Many of Barbados' hotels and resorts are located in the parish of Christ Church, including the highly popular St. Lawrence Gap. Also known as "the Gap", this is a stretch of white powdery sand beachfront nightclubs, bars, hotels and resorts along the south coast of Bardados.
Barbados offers many attractions for scuba divers, from its barrier and local reefs, which form the habitat for thousands of beautiful fish and are perfect for snorkeling, to over 200 shipwrecks in Carlisle Bay. Barbados hosted the World Golf Championships World Cup in 2006 and offers a selection of golfing vacations. Horseback riding, hiking, cycling, fishing, and sailing are also popular in Barbados.
Mid-January is time for the annual Barbados Jazz Festival held at Farley Hill national park, a beautiful, historical outdoor setting. The Holetown Festival is the best known and most popular of Barbados' events. This weeklong celebration is homage to the first English settlers who came to Barbados in 1627. July marks the beginning of the Cropover festivities, including Foreday Morning, which is a big street party, held in Independence Square from midnight to sunrise on the last Saturday of July. Cropover is crowned with Kadooment Day, the first Monday of August. Barbados Gospelfest is held the last week of May and features singers and choirs from around the world, offering a unique family vacation for Christian events..
After a visit by Portuguese in 1492, the island got its name from "os barbados", which translates as the bearded ones, referring to the local fig trees. The British first landed on Barbados in the 1620's and found a deserted island. The first settlers arrived in 1627, establishing a British colony with a local Assembly for a government. The colony began by raising tobacco and cotton for export, but soon switched to sugar production.
Barbados gained independence from Britain on November, 30 1966, but remains a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The Queen of England remains the official Head of State, represented by a Governer-General. An elected Assembly with two representatives from each of eleven parishes are the governing body of the island, led by the Prime Minister.
||Please be advised that the Passport requirements for U.S. Citizens to re-enter the country from Barbados and the Caribbean is changing. Effective December 31, 2006 all U.S citizens traveling into the United States from Barbados and the Caribbean must have a valid U.S. passport. U.S. Birth certificates will no longer be acceptable as a travel document. On December 31, 2007, a passport or other accepted documentation is required for all air, sea, and land border crossings.