Located in the west of the island, Saint James is one of Barbados' eleven parishes and is one of the first places where the English disembarked in Colonial times. Traces of the British culture can still be seen in Holetown, where the famous Holetown Festival commemorating the arrival of the colonists in Barbados takes place every year. This region will delight golf lovers thanks to its three courses: Sandy Lane, Apes Hill and Royal Westmoreland. Those who are interested in the history of Barbados should take a trip to Holetown, the very first town claimed by the English. Saint James has a number of luxury and boutique hotels, like the Coral Reef Club, which are responsible for its nicknames as the 'Gold Coast' or 'Platinum Coast'. In the evening, head to the lively 2nd Street in Holetown with its numerous bars and restaurants.
There are three golf courses in the region: Sandy Lane, Apes Hill and Royal Westmoreland. You could also opt for some retail therapy at the luxury Limegrove shopping centre in Holetown where you will find many tax-free goods.
Holetown, the town where the first colonists settled, is home to St. James Parish Church and the Portvale sugar cane factory, one of the last remaining factories of its kind still operating in Barbados. The factory now also holds a museum.
Take light clothing with you but keep in mind that some of the air-conditioned places can get a little chilly. As a general rule of thumb, opt for something a little more elegant in the evening. Be aware that even though Barbados lives to the same rhythm as the rest of the Caribbean, it is still rather conservative.
The sea towards St. John's Parish Church on the east coast is often rough and unpredictable. There are signs on the beaches warning of dangerous currents. Do not follow the example of the inhabitants, who do not necessarily adhere to the rules when it comes to swimming in the sea. Also, it's a good idea to keep an eye on your personal belongings in the evening around Saint Lawrence Gap.
Seafood is abundant. There is a wide range of fish to be enjoyed in Barbados. The most common, the flying fish, can be found in both refined cuisine and in sandwiches. Just add yam, plantain and sweet potato and you've created a traditional dish. Try the 'cou-cou', a dish made from maize flour and okra, a vegetable. 'Pepperpot' is a spicy stew composed of vegetables served with the inevitable rice and red beans cooked in coconut milk. 'Conkies' are a combination of maize flour, coconut, pumpkin, grape, sweet potato and spices, and are steam-cooked in banana leaves. Chicken is seasoned with curry and accompanied by a Creole sauce made from tomatoes, peppers and onions. Enjoy the papaya, pineapple, mango, guava, coconut, and the fruit from the bread tree. Discover Barbados rum, which is a dark amber colour and strong in taste. Mountgay and Cockspur and white rums such as Alleynes are all produced on the island.
Watchmaker's shops, jeweller's shops, imitation jewellery shops, cosmetics, mobile phones... Most of the biggest brands are sold at the island's duty-free shops. To buy tax-free merchandise, you need to show your passport and your return travel ticket. The shops are open from 8:00am to 4:00pm from Monday to Friday and until noon on Saturdays. In Bridgetown, the supermarkets close at 6:00pm. For the more elegant shops, head for Broad Street, where you will find them in the colonial houses. Cheapside Market is a large public market where local products are sold. Pelican Village has many art and craft shops. When looking for souvenirs, don't forget about Barbados rum, which is difficult to find in England.