The Platinum Coast
At first glance, Barbados appears to play by all the tropical island rules. After all, it follows the book to the letter when it comes to its coastline. The island is home to more than 92 kilometres of long blonde beaches, which are backed by palm trees and lapped by luminous blue waters. The western coast, where you’ll find the resorts of St James and St Peter, has even earned itself the nickname of the Platinum Coast, thanks to the purity of its sand.
Beyond the sand, Barbados doesn’t always tow the Robinson Crusoe line. The island does have a few quieter resorts, like Maxwell Beach, where you can practically hear a pin drop, but on the whole it can be a bit of a firecracker. Bajan food blurs the line between sweet and savoury, and the rum shops make it easier to order punch than coffee. St Lawrence Gap leads the nightlife pack. This resort is a hub for reggae bars, calypso clubs and, some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean.
Barbados is at its most quirky in its capital city, Bridgetown, where the Caribbean influence collides head on with the heritage left over from British rule. Here, you can watch a game of cricket on the green and stand in the shadow of the admiral Nelson statue, before heading to the harbour to watch live reggae or dance to calypso.
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Hastings is a small town on Barbados’ vibrant south coast that’s fond of good company. It’s sandwiched between Bridgetown, the island’s capital, to the west, and round-the-clock party animal, St Lawrence Gap, to the east. But Hastings can stand tall next to these two gentle giants with its line-up of tropical beaches, coral reefs and famously outgoing locals.
Rockley is a quiet residential neighbourhood in the parish of Christ Church, sandwiched between Barbados’ dapper capital, Bridgetown, and the bubbly St Lawrence Gap. It’s one of the most tranquil places on the island’s south coast, and prides itself on its tantalising beach, 9-hole golf course, and effortless Barbadian style.
St Lawrence is the biggest personality on Barbados’ beach-fringed south coast. It gets its swagger from St Lawrence Gap, a parade of rum shacks, Bajan restaurants, and reggae-fuelled dancehalls where the island comes to party. But for those who prefer to relax, St Lawrence’s tropical beaches are exactly what you’d want from this sun-kissed Caribbean retreat.