You only have to mention the word Barbados to anyone and you can see they are mentally wishing they were there, sipping cocktails on one of its stunning beaches.
In fact I have yet to speak to someone who didn’t like Barbados. There are more than 700 islands in the Caribbean but for me Barbados is the jewel in the crown. Some islands are blessed with the world’s best beaches, some with dramatic landscapes, others have UNESCO world heritage sites and vibrant nightlife. Barbados has them all!
There is a great vibe from the people you meet. I know this may sound like a cliché but everyone is happy! You will find people from all walks of life who emigrated there for a better lifestyle. Barbados is English speaking, extremely safe and you really get a feeling that you could actually live there. I have visited other Caribbean islands and you usually feel like a tourist, in some cases an intruder and you certainly wouldn’t feel safe wandering around the streets alone at nighttime. Although more developed than some of its neighbours Barbados still has a Caribbean feel, with plenty of charm and character to savour.
Some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean are here too. Choose mouth watering sandwiches from Cutters at Crane Beach where you can even order from the beach and they will deliver it to you. There are numerous Bajan restaurants that are very affordable but if you are on holiday for a special occasion or if you simply have some money to spend, you have to visit The Cliff. It is one of the best known restaurants in Barbados, both for the quality of its food and for the stunning setting. Perched on a cliff edge overlooking a bay where sting rays happily swim by, it is breathtaking. The torch lit decks enhance the dramatic effect and although it is expensive, I guarantee you, it is worth it. Make sure you book in advance and ask for a table with a view.
Barbados is actually a very small island, 34km in length and 23 km wide, yet extremely diverse. We hired a local ‘moke’ and drove around the whole island in a day. The east coast is renowned for it’s excellent surf. Bathsheba beach is a cool place to hang out and watch the ‘billabong ‘bodies catching the waves.
The south coast has some of the best nightlife in the Caribbean and tends to attract a younger crowd or couples who are looking for budget accommodation. Although St. Lawerence Gap is the most popular spot for nightlife make sure you take a trip to Oistins where every Friday and Saturday night they have a wild street party. The south coast is also home to the capital Bridgetown. This bustling town, although not that appealing, offers plenty of sightseeing and some of the best shopping on the island.
The west coast is home to Sandy Lane, need I say more? This part of the island is a real celebrity hang out , however there are plenty of affordable hotels if luxury resorts are not in your budget. The Caribbean sea here is very calm and completely contrasts the Atlantic on the east coast. The white sandy beaches and clear water are pure heaven for sunbathing or swimming. There are plenty of boat trips available from here without having to venture too far out to sea, you can swim with turtles, go snorkeling or try your hand at scuba diving.
There is a wealth of trips that are worth doing while you are in Barbados. A visit to a Plantation House is one of the most popular excursions. George Washington’s House, St Nicholas Abbey and Sunbury Plantation House are particularly impressive. You can also visit some of the nearby Caribbean islands. I took a trip to the Grenadines and spent the day on board a catamaran visiting some of the worlds most stunning beaches – it was heaven! If you have some time to kill before you fly home you can step on board an original Concorde aircraft. Situated in the airport this experience costs approx €15 and is worth it if you are even remotely interested in airplanes.
In terms of weather, January through to April is the best time to go, it is less humid and usually dry. The rainy season is August to October so best to avoid travelling at that time if possible, but for the other nine months of the year it is amazing!