Our new traveller spotlight series is created to inspire and encourage travellers to explore new places. The advice in each interview feature includes tips from travellers that will allow you to truly uncover the beauty of a place.
Imagine being surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean sea while lounging on a white sandy beach and taking in the breathtaking scenic views. Barbados can give you that and so much more. We sat down with Maria, a frequent visitor of the Caribbean island who shared tips on how to best enjoy your time in Barbados.
Why and How Did You Plan Your Trip to Barbados?
I was living in London at the time and was yearning for a getaway far from Britain and found myself looking for tropical destinations with good weather. In serious need of a beach holiday, I started looking for flights to Barbados and managed to score a £500 return flight to Bridgetown, the capital. Can we say winning? Holidays to Barbados can get pricey, and the fact I was able to find a hotel within the same price range was nothing short of a miracle, especially since I booked the 7-day trip two months before. At the time of my visit – before the pandemic came and forever changed life as we knew it -it was very easy to enter the island. But entry requirements for Barbados have changed thanks to Covid, and you are now required to be fully vaccinated or present a negative PCR or antigen test on arrival. (Visit GOV.co.uk for more information)
How long was your flight?
It’s a pretty long flight if you ask me, but you can get to Bridgetown in less than nine hours. I arrived around 4pm Barbados time, five hours behind of London, but due to the fatigue, I had a calm first day as I wanted to feel fresh the next day.
What do you like so much about Barbados?
I’ve been in awe of Bridgetown since I first stepped foot in Barbados. From the food to the beach to the weather, there’s something about Bajan culture that I find mesmerising. So much that I keep going back. Being an avid traveller, you sometimes find yourself in places that capture your soul and make your heart smile – Barbados has that wow factor!
How would you describe Bridgetown?
This capital city is a small town filled with friendly and outgoing locals who all know each other or, at the very least, by their family names. Unlike other popular tropical islands, Bridgetown has a personal touch with neighbourhoods often feeling like big communities. You won’t struggle to meet new people and make new friends in Bridgetown as it has a noticeably laid-back atmosphere, which also makes it an ideal destination for solo travellers. Barbados as a whole is tiny, and it only takes four to five hours to explore the entire island.
What is the best way to get around in Barbados?
There are different means of transport, including public transport and taxis, but hiring a car is the best and most convenient choice.
4 Things to do in Barbados
Visit Oistins Bay Gardens – a coastal town full of life!
Oistins on a Friday is the place to be! Feel the vibrant culture of this place and enjoy the first-class atmosphere that makes you feel like one of the locals. Honestly, words don’t do the place justice! The fish market is not your average market – a plethora of variations are on offer, including tuna, mahi-mahi and marlin, which is then prepared in front of you. Choose how you’d like your food cooked at this fish fry, find a spot and enjoy the vibes while bumping your head to some sweet reggae and dancehall music. Oistins is popular, so expect queues to the food area after 8pm. If you can, be there at 7pm!
Sample local rum at Mount Gay Rum Distillery
Head to the south coast of the island to St Lawrence Gap, a 1.3 km stretch of road often referred to as the “West End” of Barbados. Known to the locals as The Gap, this small but bustling area is full of life, continuously attracting large crowds on the hunt for thumping entertainment, superb shopping and impressive restaurants. I recommend taking a tour at the Mount Gay Rum distillery to sample some of the flavours of Barbados and discover how the island became the birthplace of rum. Here, you’ll learn about the process-making, and you’ll get to try exciting rum recipes – but know your tolerance, or else you’ll leave the tour drunk!
Party the Day & Night Away During Crop Over Barbados
Carnival lovers know how big crop over is. Taking place every year, the three-month outdoor carnival is the biggest annual festival in Barbados, with people flying out to attend it. But this party is more than just striking statement costumes and colourful feathers. Dating back to the 1780s, crop over is all about celebrating Bajan culture and heritage.
Watch the Horses Compete at the Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup
If you manage to time your vacay when the Sandy Lane Cup is on, I recommend taking part in that as well. The horse race -one of the most prestigious events in the Caribbean – runs annually in late February/early March. Keep in mind that this is a classy event, and you should dress elegantly.
Share One Tip:
Pre-book an airport transfer before your arrival! – I know that it’s common for travellers to get a taxi at the airport to out of convenience. However, doing so can get pricey, which I experienced as I didn’t know better. In the past, I’ve travelled with friends and therefore always had someone pick us up.
Would I Revisit Barbados?
Barbados is a beauty! Despite numerous visits, I never get tired of this picturesque island.