Barbados is famous for its easy-going calypso culture, where a strong sense of history and culture fuses with a laid-back vibe.
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With music as one of its societal bedrocks, Barbados revels in a vibrant nightlife. Pristine sandy beaches and glass-clear water are hemmed with palms and vibrant flora on a backdrop of impressive 18th-century colonial streetscapes, like in the capital, Bridgetown. Land-based attractions run from lush botanical gardens and historic plantation houses to sumptuous tropical spas and first-rate golf.
From the little-developed rugged coastline of the Atlantic eastern flank to the attractive resorts of the Caribbean shoreline, Barbados offers world-class, warm waters for diving and snorkelling. Underwater caves teem with colourful fish amidst vibrant coral reefs.
Mount Hillaby, the highest point in Barbados, rises to 336m (1,102ft) in the north-central part of the island. To the west the land drops down to the sea while the east stretches to rugged upland regions. Southward, the highlands descend steeply to wide valleys. An absence of any significant lakes or rivers means Barbados relies on rainwater-fed underground streams and springs for its water supplies. A mixed terrain comprises clay, limestone and chalk covered by a thick coral layer.
Barbados's geographic position has profoundly influenced its history and economic fortunes. Since the late 17th century the island has been a major link between Western Europe, Africa and South America. However, it is Barbados's long association with Great Britain that has shaped the local character. Post-independence developments have done much to foster a heightened sense of cultural nationalism yet island traditions remain more Anglo-influenced than any other Caribbean island.
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