Year-round Barbados

Steve MacNaull
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Little Bay lies at the start of St. Lawrence Gap the famous kilometre-long strip of beaches, hotels, condominiums, restaurant, bars and shops on the south shore of Barbados. Photo by Steve MacNaull/Special to The Telegram

All the fuss at the Barbados Airport is not because my wife and I have arrived for a holiday.
Rihanna - the pop star who is the island's most famous export - has just flown in, too.
And she's brought with her singers Kelly Clarkson and new BFF (best friend forever) Katy Perry.
Clarkson and Perry will later play a concert in Barbados that my wife and I can't get tickets to.
However, we go on to enjoy an amazing Barbadian vacation while hearing from various people we bump into how Clarkson and Perry rocked the house as Rihanna sat side stage.
The timing of our vacation late in the season brings up the fact that Barbados is a year-round destination for Canadians.
Air Canada flies 365 days non-stop from Toronto to Bridgetown, Barbados, making the charismatic Caribbean island an anytime option.
"We're really working to attract Canadian visitors to Barbados in the summer as well as the winter," says Frank King, director of the Almond Casuarina Resort, which packages with Air Canada to offer super all-inclusive vacations.
"The beautiful beaches are the strongest draw - whatever the season."
Destination weddings and honeymoons are also a big draw in the spring and summer.
My wife and I recently visited the 280-room Almond Casuarina on Barbados' south coast and found it is a stay-at-one-play-at-all-three deal.
There are numerous shuttles daily between the resort and the Almond's other properties on the island - the 400-room Almond Beach Village and 161-room Almond Beach Club.
As four-star super all inclusives, you pay one price for your flight, hotel, meals, drinks and activities and can use the facilities and amenities of all three resorts from the powder white beaches and pools to the bars and restaurants.
Activities range from turtle feeding excursions and catamaran tours to water-skiing and sea kayaking.
Venture off the resorts and you'll find activities like a surfing lesson with former Olympian Brian "de Action Man" Talma, fresh catch and vendors at Ostins Fish Market, tours at the Mount Gay Rum plant and bar and shop hopping along the famous St. Lawrence Gap.
Talma, who competed in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics in windsurfing, now owns and operates de Action Surf Shop on Silver Sands Beach on Barbado's south shore.
He's an animated mixed race Barbadian (or Bajan, as the locals call themselves) with piercing blue eyes who is as much an island ambassador as he is a business owner.
He was ultra patient as he got both my wife up and surfing within an hour.
de Action also offers lessons and rentals (about US$100 for two hours) for windsurfing, paddle surfing and kite surfing.
Ostins Fish Market features scores of restaurants, vendors and music which helps it take on a festival atmosphere every night with as many locals as tourists clogging its narrow boardwalks.
This is not fine dining, but eating the freshest barbecued Bajan seafood out of styrofoam containers with plastic utensils at rickety picnic tables and washing it all down with Barbados' national beer - Banks.
St. Lawrence Gap is the famous kilometre-long strip of beaches, hotels, condominiums, restaurants, bars and shops on the south coast.
Tommy's Rum Shop bars at the Almond Beach and Club resorts are the stuff of island legend.
Try the signature Tommy's Bombshell.
Namesake Tommy Gibson, who's behind the bar, originally says he would have to kill us if he revealed his secret recipe.
But then he relents to list passion, pineapple, lime and orange juices mixed with cane syrup, light and dark rum - garnished with a stemmed maraschino cherry and orange slice.
Beside Tommy's is Enid's restaurant, an authentic Bajan eatery where seafood is naturally the specialty.
It's the place to try Barbados' national dish - barbecued flying fish with creole and green banana coo coo sauces.

Organizations: Almond Casuarina Resort, Air Canada, Barbados Airport De Action Surf Shop on Silver Sands Beach on Barbado Rum Shop

Geographic location: Barbados, Toronto, Bridgetown Caribbean island Almond Beach Village

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