By Ronda Racha Penrice
Seasoned travelers have long raved about Barbados––for good reason.
Rihanna didn’t put Barbados on the map. Nor did Tiger Woods. The Caribbean nation is consistently selected as the top travel choice over its neighboring island paradises by some of the world’s most discriminating travel bibles, jet-setters and celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey and Mariah Carey. Rumor has it that Barbados’ Platinum Coast is dotted with homes belonging to more than a dozen billionaires. Not so hush is the legendary luxury resort Sandy Lane, where Woods and Elin Nordegren wed in 2004.
Barbados is roughly two and a half times the size of Washington, D.C. Part of the Lesser Antilles, the Caribbean’s easternmost island is also the least prone to hurricanes. Year-round temperatures average between 75 and 85 degrees, so sneaking off to Barbados has no seasonal constraints. Sometimes refered to as “Little England,” the island was a prized British colony until its independence in 1966, and the Brits have long vacationed there. Americans may be tardy to this sun-kissed party, but they are quickly making up for lost time. American Airlines and JetBlue both fl y to Barbados, with direct flights from both New York City and Miami, clocking in at about five hours and four hours, respectively.
The Grantley Adams International Airport is among the Caribbean’s best. However, hospitality and courtesy have their drawbacks: Customs may require a little patience, especially during the high season of mid-December to mid-April. Taxis are plentiful, and many hotels offer airport transfers.