Ask your hotel to arrange a car for you before you set off on holiday. You will be given a one-year Bajan driving licence.
Fly direct with British Airways (www.britishairways.com) or Virgin (www.virgin-atlantic.com) from Gatwick; or bmi (www.flybmi.com) from Manchester. First Choice (www.firstchoice.co.uk) also has direct flights.
The international dialling code is +1 246.
Mr Nice by Howard Marks; Pig Tails 'n' Breadfruit: a Culinary Memoir by Austin Clarke.
Do go / Don't Go
The weather is great all year round. December to Easter is the height of the season; when it's scorching in July and August, you can get great deals.
All your West Indian favourites, such as rice and peas, great fresh fish and seafood, and spicy chicken or shrimp curries - delicious at the little food stand you'll see at the side of the road in St James. To drink, it's Banks beer and Mount Gay rum - the reserve is so good you can drink it on the rocks. Do check dress codes before you head out to eat - some stipulate no vest tops or shorts for men and so on.
You'll be able to grab a taxi on the main restaurant streets in Holetown and in the south of the island, but it's safer to call a driver or firm you're familiar with. Your hotel will give you a good contact when you arrive - you'll probably have the same driver for the entirety of your stay.
Around 10 to 15 per cent is expected.
The Barbadian dollar (BB$). £1 is approximately BB$5.
Pretty summer clothes for the evening; an alarm clock to wake you for turtle-watching at 4am or to head over to the east coast for sunrise; trainers/goggles to run/swim off all the great food.
Cricket is a most important matter in Barbados (check out the road names; every roundabout is named after a cricketing great). Go and visit Kensington Oval, to the west of Bridgetown, and see if you can catch a match. Artwise, you'll find small galleries in most parishes, but especially in Holetown and Speightstown. At Earthworks in St Thomas (+1 246 425 0223), you can watch potters in action.
Earthworks pottery makes a good souvenir; you'll have eaten off it in every restaurant or bar you visit. For handmade silver jewellery, kaftans and bikinis, we like Beth and Tracie in Speightstown (+1 264 422 0401) at the north end of the strip. The island capital of Bridgetown is good for duty-free goods, such as beauty products, CDs, trainers and watches.
Climb up Cherry Tree Hill for super views over the island, or to St John's church for spectacular views over the east coast. There's also an amazing view when you come over the hill on the road to Bathsheba from St Andrews.
Sunrise on an east coast beach - head to Bathsheba to greet the dawn with the surfers.
January Barbados Jazz Festival (www.barbadosjazzfestival.com), attracting national and international artists. February Holetown Festival, with street processions, music concerts and antique fair. March Holders Season (www.holders.net), an elegant international performing arts festival. April The cricket/polo season starts. May Reggae on the Hill, a hugely popular annual party in Farley Hill National Park. July/August Historically the time for celebrating the sugar-cane harvest, and now a highlight of the festival season, Crop-Over lasts for three weeks, with lots of carnivalesque fun on the streets. September The polo season comes to a close.