SI Swimsuit 2022 Destinations: Barbados

Shimmering beaches, vibrant culture and the best culinary the Caribbean has to offer await in Barbados!

Green and Blue waters of Barbados

Shades of green and blue fill Barbados.


When the SI Swimsuit team traveled around the world to create content for the 2022 Swimsuit Issue, Barbados was their second stop. Marquita Pring, Cindy Kimberly, Hailey Clauson, Tanaye White, Christen Harper and Georgina Burke all explored this paradise Island in an unforgettable shoot. Known as the culinary Capital of the Caribbean and the birthplace of rum, Barbados is a must-go-to destination for all foodies, beach-lovers and anyone looking for some much needed R & R. For such a tiny island, Barbados is bursting with immense talent, creativity and structure. From sports to entertainment, cuisine, adventure, history, health and wellness, Barbados has endless opportunities for all.

Palm trees in Barbados

Towering palm trees in Barbados.

The team stayed at the O2 Beach Club & Spa and couldn’t recommend it enough! Located on the South Coast of Barbados with easy access to incredible local shopping, restaurants and tours, O2 is an à la carte luxury all-exclusive boutique resort, meaning it offers exceptional gourmet dining rather than the buffets most other resorts offer. Its recently opened Acqua spa is the best new spa in the Caribbean, featuring the only hammam treatment room on the island, with breathtaking ocean views from its eighth-floor location. We’d also recommend staying at Fairmont Royal Pavilion, which offers beachside accommodations in the most luxurious setting.

Click here for our list of 14 attractions you don’t want to miss in Barbados.

O2 Beach Club & Spa is luxurious and modern.

Fairmont Royal Pavilion Beachside Room

Fairmont Royal Pavilion where every room is beachside.

Order Barbados’s national dish, cou-cou and flying fish, or enjoy Bajan macaroni pie (baked mac and cheese, seasoned the Bajan way) on one of its many beaches and feel your body and mind relax into the wondrous tastes that only Barbados can offer. There are infinite excursions and destinations to explore in beautiful Barbados, and we hope you will add it as your next destination!


Where is Barbados?

Barbados is located in the eastern Caribbean and is the most easterly of all the Caribbean islands.

Beach in Barbados

Extraordinary beaches are easy to find in beautiful Barbados.

How do I get to Barbados?

Three main carriers currently service Barbados from the United States. These include JetBlue, American Airlines and United Airlines, operating from the cities of New York, Boston, Newark, Miami, Charlotte and Washington, D.C.

What is the weather like in Barbados?

Barbados is a year-round warm-weather destination with a wet season from July to November. Even though it rains during those months, sunshine is always around the corner.

When is the best time of year to travel to Barbados?

Anytime! Escape the winter blues and visit Barbados during the months of December through March. If you are seeking an authentic Barbados experience through the island’s culture, then we also encourage you to visit during the summer months of July and August for the Crop Over Festival, which is highly regarded as the sweetest summer festival within the Caribbean. In the other months, there are also a number of local festivals to enjoy whether sporting, music or culinary.

What is the topography like in Barbados?

Barbados is a relatively flat island, with its highest point being Mount Hillaby standing some 340 meters above sea level. Unlike its mountainous and volcanic Caribbean neighbors, Barbados is made of coral limestone. Therefore, across the island there are many caves, the most notable being Harrison’s Cave.

Barbados port.

A dock full of boats ready to explore Barbados.

What are some interesting historic notes about Barbados?

  • Barbados’s capital, Bridgetown and its Garrison, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Barbados is also home to the oldest Jewish synagogue within the Western Hemisphere, the Nidhe Israel Synagogue and Museum.
  • Barbados’s Treaty of Oistins helped to shape the U.S. constitution.
  • Barbados has the third-oldest parliament in the Commonwealth.
  • Barbados is the birthplace of rum dating back to 1703.
Isleway Barbados

Intriguing architecture dot's the map in Barbados.

What is Barbados known for and why?

Apart from its beautiful beaches, year-round sunshine and its highly acclaimed reputation in the sport of cricket, Barbados is known for its rich history, vibrant culture and its culinary delights. Known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, Barbados offers a wide range of dining options from fine dining to delicious Bajan street food. Barbados is also the birthplace of rum dating back to 1703 with Mount Gay. We invite you to take a tour of one of the four distilleries on the island or simply visit one of our many rum shops—a fantastic way to sample rum, street food and immerse yourself in Bajan culture.

What should I pack on a trip to Barbados?

  • Camera/cellphone
  • Sunblock
  • Insect repellent
  • Swimwear and flip-flops
  • Sunglasses and a good book

What should I bring home from Barbados and why?

Barbados is the culinary capital of the Caribbean and the birthplace of rum. So, sweet treats such as rum cake and coconut bread are highly recommended. along with a selection of local spices, pepper sauce and of course, rum!

What animals will I see in Barbados?

In Barbados, you will find the green monkey and the black belly sheep, both of which are indigenous to the island. Barbados is also a haven for many species of turtles, including the leatherback and hawksbill turtles.

What are some must-have meals in Barbados and why?

Because it’s a popular culinary Caribbean destination, it's so hard to choose, but these three are a must:

  1. Cou-cou and flying fish (because it's the national dish)
  2. Bajan macaroni pie (baked mac and cheese, seasoned the Bajan way). It's a must on any menu being offered on island
  3. Steamed pudding and souse (pickled pork), because it can’t be the weekend in Barbados without it

Honorable mentions: a cutter of your choice (Bajan salt bread with any filling—cheese, ham, fish or egg) or a quick stop at the island’s resident fast food chain, Chefette.

