Everyone who has read my blog will know by now that I have been to Barbados quite a few times, and it is one of my favourite places to chill out and relax. Here is a piece written by my friend Nigel May and his take on his very first visit to this magical island .. it's always nice to see how others enjoy their time here.
Enjoy the read ....and don't forget to download his latest holiday blockbuster Scandalous Lies!
I’ll start this blog by being brutally honest. Barbados was never a holiday destination that I had really ever had any intention of visiting or desire to see. Not really sure why. Was it the thought of flopping around for a fortnight on a beach that put me off? Was it the thought of it being such a small island that there wouldn’t be a huge amount to see? Was it the fact that I thought I wasn’t the biggest fan of rum that put me off (that being the tipple of the island of course). Really I have no idea but any pre-conceived notion of what to expect from one of the most popular islands in the Caribbean was literally blown out of the clear blue waters of the Caribbean sea as soon as I landed at Bridgetown. Barbados is warm, welcoming and wonderfully alive and vibrant and a place that I could happily spend a lot of time in.
We stayed at a residence on Brighton Beach on the south west part of the island. Call it paradise, because that is what it was. The sand was powder soft, almost white in colour and the sea was iron-flat and the most tempting shade of blue. Crowsnest 2 (the home we stayed at) was to be our home for two weeks and I can honestly say that it was the most amazing place to rent. Check out the website (details below) but if you want the joy of hummingbirds flittering about as you eat breakfast in the morning and the view of an idyllic beach and the gentle lap of the surf sounding in your ears then this is the residence for you. There were nine of us and that was the perfect number to fill the two floors we occupied. The second-floor swimming pool for a cooling dip and a bake on the sand just a few yards away from your front door were a joyously hypnotic cocktail.
Barbados itself has many attractions that we were keen to visit. Hiring a car seemed essential (and as they drive on the same side of the road as the UK mercifully stress-free) so we ventured out to various destinations. Sandy Lane Hotel had to be done. I wanted to visit there as a setting for my fiction books and a personal tour from Ryan, one of the managers there, allowed us to check out one of the most luxurious hotels on earth. Chances are I will never stay there as I couldn’t possibly afford it but it was great to see how the other half lived. Just up the road from Sandy Lane is Holetown which was an eclectic mix of designer shops and sweet little eateries. We plumped for cake and coffee over couture and loved it.
For any party loving people on the island, then Friday night is your night, and there is only one place to go – Oistins. It’s a melting pot of food stalls serving everything from the classic spicy chicken through to the tastiest slabs of fish and the atmosphere is wondrous. People are filling their bellies ready to party as Oistins nightlife on a Friday is all about fun. Locals and tourists alike flock there to dance, party, smoke (a variety of things apparently as your nostrils will testify), drink and love life. Locals dance with tourists and if you’re not hugged constantly by passers by throughout the evening then I will be a very surprised man. The air was 80% proof with the heady aroma of rum too. It felt like a real slice of Bajan life and we loved it.
Sunday morning I would definitely recommend the Gospel Breakfast at The Crane hotel. Book in advance but the happy clappy nature of having a gospel choir singing away in the background as you plough your way through a sizable buffet was totally unique. As was The Cliff Restaurant. It’s not cheap (in fact quite the opposite) but if you fancy a real treat and what I call a ‘stick it on the credit card’ evening then The Cliff is the restaurant to venture to. The view from the terrace is simply breath-taking and the food was glorious. I recommend the barracuda and do not be put off by the word ‘dolphin’ on the menu. It’s not a Flipper steak you’ll be eating, but one of the local fishy delicacies, mahi-mahi. The Cliff is a one-off and a must-do for any visitor who likes to splash out and treat themselves.
A trip out to sea is definitely something else that should be on the menu of any visitor to Barbados. We chose a company called El Tigre who offered catamaran tours to swim with the turtles. A booze cruise with added extras if you like and it was well worth the money. You are supplied with drinks all day (alcoholic or otherwise) and snorkelled-up to swim with turtles and fishes of many different hues at two different drop off points. To see the turtles in their natural environment was a delight and to be able to stroke them, swim alongside them and be part of their world was beyond fabulous. Invest in an underwater camera beforehand to achieve some amazing shots. Talking of turtles, we were lucky enough to see turtles laying eggs on the beach outside Crowsnest 2. We never saw them hatch but many mornings we were greeted with the telltale signs of little flipper marks in the sand heading from nest to sea.
Barbados was a brilliant place to visit – cool places like Bathsheba on the west coast and the natural beauty of Welchman Hall Gully and Harrison’s Cave are all worth a look. But if you can, try and go for a fortnight because there are many, many days when all you will want to do is chill out, grab a lounger and rest to perfection under the idyllic Caribbean sky. I can’t wait to go back. It was amazing.
For info about The Cliff head to www.thecliffbarbados.com
Crowsnest2 can be found at www.crowsnest2barbados.com
For a day out sharing time with the turtles head to www.eltigrecruises.com
Experience nature at its best at www.welchmanhallgullybarbados.com