Barbados – It’s that island paradise that the Bajans (Bay-Jans) let you know, sits on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, and is different to all those others found in the Caribbean Sea. The island is of course home to some high profile persons such as Rihanna, and Barbadians are sure to let you know where on the West Coast stretch that her aesthetically appealing property is located. Meanwhile – if you visit just at the right time you could be very well in for a cocktail or dinner fundraiser with Simon Cowell for one of the many local charities too which he is affiliated. However while here let’s have a snapshot of the top 10 things that you should be doing or must experience while in Barbados.
1. PEG Farms – Visit or Camp…
Sometimes we want to hide out and enjoy the freedom of nature at least for a little bit. At PEG Farms, situated on the east coast of Barbados – you can literally pitch your tent and have your own campfire, without the danger of any wild animals. The amenities of a boutique restaurant and cafe allows the comfort of home still. Just imagine as you awake – you have a sunrise and the ocean’s waves rolling onto the east coast. Quite a few of the Bajans enjoy doing this, especially on long weekends. You can easily grab a surfboard and head into the water later, or further along to Chalky Mount to visit the pottery and make your own jug.
2. Bridgetown Walking Tour
When you visit the capital city Bridgetown to do a little shopping, look around just a little bit, and you would be easily reminded of some aspects of England. Same time you could join one of the guided tours of Bridgetown which combines your sightseeing with sampling some locally made cuisine. You could even get to taste the fishcakes, ham-cutters or if you have a taste for black bitch (which is a sugary treat by the way) this tour would take care of that.
3. Car Rallying – Racing
Bushy Park is a good place to get your heart rate up. This hotspot in St.Philip on the eastern side allows you to enjoy the thrill of high-speed cars. It’s always nice on a Sunday, to make it into a hangout spot. Of course, depending on the time of year like around the second week of May each year, the rally club makes it into a big excursion. You hop together with a few friends every Friday Night, Saturday and Sunday and go off-roading to remote parts of the island and watch the rally guys race against the clock on the various terrain. Just be careful as you leave Bushy Park or the Rally circuit – because the adrenaline is indeed pumping.
4. Braddies Bar in Six Men’s
This little bar or pub or as locally we say rum shop is a nightspot to hang out either day or night. Located in St.Peter just north of the Luxurious Nikki Beach Club – they offer nice fried pork, chicken or fish along with a side of potato and salad, or even seasonal vegetables. Just be careful with the pepper sauce as there is nothing called mild. There are plenty of beverages as well from those which are tripled distilled to a regular soda. This cosy spot has been known to have visitors which even included former British Prime Minister Tony Blair while he was in Barbados. Here you can actually challenge the guys in a competitive game of dominoes. This spot is right next door or walks across to the nearby luxury Port St. Charles or Port Ferdinand, of which quite a few of the guests also pop in.
5. The Barbados Museum – Night Time Tours
This may not be for the faint-hearted, or, it is good to take along a trusted friend. These tours are in demand and are subscribed quickly. You get to experience some work of the theatre students, who act to bring the exhibits to life and this is coupled with the delivery by a historian guide. The theme of each tour is dependent on the sites chosen and the route the particular tour will take. Of course, if this doesn’t fit your taste, then the usual daytime tour is available. The Barbados Museum is situated within a world heritage site and there are also plenty of restaurants in the general area that provide from local to international menu options. On weekends you can possibly pair the museum tour with Horse Racing which happens next door at the Garrison Savannah.
6. Island Safari
Get ready for a trip jam-packed with spills and thrills. This is a road trip that takes you from the placid easy and sophisticated road to the rugged trail in a snap. This may be considered a high energy trip that at some times feels like a roller coaster. The driver who also acts as your tour guide tends to give you a heads up ahead of time. One of the major parts of the journey is when the driver turns the engine off while climbing a steep hill, and the vehicle then continues up the hill by some magic or magnetic pull. The safari is one of the fastest ways to do an island tour, and lunch is usually included. Beware of the rum-punch!
