The other weekend, I travelled back to my dad’s home country of Barbados for a relaxing weekend away visiting family. Although I might be a tad biased, Barbados my favourite tropical destination to escape to. Divided into four main regions, most tourists will find themselves in the southern coast of the island where the majority of hotels and sandy beaches are located. However, if you want to see the island like a local, your best bet is to rent a car to explore the wonder of the West Indes. But, there are plenty of taxis, tourist busses and local transport to get you around to.
Where to stay?
The southern coast of Barbados is filled with a variety of guesthouses, apartment hotels, luxury villas and larger hotels. For those looking for a more family friendly and fun beach to enjoy, the strip along Rockley Beach was one of my favourite places to stay as a kid. For those looking to be closer to the bars and the night life, St. Lawrence Gap is known for being the hub of the islands bar and restaurant scene.
What to see?
If you’re looking to escape the beach for the day, I’d recommend exploring inland to see some of the natural wonders the island has to offer. Wander through the beauty of island jungle at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve and see some of the many animals native to the island. Cool down and head underground to Harrison’s Cave to explore the astonishing stalactites, stalagmites, small waterfalls and pools. The downtown of Bridgetown is also filled with a ton of local markets and historical buildings that are worthwhile to explore.
If you’re feeling a little adventurous, head to the coast and dive into the water to go scuba diving or snorkeling among the local sea life. For the sportier, my favourite thing to do when I go to visit is to take a lesson from Barry’s Surf School and try to “hang-ten” on the waves on the southern coast. Another popular thing to do is to get the chance to see the island from above while you parasail from a local boat or explore by water of the lively Jolly Roger cruise.
The best part of being in the heart of the Caribbean is the abundance of fresh fish and Bajan food for you to try. Head down to Oistins on a Friday night to experience a fish fry like a local. Indulge in the catch of the day by trying some of the island specialties like flying fish, king fish, marlin and mahi-mahi. Served with local vegetables, peas and rice or macaroni pie, enjoy your dinner with some fish cakes to start and a traditional Rum Punch or Banks Beer to drink.