This small, sophisticated expat island in the southeast Caribbean offers plenty of British charm without the gray weather (it even lies outside the hurricane zone!). Here, afternoon tea and cricket matches mix with spicy food and amazing sunsets for a stress-free escape.
Before You Go: Need-to-know info
4.5 hours from NYC, 9.5 hours from LA, 8 hours from Chicago, 7 hours from Dallas
Taxi, rental car (keep left!), bus
Passport, return ticket
When To Go: Barbados at its best
The climate in Barbados is tropical with the rainy season lasting from June to October. The temperature is usually pleasant and hurricanes are infrequent.
Early September to mid-December; exact rates vary by hotel.
Why To Go
This island has everything you want in a vacation destination. The rocky, wind-whipped Atlantic coast is one of the world's best windsurfing spots, while the tranquil west coast that faces the Caribbean Sea -- called the Platinum Coast -- is lined with posh resorts. For romance, gaze at the waterfalls and limestone formations of mile-long Harrison's Cave. Or, the Flower Forest near Mt. Hillaby offers a heady mix of aphrodisiac fragrances and tropical flora to lull you into each other's arms. Nature lovers can frolic freely with Mother Nature's green monkeys at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, then picnic at picturesque Farley Hill National Park.
Sports and sightseeing:
For landlubbers, Bajans (as Barbados residents are called) are crazy about cricket and golf (four courses dot the island). But if you want to take to the water, board a catamaran in Bridgetown for lunchtime snorkeling, or set sail for a sunset dinner cruise and sip a Banks Beer as the sun surrenders to stars. If you would rather sip Barbados' own sweet elixir, Bajan Gold, check out the Mount Gay Rum Visitors Centre or the Malibu Visitors Centre, where Malibu Caribbean White Rum with Coconut is produced.
Dining and nightlife:
Once you worked up an appetite, indulge your taste buds with spicy French-Caribbean cuisine at the cliff-side tables of Carambola, or grab a seat on the intimate, torch-lit terrace overlooking the Caribbean at The Cliff. Then dance the night away in "irie" oblivion to live soca, reggae, or calypso at Harbour Lights or After Dark, home of the longest bar on the island.