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Barbados

Caribbean Insider Tips

An Insider’s Guide to Barbados

Barbados is a beautiful country, known for it’s pristine beaches, friendly locals, delicious cuisine, and yes, Rihanna. The island has an infectious energy and it’s no wonder they produced a world famous pop star. That Barbadian energy can be felt every Friday at the fish fry, pumping through the speakers of the bars on Saint Lawrence gap, and even at the grocery stores! Music is everywhere and you can’t help but get into a festive mood once you step foot on the island.


Photo by Willy Joseph Louis

How to get there
There are frequent flights from the USA, UK and other Caribbean islands with international carriers. Bridgetown, the country’s capital, is also one of the most popular cruise ports in the Caribbean. I flew from Martinique to Barbados with Air Antilles.

Best time to go
High season correlates with dry season, which starts in November and wraps up towards the end of April. If you want the best deals then I suggest you book a trip in May. Hotels experience a steep decline in bookings due to the end of high season, which means they slash their prices – some luxury hotels even offer free nights or 50% off deals! If you consider yourself to be a risk taker then you can go ahead and book a summer fare as they will likely cost less. Just take into consideration that you may end up rained out for your entire vacation or caught in a hurricane!

Where to stay
Barbados has no shortage of wonderful places to stay on any budget. There are plenty of big-name hotels, like the high end all-inclusive Sandals Resorts or the Hilton. Travelers who like to be low key and mix with locals will feel more comfortable renting an apartment or villa during their vacation. Those seeking absolute seclusion will be in paradise at The Crane, a private resort on Crane Beach, voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world!

Photo by Willy Joseph Louis

Where/what to eat
Oistins Fish fry is an absolute must! Hundreds of people descend upon this food haven every Friday for music, performances, and you guessed it – fried fish! Get the Flying Fish or the “Dolphin” (Mahi Mahi) with a side of macaroni pie and plantains and you won’t be disappointed. For those seeking a chic vacation dining experience, try one of the hotel restaurants. You’ll get the chance to dress up and eat great food with a magnificent view. Lobster is a must when fine dining in the Caribbean! It doesn’t get much fresher than on an island. Grabbing poolside drinks at a hotel bar is also a nice way to have a chic Caribbean experience without breaking the bank.


Turtles: a must see!
Barbados is known for it’s sea turtles, which are numerous and quite big so they are hard to miss! There are plenty of catamaran companies that offer day cruises which include a guaranteed sighting, but I’ll let you in on a little secret – you can pack your own snorkel gear and get out there and see them for yourself! If you’re a good swimmer you’ll be able to swim out to where the catamarans dock and join the fun.

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Guides Insider Tips

Barbados: Beyond Expectations

When traveling, experiences come in different ways. Some experiences you have to let happen while others you have to make happen. At times, you have to be aggressive. If there is something you want to see, you better go see it. If there is something you want to do, you better go do it. This is how I felt about North Point, Barbados.I am the research queen. When planning a trip, I do more research than a PhD student writing their dissertation. When it came down to planning a 7 day Caribbean cruise with two travel buddies, I took initiative to research each port. This was in no way work for me, I love researching new places. In the month of preparation time we had, I found out everything I could about each port. I now knew the language spoken, the currency used and whether or not each island was an independent country. Sifting through every article and book I could find on the Caribbean, I wrote down a list of things to do in each port. Having only one day in each port, I knew we wouldn’t even get to half of the items on my list. The place that was on the top of my list however was North Point, Barbados. Before my research, I have never heard of this place. When I thought of Barbados, I thought of endless beaches and Rihanna. North Point however was the exact opposite of all my prior conceptions.

 

No matter how much you plan for a trip, you have to just let it happen to a certain extent. You can do all the research you want and you will never be truly prepared. When ]your trip begins, it’s time to put away the research and enjoy where you are and what you are doing in the moment. We decided that it would be best not to stick to any particular plan. However the research did come in hand. It was the third day of our cruise, our ship had docked at Bridgetown, Barbados. This was it, this is where I would begin my journey to the North Point! The research I found said there were brightly colored transit busses that could bring us from Bridgetown to Saint Lucy, the town where the North Point was located in.

The problem was that our cruise ship did not let us out close to the city and it didn’t seem to be within walking distance. I was feeling a little dejected. That is until we saw a sign that had taxi and tour information. A taxi to North Point was $20, one way per person. For three college girls on a budget, that seemed far too pricey for a taxi ride. At that moment I gave up on seeing North Point and went back to the “just let it happen” attitude. I was in Barbados, the country of endless beaches, nothing could bring me down. Just as we were trying to figure out of next step, we were approached by a taxi driver offering a coast to coast “panoramic” tour of Barbados for only $30 per person. Now this sounded like a great deal! We listened to the sales pitch the driver gave us as he listed all the places he would bring us to. Yet he didn’t list the North Point. I decided to take matters into my own hands and asked him if he could stop at North Point. Even though it was out of the way from his normal tour route, he willingly obliged without any additional cost. Sometimes you just have to ask for that you want.The tour bus made it’s way to the typically stops. We passed by Rihanna’s house and stopped at some of the endless beaches of Barbados. The beaches were beautiful and all seemed to have their own identity. Our tour guide had to stop a couple times to ask for directions. Sometimes even a guide needs to be guided in the right directions. This made me realize that where we were going was off the traditional tourist path.When we finally arrived, we stepped out to find ourselves standing on the edge of a cliff. It was a long way down, we would have to watch our step. I have never before seen a cliff. Now I was standing at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean looking down at the waves crashing violently against the jagged rocks below. It added to a bit of fear while climbing the rocks to take in the view. It was a surreal moment, the kind of moment I look for when traveling. These are the moments that make you realize how much of the world there is to see. The lyrics “do you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean” really hit home as I watched the endless ocean from my vantage point high on the cliffs of North Point.

Barbados seems flat. When you arrive at the port, there are no high mountains like some of the volcanic islands in the Caribbean. You don’t expect the kind of view we had from North Point. Most people never even have the chance to see it, because most have never even heard of it. I’m glad that I am the research queen. It only takes a little bit of research and a whole lot of persistence to see something truly incredible.

 

 

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