Barabdos, the easternmost Caribbean island, is in the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela. It is relatively flat, and rises gently to a central highland region. The highest point is Mount Hillaby at 340 meters (1,115 feet).
Environmental issues include the pollution of coastal waters by waste disposal from ships, soil erosion, and the illegal disposal of solid waste threatening contamination of aquifers. There are a number of government units concerned with environmental issues, including the National Conservation Commission, the Environmental Protection Department, and Coastal Zone Management Unit. The country does have one of the highest penetrations of solar water heaters in the world, such as those from Solar Dynamics. In 2012, the first phase of the “Cell Four” waste-to-energy facility went in at Mangrove Pond Landfill at Vaucluse, managed by the Sanitation Service Authority, and associated with the Sustainable Barbados Recycling Centre; however, it is not clear whether it will be an incinerator, a methane burner, or both. The Barbados Green Party is available on Facebook. Caribsave is a regional NGO based in Barbados, formed in 2008 to address the impacts and challenges surrounding climate change across the Caribbean Basin.
Although Barbados has no official Biosphere Reserves, the Natural Heritage Department is apparently concerned with the Barbados National Park Plan for a “Barbados National Park”. According to the Town & Country Development Planning Office, Barbados National Park has been designated as the eastern portion of Barbados, including adjacent marine coastal areas. However, Farley Hill National Park was officially opened by HRM Queen Elizabeth II in 1966. Harrison’s Cave is a popular attraction, where visitors can access the subterranean environment via tramway. Animal Flower Cave, located under the cliffs at North Point, St. Lucy, is the island’s lone accessible sea cave.
Barbados is known for its tropical gardens. Andromeda Botanic Gardens, in association with the University of the West Indies, has become a popular attraction. Orchid World Barbados may have the finest collection of orchids in the Caribbean. Hunte’s Gardens is located in the center of Barbados’ rainforest, in a sink-hole-like gully. Flower Forest Botanical Gardens is a private reserve located on a former sugar plantation. Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary is a Ramsar wetland with aviaries, and interpretive walkways. The Barbados Horticultural Society is involved with a number of events throughout the year, including the annual Flower and Garden Show at the end of January.
The Barbados Wildlife Reserve on four acres of mahogany forest near the top of Farley Hill (Farley Hill National Park), once a primate research center, is known for its Green Monkeys. Welchman Hall Gully is another Green Monkey sanctuary, and private nature reserve. The Barbados Sea Turtle Project, associated with the University of the West Indies, coordinates the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of local seaturtle populations.
Barbados Eco Lodge is located on the unspoiled East Coast, surrounded by amazing tropical forest. Lush Life Nature Resort is a secluded eco escape cradled in 22 acres of virgin forest. Sea-U Guest House is located on a hilltop surrounded by a lush garden, and hidden behind thick green forest. Both Victor Cooke’s Eco Adventures Barbados and Stephen Mendes’ Hike Barbados offer guided hiking tours. Aerial Trek offers zipline adventures at Jack-in-the-box Gully on Walkes Spring Plantation. Higher Heights Outdoor Adventures is an experiential education facility offering ropes courses for groups. Horseback riding is available from Jahworks Equestrian Centre and Nature Walk Tours. Mountain Bike Barbados aims to revive mountain biking in Barbados. Segway Barbados offers adventure tours with special offroad models.
Get on the water in Barbados with kayaking, paddle surfing, kiteboarding or sailing. Kayak Jack Barbados offers kayak and turtle tours. Paddle Barbados offers stand up paddle surfing lessons and tours in a variety of locations around the island. Barry’s Surf Barbados is the surf school of native Barry Banfield. Barbados Surf Trips is the full service agency of native Melanie Pitcher, founder of the original Bajan Surf Bungalow. Brian Talma’s deAction Beach Shop is a hub for kiting and windsurfing. Endless Kiteboarding Barbados is Roland Boyce’s shop to the south of the island. LRN 2 Sail is a year-round sailing school. El Tigre Sailing Cruises Barbados offers turtle snorkeling tours on their 60 foot catamaran. Barbados Black Pearl Party Cruises does pirate theme party cruises aboard their vessel “The Jolly Roger 1”. Underwater, Atlantis Submarines Barbados offers access to the marine environment. The Scuba Diving Barbados website lists a wealth of dive shops throughout the island.
