Although its history as part of the British Empire has definitely shaped its style, you'll find no dreary weather in passionate and zesty Barbados. A journey to this island of sunshine and adventure guarantees a truly memorable holiday experience, in which you'll have the opportunity to try your hand at new crafts, sample inventive cocktails and marvel at outlandish dance routines. Let the steel drums play and the waves lap at the shore as you head out to explore one of the most enticing islands that holidays to the Caribbean have to offer.
Crop Over is the equivalent of a harvest festival, although it's one they've definitely dialled up to 11 here. Choose to head on a Barbados holiday during the summer and you'll find that the island is ablaze with music, dance, art and rum-drinking revelry, in pursuit of the traditions set out when the island was a sugar-growing colony in the days of old.
These days, Barbadian people feast and make merry to commemorate another good year of healthy crops, while injecting new art and music into the party. You'll be meeting craftsmen, dancing to calypso and soca rhythms and losing yourself to warm nights of beach dancing.
In August, the whole thing culminates in the Grand Kadooment, where parades, processions and costumes take to the streets and see the party out in one last tremendous hurrah. Make sure you're there.
Colourful and vibrant, the Bajan Buses are a slice of local culture revived for modern tourism. That means you'll have the chance to check out the winding streets of the island, be ferried from one rum shop to the next while learning about the history and culture behind the drink, or head out on the ultimate booze cruise. There are several tour packages available, or you can rent a Bajan Bus and invent your own kind of journey.
One thing they definitely do well in Barbados is cook up a storm. Local fruit salads and rum punches are met on your table by plates piled high with seafood, including grilled fish and fried shrimp. It doesn't stop there either, because jerked chicken, smoked barbecue meats and crispy fish cakes are always on the menu.
A local snack you'll not want to pass up is the Flying Fish Cutter, a sandwich lined with lettuce, fish and spicy sauce that'll linger on the tongue long after you've gobbled the last morsel. Luckily, Barbados is a world famous tourist destination, so even if those local delights aren't quite for you, you're going to have the chance to try some Italian, French and Chinese food during your stay.
Experienced divers and first time scuba fanatics all favour Barbados as one of the best places in the world to strap on an oxygen mask and sink down to meet the mysteries of the deep. The island has some of the most colourful and memorable coral reefs you'll ever encounter, as well as tropical fish of every hue under the sun.
That's before you even consider the fact that the pages of history have given Barbados more than a few tales to tell of seafaring adventure. Military vessels from the Second World War through to the pirate ships of old all line the seabed, awaiting your inspection.
If you've been blown away by photos of Barbados, you'll be bowled over again once you're there. The island's incredible natural beauty includes sweeping white beaches, flawless clear ocean and rolling green landscapes, all blessed by endless sun. But keep exploring, and you'll find even more national treasures to enjoy, including the famous Harrison's Cave.
Located inland, but easily accessible for those in the know, Harrison's Cave boasts clear water, mysterious limestone formations and tunnels rich in forgotten history for you to explore. It's definitely worth the trip.