The Caribbean islands are rife with tales of hidden treasure — caches of gold, silver, and other riches buried in secret locations throughout the Spanish Main. But sometimes, those riches are right in plain sight, where anyone with a little gumption (and maybe a map) can go and claim them as their own. The island of Barbados is one such treasure trove, and the resurgent Apes Hill resort stands as one of the most brightly glimmering jewels awaiting visitors.

The easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles, just 13 degrees north of the equator, Barbados is an intimate tropical paradise with an enchanting personality all its own. At a cozy 166 square miles, the island’s many charms are always within easy reach. Its laid-back vibe is everywhere in evidence — as is its historical connection to Great Britain. English and Bajan Creole are the primary languages spoken, and though you’re less than 700 miles from rowdy South America when you’re lounging on one of Barbados’ pristine, white-sand beaches, the island’s atmosphere is one of relaxed sophistication.

Bottom Bay, Barbados - Paradise beach on the Caribbean island of Barbados. Tropical coast with palms hanging over turquoise sea. Panoramic photo of beautiful landscape.

Barbados gained its independence in 1966, and in the years since, the fledgling nation has gone to great lengths to cultivate a vibrant society — and to offer visitors a diverse menu of rewarding experiences ranging from the uber-adventurous to the supremely relaxing. Whether you want to spend a week adventuring and exploring or are looking for a place to enjoy a tranquil retreat from the modern-day world, it’s a destination that should be on every treasure hunter’s radar.

barbados water

For adrenaline junkies, Barbados is a thrill a minute. On its bright blue waters, you can go powerboating, sailing, catamaran cruising, sportfishing, surfing, kite-surfing, paddleboarding, and even jetblading — a through-the-air activity that’s the nearest any of us will ever come to being mistaken for James Bond in his jet-pack. Underwater, you can go scuba diving and snorkeling in places like the Carlisle Bay Marine Park, where you’ll be joined by 110 different species of brightly colored tropical fish. Or marvel at the wonders of the undersea world from the safe confines of the family-friendly Atlantis submarine, which departs from the quaint harbor town of St. Michael. On shore, active adventurers can opt to hike or mountain bike through the island’s many gullies with their miles of exotic tropical plants. Or go underground and take a fascinating tram tour through Harrison’s Cave, a massive cave-stream system that’s brimming with crystals and stalagmites. Golf is hugely popular in Barbados, too — and has become one of the island’s biggest draws.  

The people of Barbados have been careful to preserve its priceless natural heritage, which presents even more options for exploration. The island is dotted with national parks, nature preserves, gardens, and a fascinating array of flora and fauna — including the omnipresent green monkeys, whose social chatter resembles the excited barking of a pack of chihuahuas. You’ll see references to them all over the island, including in the names given to two of the island’s top-flight golf courses — the Green Monkey course at the Sandy Lane resort, and the recently revitalized course at the posh Apes Hill Barbados resort.

From the sloping green of the 13th hole at Apes Hill, one of the higher points on the island of Barbados, the panoramic view stretches to the sparkling Atlantic, with the island’s Scotland District and the parish of St. Andrew lying in between. This linguistic connection to the world’s recognized “Home of Golf” is fitting, since that resort’s thrill-ride course and the island’s other golf experiences have placed Barbados firmly in the pantheon of top warm-weather golf destinations. It’s no wonder that the island is an Official Tourism Sponsor of the PGA Tour.


The expansive Apes Hill property extends to almost 1000 feet above sea level, which makes it ideal terrain for golf — as well as for spectacular views. Apes Hill’s developers took advantage of the pause the world took during the COVID-19 pandemic to transform their course from a decidedly difficult layout to one with a focus on playability. It now has a wonderfully varied mix of longer and shorter par fours, testing and easier par threes, and sinuous par fives that all offer legitimate birdie opportunities. What’s more, every inch of your golf experience at Apes Hill is a full-fledged nature expedition through stands of sea grape, frangipani, baobab, and bearded fig trees, travelers’ palms, flamboyant trees with their blazing red blossoms, and dense jungle from which no misdirected golf ball will ever return. The course, which won Best Golf Course/Caribbean at the 2023 World Golf Awards, will be the site of a Legends Tour event hosted by golf icon and longtime Barbados resident Ian Woosnam in May 2024.

A unique feature of the Apes Hill course is its fun 19th hole — one not of the beach bar variety but a bonus hole where bets can be settled by playing a wedge shot to an island green that sits just below the clubhouse veranda. From its tee, you can also take in the resort’s short course, Little Apes, which is slated to open in the fall of 2024 and features nine holes stretching from 95-150 yards. This wee course abuts the property’s broad, floodlit driving range, at one end of which you’ll find one of the best golf performance centers in the Caribbean.

