Barbados is only 21 miles long by 14 miles wide and only around 13 degrees north of the equator. It has a great climate with a year round average temperature of around 30 degrees; when we were there in October 2010 we had pretty constant temperatures day and night. The sea was as warm as bathwater with some great waves (the southern and eastern coasts have the roughest seas, the western shoreline is a lot quieter).
We mixed relaxing on the beach with some sightseeing. Barbados has it all along with a very relaxing pace of life, one of the crew on our catamaran tour urged me to "slow down" as I was in Barbados now. Indeed, in order to truly enjoy the island it is best to relax and slow down into the laid-back life there.
We went on an island safari, a cross-country jeep tour which showed us all over the island, a great way to sample the place and maybe pick where you'd like to spend more time. Taking pictures from the jeep wasn't marvellous, but there were lots of stops to allow for that.
Similarly the catamaran trip was great, and included some snorkelling where we saw sea turtles swimming below us. Getting around the island by public transport is easy. You can catch one of the 'ZR' vans (so called because their license plates start with the letters 'ZR') anywhere along the road you're on (although there are bus-stops) and get dropped off anywhere on their 'route' all for a flat fee of BDS $1.50 (about US $0.75). If you're walking along the road they will often slow down and call out to you to see if you want to get on board.
We also experienced the night-life around St Lawrence Gap (the Gap) and the Friday night fish fry at Oistins, which was like a great big family beach barbeque party.