As a cabin crew manager Sarah Jane Macuix has been to beautiful Barbados numerous times and she still jumps at the chance of spending a few days on her favourite Caribbean island. Here she shares her tips for a relaxing trip to Barbados.
Sarah’s Barbados favourites
The wealthy, celebrities and tourists alike, still flock to this fabulous Caribbean island. Famous for its Mount Gay Rum and sugar cane crop over festival. In the 18 years I have been lucky enough to travel here it’s never lost its appeal, with elegant hotels on stunning sun drenched beaches, fine dining, golfing, water-sports and diving, there really is something for everyone. Here are my tips for enjoying the island.
1. Take a road trip
Car hire is reasonable and an excellent way of touring the island at your leisure, taking in all 11 parishes. Start by heading south and take your first stop at Crane Beach – beautiful and breezy. Set up high on the cliff overlooking the weeping pink sand is the Crane Resort; a perfect place to enjoy a cocktail whilst watching the surfers.
Next head east to Bathsheba, this is so worth a visit to see the amazing rock formations perfectly placed in the rolling waves. A hot spot for surfers – anyone wanting to take up lessons, I recommend Ride the Tide. If you fancy lunch, The Roundhouse is an absolute must – perched high up overlooking the beach you get great views.
Onward and upwards to North Point. Huge waves, wind and impressive cliffs give breathtaking views. Whilst you’re there, grab a drink from the bar, plenty of places to sit and relax and just enjoy the natural beauty. You can also take a dip in the Animal Flower Cave; the islands lone accessible sea cave! On your way back drive down the west coast, this is where you will find the best beaches, and get the fine white sand between your toes. Mullins beach is a good stop with plenty of beds and umbrellas for hire, there is a good bar/restaurant there too. Also a fantastic drive to kerb crawl and admire the truly beautiful beachfront properties – a girl can dream!
2. Head to Bridgetown
Barbados’ bustling capital. Local street vendors selling arts and crafts for that authentic gift to take home. Plenty of boutique shops and luxury brands at duty free prices including a Tiffanys. When the cruise ships are in, be warned, it’s busy!
When you’re all shopped out, head to the Boatyard, a beach club which is vibrant and lively. Water trampolines, rope swings and jet skis will keep the energetic entertained. Or just relax, sit back with a long drink and people watch whilst enjoying the music.
If your an early riser, head to Pebbles beach next to the Hilton hotel on the south coast, the locals take the racehorses swimming in the sea every morning from the Garrison racecourse. Lovely to watch.
3. Get out on the water
A sunset catamaran cruise is a must! These depart from Bridgetown and there’s plenty of choice, Cool Runnings is popular or if you are in a large group, private hire is available. Inclusive drinks and food. A great way of seeing all of the best beaches as you sail up the west coast.
A stop or two to snorkel over a shipwreck but our favourite stop is to swim with the turtles! The catamaran moors up just offshore Sandy Lane where you will be served food by your crew, usually fresh fish, salad and bajan speciality macaroni pie – delicious! Now to enjoy the sunset with a Rum punch, did I mention the drinks are free flowing?? As you cruise back down the coast, the music is turned up and it’s time to dance!
4. Lunching and fine dining
There really is a wealth of restaurants on the island and I’m sure as I write this, a new one to try… It may not look like much but Cuz’s Fish Shack located in the carpark of pebbles beach is famous for its flying fish cutter burger – accompanied by a Banks beer, to be enjoyed sat on the beach with a view of Carlisle Bay.
If your budget won’t stretch to a stay at Sandy Lane Resort, Sunday brunch or afternoon tea are a good option – dress elegantly casual. Staying on the west coast, for exceptional fine dining, rub shoulders with the rich and famous at either The Cliff, Daphnes, The Lone Star or The Mews.
Another more affordable beachfront restaurant on the south coast is Champers, long established its romantic ambience set by the flame lit torches and the sound of the waves gently lapping on the shore, make for a wonderful evening whatever the occasion. Also holding their own in St Lawerence Gap, old favourites Cafe Sol for margaritas and Mexican food. Harlequins offers casual starlight dining and the shrimp curry is to die for!
Friday feeling – Head to Oistins for fish Friday. It is what is is…locals and tourists all enjoying freshly cooked fish delights from the market. A great atmosphere with live music. Take a stroll on the boardwalk to Accra beach late afternoon and head for the Tiki Bar located at the end of the beach for sundowners and bajan fishcakes. If you want to stay out and party, head West to Holetown for plenty of bars and music, Harbour Lights for an outdoor beach party or the Boatyard both situated south of the island.
These are a few of my favourite things… Now go and find your own on this beautiful island, what are you waiting for…