22 Jan A to Z of Barbados Challenge: Part One
In a previous post I announced my challenge with Travel Supermarket to complete an A to Z of Barbados. I had 5 days to roam around the island, finding something to represent very letter of the alphabet. It was exhausting with lots of early starts to the sound of my alarm clock, but I finally did it and completed all 26 letters!
Just to recap: my best friend and I flew from Manchester to Barbados with Thomas Cook Airlines, and our home for the week was Sugar Bay Barbados (formerly Amaryllis Beach Resort). We rented a car and spent the next 5 days doing pretty much everything there is to do on the island of Barbados! It was such an action-packed trip and I feel like I’m an expert on the place now, so ask me anything!
Highlights included swimming with turtles, joining a karaoke party in the streets of Holetown, tucking into flying fish at Oistins Fish Fry, visiting the surf spots of the rugged East Coast, drinking rum at the Mount Gay Rum distillery and dancing the night away in St. Lawrence Gap. We both had a fantastic time and I didn’t want the trip to end.
Without further ado, here are things to do in Barbados, letters A-M:
A is for Animal Flower Cave
Animal Flower Cave is a beautiful cave on the north of the island that looks out onto the rough Atlantic Ocean. It’s a beautiful spot and well worth the trek up there for the views. The cave gets its name from the sea anemones that live inside the rock pools in the cave, and some of them are deep enough to swim in.
B is for Banks Beer
Banks Beer is the beer of Barbados and it’s nice to crack open a cold one on a hot day at the beach! You see the advertising for Banks beer on buildings all over the island, and you can find it in any bar or restaurant.
C is for Crane Beach
Crane Beach is arguably the most beautiful beach in Barbados with white sands and turquoise blue waters. The beach is located next to The Crane hotel and there’s an elevator to get down to it which is quite novel! If you’re not staying at the hotel you can make a reservation for one of the restaurants so you may park in their car park, or alternatively, you can park on the street at the other end of Crane Beach. From there you can access the beach via a series of stepping stones in the rocks. The beach can be a bit windy so I would recommend you get an umbrella and chairs; guest of the hotel get the blue ones, while non-guests get the green, yellow and red coloured chairs along the rest of the beach. We liked this beach so much we went there twice!
D is for Drive
Barbados has a good public transport system with a variety of buses and taxis, but the most convenient way to get around the island is by renting a car. We were a little unlucky with the weather and it seemed to rain about 10 times per day! The sun would come out for half an hour or so, then a big black cloud would come and there would be a torrential downpour! I can’t imagine walking through the streets to a bus stop in the rain. A car allows you to get to some hard to reach places and beautiful spots, particularly on the East and North coasts. If you’re from the UK you’ll have no problem at all because they drive on the left in Barbados. The roads can have some potholes and there are roundabouts every 5 seconds, but generally I found it a breeze. Make sure you get the BajanNav (sat nav) because things aren’t very well signposted and if you don’t have a local SIM card you won’t be able to rely on Google Maps. Drivers in Barbados are a little strange…some of them seem to drive at a snail’s pace in the middle of the road, while others will be beeping their horns and trying to overtake.
My rental car was organised by Travel Supermarket:
E is for Enterprise Beach
The letter E was a public choice and we ended up going with Enterprise Beach, also referred to as Miami Beach by the locals. It was raining on and off throughout the day, but the weather cleared up just in time for us to get an hour on the beach. It’s a calm and tranquil spot on the South coast of the island and there weren’t many people about. There’s a food truck here called Mr. Delicious if you’re feeling peckish.
F is for Flying Fish Cutters
Flying Fish is the island’s national fish, and you can’t leave the island without tasting a Flying Fish cutter. The fish is basically covered with seasoning and sandwiched between two pieces of salt bread, with perhaps a few other ingredients like lettuce, tomato, cheese and egg. Flying fish cutters are a great, inexpensive snack to eat at the beach, and we loved the ones from Cuz’s fish shack at Pebbles Beach. There is also a well known deli called Cutters located near Crane Beach. These were the best cutters we tasted and you also get a choice of delicious sides with them (try the coleslaw or the macaroni pie!).
G is for George Washington House
Barbados is the only country president George Washington ever visited outside of the United States, and you can take a tour of George Washington House- the place where he stayed. The ground floor of the house is furnished in the manner it might have been when he came to Barbados in 1751.
H is for Harrison’s Cave
Located in the centre of the island, Harrison’s Cave is a major tourist attraction in Barbados. A little train will take you through this limestone cavern, past waterfalls, crystal clear pools, stalagmites and stalactites. The entrance fee is BDS $60
I is for Independence Square
I is for Independence. Barbados was a British Colony until achieving independence on November 30th, 1966. Independence Square is a peaceful little square on the waterfront in Bridgetown, and it’s a nice spot to sit down on a bench and relax. You can take a moment to admire the Independence Arch and stop to buy a snack from one of the street vendors on the bridge. During the month of Independence (November), the square is lit up in the national colours of blue and gold, and at Christmas it is adorned with Christmas trees.
J is for Jammin Catamaran
J was also one of the letters chosen by the people of Twitter and Jammin Catamaran was definitely the best thing we did on our trip to Barbados. We can’t put into words how much fun it was! The day started out in a chilled manner with some sunbathing, chatting and a couple of complimentary rum punches on deck. On the way to our first stop, the lovely crew members served us a light snack of a little muffin, a pancake and a mini burger to stop our tummies rumbling. Next we popped our snorkels on and hopped in the water to swim with turtles, and we got to see one giant sea turtle swimming around beneath us. Our second snorkeling stop of the day was a shipwreck, then the party really got started. We floated around on lilos in the water, we drank copious amounts of rum punch, some of us drank shots from the bar and we tucked into a buffet lunch of chicken, fish and macaroni pie. There were people of all ages on board including children, and everyone seemed to have a good time. We had so much fun dancing around on the boat on the way back, that nobody wanted to get off!
K is for Kensington Oval
Established in 1882, Kensington Oval is Barbados’ oldest cricket ground. It is the main sporting ground on the island and is generally used for cricket, and has hosted some important cricket games between local, regional and international teams.
For info on tours and cricket matches, visit http://kensingtonoval.org/
L is for Limegrove Lifestyle Centre
Limegrove Lifestyle centre is a modern shopping complex in Holetown, on the west coast. It has a cinema, restaurants, gourmet foods, cafes and lots of designer brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior and Michael Kors. We visited Limegrove a couple of times to go to Lime Bar, which is a trendy outdoor cocktail bar in the middle of the courtyard.
M is for Mount Gay Rum Distillery
Mmmm…rum. Everywhere you go in Barbados you’ll be offered rum punch and there’s a saying for the recipe; “One of Sour, Two of Sweet, Three of Strong and Four of Weak.” At the Mount Gay Rum distillery you get to learn all about how their world famous rum is made, but really it’s an opportunity to taste lots and lots of rum. Our guide led us through various rooms explaining the entire process, then we were led to a small movie theatre where we watched a film about the Mount Gay brand. Then to the good bit…the tasting session. We enjoyed several generous tastings of various ages of Mount Gay Rum; I was definitely feeling a bit light headed afterwards! Once the tasting is over you can continue your boozy afternoon by ordering cocktails from their expert bartender, or you can purchase a bottle to take home from the shop.
And there you have it…the first part of my #AtoZofBarbados! Do you have better ideas for some of these letters? Leave your comments below!