Barbados suits anyone seeking a relaxed and mellow holiday. Main clientele are fairly comfortably off couples, with more mature guests favouring the peak winter season and the younger market the summer; British and Canadians dominate. Barbados is also popular with water-sports enthusiasts, golfers, honeymooners and couples tying the knot “in paradise”.
There is a range of accommodation here with W-coast hotels tend to be considerably more upmarket and exclusive; mid-range properties predominate on the SW coast. Self-catering options are concentrated in the S, with most also offering in-house food, beverage and entertainments facilities. All establishments are fairly modest in size, with a few notable exceptions.
The W-coast beaches tend to be narrow and have slightly coarser sand than in the S, where wide, soft, white-sand beaches are the norm. The W coast faces the relatively calm Caribbean Sea, although steeply banked beaches can create undercurrents; in some narrower sections, beaches are subject to tide and storm erosion. The sea along the S coast tends to be a little less settled and appeals to windsurfers.
The E coast has picturesque, almost deserted beaches facing the Atlantic, but the water has a reputation for strong currents and tends to be the exclusive domain of surfers and strong, experienced swimmers. All beaches are officially public but coastal development often makes access virtually exclusive to establishments lining the shore. Naturist and topless bathing are illegal and the law is almost universally observed.