Choosing the perfect time to travel to Barbados means taking numerous factors into consideration. Weather, cost, crowds, and can't-miss events all play a role in the decision making process.
Weather in Barbados does not see much variation from season to season. The average annual temperature is 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 29 degrees Celsius), and winter in Barbados is similar to the month of May in much of the North American Southeast. Most people visit in the winter, hoping to escape from the freezing temperatures of their more northern hometowns.
Summer brings slightly hotter weather, and the summer and fall months bring a greater chance of rain. The hurricane season officially lasts from June 1 to November 30, but is rarely a cause for concern. More hurricanes hit the U.S. mainland than Barbados, and with today's meteorological technology, there should be more than enough warning to take proper precautions.
Tourism reaches its peak in Barbados between mid-December and mid-April, as people from colder climates yearn to strip off their sweaters and long pants and hit the beach. Although Barbados isn't as crowded as, say, Puerto Rico or the Bahamas, visiting in the high season is quite an experience. The most popular tourist areas are filled with hustling, bustling vacationers reveling in the beautiful weather and the Caribbean experience. Hotels, shops, and restaurants offer their most extensive services with a smile. This is when there is the most entertainment at the resorts, and the most people to enjoy it with. The crowds can be exciting, exhilarating, and even a little daunting. This is definitely a time for small groups, singles, couples, or groups of friends who can navigate the islands with ease. The dating scene is also livelier in the high season.
Because of the increased traffic, accommodations and flights to Barbados should be booked two to three months in advance. Reservations are necessary, transportation is stretched thinner, and tours are generally more crowded. This is when the island makes most of its money, so they roll out the red carpet for every guest who arrives.
While the high season is exciting, the off-season may be more indicative of the true spirit of Barbados. With diminished crowds, a less-hurried, more quintessentially Caribbean way of life prevails. During this time, between mid-April and mid-December, the midday temperatures may rise to highs considered uncomfortable to many, but the Atlantic trade winds keep the weather pleasant. Hotels and resorts may reduce their services and diminish their staff in the off-season, and some tours or activities may be closed altogether. Hotels also reserve their major repairs or renovations for the off-season, so it's a good idea to call ahead and make sure you won't be staying in the midst of a construction site.
Traveling in the off-season can be much more affordable. On Barbados, hotels cut rates from 20 to 60 percent at this time, and tours and shops may cut prices to remain competitive. There is easier access to public transportation, tee times at golf courses, , water sports, and other enjoyable activities, and flights and accommodations are easier to book. You may even be able to walk into an upscale restaurant off the street and eat without a reservation. This is a good time for families to travel, because it's easier to keep track of children, and there are fewer crowds to fight. The atmosphere is decidedly less Americans because a greater percentage of tourists visiting in the off-season are European.
Many vacationers visit the Caribbean for a certain event or festival. Some of the most popular events surround international holidays, such as New Year's Day, Good Friday and Easter, Labor Day, and Christmas. More unique to Barbados are holidays like Errol Barrow Day on January 21, National Heroes Day on April 28, Whit Monday, and Emancipation Day on August 1.
Many of the most popular events in Barbados take place during the off-season, like the Crop Over Festival in July or August and the Food & Wine & Rum Festival in November. Still there are countless events for vacationers who travel during the high season to take advantage of. The Holetown Festival, which honors the 1627 founding of Barbados occurs in February and features live music, craft booths, and lots of food. Music lovers won't want to miss the Barbados Jazz Festival in January, or Gospelfest in May. Countless other events take place throughout the year, and you can read about them all by clicking here.
Whether you like the perks that come with traveling during the high season, or the thought of saving up to 60 percent on your lodging costs is so enticing that you're tempted to brave the heat and travel to Barbados in the summertime, each season has its good points and bad. Regardless of when you choose, a world of tropical enchantments is waiting for you to discover on the island of Barbados.
Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.