The Caribbean has some of the best vacation spots in the entire world, and it can be hard to decide which country to visit for your next trip. If you ask us, we’d be partial to Barbados because this Caribbean country has the best luxury hotels, spectacular tropical beaches, and Rihanna, of course!
At first glance, Barbados looks like a typical Caribbean Island, but as you explore the country, you’ll come across shocking Barbados facts never heard before.
Before you plan your trip to this fantastic spot, read some of those fascinating facts about Barbados so that you can prepare the itinerary accordingly. Once you’ve read these facts, you’ll be ready to experience this island’s culture and enchanting personality!
- Here are 13 Facts about Barbados
- 1. It Is the Birthplace of Rum
- 2. It has the Best Surfing Locations in the Caribbean!
- 3. It Introduced the World to Rihanna
- 4. The Island Is Home to Green Monkeys
- 5. It Wasn’t Always an Independent Island
- 6. The Locals Call Barbados’ Bim’
- 7. Barbados Has Flying Fish
- 8. Pirates of the Caribbean Were Real Once!
- 9. Barbados’ Biggest Party of the Year – Crop Over Festival!
- 10. Trafalgar Square Once Had Lord Nelson’s Status
- 11. Barbados Has Natural Wonders Beneath the Surface
- 12. You can Swim with Turtles
- 13. Horse Racing Is Rooted in Barbadian Landscape
- What Not To Do In Barbados| 10 Things I Wish I Knew BEFORE Visiting Barbados
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Here are 13 Facts about Barbados
1. It Is the Birthplace of Rum
The most important fact to know about Barbados is that it produces the best and oldest rum in the world! If an island gets to claim the origin of rum, Barbados will definitely be the rightful winner.
The island has been serving rum since 1703. In fact, the Mount Gay Distilleries on Barbados produces the oldest rum globally.
There are many distilleries across the island, including St. Nicholas Abbey and Foursquare Distilleries. Barbados also has over 1,500 rum shops, serving unique rum mixes throughout the island!
2. It has the Best Surfing Locations in the Caribbean!
The surfing crowd stays interested in the Caribbean islands throughout the year. Knowing how particular they can be, it’s praise for Barbados to be at the forefront of all its neighboring islands! The east and south coast of Barbados have the biggest waves.
Surfers prefer the south coast because of its location. Most restaurants and entertainment places are near the south coast. Surfers visit Barbados mainly from November to June because this is the best time for surfing. These coasts often host surfing competitions as well.
3. It Introduced the World to Rihanna
Given the popularity of “Riri,” it’s hard to imagine her having humble beginnings. Rihanna is from Barbados, where she was an ordinary islander once. Coming a long way from home, she became a famous singer, actress, designer, and the founder of a cosmetic brand. She is proud of her Barbados history and often visits the country to attend the Crop Over carnival.
Whenever there is an opportunity, Rihanna proudly promotes her hometown. She was also honored with the “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary” title for Barbados in 2018.
4. The Island Is Home to Green Monkeys
Most smaller islands in the Caribbean do not have a high population of monkeys, but Barbados is different.
The locals believe that green monkeys came to this region about 350 years ago from Gambia and Senegal. They are mischievous little creatures who like to pop up in front of a person any chance they get!
You can easily find green monkeys in Barbados as they freely roam the island. You can visit St. Andrew, St. Joseph, St. John, or St. Thomas to encounter them.
5. It Wasn’t Always an Independent Island
Most of us know that Britain had sovereignty over Barbados for a long time before the island became an independent nation. Britain had control over Barbados for 300 years until it became an independent country in 1966.
However, the ingrained link of British culture and history is still prominent on the island.
The first thing you’ll notice at the airport is the portrait of the Queen at the immigration queue. She is still the head of state after the independence. You will also see red post boxes at different locations in Bridgetown and the St. John’s Church that stands on a hilltop in the east.
6. The Locals Call Barbados’ Bim’
Tourists find it fascinating when they hear the locals call Barbados’ Bim.’ It’s a word that originates from the Igbo term Bém, meaning ‘my home.’
Igbo is a native language of an ethnic group from east Nigeria. The language traveled to Barbados with the slaves, a crucial part of Barbadian history. Even after hundreds of years, Igbo phrases and words are commonly used by locals in their colloquial dialect.
