Whenever I think of my vacations in Barbados I always feel a little sad, because there really is no other island like it. Many different journies and memories united by a feeling – I really left my heart in Barbados.
The first time I set foot on the island was in 2009, from the decks of the Royal Caribbean while on my honeymoon. I’m not a big fan of cruises, maybe because you are on board the ship for too long. I have no clear memories of that half-day in Barbados and to be honest, if it weren’t for the geo-location of the photos, I wouldn’t even be able to distinguish one island from another.
My trip to the Caribbean in 2017, on the other hand, I remember very well, and it was this time without a doubt that solidified that we would one day move there. As I have already described, Barbados is different from the other Caribbean Islands. This is probably because it has not yet been invaded by tourism, or perhaps because the islanders are still strongly connected to their origins.
Barbados: the Pearl of the Caribbean
Four hundred square kilometers of land, rarely touched by hurricanes due to its location, Barbados is the pearl of the Caribbean islands. The island is small – something to bare in mind to avoid being disappointed.
The side of the island which faces the ocean is full of wild and windy beaches, a far cry from the heavenly postcard-perfect images we imagine when thinking of Caribbean beaches. The hotel accommodation is very nice and low-cost, but if you want to avoid the wind and walking hundreds of meters to the beach, then this area is not for you.
The north-western part of the island is where you will find luxury resorts and villas, where you can really see paradise. But beware, as many hotels to not accept children, and even very few of the beaches offer opportunities for them to play.
So here we are in the south, the real Barbados; the pulsating heart of the island where magic, tradition and white sand come together to make your holiday unique. Oistins is the area which offers the most genuine experience of Barbados.
For our own vacation, we rented a villa 100 meters from the beach, located in Oistins, a fishing village famous for its fish market, where you can find any type of fish at prices you’ve never seen before (for example, $7 for a lobster!) This location fully represents the Caribbean soul of the island. A few tourists and many native Barbadians flock to the beaches to swim at around 6pm.
The beaches are white and the water is transparent. Here you will find one of the most famous beaches: Miami Beach (or Enterprise beach). Particularly suitable for children because of the natural pool between the rocks and loved by surfers because the eastern part of the beach offers the perfect waves. This beach is surrounded by a beautiful palm wood, where you will find various vans selling drinks and food. Among these I recommend Mr.Delicious, who makes the best fish cakes on the island (1 barbadian dollar is worth about $0.50 USD) and the best Coconut Punch. On the beach you can rent umbrellas and sun beds for $5 USD.
At the weekend, the area turns into a big dance hall. Oistin’s Friday Night Fish Fry hosts clubs and loud music. Children can play and dance undisturbed, and you can eat as much fresh fish as you like. But don’t expect linen tablecloths!
For a truly unforgettable breakfast, I recommend the Surfer’s Cafe, which is a unique little cafe with a terrace overlooking the sea.
If, like us, you’ve decided to rent an apartment, you will have to do some shopping. The Oistins supermarket is well-stocked but avoid buying Italian products – you will spend exorbitant amounts. Also, if you make friends with locals, you will know that in all shops there is one price for Barbadians and another for tourists, which is usually tripled. So if you want to rent a car to get around the island, you should ask the owner of the house to do it for you.
There are two other things I want to say about this fantastic location. The first is that wherever you are on the road, you just need to raise your arm to get on a bus that, at the cost of a Barbadian dollar, will take you anywhere. The second is that the hotels have free access, so you can safely enter their beach, use the swimming pool, showers, bathroom and sun loungers as long as you buy drinks from their bar. This seemed like a good compromise to us.
You will often see islanders coming out of the water with a net full of fish. All you have to do is ask, and they will cook it right there on the beach (for a fee, of course).
Wait, we haven’t finished with the pearl of the Caribbean islands yet: discover the most beautiful beaches in Barbados here. unction(t,e,n)