by Sharon Hurley Hall
Suppose you only had one day in Barbados – what should you do? Many cruise visitors find themselves in just this position. As a frequent visitor and current resident of the island, here are my top tips for a one day tour of Barbados. This assumes that you have a full day available, but if you don’t, you can customize at will. 🙂
Early mornings are great in Barbados – the air is fresh and the heat hasn’t yet descended like a wet blanket. What better way to start your tour than to watch the sun rise over the limitless ocean? One of the best places to do this is on Enterprise Beach in Christ Church, where you can park your car beachside or sit on a bench and watch the waves. Other options: Accra Beach, Christ Church or Browne’s Beach, St Michael.
Once the sun’s up, head down the south coast road towards Bridgetown. If you’re a coffee drinker, check out the Coffee Italia shop opposite Accra Beach for an open-air caffeine hit accompanied by coconut bread, donuts or brownies. Or go further along the coast and stop in at Bubba’s sports bar for a full English breakfast. Then head towards Carlisle Bay, making sure to notice the red brick buildings of the Garrison (old military headquarters) as you pass by. Stop at Browne’s beach where, depending on the time, you can natter with the locals (before 7am) or have a glorious white sand beach almost to yourself. The waters of the Caribbean Sea are crystal clear and generally calm here.
Since you should see the capital, drive (or take one of the rattling musical minibuses) into Bridgetown after your dip. Sights to see include Independence Square (a good place to stop for a rest and people watch), the Chamberlain Bridge (which gave the city its name), the Parliament buildings (location of the third oldest parliament in the world) and the statue of Lord Nelson. If shopping is your bag, you can sometimes pick up electronics bargains by shopping duty-free (you’ll need your passport and departure details).
When you start to get hungry, head out of Bridgetown up the Spring Garden Highway towards the west coast of the island, also known as the “gold coast” because of all the money that’s there. It’s the place to see fabulous hotels, including celebrity favorite, Sandy Lane. There are some great golf courses around here. Good places to eat include the Beach House in Holetown (formerly Jamestown, the site of the first colonists’ landing in 1625) and the Fish Hook Grill in Speightstown. Fish eaters will have a treat in Barbados as fish doesn’t get much fresher. Try mahi mahi (disturbingly known locally as dolphin, but definitely NOT Flipper) or (my personal favorite (marlin). If you like snorkeling, stop off at Folkestone Marine Park (between the two towns) for an underwater treat.
After lunch, head to North Point, St Lucy to watch the Atlantic waves crash against the rocks, then go inland to St Andrew to walk through the small sand dunes and see the wilder side of the island. The nearby Barbados Wildlife Reserve, though small, provides pockets of cool and the chance to see the local Barbados green monkey and other regional wildlife.
Don’t miss the chance for another dip in the Caribbean Sea. Head south again to visit Oistins (on the other side of Enterprise beach) and then go to the Oistins Fish Fry for dinner (don’t worry, they serve chicken too.) The beachside food outlets are open from early evening into the night and on weekends there’s often live music or an informal disco.
Another place to consider is St Lawrence Gap, which has excellent restaurants (the Mexican Cafe Sol is a favorite of mine), as well as lots of nightclubs, so you can round out your 24 hour stint in Barbados.
Sharon Hurley Hall is a writer and travel blogger. She runs the Taking Off Travel Blog for off airport parking firm Park Ride Fly USA.
Photo by Timothy Valentine
Photo by Meg Stewart
Photo by Timothy Valentine
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