Barbados is a destination that proves perennially popular with Brits, many of whom return every year to discover yet more of its delights. But between the vibrant nightlife, lush interiors, sunswept beaches and abundant eateries, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Inspiring Travel Company’s Aileen Quinn has just returned from her first visit to Barbados and here she sets out how to get a flavour of the Caribbean island in just one, glorious long weekend.
Set on the south coast, this Bajan institution is a wonderful way to get your first taste of island life. Oistins is a fishing town that comes alive every Friday evening, when locals and visitors alike turn up en masse to sample freshly caught seafood grilled in the open air and served alongside Caribbean classics such as rice and peas, macaroni pie and plantain. Whether you choose the red snapper or the mahi mahi, the lobster or the shrimp kebabs, you’re in for a mouthwatering delight accompanied by an electric atmosphere, with sound systems blaring and dancing carrying on long into the night.
Most of Barbados’s hotels sit on the west and south coasts, but don’t let that stop you visiting the island’s north and east, where the scenery is wilder and more rugged and the Atlantic waters that lap at the beaches provide a thrilling setting for some serious surfing. The perfect day trip might include a hike along the coastal paths, or through the lush grounds of Farley Hill Park. While you’re here, be sure to visit Bathsheba Beach, recently listed one of the top 20 most beautiful beaches in the world in the Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards.
Before heading back to your hotel there are a few culinary highlights to choose from for dinner at this end of the island. The Fish Pot at family-run hotel Little Good Harbour offers a mouth-watering menu that specialises in seafood. A little further down the coast you’ll find Camelot, the restaurant at Cobblers Cove; it’s the only Relais & Châteaux hotel on the island and the food is just as good as that accolade suggests.
Sunday brunch is a Barbados ‘must’ and nowhere does it quite like Sandy Lane; arguably the most iconic hotel on the island’s ultra-glamorous west coast. Imagine your ideal brunch menu laid out in abundance, now times that idea by ten and you have an inkling of the Sandy Lane experience. Open to guests and visitors, we recommend you book ahead for this most decadent of foodie indulgences.
Swimming with the Sea Turtles
You’ll need an hour or three to let your brunch go down today, but after that the Caribbean Sea will be calling. The clarity and calm of the waters here make them perfect for snorkelling and an encounter with leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles that live just off the shore is truly memorable. Almost every hotel will offer a trip out to see the turtles as well as many complimentary watersports to enjoy.
One of the biggest draws of Barbados’s west coast is its legendary sunsets, which are best enjoyed with a hand-crafted cocktail, preferably including a generous measure of the island’s own rum. Incredible sundowner settings line the shore here, but a few favourites include Ju Ju’s Beach Bar and Harold’s Bar at The Sandpiper, so named after its eternally-welcoming bartender, Harold Shepard, whose signature cocktails are the perfect accompaniment to a Bajan sunset.
With daily flights from the UK, Barbados is the gateway to many other island nations, and if you’re flying through on your way to another Caribbean hotspot, why not stop for a few nights and experience all this vibrant island has to offer for yourself?
Here at the Inspiring Travel Company we’re considered to be ‘the Barbados experts’ in the travel industry. Give a member of the team a call today for first-hand insight and the latest luxury holiday deals to this stunning Caribbean isle.
This article first appeared in the ITC Travel Group magazine Other Shores. To order your copy, please click through to our brochure request page.