7. Catamaran Cruise
Sometimes you can pair the island trip with the catamaran cruise, and therefore spend about 4 hours on land and then another 4 hours on the water. It is a great way to sail along the waters of the west coast while enjoying food, drink cocktails and the latest soca music. It is ideal to walk with your sunscreen. While heading along the coast you are usually fortunate to have a turtle or two swim alongside the catamaran, and if you are up to it – you can simply dive into the water at the same time. The crew members usually point out where the coral reef and reef fish are so that you can grab a moment of snorkelling if you so choose while on the cruise. Just be mindful that if you drink your rum beverage or cocktail on the cruise, the fuller effects are felt when you are back on land.
8. Visit St. Nicholas Abbey
Nestled on the border of St. Peter and St. Andrew, there are a few things which you can easily enjoy here. Primarily named after the existing great house which has been restored – you can commence a tour of the property and the architecture all set as part of a museum. Within the compound is the rum distillery, Barbadian history and culture is steeped heavily in rum and this industry. You can get to sample some of the rum as well, and the taste and texture would easily give away the age of the rum that you would have sampled. A walk across the property would place you at the Nicholas Abbey Train Station. This is like a three-for-one kind of mix, as you have a Museum, Rum Factory and also a Train Station. Once you head there you get to experience a steam-powered locomotive, which does whistle stops at various vantage points on that side of the island. As you leave the Abbey, which was also touted to have been featured in a few movies, and you make a left turn, you can enjoy the impromptu of the Cherry Tree Hill, and just be mindful of the monkeys here as well.
9. Folkestone Marine Park
Calmer waters and west coast life would suit some days while visiting, and, right next to the historic St. James Parish Church where Kimberly Walsh tied the knot with Justin Scott, is the Folkestone Marine Park. This area is also protected by the Barbados Turtle Project, as it is one of the major nesting areas for the Green Leather-back Turtle, so if you go at the right time you may actually see the baby turtles making their way into the water. Additionally, the marine park has a sunken ship which rests about half of a mile from the shore in about 120ft of water, just be sure of your abilities. There is an onsite lifeguard station as well, and they can keep an eye out especially about the tide and currents. There is a reef just off the shore as well for those amateur snorkelers and scuba divers, where you can have a swim around the sea lilies, corals and sponges as well as the anemones and reef fish. For those persons who are not as adventurous, there is, of course, the alternative of the Barbados submarine. The submarine does not traverse the west coast but stays primarily on the city side during their dive.
This is certainly one spot that you certainly have to visit, and first up it is a 24-hour spot for activity. Any Bajan would tell you that this is one of the best places to go while on holiday. Set on the south coast, there are chattel house type dining for the casual to the more semi-formal food places as well. In this area because of it being also a seaport, fish of all types are high on the menu. You can also grab fresh fish from the market which is central to the area. There are convenient stores for your ease, as well as you can walk onto the beach easily for a quick sea-bath. There is even more life when the sun sets as there are dancing, karaoke even more stalls open for entertainment or to serve food. The bars light up and live music happens as well. Again, as a caution, you must watch out for the pepper-sauce. There are several arcades and you can even play pool in one of the rum shops, and for those who want a bit of religion, there are at least two churches in the general area. In fact, the nearby parish church has a tomb called the Chase Vault that carries a bit of a story that any Bajan would tell you about. It is easy to get to Oistins as the public transport starts and ends here as well. Around Easter there is the Oistins Festival complete with its own carnival – just imagine that added to the already busy 24-hour.
During your visit to any of these places, you never know, you may run into the company of Sir. Garfield Sobers or Sir. Wes Hall, both of whom are quite unassuming individuals, or, any of the other cricketing legends. Be sure to note that the Kensington Oval Cricket Ground is in close proximity to the Rihanna Drive. This is just a stone’s throw away from Bridgetown, and maybe if you did take the lesser risky Submarine dive, then you would be sailing against these places as your immediate backdrop. Like many of our friends say – there is so much more happening, you could be one moment in an Open House – walking through luxury to visiting Codrington College or Hackleton’s Cliff.
What's Your Reaction?
Ryan is a born and bred bajan musician, composer and arranger, who also owns several lifestyle blogs.