Friday, October 9, 2009

Jewels of the Caribbean (Barbados)

Guest post by Elegant Resorts

Barbados (known as "the pearl of the Caribbean") is a rather small pear-shaped island which is 20 miles of soft coral. This ancient and enormous coral reef was formed approximately one million years ago and is permeated by water, which resulted in spectacular underground caverns. Its glorious beaches can be enjoyed with 340 days of sunshine a year. With abundant water sports including water skiing, sailing, fishing, windsurfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling, Barbados makes the perfect getaway when searching for luxury holidays.

Two of the premier resorts for your stay are Cobblers Cove and Sandy Lane.

Cobblers Cove is an elegant English Country House style in a secluded setting and with a relaxing atmosphere. It is located on one of the best beaches in Barbados, where you can swim with the sea turtles and enjoy an abundance of other activities. Their gourmet restaurant offers breakfast, dinner, afternoon tea, cocktails and a culinary demonstration by Chef Porteus along with a complimentary wine tasting.

Sandy Lane is a luxury 112-room resort set in an ancient mahogany grove overlooking the Caribbean Sea on Barbados' West Coast. The classic elegance was enhanced by a multi-million-dollar expansion and overhaul, and you may well encounter celebrities and royalty. Your transfer to and from the airport is in a chauffeured luxury car. Three golf courses with 45 holes, one of which was designed by Tom Fazio, appeal to the golfer, who can also enjoy the 55,000-square-foot Clubhouse with its pro shop, elegant restaurant, and panoramic views. The Galleria at Sandy Lane features diamonds, distinctive jewelry, and limited edition timepieces.

When you are ready to explore the island, there are many unique attractions to put on your schedule.

The culture is shaped by an English influence and is evident in the Anglican stone churches and the cricket games still played on the village greens.

The Animal Flower Cave is in the parish of St. Lucy, the most northerly point of Barbados. The name comes from the sea anemones that inhabit the pools in the cave. You can even swim in some of the deeper pools. Openings in the cave offer spectacular views. Also visit the Flower Forest with its flowers of brilliant colours.

The Andromeda Botanical Gardens in St. Joseph has six acres of orchids, ferns, hibiscus, begonias, palms, cacti, and more. A stream bisects the land and forms waterfalls and pools. These exotic gardens were started in 1954 by a local horticulturist, Iris Bannochie, who bequeathed the land to the Barbados National Trust.

Harrison's Cave in Bridgetown is a huge underground cavern with stalactites and stalagmites, deep emerald pools, and waterfalls that you can enjoy in an electrically operated tram.

The Barbados Museum in Garrison is housed in what was the British Military Prison, which had its upper section built in 1817 and lower section in 1853. There are artifacts of the Amerindians (the Caribbean islands' early inhabitants), "Yesterday's Children" (a gallery giving an educational travel back into history), rare historical maps of the island, furnishings of an 18th century plantation house, a natural history display, and a reference library.

The Heritage Park and Rum Factory, with free admission, is the first rum distillery inaugurated in 1996 situated on a former sugar and molasses plantation dating back 350 years. Produced there is ESA Field, a white rum much preferred by connoisseurs.

St. Nicholas Abbey is a plantation great house built about 1650 and furnished with antiques. It is surrounded by sugar cane fields. It never functioned as an abbey but was named so by one owner. It is one of three authentic Jacobean houses in the Western Hemisphere and is characterized by its curved gables. Each year more than 200 acres are still being cultivated, and an on-site sugar refinery has been reconstructed.

In the parish of Christ Church is the Graeme Hall Swamp, the largest expanse of inland water on Barbados. Visitors can stay dry and walk on a boardwalk to view the red and white mangrove trees , more than 40 species of birds as well as green monkeys and unusual plants.

Christ Church also has duty-free shops, especially in the Bridgetown area surrounding the cruise ship terminal. Local handcrafts include black coral jewelry, straw bags, clay pottery, wall hangings, and more.

Whether it is a relaxing time on the beach, water sports or a variety of attractions, as a holiday location, Barbados is the pearl of the Caribbean.

Source: Photos 2,3,4


helly said...

Its really good post.
If you have more details about it then share with me.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge for us.

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Mark H said...

@helly: You need to check out the Elegant Resorts site for more information.

Heather on her travels said...

After hearing Michael Winner rave about Sandy Lane, I'm up for a New Year break there (if someone else was paying of course)

Barbados said...

Nice article - I'd just like to mention that Graeme Hall Swamp is unfortunately currently closed.

BarbaraW said...

I have long wanted to go to Barbados. Everyone I know who has been there says it is stunning! This excellent review made me want to go even more.

Mark H said...

@heather: Sounds good.

@barbados: Good advice - thank you for the update.

@barbaraw: I've heard the same - the pictures make it look beautiful.

GFBC said...

Thank you so much for all of this informative information.

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