MY BARBADOS MUSTS
For those of you who have been following along my Instagram account, it is no secret that I love Barbados. Let me provide a little background to those who this may be news to…
I have travelled to the island 4 times since 2009, and it was after my 2nd visit in 2011 that I would say I officially caught the travel bug and began longing to explore more and more of the world.
When you travel somewhere over and over again - whether it’s a place that keeps calling you back, one where you may have a holiday home/relatives that you visit or even simply just a particular location within your home country – often or not, there are certain things that become part of a ‘ritual’ of things to do when spending time in that destination.
Over my 4 trips to Barbados, I have found myself repeatedly engaging in a number of activities and visiting certain places each time - whilst adding new places to check out too, of course! Below is a selection of my favourite things to do when staying in Barbados.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliate with Barbados, just pure love!
1. Island Tour
Barbados is a beautiful tiny speck of only 166 square miles in the Caribbean, meaning that you can technically cover the entire island in just one day! The best way to see it? The 4x4 jeep safari is a must do! A dedicated guide will transport you to the most pinnacle points as you take in the sights, sounds and smells of Barbados through a mixture of terrains, on and off-road, with some doughnuts thrown in. It’s not too bumpy and although it is an open Jeep, there are coverings in place should it rain. Not only will you see some of the best parts of the island; Your guide will keep you entertained with interesting facts on the history and culture behind the island’s hidden gems and you will also get to taste a traditional Bajan lunch - refreshments are also provided.
· If you form a large enough group of people to fill an entire jeep, they may even let you blast your own music throughout your journey
· Keep extra sun cream and mosquito repellent handy
2. Harbour Lights
Located along Carlisle Bay, during the day Harbour lights is a beach bar. As evening falls, the entertainers provide a dinner and show. It’s family friendly too! By night it transforms into a clubber’s paradise. If, like me, you love to experience a culture through its music, dance styles and food – this is the experience for you! You will be serenaded into the night by local Bajan talent as you feast from a buffet, catered to all with plenty to choose from. Set in an open-air stage, stars shining in the sky, sand under your feet (there is table seating), expect to be dazzled by fire breathers, limbo dancers, stilt walkers, the sounds of steel pans and much more! If that doesn’t scream Caribbean vibes, I’m not too sure what will?!
· Arrive early to get a good spot
· The bigger the group, the more fun to be had
· The audience is encouraged to participate
3. A day at sea
There are numerous ways to spend the day at sea, the main gist is to get out there and sail, however you prefer. Most options are family friendly, unless you opt for a boat party – definitely leave the kids on land for that! I have personally only experienced a couple of the family friendly options - so far! There is a spectrum within the range of family friendly options: pro kid to more adult suited, so be sure to check the itinerary of each package before booking.
For the ultimate day out on the ocean, the MV Harbour Master is without a doubt the élite. I’d like to believe that it’s similar to spending a day aboard an actual cruise ship – without the cabins, but yes, it is pretty big! It is essentially a floating hub of entertainment with a dedicated section where locals can showcase their talents – I even got my hair braided whilst on it (twice)! Not a minute of boredom is to be had on the Harbour Master. If you happen to find someone napping, it is either out of exhaustion from participating in the onboard activities or the sun got the them! Wear a hat and seek shade for a while folks! As with most excursions, free flowing lunch and refreshments are provided. There is also the option to snorkel with turtles – gear, including life vests for less experienced swimmers will be provided by the crew. My most memorable part of the onboard experience is the calypso party as the voyage nears its end and the crew smash out ‘Follow the leader’ by the Soca Boys.
· Take cash for extra purchases
· Be sun safe – heat stroke will ruin your holiday
· Take a towel and extra sun cream
4. Sunday at The Crane
Located in St. Philip is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the Caribbean. Being a luxury hotel, which is slightly out of the way of the heart of Barbados’ tourism centre, many may not think The Crane is accessible, but it is! Barbados is a predominantly Christian island, meaning most places are closed on Sunday’s. An afternoon at The Crane became a tradition ever since my first visit to the island. With a range of three restaurants to dine in, there is bound to be something that will leave everyone’s stomachs happy. I have only ever eaten at L’Azure, boasting traditional buffet-style Caribbean cuisine – it’s so delicious, suitable for all types of foodies and can never be recreated to the same taste once home! My mouth is drooling as I think about a delicious Bajan macaroni pie… Oh! Plus, you get the added ocean view. It can get a bit windy though, so ladies – dress accordingly! Take advantage of your time within the complex and stroll around the ‘town-like’ ambience, there is an art gallery, gift shops and much more. All beaches in Barbados are public beaches, which means that even if you don’t fancy the elegant dining experience, submerged in abundant sub-tropical vegetation beyond the cliffs, (which many enjoy jumping off of) the stunning white sands and crystal blue waters provide a little more escape from the beaches closer to Bridgetown.
Speaking of which…
Although I have already dropped the names of a couple of beaches worth visiting, did you think I was going to write a whole post on an island in the Caribbean and not state that you MUST visit a beach?!
My typical ‘go-to’ beaches lay along the South coast of the island. Rockley/Accra Beach is located in great proximity to the majority of the island’s hotels. This is a great beach if you fancy a picnic, as there are plenty of food establishments close by. Note that deck chairs and umbrellas are available to rent for the day. No beach day is complete without having an ice cream! Across the road, within the complex of Quayside Centre Shopping Plaza is a dessert bar called Chilly Moo’s where you may find yourself acting like a kid in a (chilled) candy shop! Spoilt with flavours and combinations that will tantalise the tastebuds, you can even create your own! For my UK readers, think of Shakeaway but in ice cream form.
Back to the topic at hand – if you prefer a more inclusive experience, The Tiki Bar is nestled at the end of beach, where you can order from their great variety of cocktails, delicious plates and snacks and grab a deck chair and umbrella too. Walk in the opposite direction, right up to the end of the beach and you will find Richard Hayne’s boardwalk, a lovely place to stroll along as the sun sets. Closer to Bridgetown itself, along Browne’s Beach are The Boatyard and Pirate’s Cove. Both of which are similar to Harbour Lights in the sense that they offer more than an inclusive beach space. At the Boatyard, you pay an entrance fee which covers the cost of sun loungers, use of amenities, water activities and is used as a bar tab which you can order food and drinks with. Pirate’s cove charges for umbrella and lounger rental separately to purchasing food and drink. However, they also offer sailing packages via the Jolly Roger and snorkel trips. There is a small built in play area to keep kids entertained onshore too! Both have sports screens and play a range of international music. If you’re a water sports fanatic, jet skiing, jet blading and much more can be experienced by local operators who can be found at most beaches around the island, do ensure that they are licenced first though!