When you hear the words Barbados and Caribbean, images of white sands and azure waters pop into your head. And these are not wrong. But there is more to Barbados than just the beach making your journey to the island ever more worthwhile.
Barbados is known as the Little Britain of the Caribbean for its long association with the country. It was a British Colony until 1966. Visiting Britons not too keen on going completely exotic can rest assured that creature comforts of the motherland are commonly found here too. Another bonus of the strong relationship with the island nation is that flights to Barbados are frequent and affordable, making planning your trip so much easier.
Getting around the island is done either via the extensive and cheap bus system if you’re headed to the popular areas, or by taxi which are not metered – negotiate a fair price before you get in. Renting a car is expensive and roads are narrow with pedestrians often found walking on the streets. And while the idea of travelling an island on a scoot might sound like fun, in reality the roads are in a poor condition and passing buses can be harrowing.
The great thing about travel in Barbados is that it can be done entirely in English. And not just any old English, this is a particularly friendly sort of English. The island nation extends a warm welcome; locals are quick to assist.
Watersports, sunbathing and beachcombing in Barbados is second to none. From surfing, diving and cruising, the Caribbean offers it all. An absolute highlight is time spent swimming with turtles and spotting the local icon: the flying fish.
But another highlight is further inland: a game of cricket. The country is obsessed with the game and local pubs will usually have the current game on the television and locals enthusiastically cheer on the West Indies and other local teams. If you can catch a live game, or even just join in the viewing at a pub, you’ll be embedded in local culture and history.
But a personal favourite experience of the trip to Barbados was the food and drink. While the island has pure water straight out the tap, the country is more famous for producing quality run. The most famous domestic brand is Mount Gay Rum and tours of the distillery are available. Rum shops are a joy to visit. It’s where you’ll find (mostly male) locals catching up on news and sports. It’s the best place to meet and interact with a real Barbadian.
If you’re looking for fast food, you’ve chosen the wrong country to visit. Bajan cuisine is the order of the day: it’s spicy and flavourful. Be sure to try flying fish, hopefully not the one you saw earlier. Served lightly breaded and fried, this is a favourite Barbadian food. It’s usually served with a very hot yellow sauce. Be sure to get it on the side. Another great dish is the pepper pot – a pork stew in a spicy dark brown sauce.
Bajan culture is warm and respectful and spending time with the locals is as much of a treat as spending time on the beach. So eat up, drink up, sun up and speak up when in Barbados.