- Barbados National Park
- Barbados Wildlife Reserve
- Carlisle Bay Marine Reserve
- Chancery Lane Swamp Other Area
- Flower Forest Private Reserve
- Folkestone Marine Reserve
- Folkestone Park
- Graeme Hall Swamp Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar)
- Graeme Hall Swamp Reserve Other Area
- Harrison’s Cave Protected Area
- Jack-in-the-Box Gully Other Area
- Northeast Coast Marine Park
- Turner’s Hall Woods Nature Reserve
- Welchman Hall Gully Private Reserve
The island was uninhabited when first settled by the British in 1627. A little known historical footnote is that the Quakers journeyed first to Barbados in 1656, before moving on to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. By 1671, there was a huge community of Quakers in Barbados; the census of 1680 revealed some 500 of the 20,000 white people on Barbados were Quakers. Another peculiar historical footnote is that Charleston, South Carolina, was largely founded and originally settled by people from Barbados, both white and black; in fact, the Bajan Creole language of Barbados was the inspiration for the Gullah dialect of South Carolina’s Lowcountry. Slaves worked the sugar plantations established on Barbados until 1834, when slavery was abolished throughout the British Caribbean. The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. The gradual introduction of social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s led to complete independence from the UK in 1966. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance. The currency of Barbados has been the Barbadian dollar since 1935. Crime Stoppers Barbados is an effort to reduce crime on the island. The Peaceful Caribbean Foundation is a regional NGO based on Barbados focussing on solutions.
Even though Barbados is now home to the headquarters of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, tourism as a dominant industry has become problematic in the post-9/11 world. The Barbados based NGO Caribsave has noted that 36 percent of major hotels are at risk from sea rise due to climate change. According to the leader of the opposition, high inflation was hurting Barbados tourism in 2012. Local hotelier Adrian Loveridge reported that 43 percent of non-performing commercial bank loans were from the tourism industry. Almond Beach Village resort was forced to close its doors in 2012 due to falling occupancy levels; however, the Almond Casuarina Beach Resort was saved by Couples Resorts in 2013. The La Source resort also forced to close in 2012, but was bought up a month later by Sandals. A Tourism Working Group was established in 2011, in association with the Central Bank of Barbados. The government organized a Tourism Industry Relief Fund in 2012 to help relieve hoteliers from escalating energy bills. Adrian Loveridge again reported in 2012 that Barbados national tourism marketing efforts had yielded no growth in five years. However, the Barbadian ambassador to China was optimistic about the Chinese market. Barbados is not known as a gay-friendly cruise port; as, homosexual acts are still illegal.
Barbados hosted the 8th annual international African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference in 2012. A Barbados slave route heritage trail and tour, called Freedom Footprints, had been announced in 2010 by ICCROM member Barbados Museum & Historical Society. Founded in 1960, the Barbados National Trust works to preserve and protect both natural and cultural heritage, and organizes an annual Open House tour of historic private homes. Historic sites include St. Nicholas Abbey, Gun Hill Signal Station, Morgan Lewis Windmill, Sunbury Plantation House, Golden Grove House and George Washington House Restoration Project.
The music of Barbados include the characteristic “tuk bands“. Crop Over, originally a traditional harvest festival, has become one of the island’s biggest annual celebrations. The contemporary Barbados Food & Wine And Rum Festival is also popular. Holders Season Barbados is one of the Caribbean’s leading performing arts festivals. There is also an annual Barbados Reggae Festival every April, as well as Barbados Gospelfest in May. The What’s On In Barbados website is an online entertainment guide for Barbados. Brighton Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning at Brighton Plantation. There is a Light Body Wholistic Clinic in Bridgetown, and Peacehaven Holistic Therapy School in Gemswick. The Barbados Community Tourism Project offers community based accommodation at Windy Ridge. The Transport Board provides regular bus services around the island, as well as scenic tours.
