1) Essential Barbados
If one picture could sum up Barbados, this would be it. The turquoise waters are crystal clear and almost as warm as a bath, providing the perfect conditions for a relaxing paddle or swim. The soft sands are made from finely ground coral - Barbados is a coral island - this gives it a pinkish tinge on some beaches !
With so many stretches of sand and ocean around the island it's possible to find secluded spots away from the crowds, especially if you don't mind not being close to shops and beach bars. This view is taken from one of the windows at one of Barbados' exclusive resorts, the Hilton.
2) Dramatic cliffs
Although Barbados is well known for its stunning beaches and gentle waves, in the north of the island the landscape is rather different. Cliffs rise directly out of the sea and the Atlantic Ocean waves crash dramatically against the side.
There are some sheltered bays in the north where it's possible to enjoy much calmer waters but these cliffs are more widespread in this corner of Barbados. The water is still the same crystal-clear turquoise so the views from the top of the cliffs can be absolutely spectacular.
3) Meet the locals
There's plenty of marine life in the waters which surround Barbados and you don't need to go scuba diving to see them all. Tiny fish will swim up to the shallow waters so you can get a good look without having to venture deeper out.
Catamaran tours take holidaymakers further out to sea where it's possible to see some of the more exotic marine life, such as this Greenback Turtle seen off the west coast of Barbados.
These gentle giants are regularly seen around the island and on Turtle Beach; they can even be seen laying their eggs in the sand.
Look out for the turtles when in Barbados
4) Taste of the island
Barbados has some fantastic local dishes and foods, not least of all the freshly caught seafood, but there's one thing which you simply have to try during your stay: the rum.
Rum is an ever-present on Barbados, a locally produced drink which is universally loved. All over the island you'll find tiny rum shops; small, sociable bars where you can drink a dram or two and enjoy a chat. Rum shops are an essential part of the nightlife on Barbados and you'll find them next to more glamorous cocktail bars and nightclubs, but surprisingly just as popular.
It's essential to indulge in some rum when in Barbados
5) Relax in style
The beaches and ocean are undeniably beautiful, but the resorts around Barbados are also stunning. Cascading pools, waterfalls and jacuzzis are all frequent features of the luxury villas and hotels so if you don't want to venture from the comfort of your accommodation, you won't be missing out.
Many resorts offer views of the ocean, but their tropical landscaped gardens and private pools are just as picturesque too, so wherever you choose to spend your lazy days, you'll be in for a treat.
6) Party like a Bajan
Oistins Fish Fry is one of the most famous places to go on the island, and if you pop down on a Friday or a Saturday night, you'll be met with one of the biggest street parties on the island.
There are plenty of places to buy freshly cooked seafood, as well as side dishes, and there are stages for live acts and music. Oistins is a popular spot where both locals and Bajans go on the weekend to party until the early hours, enjoying the combination of great food and entertainment.
In the week, Oistins is usually open along with a few of the surrounding bars but it's a different atmosphere, much quieter and more of a place to chill out and chat, rather than dance until late.
7) Natural beauty
The waters around the west coast of Barbados are famous for being gentle, warm and inviting providing the perfect conditions for holidaymakers of all ages and abilities to take a dip.
But the landscape of the island is very varied and on the opposite side, the beaches are wide open and windblown, and the Atlantic Ocean crashes onto the shores with spectacular effects.
The eastern beaches aren't all safe to swim in, as some parts of the ocean have a dangerous undertow. However, the sight of the turquoise waves spraying onto the white sands is a sight that's worth a trip to see.
There are some spots along the eastern coastline that are safer and these are typically popular with water sports enthusiasts. Surfers and body boarders come from all over the world to enjoy the warm waves found on the eastern side of Barbados, tropical surfing at its best.
8) Green paradise
Although Barbados is renowned for its stunning beaches, there's much more to the landscape for holidaymakers to explore.
Inland the island is much hillier, with rolling green landscapes and lush tropical vegetation covering the ground.
The colonial past of Barbados is still evidence and traces of influences from both Britain and Africa can be seen in its architecture. There are a number of landscaped gardens with exotic birds and butterflies in abundance, which make them a delight to walk around.
9) The best part about Barbados…
Bajans, the name for people from Barbados, are renowned for their friendliness, carefree attitude and relaxed attitude to life. You only have to look at megastar Rihanna, one of the most famous Bajan celebrities ever, to see the Barbados spirit in action.
Wherever you go on the island you'll be met with a smile and a warm welcome, but be warned, this frame of mind is contagious! The longer you spend on Barbados, the more relaxed and laid-back you'll become, feeling far more like the incredible Norman pictured here. Norman is 66 and still running medals running, a great ambassador for the healthy Bajan way of life.
10) The many faces of Barbados
There are so many reasons to visit Barbados, from the stunning beaches on the west coast, to the spectacular scenery inland and not forgetting the dramatic cliffs and waves seen in the north and east.
There's lush tropical greenery, palm fringed scenery and fascinating architecture, which blends the best of Bajan, British and African traditions.
In the south, there's a buzzing party scene with all kinds of nightlife from the tiny rum shops to the sleek nightclubs.
There are so many reasons to visit Barbados, so why wait any longer?