Located just 13 degrees north of the Equator (which means, pack some sunscreen!), the beautiful island of Barbados is a small sovereign island country that consists of around 400 square kilometres of pure paradise. The island is only 34 kilometres long and 23 kilometres wide, with the Caribbean Sea to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.
We were lucky enough to spend some time in the southwestern side of the island where we based our ‘home’ in the city of St. Lawrence, in Christ Church parish. The “Gap”, known for its great nightlife and good eats, was a perfect spot for us to bask in the sun and marvel at the endless beauty of the surrounding turquoise waters. Take a look at our view! None of these photos had any post-production work or colorization…that is indeed what the color of the sea and the sky looks like in Barbados! (In fact, all of these photos were taken with an Iphone-4!)
The view of the sea from The Gap, St. Lawrence, Barbados
View from our balcony in St. Lawrence Gap…gorgeous!
So, what to do in Barbados? (…other than sit and watch the beautiful ocean all day?!)
The beaches in St. Lawrence are known for being a bit more rough than their sister beaches up north. During our stay, the waves were good enough for surfing, but not really suitable for a calm swim. But a short drive further north on the south-west side of the island brought us to much calmer water. One of our favourite spots was Carlisle Bay. Here, a beach called Pebbles Beach was perfect for its tranquil waters and a ton of water sports to suit every person’s fancy — from SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding), to sailing, to surfing for beginners, and even kayaking! The Marine Club at Pebbles Beach was a great place to have a cool beverage and small bite to eat for lunch!
View from Pebbles Beach
One of the “must-dos” that we recommend on the island is to partake in the friday night Fish Fry in Oistens, a town just 4km south of St. Lawrence. Oistens is a charming little fishing town that during the day is busy with its fish market that is filled with all the fresh fish you could ever imagine, from mahi-mahi tuna (or “Dolphin”, as the locals call it) to the ‘local’ fish called flying fish. Here, the shoreline parks are littered with old wooden fishing boats pulled from the water and set up on old oil drums awaiting repair. On Friday nights, the town comes alive when both locals and tourists visit in droves to eat freshly barbecued fish, perfectly paired with the local Banks beer. Be sure to try the macaroni pie, an island specialty and nothing like you’ve ever eaten before, as well as the fried plantain (delish!). Enjoy the lively reggae music and experience what a true island party is all about!
Lobster tails waiting to be eaten at the Oisten Fish Fry
Another BBQ stall with amazing food – Oistens Fish Fry
One of the more “touristy” things we did during our visit was to venture inland and experience the caves of Barbados by visiting Harrisons Cave. This is a limestone cave located about 20 kilometers northeast of St. Lawrence. The site itself has been completely commercialized, with a visitation centre and well-appointed grounds. The tour itself begins with a video about the formation of the island of Barbados and then progresses to a tour of the caves via a tram ride that lasts around 40 minutes. On the tour, you are taken through the caves and view the stalagmite and stalactite formations, as well as various pools of water, within the impressive caves. It was an interesting tour, but looks as though it has been almost over-commercialized (the stalagmite/stalactite formations appeared like wax and there were only a few calcite formations that seemed strangely quite magnificent, and the lighting was very commercially placed!) from our perspective. It was also quite pricey, at US $30 per person.
If you like food like we do, one thing you should not miss is a casual lunch consisting of a locally made “roti”. The locals say that the best place to find a roti on the island is at the Ackee Tree restaurant in Accra Beach…and they weren’t kidding. We tried all three rotis: veggie, chicken and beef, and we weren’t disappointed! We cannot imagine anything better than taking your roti across the street from the Ackee Tree to enjoy while sitting on the beach and watching the waves roll in…pure heaven!
My delicious roti from Ackee Tree — I can still taste the tender beef and curried potatoes…
A week was certainly not enough to do and see all the things we wanted on this beautiful island, but we left feeling happy that we had a balanced experience of what this nation has to offer. Friendly people, great food, gorgeous beaches and endless blue skies will be what we remember from our quick trip to Barbados.
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