Barbados is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, north of Venezuela. It is one of the chain of islands known as the Lesser Antilles, which, in turn, is part of the larger group of islands known as the West Indies. Barbados is the most easterly of the West Indian islands. Neighbouring islands include St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the west, and Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago to the southwest.

Barbados is 33 km long and 22 km wide. The island is almost completely encircled by coral reefs. The western and southern coasts have many calm beaches. The east coast has rugged cliffs that face the Atlantic Ocean. The island is relatively flat and rises gently to the central highland region.

The highest point is Mount Hillaby, at 336 metres. The island is actually made up of two land masses that gradually merged over thousands of years. This makes it geologically unique among the West Indian islands.

More than five-sixths of the island's area is coral, covered by rich dark or red loam. There are few streams and rivers in Barbados because of the porous nature of the coral and limestone rocks. Moisture passes through the soil into underground channels and wells. About three-quarters of the land is suitable for cultivation.

Barbados has a rainy season from June to October and a dry season from November to May. The annual rainfall varies from 125 to 175 cm. Average temperatures range between 25 and 35°C all year round. There are twelve hours of sunshine on most days.

There is an abundance of marine life in the waters of the barrier reefs surrounding Barbados. The reefs, which are located one or two kilometres from the shore, are home to creatures such as hawksbill turtles, seahorses, sponges, frog fish, sand eels and dolphins. Fish found in the waters around Barbados include jacks, bill fish, barracudas, snappers, kingfish and flying fish.

Coconut and dwarf cabbage palms, banyan trees and tropical fruit trees bearing mangoes, tamarind, sapodilla, dunks, golden apples and sugar apples grow in the forests and plains of Barbados. There are flowering shrubs such as hibiscus, bougainvillea, anthuriums, bromeliads, ginger lilies, tuberoses and birds of paradise. The wildlife on the island includes green monkeys, mongooses and lizards.

   Did you know?
Barbados was the first island in the West Indies to have piped drinking water. It has many underground wells and caves that provide a plentiful supply of pure drinking water filtered through the porous coral of the land.