- Barbados Museum and Historical Society
- Caribbean Conservation Association
- Do Tourism Receipts Contribute to the Sustainability of Current Account Deficits: a Case Study of Barbados by T Lorde, S Lowe & B Francis, 2012
- The effects of climate change on tourism in small states: evidence from the Barbados case by A Cashman, J Cumberbatch & W Moore, 2012
- Tourism and environmental change in Barbados: gathering citizen perspectives with volunteered geographic information (VGI) by BA Ricker, PA Johnson & RE Sieber, 2012
- An Analysis of the Tourism Sector in Barbados by DL Worrell, A Belgrave & T Grosvenor, 2011
- Tourism and agriculture in Barbados: changing relationships by P Richardson-Ngwenya & J Momsen, 2011
- Tourism services exports and economic growth in Barbados by T Lorde, B Francis & L Drakes, 2011
- Revisiting the Tourism-Led Growth Hypothesis for Barbados: A Disaggregated Market Approach by M Jackman, 2010
- Assessing Public Attitudes And Behaviour Toward Tourism Development In Barbados: Socio-economic And Environmental Implications by T Waterman, 2009
- ‘Captain the island’s sinking!’-Climate change and tourism in Speightstown, Barbados, West Indies by M Scantlebury, 2009
- The Impact of Climate Change on Heritage Tourism in the Caribbean: A Case Study from Speightsown, Barbados, West Indies by M Scantlebury, 2009
- The Quaker community on Barbados: challenging the culture of the planter class by L Gragg, 2009
- Female sex tourism In Barbados: a postcolonial perspective by J Phillips, 2008
- National adaptation strategy to address climate change tourism sector in Barbados: strategy and action plan by Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, 2008
- Tourism as Ethnic Relations in Barbados by V Liesbeth, 2007
- Sustainable Tourism Development: The Case of Barbados by N Greenidge, 2006
- Sustainable tourism using regulations, market mechanisms and green certification: A case study of Barbados by M Mycoo, 2006
- Towards a Typology of Community Engagement by Heritage Tourism Attractions: Findings of a Barbados Pilot Study by M Scantlebury, 2006
- Climate change and small island tourism: Policy maker and industry perspectives in Barbados by N Belle & B Bramwell, 2005
- The Rejuvenation of Tourism in Barbados 1993-2003: Reflections on the Butler Model by RB Potter & J Phillips, 2004
- Evaluating the economic impact of cruise tourism: a case study of Barbados by G Chase & I Alon, 2002
- Linking development, indigenous entrepreneurship and tourism, with special reference to Barbados by J Neblett & MB Green, 2000
- Mortality Rates Of Nesting Hawksbill Turtles In Barbados: A Positive Impact Of Tourism On Sea Turtles by JA Horrocks, S Hertzlieb & V Copeman, 2000
- Economic valuation of the coastline for tourism in Barbados by GS Dharmaratne & AE Brathwaite, 1998
- Forecasting tourism demand in Barbados by D Worrell, K Greenidge & D Downes, 1997
- Tourism As A Development Strategy For Barbados by K Dalrymple, 1995
- Sports tourism in Barbados the development of sports facilities and special events by YJ Elcock, 1994
- Recent Evidence on the determinants of inflation in a tourism-oriented economy: Barbados by A Coppin, 1993
- Predisposition toward alternative forms of tourism among tourists visiting Barbados: some preliminary observations by G Dann, 1992
- An application of the tourism destination area life cycle to Barbados by L France, 1991
- Tourism as a factor in development implications for gender and work in Barbados by DE Levy & PB Lerch, 1991
- Tourism in Barbados. Development and effects in a small island state. by H Bürskens, 1990
- Tourism development in LDCs: Hotel capacity expansion with reference to Barbados by K Carey, 1989
- Beach operations: their contribution to tourism in Barbados by HD Griffith, 1987
- Periphery resort tourism and tourist-resident stress: an example from Barbados by WC Husbands, 1986
- Estimating the relationship between tourism and economic growth in Barbados by E Archer, 1984
- Reassessing third world tourism: The case of Barbados by ED Archer & CS Davies, 1984
- Tourism and development: the case of Barbados, West Indies by RB Potter, 1983
- An analysis of the determinants of demand for tourism in Barbados by CD Clarke, 1979