So you’re jetting off to Barbados you lucky thing? This little island is not only naturally stunning, but is full of some of the friendliest and most hospitable people you’re likely to meet. The beaches are beautiful, the sand is soft and pink hued, the waters are stunning and turquoise. Whilst you’ll be sure to have a great time however you spend your holiday, these are some insider tips on how to best enjoy your trip!
Hiring a Boat
On an island, there’s obviously plenty of water, so getting a boat is a great way of getting around. It’s possible to rent a boat just for the day, either with or without a captain depending on how adventurous you’re feeling. One unusual aspect of boat rental that you may not be aware of though, revolves around superstition.
The Caribbean is home to some really unusual superstitions, but a particularly funny one involves bananas. If you’re considering hiring a boat it’s important to be aware of it, as many of the locals take this superstition very seriously. Since the early 1700s, it has been common practice to never board a boat whilst carrying bananas. Originally, fishermen believed that it would scare away their potential catch, but nowadays it’s just bad luck. Either way, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Eating on a Budget
As with any holiday destination, there are some areas that vary wildly in price. Near exclusive hotels and large resorts, you’re likely to find that the cost of living increases dramatically. It’s for this reason that the West Coast is famed for being expensive. However, look out for places that the locals frequent and you’ll see that you don’t have to be caught out by the tourist traps.
Not only is eating at locally owned places a great way to be a responsible tourist, it will also save you money – everyone wins! There’s a simple but delicious place called De Outback Bar & Grill, which serves fresh fish of the day in a pretty garden. Local musicians play most weekends and after a couple of rum sours, you’ll be singing along with them.
Another place to try that’s very budget friendly is in the village of Oistins. On Fridays once the sun has gone down, local fishermen put down their nets and fry up their fresh catch. Expect to see plenty of swordfish and mahi mahi all along the seafront. For just $15 you can enjoy a seafood feast and a beer. Not only is it great value, you also get the very best Bajan hospitality, with reggae playing on the beach and a vast community of all generations coming to celebrate under the stars.
Visiting Hunte’s Gardens
Horticulturalists are known to love Barbados for its varied and brightly coloured flora. The botanical gardens are a destination for plant aficionados and interested tourists alike, but Hunte’s gardens are a little less visited.
These gardens are in a sink hole gully, meaning you can follow a downward trailing walkway through overhanging plants and exotic flowers. Vivid greens are the overwhelming colour here and you’ll be almost certain to see hummingbirds, lizards and – if you’re lucky – monkeys playing in the trees.
Although not nearly as big as the botanical gardens, there are picturesque picnic places dotted around the grounds and pretty veranda where you can enjoy a cold beer or a ginger lemonade.
Investigating Animal Flower Cave
This one really is a ‘hidden’ gem. Tucked away in the far north of the island in Saint Lucy, there’s a very tucked-away cave. You can only access the sea cave via the water, so be sure to come on a relatively calm day. If you pick your day correctly though, you will be rewarded with a view to be rivalled by no other.
Under the crystal clear waters, you’ll see a huge variety of brightly coloured sea anemones, which give the cave its name. The cave is quite roomy and you’ll often have it all to yourself, so there’s plenty of space for swimming and snorkelling. If you’re a little bit nervous of open water, then there are some shallower rock pools that are very safe in calm weather, also because they aren’t so deep, they’re nice and warm too. Find yourself a pretty pool and gaze out to the bright blue sea through openings in the rock. It feels almost otherworldly.