Barbados Celebrates 2019 as the "Year of Wellness & Soft Adventure"

What is the difference between "wellness" and "wellbeing," and why are hotel guests so obsessed with them?
Photo by Getty Images/anyaberkut

Barbados is celebrating 2019 as the “Year of Wellness & Soft Adventure.” The island is home to a plethora of festivals and events, alongside hotels with wellness retreats and packages.

Here are the events happening in 2019:

  • Barbados IslandFit Games (May 10-11): IslandFit Games is one of the largest functional fitness competitions in the Caribbean.
  • Ninja Throwdown (May 11): The Ninja Throwdown is modeled off the “American Ninja Warrior” series and includes local twists.
  • SOL Rally Festival (May 31 – June 2): Attend the biggest motor sport event in Barbados at Bushy Park.
  • Dive Fest (July 3 – 7):  Dive Fest will feature water awareness programs, scuba and freediving demonstrations and trials, beach clean ups, conservation tips, lionfish hunting and tasting, as well as scuba dives all over the island.
  • Open Water Festival (November 6 – 10): Join hundreds of other swimmers in Barbados’ turquoise waters for races of three, five and 10 kilometers.
  • Run Barbados Marathon (December 6 – 8):  Participants will run through the capital city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bridgetown, and its natural harbor, Carlisle Bay.
  • Beach & Wellness Festival (September 2019): More information coming soon.  

Back in 1751, George Washington brought his ailing brother to Barbados to recuperate—given the island was, even back then, a healthy destination and spa resort. Now, it is home to a number of wellness hotels. Hotels with wellness retreats and packages include:

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  • Cobblers Cove: Create a tailor-made retreat alongside fitness and nutrition consultants when visiting Cobblers Cove this June.
  • Coral Reef Club & The Sandpiper: Four wellness retreats in March, July, August and November will incorporate exercise packages, as well as an all-purpose Spa Wellness Package to restore the body and senses.
  • Little Arches Boutique Hotel: Guests can book a paddle boarding excursion to explore the marine park at Carlisle Bay. 
  • Port Ferdinand & Saint Peters Bay:
    • Wellness & Spa: The Sandbox Tree Spa provides a range of signature treatments and retreat packages to nourish and replenish the mind, body and soul.
    • New Surf Camp: Unveiling soon, Surf Camp at Barbados, one of the only islands in the Caribbean to host world surfing championships, allows travelers to explore the turquoise waters while experiencing some of the best surfing in the country.

Note: Saint Peter’s Bay Luxury Resort & Residences and its sister property, Port Ferdinand Yacht & Beach Club Residences, are offering 35 percent off all villas for travelers planning their Caribbean getaway. Offer ends March 31.

Barbados is also home to both land and water activities. Surf, bike and horseback ride across the island. A sample of activities includes:

  • Island & Sea Safaris: Island Safari tours allow travelers to experience steep inclines and carve paths through thick underbrush as well as snorkeling with curious fish and other marine life like sea turtles.
  • Microlight Tours: Fly with veteran pilot Paul Nugent for microlight aerial tours of Barbados airborne. Expect 360-degree views of some of the island’s most iconic landmarks.

For more information, visit

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