Guides | Travel

Travel Guide: Barbados

March 31, 2017

Hi ya’ll! Welcome to Friday. Amen, we’ve made it.

In the beginning of February, I was lucky enough to escape the snowy cold of NYC (seriously, I missed a big snow storm that closed down my office), and headed to the beautiful island of Barbados. For those of you who know the name but can’t point it out on a map, Barbados is a little island just southeast of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. Brett’s parents, Laura and Jim, vacationed to Barbados last year and were SO beyond kind enough to ask us to join them this year. A week away from work, a tropical island without sharks, and free tour guides (aka Brett’s parents) — who would say no to that?!

For anyone looking to book a vacation, or anyone looking to torture themselves with really pretty pictures of a really pretty place, see below for a Barbados travel guide! The island was truly amazing, with friendly locals, beautiful beaches, and delicious cuisine, and I would absolutely return! I’m usually ready to head home to my own bed after a week away, but Barbados is somewhere I truly did not want to leave.

Where Should I Stay?

As a special treat from Laura and Jim, we spent our week in Barbados at The Crane Resort, a stunning luxury resort in Saint Phillip. Our stay was booked through VRBO (see here for a similar rental). We stayed in a two bedroom suite with a plunge pool (so cool?!), and if someone is fine with sleeping on a couch-bed, you can totally have three couples share the space to save some cash money. The resort was beautiful. Although we didn’t spend too much time at The Crane, as we were out exploring the island, they have gorgeous pools, a clean, private beach (with a cliff for Brett to jump off of!!), and the most delicious rum punch you could ever imagine. Upon arrival, you get a free rum punch, so it may be worth pretending that you’re a new check-in each morning (hehe). I treated myself to a massage at The Crane Spa as well, which I would highly recommend. Also, their gym was so nice and so clean!

The Crane Resort Barbados
Walking around The Crane Resort


Where Should I Eat?


Who likes food more than they like almost everything else in the world? *Raises hand.* I ate so, so much great food in Barbados. It was all so fresh, and the fish was incredible! At one of the beaches, a local man climbed a Palm Tree and cut off a fresh coconut for me to drink. Real life? Yes. It was SO delicious. Here is a quick round-up of some of my favorite places to eat on the island:
1. Marco Polo – Convenience factor here for us was 10/10. Marco Polo is located just outside of the entrance to The Crane Resort, so we were able to walk here after a few rum punches! Although there were restaurants at the resort, Brett, Laura, Jim, and I often preferred to leave site to “be one with the locals.” Their grilled lion fish was beyond delicious, but I really kept returning for their garlic and herb okra. I’m an okra fan to begin with, but I couldn’t shut up about how GOOD it was! I could have eaten bowls and bowls of it.
2. Just Grillin’– We stopped at this joint on our way back to The Crane after snorkeling one day, and their food was unreal! It was so unexpected. The Just Grillin’ location we happened upon (Quayside Centre) was a quick pit stop in the middle of a parking lot, and served me the tastiest shrimp I have ever consumed. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it! They also serve their platters with a side of grilled veggies, which were equally as delicious as the shrimp was. (I’m seriously about to pause this post to go eat lunch because I’m getting so hungry thinking about it.)
3. Champers Wine Bar and Restaurant – Champers is definitely not a place to eat if you’re pinching pennies, but it is absolutely worth every penny spent. We booked a reservation in time to watch the sunset, and since Champers is built right on the water (actually, above the water; we were out on a ledge and the waves were crashing under us), we had an incredible view. I remember leaving dinner and feeling like there was no possible way that 1. Barbados is a real place that people actually live and 2. I could put anything in my stomach for at least 48 hours. Let’s see… I ate pan-seared scallops, grilled Atlantic salmon, coconut cream pie, and two (or maybe three?) glasses of rosé. There are no words to describe the meal and experience here. I HIGHLY recommend visiting if you’re headed to Barbados (side note: one Barbados dollar (BBD) is .50 US dollars).

