Often considered an expensive destination, Barbados can easily accommodate those on a more modest budget. Visit art galleries and craft shows, eat fish and pawpaws, tour sugar mills and rum distilleries, or take a free guided Sunday hike. With 3,000 annual hours of sunlight and temperatures that never stray far from the 80s, you're sure to have plenty of time to kick back on the beach.
Why It's a Good Value
JetBlue, American, Delta, and US Airways offer service to Barbados; flights from Canada to Barbados are available from Air Canada and West Jet. Getting around the island is easy with reliable taxi and bus service.
For inexpensive accommodations try Peach and Quiet, Sweetfield Manor, and Sea-U Guest House. Note that U.S. dollars are accepted island-wide at a set exchange rate of $1 to $1.98 Barbados dollars; shoppers benefit from tax-free purchases. If you're looking for an immediate getaway, American Airlines Vacations is offering a free companion airfare with the purchase of a four-night package through March 31. Book using promotional code "BGI50" and travel through May 31.
You'll want to go swimming here, where water temperatures hover between 70 and 80 degrees, but with all 60 beaches open to the public, it might be hard to decide where to kick back and relax. The west coast has calm waters, while the east coast offers wind and waves perfect for surfing. The south features great snorkeling, and those looking for pink sands can find them in the southeast.
Reader zingara suggests two beaches: Enterprise and Miami. "First thing in the morning, around 5:00 a.m. many people gather for their first 'sea bath.' There's nothing like watching the sun rise while swimming, floating, and communing with other like souls ... Enterprise [is] the calmer of the two. Both beaches are located within walking distance of Oistins and are on the bus route."
(Photo: iStockphoto/Karen Low Phillips)