Barbados is a small Caribbean island of 166 square miles known as the birthplace of rum. It is part of the Lesser Antilles group of islands and receives more than 3,000 hours of sunshine per year. Barbados sits near a few neighboring islands that can be reached by local ferry services, chartered boat tours or Caribbean-based inter-island flights.
About 100 miles to the west, St. Vincent and the Grenadines are the closest islands to Barbados. As a whole, more than 30 small islands are in this group. St. Vincent is the largest island, encompassing 133 square miles, while the Grenadines range in size from the largest at seven square miles to the smallest at about a quarter of a square mile. Activities available in this group of islands includes lagoon snorkeling, diving among coral reefs, hiking to waterfalls, wildlife watching and windsurfing. The least-expensive transportation option is through Bedy Oceanline (bedytravel.com), which offers ferry service from Barbados to St. Vincent at least once a day, up to five days a week. Travelers may also utilize one of several costlier inter-island airlines that fly out to a variety of islands multiple times per day.
A few miles north of St. Vincent is St. Lucia, one of the Caribbean’s top all-inclusive honeymooning destinations. Travelers from Barbados can take the Bedy Oceanline ferry service to St. Lucia, but it travels that route only one day a week. The island of St. Lucia is home to Sandal’s all-inclusive resorts and provides the perfect romantic setting for couples looking to get away from it all. The island is outlined in white sandy beaches and fringed with glorious palm trees and crystal blue waters as far as the eye can see. The island offers adventures in kite surfing, horseback riding on the beach, diving, snorkeling and zip lining above the rain forest’s tree tops.
Just southwest of Barbados lies the island of Grenada. The most common way to reach this island is via LIAT Airlines (liatairline.com), which is based in the Caribbean. After suffering a horrendous hurricane in 2004, the “Spice Isle” has restored itself to its former luster. Places to visit on this island include its numerous waterfalls, snorkeling lagoons and bright-white sandy beaches, as well as the postcard-perfect town of St. George’s, with its colonial-constructed homes and buildings.
To reach the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, which lie to the southwest of Barbados, travelers have to book an inter-island flight or charter a boat. Once on the set of islands, the T&T Inter-Island Ferry Service (ttitferry.com) travels between the two, or you can opt for the Caribbean Airlines (caribbean-airlines.com) air bridge, which operates between the islands about a dozen times per day. The islands celebrate a number of events throughout the year, including a two-day Carnival, the Divali festival of lights and Emancipation Day, which commemorates when the islands declared the end of slavery.
The French-speaking island of Martinique is about 23 miles north of St. Lucia. From Barbados, travelers have to first fly or take a ferry to St. Lucia, then travel by boat for about an hour and a half to either the port of Saint Pierre or Fort de France, via L’Express des Iles (express-des-iles.com) inter-island transport. Martinique has an average year-round temperature of 79 degrees Fahrenheit, making it seem as though its summer is never-ending. The island has a diverse topography consisting of mountains, rain forests, rivers, lagoons and miles of sandy beaches. Some of the more popular activities here include trail hiking, snorkeling, sailing, kite surfing and kayaking.