What are some must-have drinks in Barbados and why?

Any drink that includes the spirits from the oldest rum-producing country in the world, (that’s us, Barbados), gets the nod. However, the go-to’s among Bajans are always the traditional Bajan rum punch (no event or dinner party is complete without it), rum and Coke (the social beverage of choice) and the locally brewed and cold Banks beer, which always hits the spot on those extremely warm days.

Colorful towns in Barbados

A colorful inviting beach town in Barbados.

What are the top five must-see places in Barbados?

  1. Harrison’s Cave: Found in the heart of Barbados, this cave is referenced among Bajans as the eighth wonder of the world and provides great insight into the geological construct of the island.
  1. East coast: Being the most easterly located island comes with its perks. A day spent on the east coast provides the opportunity to soak in picturesque views of the island and the Atlantic ocean, allowing viewers to reconnect with nature.
  1. UNESCO Bridgetown and its historic harrison: This area provides a collection of historic relics and places key to developing Barbados into what it is today. It is a Barbadian story that must be explored.
  1. St. John’s Parish Church: Perched on a hill looking over the island's east coast, this church built many centuries ago has many stories to tell and is the resting place of many famous Barbadians and global royalty.
  1. Codrington College: More than 300 years ago, the land on which the college sits was willed by the previous owner, Christoper Codrington, to be a Christian theological institution. Today the school has morphed into one of the oldest and most respected Anglican theological and seminary institutions in the Americas. Beyond this, its lush and well-manicured landscape makes for a beautiful view and prime photo-op location.

What are the top five experiences in Barbados?

  1. 4x4 Island Safari: Explore Barbados on a guided tour off the beaten path.
  1. Catamaran Luncheon Cruise: Enjoy a day on the sea snorkeling over historic shipwrecks, swimming with green leatherback turtles or soaking in scenic sites of popular hotels and residences of the rich and famous.
  1. Rum tour at the various distilleries across the island: As the oldest world producer of rum, Barbados has award-winning factories, and a tour of one is a great experience to learn more about Barbados.
Rum Factory Barbados

Barbados is the world's oldest producer of Rum.

  1. The Oistins Fish Fry: Held every Friday and Saturday, this event showcases Barbados’s local cuisine like none other. When you’ve grabbed your food from the selection of offerings, sit back and connect with locals on the island over a rum punch, Banks beer or rum and Coke or view the various pieces of arts and crafts on showcase. If you’re more of a high-energy type, you can of course hit the dance floor. We’re one big happy community.
  1. Rihanna Drive: Two for one! Curious to see the birthplace of Barbados’s newest national hero? Then a tour of Rihanna Drive is a must. You can see the childhood home of Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty, a famed global artist and fashion icon. After this and just a stone’s throw away, visit the Mecca of cricket, Kensington Oval and its legends museum.

For an adventure backpacker, outdoorsy type of traveler, what can I experience in Barbados?

Hiking along various open trails or guided tours at select experience providers, biking, horseback riding or visiting one of the beautiful botanical gardens. If you’re more daring, activities such as the uber-adventurous cave tour at Harrison’s Cave may suit your fancy, where you can traverse the cave just like the first explorers!

If I am looking for some R&R, what can I experience in Barbados?

From massage and other treatment experiences either on the beach or at your spa of choice, to day activities at some of the local beach hubs or lunch and tour at the serene Animal Flower Cave, and everything in between, there is so much that one may enjoy.

Do you have any budget-saving tips for traveling to Barbados?

Lighthouse at Sunset in Barbados

A lighthouse at sunset in Barbados

Experiencing local and connecting with the Barbadian community is the best way to travel on a budget in Barbados. There are so many local eateries and bars to enjoy on the island. Whether it’s in any of our four major towns or along our beaches and city centers, there is always something that fits your budget. Added to this, view the island’s event calendar to see what local activities/festivals may be occurring. A local vacation creates some of the best memories.

What is the one photo I must take while in Barbados?

A photo overlooking the east coast of Barbados taken from Cherry Tree Hill.

Why Barbados? Tell us why this island is so special!

Barbados is special because as a small island in the Caribbean, the island is a place of immense talent, creativity and structure. There is a whole lot to enjoy on the island from sports to entertainment, cuisine, adventure, history, health and wellness and so on. The Barbadian story is one like none other and we want to share it with you.

Any local shops, galleries, special stores/sites to highlight?

If you want to truly connect with Barbados, a tour of UNESCO Bridgetown and its Garrison (the island’s capital) is a must. From multiple museum tours to tours of historic sites, walking culinary experiences and exploration of commercial offerings of the island, this place gives you a full 360 of Barbados’s past and current identity.

UNESCO Bridgetown Barbados

UNESCO Bridgetown, Barbados.

What are people most surprised about when visiting?

The warmth and friendliness of the people. Barbadians are known to be hospitable and eager to share as much information about the island as they can. This therefore provides a great platform for travelers to truly enjoy the true purpose of traveling: that is, to experience a different culture and society.

Windmill Barbados

A windmill at sunrise in Barbados.

Evan Nachimson


Evan Nachimson is New York based writer and artist. When he's not writing, he can be found during the day performing his own original kids music for babies all across NYC and Brooklyn or at a dog park smiling too much watching his Husky/Border Collie Mix, Panda play.