July 26, 2018 | By Marc Beaulieu |
Warm and fuzzy
Surrounded by the characteristic white-sand beaches and coral-dense, turquoise waters that define the varied isles and atolls peppering the Caribbean Sea, the spirited island of Barbados is a treasure trove of cultural and culinary variety sure to fulfill every traveller’s expectations of their idyllic dream destination. Fun fact: this paradise was named after the bearded fig trees once plentiful on the island.
What to do
Map your memories by mood
Test your ocean mettle against local surf pros in the south. Golf from dusk until dawn in the island’s centre. Sneak away to explore the rare wonder of tiny sea creatures, nestled in secret water caves, in the north. Punctuate a breezy moped ride across eastern sea-cliffs at sunset with a night of dining and dancing in the south and west. Barbados has every experience on offer. Unsurprisingly, should sipping on a sweet, tall glass of Mauby Drink while unwinding in a swaying hammock be more your speed, the island is sure to oblige.
Mood: From golden feels to platinum feels
Home to Holetown, the epicentre of Barbadian history, the Platinum Coast is aptly named. A sprawl of sparkling oceanfront sands are its defining draw. Rainbow reef gardens, plentiful leatherback sea turtles and a sunken barge off Brighton Beach also make it a snorkeller’s sanctuary. Still, those content to stay sun-dappled on the surface can spend the day sea-sprayed on water skis instead. For infinite shopping, nightlife and native nibbles, the sizzle of the St. Lawrence Gap is just south of the strip. Also, Rihanna’s from around here, so there’s something enchanting in these waters…
Mood: Mysterious bliss for the naturalist
Named after the hungry anemones that populate its colourful, coral floor, the clandestine water grotto of the Animal Flower Cave atop the northern tip of Barbados is a mere rental car away. Enjoy the Caribbean breeze on your skin by bicycle instead and head to the stunning sea cliffs of Cove Bay — consider that the ride isn’t complete without a stop at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve to grab a selfie with a green monkey.
Mood: Elegant adventure and sport
If your tastes are more equestrian in nature, seek out the pristine Ape Hill Polo Club in the verdant parish of Saint Andrew. Or head out for a trek through the Scotland District — an explorer’s wonderland and, remarkably, the only part of the submarine Caribbean mountain range stretching from Trinidad to Puerto Rico that remains well above water. Stroll through rows of sweet-smelling mahogany boughs on Cherry Tree Hill pausing only for refreshments and energizing ocean views. The refreshment? Satisfying sips from freshly split coconuts — they’re an easy grab in these parts.
Mood: Lushness, love and lunch
Taking its name from the frothy surf that licks its eastern shores, the swells of the Soup Bowl offer a romantic backdrop for an intimate beachside picnic. No basket? No worries. Tuck into some traditional food at the local restaurants on the sea cliffs of coastal Bathsheba. Dining at dusk overlooking the ocean always proves unforgettable, but a well-timed day trip to this region will end in sightings of seasoned surfers dominating waves along the shoreline. Do leave a little time to escape inland to six full acres of tranquil floral forests at Andromeda Gardens, the botanical beauty of this coastal region.
Mood: Turf and surf
Informed by an eclectic blend of influences from the African, Indian, Irish, and British islanders who’ve graced its shores, Bajan cuisine is a sensory indulgence with a sharp Creole flair. Snack shacks and fine eateries abound on the Christchurch boardwalk but local fare at Oistin’s Fish Fry, an authentic outdoor market, is a must-taste. Burn it all off at one of the many surf schools on the southern strip, or by hitting the links — the Barbados Golf Club offers leisure activities inland. But do save room for a cocktail or two after dining, surfing or golfing: Barbados is hailed as the proper birthplace of rum.