To the uninitiated, it may seem that one Caribbean island is much like the next, but those who have toured the region know that each island has its own distinctive character. Nowhere is this more true than on the island nation of Barbados. Located in the Lesser Antilles and outside the Atlantic hurricane belt, in Barbados vacation rentals provide tourists with tropical getaways during all four seasons.
The pace of life on Barbados is different from that in most western nations. One sign of this is, ironically enough, the lack of street signs. Even asking locals for directions can backfire, since "up" and "down" are common directional terms used, but mean different things on the west and east coasts of the island.
Driving on Barbados can be an adventure. Cars drive on the left, and local drivers have no hesitation to pass even on very narrow, winding roads. Most tourists elect to drive, however, since taxis are both difficult to locate and prohibitively expensive.
Barbados can be divided into several areas, including one in the northeast known as the "Scotland District" because it resembles the Highlands. The west coast of the island is characterized by fancy mansions and small fishing villages are transforming to appeal to luxury tourists. The east coast, in contrast, remains a wild, natural shore featuring forests atop steep cliffs. The town of Bridgetown is known for shops that market duty-free emeralds.