Barbados is the first ever Caribbean island I’ve ever been to! I’ve always dreamed of the tropical hot islands with the bliss beaches, so I was super excited to go.
First thing when it came to booking, I found accommodation quite expensive.. maybe it was because we were going in the dry season = high season. Anyway, found a nice little hotel / apartment place in St Lawrence Gap. When it came to choosing where to stay, everyone kept saying Holetown and St James is the best as the beaches are nicer, but my goodness it’s expensive to stay there! The hotel we chose was Ocean 15, and is only a 15-20 min drive from the airport. We took a taxi which cost us $20 – seemed a bit steep but I was feeling too lazy to argue.
We stayed at the other end of the Gap
So as we arrived new year’s day, I was extremely hungover and feeling so sick. All I could muster on the first day was a nap and then a quick walk down the gap. We came across many bars and restaurants which I was pleased about as it meant it will be easy for us to find food. It also wasn’t too busy, which seemed strange for high season, I was really expecting a Malia strip of bars and was pleasantly surprised. Except that the food was very over priced 😦
On our second day we went on the search for the beach. Main thing I found was that there isn’t a long strip of beach surrounded by palm trees, instead there are plenty of short strips which have hotels backing up on them. Dover beach which was near us was a bit dirty and crowded, the sea was quite rough too and cold!
As we hadn’t research things to do, we picked up a few leaflets from the hotel and saw that on Sundays there’s a farmer’s market past Holetown on the way to Speightstown. We decided to go check it out so in the morning we found a bus stop which was a quick 10 min walk away, and the bus would take us straight there.
Buses in Barbados are amazing, they have the main government buses which are large and can seat around 30 people comfortably and then you have the small vans which hold about 9-12 people depending on how squashed you can get. Each bus has it’s sound system to accompany your journey and I heard Fetty Wap so many times. They’re also only $1 per person per journey!
On board the 9 seater bus
As the first time on our bus, I was really excited to see the surrounding areas and see other potential areas we could visit. It was a long 40 min journey to the pick up for the market, but we got there in the end and realised we had no phone to call the pick up guy to take us there. A local was kind enough to give them a ring and a German guy showed up.
As we got there, it was a bit poncy, there was a polo field and then the market was to the side of it. The locals were selling lovely fresh fruit and bread as well as other goods, but it felt really weird like we’d gone back in time where black people serve white people. The locals were lovely and they gave us tips on what to see and do. We ate a roti for breakfast but quickly made our exit when we heard some fat white guy say “oh this tea is jolly good”… We immediately knew then this wasn’t our scene.
Lovely local at the market
We started to walk but the German guy gave us a lift back to the bus stop, but we asked him if he knew where a beach was. He drove us to the nearest one which is called Mahogany Bay, once there we walked along the beach to find somewhere nice and ended up walking onto Payne’s Beach. As it was hot and we wanted to relaxed we decided to stay. It cost us $30 for 2 sun loungers and a parasol… again way too expensive! This beach was a bit noisy and packed, many cruise catamarans stopped up and blared out their music. The sea was much much calmer than Dover beach though and was nice to swim in.
The locals at the market told us that for romance, we need to go visit Bathsheeba and Bottom Bay. They are the most picturesque in Barbados, and we were sure we wanted to see them!
First we decided to tackle Bottom Bay, it took a while but we managed it by bus. It’s a nice tropical beach with palm trees, cliff tops and green surroundings. As it is on the East coast, the sea is a lot rougher and the current is much too strong to swim in. I tried to pee sitting down so I didn’t have to fully submerge, only to have a wave pull me right across the beach…
We decided to explore the area and head South towards Sam Lord’s Castle, passing many abandoned buildings and empty beaches.
Sam Lord’s Castle
The ‘castle’ is actually a burnt down and abandoned hotel complex, a really eery experience which you need to see for yourself before it gets redeveloped! Read it more in detail here.
After this trip we got back and went to eat at Champers, which is a fine dining restaurant. It was really lovely sitting by the sea and lovely food.
Toasting at Champers 🙂
Still on the search for the best beach for sunbathing, we looked up that Accra beach not far from St Lawrence Gap was meant to be one of the best, and for my standards it became my favourite one. There were nice large waves which you could body board on, and the water was crystal clear. The water isn’t very deep and you can walk out quite far still being able to touch the floor, when there were no waves the sea was even more incredible! The beach itself seemed a lot cleaner than Dover beach, but as it’s so small it’s very packed with lounge chairs, which are a little cheaper at $20 for a set. I quickly got over it, as I loved the sea here and loved that food was very close by. We had Chefette across the road which is a fast food join selling some tasty chicken wings and ice cream (Rudy’s favourite) and our favourite local food from the van. Needless to say we spent many days here 🙂
Accra Beach, my favourite!
On the Friday we decided to go on a Cool Runnings catamaran trip which involved snorkelling and lunch. It was a really lovely trip, seeing Barbados from the sea and snorkelling was so much fun.
In the evening, although we were knackered and I was suffering from a horrible cough, we made it to Friday night Oistins seafood grill. It was really yummy seafood albeit a little expensive, I had a lobster tail and Rudy had a fish both really fresh served with rice and peas, plantain and mac n cheese. Afterwards we went to the main stage, they were playing music and some locals were dancing on stage as well as a few tourist. I was half expecting there to be a show with the amount of people watching the stage but the music just continued and bad dancing ensued. After a while we got bored and tired so we headed back to the hotel. Not sure if we missed something great there but I’m glad we tested out the grill!
Getting our grill on at Oistins!
On our last day we decided to hire a car and head to Bathsheba and the surrounding area. It’s really picturesque and it was nice seeing the more natural side to Barbados. There were locals fishing for fish and octopus, and there were small natural pools you could swim and bathe in. I would agree with the local and say it’s quite a romantic place!
We then drove north up towards Pie Corner, and came across a local who showed us some other photo opportunities along the coast. Continuing our drive, we were passing Mount Gay so decided to check it out. It was closed but the security guard was happy to show us around. Locals are so friendly 🙂
Cove near Pie Corner
We stopped off in Speightstown to grab some food, we’d been there before but it was raining so we didn’t explore much. It’s a really cute town with lots of coloured buildings and nice beaches, not that much to do but lots of photo opportunities. We ate at the recommended Juma’s Bar which was quite expensive.. the food was lovely though and was in a nice setting.
Old style bakery in Speightstown
That evening I was spoilt by Rudy, he treated me to a meal at The Cliff (I’m one lucky lady!).
Being spoilt at The Cliff
Overall Barbados is wonderful, it’s not quite the lush tropical beach setting I was imagining but it’s a lot of fun. Don’t miss out on the East coast as it’s much more beautiful than the West, but if you’re there for tanning Accra beach is where it’s at!