Apes Hill Golf Club 14

Of your other Barbados golf options, the opportunity to take on the Green Monkey course at Sandy Lane is the most coveted. One of the most exclusive (and expensive) resorts in the Caribbean, Sandy Lane is a private oasis whose tony environs aren’t easily infiltrated. Tiger Woods rented out the entire resort and reportedly spent millions on his 2004 wedding. You won’t need to spend that much if you’re lucky enough to get the one Green Monkey tee time per day allotted to non-guests, but you’ll be treated like royalty nonetheless. It’s a course that feels a lot like a Florida course on the front nine (albeit a very well-conditioned one), but once you transition to the back, several holes are routed through towering walls of coral that give the course a distinctive and memorable appearance. The resort’s second course, Sandy Lane Country Club, is another good option—and more easily accessible.

Then there’s Royal Westmoreland, a private club that allows non-member play with the right introduction. Tall palms, white-sand bunkers, rock outcroppings, gullies, water features, and rolling fairways characterize this Robert Trent Jones II track, whose greens — like the others in Barbados — are grainy and slippery to putt. 

Visitors looking for more relaxing activities will find lots of options in Barbados, too — beginning with its expansive and beautiful beaches. There are island tours, sunset cruises, a scenic railway to ride, museums and historic sites to visit, arts and crafts studios, festivals, cricket and polo matches, and much more. The annual Sandy Lane Gold Cup is the most prestigious horseracing event in the Eastern Caribbean, and its pageantry never disappoints.


For foodies, the Barbados Food and Rum Festival held each November is a salubrious introduction to the gastronomic delights that await visitors to this multi-talented island. All over Barbados, and particularly in the lively village center known as Hole Town, you’ll find a wide range of excellent waterfront restaurants like The Sea Shed, a casual spot offering fresh-caught tastes of the sea, and The Tides, where the eclectic cuisine is as elegant as the décor. It’s all delectable — or in the Bajan vernacular, sweet fuh days.

Of course, no visit to Barbados is complete without a stop at one of its many local “rum shops.” These simple roadside bars, at which you can sample Barbados’ famous rums under shade or sun, are cheerful gathering places where locals and tourists alike go to lime — a Bajan slang word for chilling out. You order small bottles and some mixers, which come with a bucket of ice, and plunk down at a picnic table to savor the myriad flavors in each rum. There are famous Barbadian rums like those from Mount Gay and Foursquare, but also a host of other local favorites — like Old Brigand, and the splendid single-barrel rums produced at St. Nicholas Abbey, where you can tour the fascinating distillery and adjacent 1658 Jacobean-style great house, one of just three remaining in the Western Hemisphere.

C10 Mid Oceans Villa Living Room

As for accommodation options, those, too, run the gamut. From smaller guest houses to seaside hotels to luxurious resorts, Barbados satisfies all comers. At the luxurious, 475-acre Apes Hill resort, the omnipresent local primates share their verdant environment with visitors from all around the world who’ve discovered the menu of exceptional experiences offered at this five-star resort. Guests stay in lavish, 3-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom villas with high ceilings, marble floors, fully equipped kitchens, and expansive outdoor spaces replete with plunge pools. Each comes with its own dedicated golf cart, on which it’s but a short drive to the resort’s shining new clubhouse, where you’ll find the golf shop, Noisy Cricket restaurant, racquet sports courts, and just next door, The 20th Hole, an outdoor restaurant/bar/halfway house that’s the perfect place to start your day with a healthy breakfast or end it with a nightcap under the palms.

Noisy Cricket 005 HR

One of the nice things about Apes Hill is that it’s not just a resort, but a community, with a congenial atmosphere where lifelong friends are made. Discriminating second-home buyers from around the globe are choosing to make Apes Hill their island home-away-from-home by purchasing a Fairway Villa, an even larger Hilltop Villa, or by building a custom home at the resort. Buyers have been impressed with the developer’s commitment to quality, and by its plans to upgrade its offerings even further in the future. Those plans include the addition of a boutique hotel with a luxe spa and beach club at a satellite location right on the beach near Hole Town — something future resort guests will undoubtedly appreciate, too.

Getting to Barbados has never been easier. Several U.S. carriers now offer service into Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI), including United, American, and JetBlue. From the airport, it’s but a short ride to the sights, sounds, experiences, and flavors that await you in Barbados. Whether you’re there to explore every inch of the island, to play golf every day, or just to relax on a beach or by poolside in the warm Caribbean breezes, it’s fair to say that you’ll find few better places to lime than Barbados.

For more information about Apes Hill in Barbados, visit