welcoming warmth of its proud and confident people. The island’s rich heritage is complemented by its international flair and sophistication – a combination that makes it one of the most diverse destinations in the Caribbean.

Accommodations here are as diverse as the choice of island experiences. From the elegant surroundings of the most popular luxury properties in the Caribbean to family-oriented properties and romantic retreats, you’re bound to find a space perfect for you, nestled by the turquoise coves of Barbados’s west coast. But Barbados’s appeal goes far beyond its golden attributes of sea, sand and sun. The island serves as a beacon for history buffs, adventure-seekers and those simply looking for the peace and tranquility of a Caribbean vacation.

Barbados is a great place for duty-free shopping, with global suppliers vending their wares at prices that typically run between 30 to 50 per cent below North American retail prices.

With more than 1,500 rum shops on the island, rum is undeniably a major part of Barbadian history, culture, geography, and of course, the economy. It’s also a great way for visitors to take home a bit of Barbados in a bottle. While Mount Gay’s award-winning collection of rums can be bought almost anywhere on the island, the Mount Gay Distillery’s rum store sells premium brands at very good prices. For a truly special rum purchase, try St. Nicholas Abbey’s own handcrafted rum, aged to perfection in bourbon barrels on the estate. Decorative bottles of 10-year-old and 12-year-old rum can be purchased at the Abbey.

By Tarita Davenock, Certified Special Needs Travel Advocate and host of The Lonely Planet’s Travel for All Show. Her company Travel for All takes great pride in ensuring that, regardless of your level of mobility or ability, you will have the experience of a lifetime.