Tropical beaches, underwater adventures, sugar cane fields, colonial buildings and oh the fantastic seafood – Barbados is a wonderful ‘getaway’ destination for adventure or simply relaxing. The majority of visitors to the island step off a cruise ship, unfortunately for them, they usually only have a day to explore the island which has so much to offer. We counted ourselves extremely fortunate as we flew in to spend a full week, enjoying every minute. We like to ‘go local’ and staying in a vacation home exchange is perfect for us.
If you enjoy fresh fish, the markets in Oistins (open Tuesday to Sunday) are a perfect place to start. Over the week we enjoyed freshly caught swordfish, mahi mahi and marlin. I’m sure everything is fantastic. Add a little seasoning and lime sauce, then grill (we used a George Foreman) – the result is absolutely wonderful. At our vacation home we enjoyed a balcony with stunning views over the ocean with perfect sunsets, making every dinner an experience to last in our memories. If you want to treat yourself and not cook, Oistins is full of local beachside restaurants that will prepare the fresh fish pretty much anyway you desire – our choice, grilled. Friday night in Oistins is the big party night. There are bands and DJs set up around the area, good fun for all ages, just be careful as the rum punch goes down pretty easy.
You are sure to find a great beach in Barbados. The West Coast is famed for its vast selection from popular resort beaches to quiet beaches where you can enjoy the sand and surf all to yourself. If surfing is your sport, there are several schools on the island to either get you started or enhance your experience on the waves. The East Coast boasts much stronger surf (beware as there are also strong currents) and several more challenging surfing spots.
Take advantage of these Caribbean waters and go snorkeling or scuba diving. Just in the main Bridgetown bay is a lovely Marine Park with several shipwrecks and plenty of underwater life. Turtles, lobsters, rays, seahorses and a wide variety of both fish and coral can be enjoyed by both snorkelers and scuba divers. Travel by boat less than 20 minutes from the main port area and scuba divers can explore many more reefs and wrecks. The local dive community is proactively attacking the incoming Lionfish problem. Though beautiful, these are very dangerous to the local ecosystem and if not kept in check will destroy much in their path. We were fortunate to visit during a local Lionfish festival week where the dive community and restaurants join forces to catch as many Lionfish as possible and then feature them on local menus. With prizes to team with the most caught, larges and smallest, it was good fun – and for a good cause, the protection of the local reefs and ecosystem. We dived with Barbados Blue (they also run snorkeling trips) and were extremely impressed with their professionalism, safety, guides and equipment.
Feel like a little night life? Check out St Lawrence Gap, full of restaurants and bars, all with plenty of smiles to enjoy. The casual atmosphere of Barbados really makes to all every easy to simply kick back and relax.
If you are fortunate enough to have a luxury vacation home exchange as a base for your Barbados holiday, you might simply choose to spend time relaxing with a great book by the pool or sea. That is one of the great attractions of Barbados, the extremely warm and friendly people combined with a relaxed atmosphere. Overall a great location for both recharging your system or exploring some great sites and culture. Enjoy Barbados.