Date ideas for couples flow as easily as the tides in romantic Barbados
With 3,000 hours of sunshine per year and romantic things to do ‘round every corner, Barbados adds new meaning to the term “hot date.” Moonlit strolls along a soft, sandy beach? That’s just the first evening. After that, how about a catamaran cruise on jewel-toned waters, grilled snapper for supper with flickering torches in the background, or a dive to spot seahorses around vibrant coral reefs? At Radisson Hotels Americas, our concierges have no trouble proposing date ideas for couples in Barbados.
Not that you need to be a honeymooner to fall under the spell of this magical island. Everyone from families to business travelers loves the capital, Bridgetown, with its soul-food shacks, British colonial architecture, and string of laid-back beaches along Carlisle Bay. For active types, there’s jet blading and stand-up paddleboarding, and if you can tear yourself away from the beach, jeep safaris inland to explore tropical rainforest and remote villages. If your idea of paradise is lounging by the hotel pool with a rum punch for company and the sound of reggae or calypso drifting in on the breeze, you’ll find ample opportunity for that, too.
Reasons to go:
Beautiful beaches: From secluded, spray-lashed coves to private clubs with parties on the sand, Barbados has a beach for every mood. Surfers prefer the east coast, where Atlantic waves crash into beaches like Cattlewash, Bathsheba, and Lakes. Couples love the west coast of Barbados, where watching the sun set over Brighton Beach, Paradise Beach, or Brandons Beach tops the list of romantic things to do.
Tax-free shopping: It’s hard to leave Barbados, but a good stash of souvenirs can soften the blow. Tourists don’t pay import taxes on items like jewelry, clothing, and cosmetics, so don’t be surprised if you come away with a new watch or an upgraded anniversary present. For artisanal mementos, skip the glitzy malls and look for independent stores selling brightly dyed sarongs and traditional Bajan carvings.
Rum: Time flies when you’re having rum, and on Barbados there are many ways to do just that, from umbrella-topped cocktails in a chic bar to half-gallon jugs of punch in a beachside shack. Barbados has been fermenting sugarcane molasses for centuries, and you can witness this time-tested process on a tour of Mount Gay Distillery, founded in 1703.
Waterfront dining: Looking for date-night ideas in Barbados? Keep it simple and book a table at a seafront restaurant, where staff will welcome you like old friends, light a candle, and tell you what the fishing boats brought in that day. Asian and soul-food influences are strong, so don’t be surprised if your shrimp is served with a Thai red curry or if your grilled dorado comes with macaroni and cheese. Many of the best waterfront restaurants are on the coast of Saint James, an area just north of Bridgetown.
Historic houses: George Washington only went abroad once, and Barbadians take great pride in having hosted America’s first president at the age of 19. The handsome mansion where he stayed in 1751 has been preserved as a museum, where visitors can admire period furnishings on a tour of the interior and explore a stretch of underground tunnels. Set in beautiful landscaped gardens laced with pathways, Sunbury Plantation House has a noted antiques collection, including pieces made from Barbadian mahogany.
When to go
Tropical Barbados offers warm and sunny weather year-round. Peak season is December through April, with average highs in the mid-80s. Rainfall, including spectacular tropical downpours, is more likely in the summer off-season.
One of the biggest draws in summer is the Crop Over festival in July and August, marking the end of the sugarcane harvest with six weeks of parties and parades. Foodies shouldn’t miss October’s Food & Rum Festival, which attracts superstar chefs and mixologists from Barbados and beyond.
If you’re planning to splurge on tax-free jewelry, designer clothing, or appliances, keep your passport and flight ticket handy at all times. Vendors need to see these documents before selling you goods at the discounted rate. Note that tobacco and alcohol are only sold duty-free at the airport, so leave some space in your budget for a bottle of local rum.
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