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Six One-of-a-Kind Barbados Experiences

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© Getty Images Aerial view of Barbados (photo via Siempreverde22 / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

By Brian Major, TravelPulse

What specific features distinguish Barbados from the 30-plus popular destinations that compose the Caribbean? Certainly, the southern Caribbean island’s warm temperatures, sunny blue skies and waters, and white-sand beaches are qualities that Barbados shares with nations across the region.

Yet a handful of lesser-known attractions and activities exemplify the surprising diversity found all around Barbados. In addition to a fascinating history and culture that is easily accessible to visitors, travelers will find numerous sports-related activities not always associated with the region, including horse and auto racing. The destination even offers visitors a chance to board one of the most famous aircraft in aviation history.

In addition to delicious local fare found at upscale Bridgetown restaurants, weekly fish-fry festivals and unassuming roadside huts, gourmands can sample endless varieties of rum, the county’s signature drink, at one of hundreds of small rum bars around the island.

Here are six unique attractions and activities for Barbados vacationers:

JOHN MOORE BAR

[post_ads]Barbados is widely considered to be the birthplace of rum, which is an integral part of the island’s culture. Bajan plantation slaves first produced rum in the 17th century by fermenting molasses, a by-product of sugar production. By the 19th century, the country was a leading international rum producer.

While the destination is home to several major distilleries, the national rum culture is best exemplified by hundreds of small neighborhood rum shops (also known as “rum shacks”) found all across the island.

One of the longest-tenured establishments, the John Moore Bar in St. James parish, is a local institution. Like nearly all of Barbados’ rum shacks, John Moore Bar is a colorfully painted structure that on most days rocks to lively Caribbean music. The bar, which opened in 1959, features several fine rums as well as a distinctive rum punch, and serves as a gathering spot for visitor and locals alike.

NIGEL BENN AUNTY BAR

Run by the aunt of the retired Bajan champion boxer Nigel Benn, the bar is as colorful inside as it is outside. Benn reportedly purchased the bar for his Aunty Lucille, a welcoming and spirited lady who runs the establishment to this day, cheerfully greeting visitors with stories of the bar’s origin. The bar, which is located in the beautifully lush countryside of St. Andrew parish, is filled with photographs of Benn with his celebrity friends and visitors.

As a pugilist, Benn was no lightweight. Nicknamed “The Dark Destroyer,” he won the World Boxing Organization middleweight title in 1990 and the World Boxing Council’s super-middleweight title in 1992.

BUSHY PARK

Barbados offers visitors an unexpected adventure focused on motorsports. “We are also home to Bushy Park—the only professional racetrack in the Caribbean—where top racers such as Lewis Hamilton and Ken Block have raced,” said Petra Roach, the U.S. director of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Located in Saint Philip parish, Bushy Park is a 2.2 kilometer, FIA grade-3 motorsports course that hosts professional auto racing events, including the annual Global RallyCross Championship. In addition to hosting professional racers, Bushy Park also enables visitors to test their skills in a variety of vehicles, ranging from go-karts to Suzuki Swift Sports racecars.
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Prices start at $35 for 10 minutes. Bushy Park is open to the public on days when races are not scheduled.

BARBADOS MUSEUM AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Barbados is the oldest continuing parliamentary democracy outside England, and its Garrison Savannah district is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a horseracing track (where races are held to this day) and several 18th- and 19th-century military buildings. The Barbados Museum & Historical Society (barbmuse.org.bb/web) houses rare documents, historical records and photographs, and hard-to-find books.

Meticulous recordkeeping enables Jewish visitors to research family histories. Bridgetown’s ancient Mikvah and Jewish synagogue incorporates a museum and major archaeological site, which remains under excavation. Barbados’ 17th- and 18thcentury Jewish settlers were of Dutch origin and introduced the windmill to the island.

HARRISON’S CAVE

Be sure to recommend that your clients check out Harrison’s Cave, which offers daily one-hour tours from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. “In terms of activities, Harrison’s Cave is a must-see,” said Petra Roach, the U.S. director of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. “It’s a massive subterranean cave in the center of the island. The cave is unique to Barbados given its limestone, as opposed to volcanic, composition.”

The cave is distinguished by flowing streams, deep pools and imposing columns. It derived its name from Thomas Harrison, who was a well-established landowner in the 1700s. Rates for tours, which can be booked online at www.harrisonscave.com, are $30 for children and $60 for adults.
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BARBADOS CONCORDE EXPERIENCE

Relatively few travelers flew aboard the Concorde passenger jet during the supersonic airliner’s 27 years in service, which ended in 2003. Yet Barbados visitors can still enjoy the rare experience of exploring one of the legendary jets via the Barbados Concorde Experience(https://ift.tt/2w3LA8h).

Housed in a dedicated hangar at Grantley Adams International Airport, the decommissioned British Airways plane is open to visitors, who can board the aircraft and settle into one of its modular leather seats to watch a short film detailing the plane’s history. Visitors can also purchase Concorde souvenirs and crew uniforms at the facility’s “departure lounge.”

Travelers can find a comprehensive listing of Barbados attractions, activities and events at the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.’s website at visitbarbados.org.

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