Series: island hopping in the Caribbean – BARBADOS

I might be a bit bias about this island but that’s only because I spent a week here and I was here for Christmas Day! Barbados is absolutely beautiful and as well as the stereotypical white sand beaches and the swimming with turtles, there is so much activity and everyone is so friendly on the island that you’re really never short of anything to do!

I stayed in a very nice self-catered apartment in a hotel complex called The Blue Orchid and I can thoroughly recommend it. The staff were wonderfully welcoming and the manager was lovely and always made an effort to talk to you and check how your stay was. The hotel also put on special events, we had a Christmas Eve BBQ and rum punch around the pool for free!

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The great thing about the hotel is that it is right on the beach and although the beach is not private, it is only about 1km long and runs behind private residences so it’s extremely quiet and it seems like a private beach because no one else seems to even know it exists. The sand is white and beautiful and the sea is warm, although the waves and the current were quite strong so if you aren’t a strong swimmer there is a bay beach 5 minutes up the road with little current.

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There is too many parts of the week in Barbados to describe them all here but I’ll pick the bet bits which are really great tips for anyone visiting there.

  1. Hire a car. Unless you’re the kind of person who is happy to stay glued to your sun lounger for a week (this blog might not be for you), hiring a car is a great way to see what the island has to offer. We saw a huge variety of beautiful beaches for starters but also seeing the other towns besides Bridgetown was brilliant and driving inland into the hills meant we really got to see the local life and village life that still looks so chilled and happy but a far cry from the beaches. We drove to the west side of the island which is met with the Pacific Ocean (the east side where I stayed is the Atlantic) where the waves are far bigger and there is lots more jungle-like greenery.
  2. You don’t need to pay to swim with turtles. This is a little bit cheeky but a massive money saver. Barbados is well-known for its clear waters and up close turtle encounters but this often leaves tourists and their money open to exploitation. If you’re a confident swimmer, swim out into the bay yourself and I can guarantee you will see turtles. We saw four just on the swim out where the max depth was three metres. Once your away from the splashing and paddling on the shore the water further out is full of turtles and if you manage to swim out far enough to tag onto a catamaran tour, you will be surrounded by them!
  3. Don’t go all-inclusive. You cannot go to such a vibrant and colourful culture and continue to say chips and pizza. The caribbean flavours and spices are something that need experiencing and I’d say our marinated caribbean spice meats we had on Christmas Day was some of the best chicken I’ve had. Where else are you going to try Barbadian food if not in Barbados?
  4. Go on a day boat trip. There are loads of grey deals around for one of these. Anything from trips that include turtle swimming or water sports, to relaxed sunset sails including a candle lit dinner. Again don’t go for the big companies from home that advertise these; we asked a local man who lived near our apartment and he told us about a friend who did a brilliant deal. We ended up paying half the price of the big tour operators for a catamaran for about 25 people. It left port at around 4pm and sailed the east coast of the island to see all the celebrity beach front properties. It included a buffet meal, a free bar and swimming with turtles and you watched the sunset from on board.

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  5. Don’t forget your suncream and hat.You might not look cool but you’ll be cool and you’ll need it.
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