Champers Restaurant Barbados
Dinner at Champers featuring my beach hair and a hunk 😉

 

Champers Restaurant Barbados
One of the many glasses of wine consumed by our table at Champers


What Should I Do?

Our vacation to Barbados was the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation. Each day, after Brett and I went for a run (the beginning of my half marathon training!), we drove to a new beach (or if you’re me, sat in the back and hoped that the driver, aka Jim, remembered to drive on the LEFT side of the road), and relaxed / snorkeled / explored when we arrived. The island is so, so beautiful and colorful, so the drives were just as enjoyable as the destinations. Aside from spending about $15USD on beach chair and umbrella rentals, days at the beach are free!
1. Snorkel–  Although we snorkeled about on a few beaches, Carlisle Bay was my absolute favorite spot! Here, we swam alongside sea turtles, which were so large and beautiful, and found some shipwrecks and puffer fish! Bonus: there are no sharks in Barbados (can I get an AMEN for that? Because I’m the type of person that gets scared of sharks in pools. Embarrassing.), so snorkeling isn’t scary… except for when you think the sea turtle might bite you, and you, in turn, try to climb on top of your boyfriend who does not have a floaty on like you do and almost drown him. That’s the only time it gets scary.
2. Chase the Sunset – Before anything else, I am a lover of sunsets. They make me so happy, and I think they are the most beautiful scenes in the world. Bonus points if they’re viewed from the beach. Although we experienced a few cloudy nights in Barbados that blocked our views, we were lucky enough to catch some stunning sunsets with our butts in the sand. My favorite sunset happened on our last night in Barbados, and we watched from our resort balcony that overlooked the whole island. So amazing.
3. Buy a Fish at Oistins Fish Market – Oistins Fish Market is an awesome experience both day and night. During the day, Oistins houses tons of vendors who set up stalls and sell the fish they caught that morning! Laura, Jim, Brett, and I stopped by one day and picked up a fresh mahi-mahi (like, as fresh as it could get) to cook up back at The Crane. I made my piece topped with crushed cashews, and cooked it in coconut milk with some oregano, salt, and pepper. The most delicious meal I have ever made. It was so crazy to see all of the fresh fish at the market, knowing everything was just caught in the morning! We really don’t have those fresh luxuries in NYC, but for the Bajans, it is the norm. On Friday nights, Oistins market turns into a fish fry, which then turns into a huge party! We didn’t make it to the fry, but it is highly recommended :).
4. Visit the Animal Flower Cave – On the north tip of the island, we stopped at Animal Flower Cave, a naturally formed cave with stalactites and pools of sea-anemones (animal flowers). Sadly, there weren’t too many anemones when we visited, however, the views were amazing and made for a pretty killer Instagram picture.

 

Snorkeling Carslile Bay Barbados
Snorkeling in Carlisle Bay

 

Sunset Oistins Barbados
Beautiful Sunset in Oistens

 

Oistins Fish Market Barbados
Oistins Fish Market — there were turtles right off the pier!

 

Animal Flower Caves Barbados
Animal Flower Caves

 

Quick Tips:
1. Bring your own snorkeling gear to avoid renting and/or having to take a very expensive Catamaran tour to see turtles and shipwrecks.
2. Negotiate with the locals. Don’t be the person that pays $40 for the beach chairs when the person next to you paid $30 because you look like someone who can be easily fooled. Make sure you don’t over-negotiate and offend!
3. Don’t wear camouflage. I believe this has to do with impersonating their military. Guess it’s time to laser off your camouflage tattoo if you haven’t already.
4. Try the rum punch everywhere you go. I think the bars and restaurants compete to see who makes the best!
5. Locals are called Bajans. Locals also drive on the left side of the road, so you should, too!
6. Keep an eye out for monkeys, and a banana in your bag in case you spot one 🙂

~XO

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