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Why you should hit up beautiful Barbados this winter

We all know about the picturesque beaches and turquoise waters, but this tiny island nation comes with unique charms

The entire island of Barbados is smaller than Toronto and you can drive from end to the other in about an hour.

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The entire island of Barbados is smaller than Toronto and you can drive from end to the other in about an hour.

Barbados proves that size really doesn’t matter. Only 431 square kilometres (that’s 200 sq. km smaller than Toronto), the island of about 300,000 people packs a punch: culture, tantalizing cuisine and picturesque beaches — not to mention Rihanna acting as a cultural ambassador. Best part, you can drive from any corner to the other in about an hour, making it perfect for exploring.

Enjoy the view

Karolina Nanowski/For Metro

Looking to unwind? Head straight to The Crane Resort in the east. With stately rooms, manicured grounds and multiple pools it’s one of the Caribbean’s best resorts. Make sure you eat at L’Azure. Perched atop a cliff, the fine dinning restaurant offers a spectacular view of Crane beach, rated one of the top ten beaches in the world. After, walk down the stone steps to lounge on the sand. If you’re feeling bold, jump off a cliff into the warm ocean.

Place your bets

Race for the prize of the Summer in Pyatigorsk,Caucasus.

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Race for the prize of the Summer in Pyatigorsk,Caucasus.

For a ritzy affair put on your summer best and head over to The Cliff Beach Club for lunch. Munch on octopus carpaccio and chorizo stuffed squid overlooking the ocean as you listen to a live band. Then head south to the Garrison Savannah for some horse racing. It’s been home to the sport since 1845 and is a family-friendly event. For dinner, stop in at Café Luna. Situated in an old Barbadian mansion and run by a gregarious Vancouver chef, you can dine on delicious grilled fish and sweet potato gnocchi as you watch the sunset.

Soups up!

Karolina Nanowski/For Metro

Get your does of adrenaline with some of the best surfing in the Caribbean. The Soup Bowl in Bathsheba hosts international surf competitions. Not a pro? Head south to Surfer’s Point for some gentle waves. You can also try kite surfing at neighboring Silver Point beach. It’s wake boarding while controlling a kite and it’s quickly becoming the hottest watersport.

Getaway

Karolina Nanowski/For Metro

Ocean Spray Apartments in the south offers everything from yoga to surfing. Much of the food is grown on the 53-acre rainforest farm run by documentary filmmaker turned organic farmer Mood Patel. Try some homemade chocolates flavoured with spices like lemongrass or ginger that he’s grown himself.

Fish to fry

Karolina Nanowski/For Metro

Party with locals at Oistins fish fry. Dozens of outdoor stalls bring this place to life. Try a Bajan classic of fried flying fish, plantain, salad and breadfruit (a potato-like vegetable) which often comes with a potent rum punch. On the weekend the street comes alive and it’s often one of Rihanna’s songs that gets the crowds dancing.