We always talk about that feeling you get when you land in a warm climate. That blast of heat that hits you as you make your way down the steps of the plane. But when we land at Grantley Adams International it is not the sun nor the warmth that are the most noticeable or memorable but the great Bajan welcome. As we queue at passport control we are greeted with Caribbean music and offered rum punch. It it the first time we try rum punch and it is love at first taste. We have yet to discover its potency though! More on that later. After passport control, stripping down about five layers and finishing our rum, we make our way outside. Here we are gifted welcome bags that contain maps of the island and discount coupons for restaurants and bars. We hold the little bags and laugh at the thought we will ever use them again. “Spot the tourist.” Rebecca laughs. I literally used no other bag for the entire holiday!
Where we stayed:
We stayed at Accra Beach Hotel and Resort. The hotel has a beach front view and when we checked in we walked straight onto the beach and experienced our first Caribbean sunset. This was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
Book hotel here.
The hotel is located on the South Coast of the island and just walking distance from a number of amenities. There are four restaurants within walking distance, a pharmacy and a supermarket. There are two outdoor pools and private sun loungers on the white sandy beach
There is also a swim up bar and to be honest I will only stay in hotels with swim up bars from now on. Am I right?
What we did:
A holiday in January is generally about relaxing so beach days were high on our agenda. I’ve never been to the Caribbean before and the Bajan beaches were so beautiful I could have spent everyday just taking in the scenery. We went for long walks and short swims on Accra beach daily.
A serious highlight of the trip for me was the Oistins Fish Fry. Oistins is an active fishing town on the South Coast of the island. Every Friday it becomes a hub of activity with locals and tourists alike all congregating to sample the famous Flying Fish. Street performers dance and sing and lines of tables back to back stretch along the boardwalk. It is a really lively atmosphere and we stayed until late, drinking rum and people watching.
We did a full day coast to coast tour of the island. The tour brought us to Speightstown, Holetown, North Point, Bathsheba, the Animal Flower Cave and finished with a buffet lunch at Sunbury Great House.
The highlight of the tour for me was the Animal Flower Cave. The cave is an acessible ocean cave with steps leading inside, a coral floor, sea anemones & natural rock pools.
Bathsheba was another incredible place to visit. It is the unspoilt side of the island and the views are spectacular. The Atlantic is wild and free and many surfing competitions take place here.
At one of the viewing points I met a lovely Bajan street vendor who gave me a coconut to drink (laced with rum.) And although we didnt believe him when he told us, we later found out that his story was true, he had appeared in a Sean Paul music video, selling coconuts in 2006.
Book trip here.
If you visit the island you’ll definitely hear people talking about “The Gap.” St. Lawrence Gap is one of the best known neighbourhoods on the island. The Gap is full of bars and restaurants and the place to go if you plan on clubbing. We went out here on our last night.
I was probably most excited about swimming with Sea Turtles when we arrived on the island. Even if you don’t take a catamaran your will likely see turtles during you stay. The Barbados Sea Turtle Project has been involved in the conservation of marine turtle species in Barbados for the last 25 years. There are signs everywhere giving tips on how to protect turtle life during you stay.
There are lots of different tours that will take you swimming with turtles but we chose Calabaza Sailing Cruise. We chose this as particular tour because the groups are small and more intimate. Drinks flow freely onboard, there are numerous stop offs for snorkelling and lunch onboard at Sandy Lane. The best part is obviously swimming with the turtles and I have to say, it is an experience I will never forget.
Book trip here.
Where we ate:
Before we travelled Rebecca booked Champers restaurant, one of the top ten restaurants on the island and we spent our first Sunday dining here. The restaurant has breathtaking, panoramic views of the Caribbean as we listened to the waves crash against the rocks as we sipped our cocktails. The menu is extensive and full of fresh fish. The dishes are international with a Caribbean twist and an emphasis on local produce. It was a really special dining experience.
About a five minute walk along the beach from our hotel was Blue Pineapple and if you were following me on instagram at the time you’ll know we spent a lot of time here. Blue Pineapple has a laid back, beachy vibe. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is also a lively spot at night time. There have live music day and night and we spent many mornings and evenings here looking out to sea. The tables are right out on the beach and this was where I made Rebecca take numerous photos of me and where we discovered that little, almost translucent crabs run riot. The photoshoots ended swiftly after that!
Another favourite place to eat for us was Lobster Alive. It doesn’t really need much of a description as it’s pretty much in the name. Again, the tables stretched out onto the beach and we ate lobster and drank wine as we watched the sun go down.
A spot we also really liked was Oasis Beach Bar which was a little beach shack just a few minutes from our hotel. They allegedly do the best fish cakes on the Island and I have to say, this really could be the case. However, I can confirm with certainty that they do the strongest punch on the island and after four of those I took an accidntal extended nap on the beach! Luckily I was under an umbrella.
If you really want to live it up in Barbados then The Cliff is the place to be. The restaurant is situated in St.James and has a really exclusive feel. It describes itself as “one of the most beautiful places on earth.” There are no prices on the menu so you have to just accept your fate and go all out.
Another really cute little spot is Bliss Cafe. The cafe has a super feel good atmosphere. They also do the best milkshakes. See photo!