Barbados is a little bit of heaven. Nothing here is pushy. No one’s hand feels like it’s in your pocket. I’d call it an “easy” destination. Larry and I take lots of vacations, and we tend to visit places that are hard, challenging, rough, complicated — on purpose, don’t get me wrong. Antarctica isn’t for sissies. India isn’t for the weak-spirited. Vietnam isn’t for whiners. Egypt isn’t for weenies. Africa isn’t for the tame.
But there are times (at my insistence) we visit an easy place. Barbados? Ya Mon, easy:
- Exotic and romantic, weddings and honeymoons happen here
- Fine white sand beaches, aquamarine ocean, trade wind fresh air
- Few bugs, repellant not a necessity
- You can drink the water from the tap, and it’s tasty
- U.S. currency accepted (2 Bajan to 1 US $)
- 120V electricity
- No shots or pills required
- Modern airport
- Small island, just 14 x 21 miles
- Low population, uncrowded except if you are walking around Bridgetown when a number of cruise ships are in port.
We didn’t cruise, we flew US Airways in, and American Airlines out. Booked the package on Expedia and ended up at the modest Silver Sands Resort, in the South Point area. I say “modest” because if you seek swank, or high-end hotel quality, or a bustling tourist area, or a bug-free world, don’t stay here. But if you want a beachfront room with kitchenette (foodies like us love that), cinderblock thick walls and walking distance to a handful of swell local hangouts, it is A-OK. The fitness room was adequate (even found a yoga mat to borrow), there were tennis courts and a mini-market on the property, pool and Jacuzzis, 2 restaurants and bar. International clientele, lots of families, most were repeat visitors.
Rich and Famous like Barbados. Names dropped: Tiger Woods’ wedding – ouch for that — Simon Cowell on a gigantic yacht while we were here, Mick Jagger, Tom Selleck, Sting own homes, I think someone said Oprah, too. Or maybe Oprah rents Sting’s place. Watch the pages of People magazine and you’ll often see some celeb splashing around on Barbados
You will eat Flying Fish, a signature dish (for your cooking pleasure, here a recipe). And Macaroni Pie. And a very hot pepper sauce, which I unfortunately forgot to buy before going home, darn it. Burgers, fried chicken and other grilled fish are everywhere. Larry reported that the local beer was OK, I’m not a beer drinker. But with an ample supply of local product Mount Gay Rum, splash in a little pineapple juice and ginger ale, good times.
Traveling around, you’ll spot outdoor fish markets – Bridgetown’s is walking distance from the cruise ships, and executive chefs like Thorsten Sergutta from the Yachts of Seabourn are regulars. Oisins, a smaller town and walking distance from our resort, has its own fish market, too. Flying fish was filleted and packed all day long in both.
This is a sporty island, and surfer mecca. Kite and sail surfing everywhere. Yachts, sailboats, catamarans and Ski-Doo’s. Look closely at the TOP PHOTO of this post, all those dots in the sky are actually kites attached to surfers.
We aren’t such sports types. Personally, I’m a shade-seeking reader who will dip in the ocean briefly and then tootle around the island to see things. Larry LOVES sightseeing, but sadly for him, all the rental cars were sold out (OK with me, the roads are mostly unmarked, they drive on the opposite side of the road and the control freak that I am, I’d insist on being the driver anyway). So, we walked a lot, took the bus, a few cabs and two tours.
Tour #1- around the island. North Point cliffs, turtle swim (cancelled due to high winds, but we got them another way), Monkey and Tortoise reserve, Mount Gay Rum plant (added, since turtles didn’t work out), flying fish/macaroni pie lunch, and lots of driving.
Tour #2 – Heatwave catamaran and turtle swim. Five hours of sea, sun and salt water, the ocean was still churned up but we had a few turtles and I managed to pet one big guy. Snorkeled around a few sunken ships. Lunch on board was hearty and beverages never stopped. One crew member, a 12-year-old kid named Logan, possessed super sailor powers; no matter how fast, slow or wild we sailed, he could run and jump all around that deck with beers, pina coladas and snorkel gear, never once losing his grip or splashing a cocktail. Ours was his second day on the job. Back on shore… good eats are within a few blocks walk in any direction of our resort, including the Surfer Bar (great signage, above), De Action and Chicken Rita’s, all tiny shacks. People seemed to rave about Chicken Rita’s, but between us (and Larry will agree), not so terribly special. But good enough for us to have it, twice.
Sandy Lane resort (not to be mistaken for our Silver Sands resort) is featured in the book 1001 Places To Visit Before You Die. Larry tried to get us in for brunch, couldn’t, so we went to the just-as-dandy Sandy Lane Golf Club. Any place that puts a fried egg on my club sandwich is MY kind of place:
New Year’s Eve was towards the end of our time there. Don’t laugh at how we rang in the new year… the hotel bar was hopping with party and DJ, but we had spent the day on our turtle catamaran trip and were pretty burned out. So we walked to Chicken Rita’s for takeout, enjoyed it on our own patio with rum drinks, watched the sun set, set the alarm clock for 11:30 PM, went to zzzzz, awoke, put on party clothes and headed for the bar, noticed the crowd was overly sloshed, decided to star-gaze on lounge chairs at the pool and kissed at midnight under a full moon, then took our photo and went to bed: