Posted on 31st March 2017
Barbados is what the British sea side really would be - if only we could turn the heat up and make it a little warmer. Water lighter than the sky is enjoyed by both locals and tourists. It is busy, but never crowded. You can lose yourself on the island if you have half a mind for it. In deeper waters the yachts of the super rich drift, eyes cast down, looking for the turtles which swim over much of the Barbados coast.
It is paradise. And, if you know where to look, there is much much more to do than lounge on the luscious beaches.
Not that I’d discourage that kind of behaviour.
BEST DAYS OUT
It’s not often you get to swim in an underground cave, looking out to the Atlantic Ocean. Like a natural infinity pool the Animal Flower Cave sits at Barbados’ northern point, and for eight pounds per adult gives a far better return for your money than an expensive hotel pool. It is situated beside North Point, where the roiling waves of the Atlantic tumble onto the rocky shelves jutting out into the sea. One of Barbados’ natural wonders and not to be missed.
The Racehorses of Carlisle Bay
The historic Garrison Savannah Racecourse has been an integral part Barbados’ history since the first British cavalrymen on the island raced their horses. The entire island turns out for at least two Saturdays each month, some in the great stand looking over the finishing line, most waiting for free on the course’s edge. There’s a real air of festivity with food vendors and bookies nearby. However, the fun doesn’t end after race day. On Sunday morning the horses are found swimming in Carlisle Bay.
Small but Mighty
Little Bay is Barbados’ hidden gem. On either side of a gulley are two flat rocky shelves, green with moss and anemones. Crabs scuttle along the beach at sundown. Caves hunker on either side of the dome in which Little Bay is set. The water rumbles down the gulley, before hitting a wall of rocks and skirting onwards to create a large shallow pool. The greatest free show on Earth, situated in the north of Barbados in the Parish of St Lucy.
ps: Go to youtube and look up Swimstones to see the beautiful Little Bay sounding like a sleeping dragon.
The Barbados Wildlife Reserve gives a great opportunity to get close and personal with a host of creatures. Tortoises crawl across the paths; deer’s wait in the woods. The animals are not held in check by the nature reserve and freely wander the valley, so if you want to get a look at the famous Barbados green monkey then head there around two o’clock, when the animals are fed.
Here Be Turtles
Seeing a turtle in Barbados is not difficult. They swim beside the pier near Oistins and are sighted over much of the island. However, to swim with them is incredible, and best experienced via the various glass bottomed boat tours. Lifejackets are provided and visited sites also include a shipwreck. Prices may vary, however, and it is best to agree a price before boarding.
Situated between the Radisson Aquatic Hotel and the Hilton, Browns Beach is a relatively quiet beach used equally by tourists and locals. Its gentle waves and soft sand underfoot makes it ideal for children, while refreshments and parasols are readily available. On Sundays the racehorses come to bathe.
On the wavy east coast is Bathsheba. Huge stacks of rocks jut from the sea and nearby is the famous Soup Bowl where surfing competitions are held. Caution is advised when swimming into the deep water, but Bathsheba boasts an impressive set of rock pools and caves where the water is calm. A little out of the way from the majority of hotels and tourists, Bathsheba is nevertheless a fully stocked area with numerous restaurants.
On the gentle west coast is the busy Rockley Beach. Deckchairs are available for around five pound and it is child friendly. For the swimmers, a little off from the water’s edge, is a huge variety of animals and wildlife, all living on the banks of coral underfoot. The long beach stretches onto Hastings Boardwalk – a sea side stroll with beautiful pavilions to shade beneath.
Barbados’ famous cricketing heritage is perhaps not matched by many other sports. Nevertheless Bubbas, near Rockley Beach, is the best sports restaurant on the island. Many screens and projectors broadcast a variety of games; the FA cup even stopped in Bubbas recently. The milkshake, in particular, is delicious. Be prepared for hearty no nonsense food. Top tip: stock up on the humungous starters if the burgers aren’t to your taste.
Buy the pineapple juice. The most delicious drink on the island poured out of a fat unmarked container and into a large plastic cup. With this Just Grillin serve a variety of grilled chicken and fish, with a selection of carbs or veg. The mix and match nature of the menu is particularly enticing, whilst the rice is a standout side.
A small Italian restaurant near Speightstown. The sea crumbles against the rocks, and the sounds of the waves can be heard from the upper floor. Low lighting and delicious food make this hidden restaurant a winner when it comes to a classy evening away from the world.
Near the surfers’ paradise of the Soup Bowl is the stylish Roundhouse restaurant. Situated at the top of a steep climb the restaurant affords wonderful views of palm trees and surfers below. Serving delicacies such as breadfruit chips and a special cutters sandwich by a friendly staff, the Roundhouse is the place to go if you find yourself on the east coast.
Breadfruit grows the size of a football and has become a staple Bajan food. When cooked it looks like a potato, acts like a potato, and yet isn’t quite a potato. Slightly chewier than its more ordinary counterpart, breadfruit chips taste healthier than your standard oil soaked fish and chips. A unique experience and a must try for anyone visiting for the first time.
Deliciously unhealthy fried fishcakes. A perfect afternoon snack after a long day of swimming and enjoying the Barbados sun.
The famous fried fish of Barbados. Delicious, cheap, and readily available all over the island.