It’s known as the playground of the rich and famous, and for good reason. Stunning white sand beaches, perfect temperatures and piercing blue waters complemented by bright green palm trees make nearly every vantage point postcard worthy. Add to that the friendly locals who won’t try to get more than a smile out of you, and it’s the perfect place to unwind.
First a warning: Barbados is not cheap. All-inclusives start at about $2500 per week, a figure which only goes up as you get into the more ritzy accommodations. It’s important to remember though, that you get what you pay for. The quality of food and drinks is much higher than you’ll find in many resorts in Cuba and the Dominican Republic for example, and the country is also extremely safe. I’ve bunked at the Turtle Bay Resort and was ecstatic to find that my standard room (which should be called a suite) came complete with a stunning view overlooking the pool and ocean, and free internet.
If budget is no concern, splurge with a stay at the luxurious Sandy Lane. A favourite of celebrities like Oprah and Tiger Woods, this $1000+ per-night property has its own golf course and spa, and sits on an incredible piece of coastline. Sandy Lane Beach is THE place to go if you want to snorkel with giant sea turtles and stingrays—a highlight of any trip. The great thing about Barbados is that all of the beaches are public, meaning you don’t have to be staying at Sandy Lane to get access to its beach.
While whichever resort you stay at is likely to boast a fantastic waterfront, there are a few notable ones well worth the drive to get to. Crane Beach has been rated one of the top 10 beaches in the world, thanks to its dreamy pink sand, sparkling water and stunning scenery accented by rocky cliffs. The beach is accessible by a staircase or a glass-front elevator, which is joined to The Crane Residential Resort. Miami Beach is another popular option, located near the town of Oistens on the south tip of the island.
Speaking of Oistens, the area is most known for being home to a weekly fish fry called—what else—the Oistens Fish Fry. Every Friday night, both locals and tourists head down to the fishing town to grab a piping hot plate of fresh fish, cooked on the spot. For about $15, you’ll get the catch of the day along with sides like macaroni salad (a Barbados specialty) and a cold beer. After chowing down, you can walk around the market and listen to live music while browsing the arts-and-crafts up for sale.
A great way to spend a day is to hire a taxi to take you around the diverse island. While the south and west coasts boast sun-soaked beaches, the east coast is decidedly more rugged. A drive along the East Coast Road is a great way to take in the view, and you’ll see why surfers flock to this part of Barbados in search of epic waves. The Soup Bowl is also a popular spot, and the site of an annual international surfing competition. A quick stop in the capital of Bridgetown will give you a glimpse of city life, and many tourists make sure to stop at Harrisons Cave, where you can travel through winding, underground tunnels to check out the specially-lighted caverns. The hour-long tour will set adults back $25, while children cost $12.
Most drivers take their passengers on a route that includes Cherry Tree Hill for some breathtaking views, a stop at the Morgan Lewis Windmill (the last sugar windmill to operate in Barbados) and St John Parish Church. Shutterbugs will enjoy a jaunt around the parish property, as it offers some stunning gothic architecture and great views. A taxi tour of the island will run you about $50 an hour plus tip, but the great thing is that it is completely personalized. Be sure to grab a map from your hotel before you head out, so you can follow along!
Of course the most popular pastime in Barbados to simply relax, man. Enjoy the glittering water by going for a scuba dive or snorkel, grab a lounger and soak up the sun, or simply order another pina colada to sip by the pool.
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