Barbados makes for a wonderful family holiday destination, even for short breaks from the UK, though spending a little longer on the island paradise, it suffices to say, is far more advisable – it’s difficult to accept the fact that one has just a few days in paradise before returning home to its unpredictable end-of-year weather.
One of the most family-friendly destinations in a region that’s inherently family-friendly, families on all budgets will find themselves well-catered for along its stunning coastline.
Passports and visas
British holidaymakers don’t require a visa for Barbados though they need a passport with validity up to and including the last day they plan on spending in the country – three months validity is recommended – and they also need a valid return ticket, something they’d naturally arrange anyway, if they’re arriving by air.
Flights and transportation options
Flying into the country is the most obvious choice for families on a short break, though the island is visited by many cruise ships, making this a popular option. There are daily flights from the UK, including non-stop flights from Gatwick Airport with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, as well as a number of more affordable stopover options for families on tighter budgets.
Health and safety
The standard of healthcare on Barbados is excellent, albeit expensive, so families are strongly advised to take out travel insurance. There are two main hospitals on the island, both of which are easily accessible to holidaymakers, and although some opt for vaccinations against Hepatitis A & B and/or take antimalarial medication, this isn’t necessary at all.
The tap water is drinkable and is considered to be among the cleanest in the world, plus many holidaymakers claim that it actually tastes much better than the bottled water.
Barbados is a safe place to holiday with low crime rates; nevertheless, families should be careful when in tourist areas like Bridgetown and the Gap as foreign tourists are often targeted by pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Using the safe in your hotel room or the lobby is naturally advisable, as it is practically everywhere these days, and very few holidaymakers claim to feel uncomfortable on the beaches or travelling about the island.
The island’s biggest drawcard are its beaches, that was never in question, and although there’s a good chance that families will stay on the island’s west coast where the majority of hotels are found, if time allows it’s certainly worthwhile making the effort to explore the stunning beaches along its eastern and southern coastline.
Enterprise Beach, also known as Miami Beach, is a 250-yard long white sand on the island’s southern coast, located on the outskirts of Oistins, a prominent fishing village. There’s surf here and the waves can be quite rough, though a sheltered, shallow spot can be found at the western end of the beach which is great for kids.
Crane Beach, an aptly named pink-tinged white sand beach, is widely considered the most stunning beach on the island but isn’t suitable for young swimmers due to the often rough surf – older children who can swim well might like to hire a body board and take to the waves – though as it’s such a wonderful spot it’s certainly worth a day trip, unless you’re affluent enough to stay at the upmarket Crane Resort, in which case you’re already there.
Barbados’s historical delights
It’s all too easy to spend the entire holiday lapping up the sun on an exquisitely paradisiacal beach and never make it to the island’s interior, but to do so would be to miss out on Barbados’s many historical delights, including St Nicholas Abbey, a gorgeous plantation house that dates back to the 1650s.
Despite its horrific colonial heritage, places of interest like St Nicholas Abbey aren’t depressing places with guides recounting the horrors of yesteryear, but rather insightful reminders of Britain’s past set in heavenly settings, which is for many British parents, something they’d like visit and show their children; after all, it is their heritage and visiting places of interest like the Barbados Museum, which is located in a former prison, a great way to introduce them to it.
Barbados is a first-rate family holiday destination – what more to say?
Lauren Downey is writing in a freelance basis for Atlantis Travel. They are specialists in providing Luxury Holidays in Luxury Hotels for the more discerning customer.
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