Barbados is dotted with great eats. For local flavour, try the legendary Oistin's Fish Fry which runs every Friday and Saturday evening. Hundreds of visitors and Bajans chow down together on mouth watering fried and grilled fish, fish cakes, macaroni pie and sweet potatoes, all backed by soulful Caribbean tunes. Barbados is also renowned as the Caribbean's capital of cuisine and is the only country in the area to earn its own Zagat guide. To celebrate the five-star food, Barbados and American Express have teamed up to launch the first annual Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival which will take place from November 19 - 22. The Festival will include a number of culinary masters who will bring their collective expertise through chef demonstrations, tasting events and interactive sessions. Among the stars will be Canadian chef, Rob Feenie, the former Iron Chef champion and the headliner of the cooking series, New Classics on the Food Network.
Barbados is also home to `The Rum that invented Rum.' Mount Gay first started distilling its magical elixir in 1703 and it is now exported to more than 65 countries around the globe. The Mount Gay Visitors Centre, which is perched above the sea on the outskirts of Bridgetown, give tours, tastes and tips on how to fully appreciate the legendary rum. Visitors can stay after class and enjoy rum based cocktails and Bajan cuisine.
Caribbean insiders all know that the area's most sensational party is the Crop Out, a five week extravaganza that runs in Barbados each summer. With a history that stretches back to the 1780's when Barbados was the world's largest sugar producer, Crop Out is a celebration of all the good things in life. The festival includes arts and crafts exhibitions and folk concerts but the real fun are the carnival shows with the Kadooment bands, dressed to the nines in feathers and pearls, swaying down the streets of Bridgetown to the sound of the calypso beat. The high point is the Grand Kadooment where the bands, parade and revelers wind down to Spring Garden for more music, local beverages, a dip in the ocean and the awarding of the coveted designer of the year award.
The country is used to hosting major events - the 2006 World Golf Championship, the ICC Twenty20 Cricket Finals for 2010 and the Sentebale Charity Polo Match with Britain's Prince Harry in 2010. From December 3 - 5, the country welcomes runners from around the world for the Run Barbados series. The three day event includes distances for every level, from jogger to elite and includes a Midnight Mile, 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon, all run through the streets of Bridgetown and along the edge of the beach.
Music lovers will want to check out the 18th annual Jazz Festival which goes from January 10 - 16. One of the country's flagship events, the Festival attracts top acts (last year the lineup included heart throb James Blunt) and a sensational atmosphere.
Barbados is one of the few spots in the world where non-Navy personnel can take a plunge in a submarine. The Atlantis, which is lined on both sides with see-through portals, dips down to depths of 40 metres and slips past colourful coral reefs and ship wrecks. On the west coast of the island, visitors can catch a catamaran ride and then swim and snorkel with the giant sized hawkbill and leatherback turtles who are now protected and monitored by the government.
Harrison's Cave is a world wonder, a unique, crystallized limestone cavern that remained unexplored until 1970. A specially built tram transports visitors through the underground marvel, past the waterfall, rushing streams and arches.
The island is wrapped by some of the prettiest beaches on the planet - the powder soft, pink tinged Crane Beach in St. Philip has been rated as one of the world's sexiest beaches by Conceirge.com. But to find real hard bodies, try the Silver Sands on the south end of the island. The trade winds create big waves and swells, perfect conditions for wind surfing and surfing.
Barbados golf is all about quality courses. If time is short, try to arrange rounds at The Green Monkey and the Country Club at Sandy Lane, Royal Westmoreland and the new Apes Hill Resort. The local favourite is the Barbados Golf Club on the south coast.
WestJet offers scheduled service throughout its 71-city North American and Caribbean network including non-stop flights to Barbados five times every week from Toronto. With great connections from Ottawa, Halifax, St. John's, Montreal and other terrific cities, book today at westjet.com. WestJet Vacations also provides a variety of packages to Barbados' best hotels, resorts and villas. Book your getaway today by visiting westjetvacations.com, calling 1 877 737 7001 or by contacting your travel agent today!
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