7. Barbados Has Flying Fish
Flying fish is the most popular catch in Barbados, so the island has so many references.
This fish species is common in tropical seas and easily found in Barbados’ warm waters.
These fish can “fly” or glide in the air for about 30-40 meters before hitting the water surface again. The island’s national dish is cou cou and flying fish. It’s made of steaming fish with local spices and seasoning. The dish is served with cou cou, made of okra and cornmeal.
8. Pirates of the Caribbean Were Real Once!
The movies aren’t entirely fictional, is what we mean by the pirates of the Caribbean being “real.” There is a lot of history with pirates ruling the seas and terrorizing any ship that entered their territory. Barbados specifically had two notorious pirates back in the day. Stede Bonnet and Sam Lord.
Stede was a retired British army major who became a pirate in 1717. He was a gentleman who owned a pirate ship called “Revenge.” He sailed it to New England Coast and burned many ships along the way until he returned to Barbados.
He was eventually captured and hanged in 1718. Sam Lord, on the other hand, was an innovative pirate. He would confuse vessels by hanging lanterns in coconut trees to make them think they were heading to the capital.
9. Barbados’ Biggest Party of the Year – Crop Over Festival!
Crop Over festival may have started as a celebration of the last sugar cane harvest, but now it’s the biggest party event of the year in Barbados. This event is globally famous, with most celebrities flying to Barbados and enjoying the festivities.
The celebrations for the Crop Over carnival start in June and last until August. The final event of the festival is called Grand Kadooment.
Aside from the day and night parties, Crop Over carnival also hosts craft markets and children’s parades. Even if you are only experiencing the festival from the sidelines, you are sure to have an action-packed vacation on Kadooment Day!
10. Trafalgar Square Once Had Lord Nelson’s Status
Bridgetown has a plaza where National Heroes Square meets Broad Street. This place was called Trafalgar Square until 1999.
It featured the statue of British Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson for at least 186 years before Barbados decided to remove the statue to cut all ties from the colonial era. The statue was placed in 1813, more than 30 years before Nelson’s Column in London was erected.
11. Barbados Has Natural Wonders Beneath the Surface
It’s not a figure of speech! The island has underground natural wonders that attract tourists from all around the world.
Harrison’s Cave is an underground cave system located in the central uplands of Barbados. It houses a system of deep caves and winding paths about 2.3km long.
The caves are full of stalagmites, stalactites, flowing streams, deep pools, and breathtaking waterfalls. Harrison’s Cave is an otherworldly experience that you cannot miss when visiting the island!
12. You can Swim with Turtles
Another reason tourists are attracted to Barbados is the chance to snorkel with turtles in the spectacular waters. The island has four nesting turtle species—leatherbacks, green turtles, hawksbill turtles, and loggerheads.
These creatures were once crucial for their eggs, meat, and shells, but now the locals are paying attention to their importance as tourist attractions.
There is a Barbados Sea Turtle Project that monitors their population and keeps an eye on any changes. When you visit Barbados for your next trip, make sure you snorkel with the turtles and create a wonderful memory to cherish for a lifetime!
13. Horse Racing Is Rooted in Barbadian Landscape
From February to March, Garrison Savannah on the island hosts the ‘Barbados Gold Cup.’ It’s a thoroughbred horse race that has been a yearly thing since 1982!
Garrison Savannah is an important part of the Barbadian landscape, reminding the locals of the colonial era. If you enjoy horse racing events, visit Barbados in one of the three seasons—November-December, January-April, and May-September. The tickets are also relatively low in cost!
What Not To Do In Barbados| 10 Things I Wish I Knew BEFORE Visiting Barbados
We hope you found these facts about Barbados interesting! Our favorite fact was about the Underground cavernous system, Harrison’s Cave. A natural wonder like that can make anyone fall in love with Barbados, and we sure did!
Barbados provides the ultimate experience for visitors among all the Caribbean countries. From snorkeling with turtles to watching horse races with fellow enthusiasts, the island has more than one exciting event to welcome people from all over the world!
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Hi I’m Jay. I grew up in Seattle, Washington and live in Los Angeles, California. I have travelled to 23 countries so far and planning to go explore more countries soon! My Favorite trips so far have been to Israel, Japan, Rome, Iceland and Australia. I started this site to share my love of travel with everyone and build a community of like-minded, free thinking, free exploring people.