Do you crave a change of scene where you could savour authentic Caribbean flavours with a hint of home?
Regardless of the total miles already traversed in your lifetime, starting your day watching a Barbadian sunrise is a welcomed precursor to your next travel adventure! Barbados’ exact coordinates are Latitude: 13.136734 North, Longitude: 59.5378 West and is ranked as a choice destination for millions of tourists; majority of whom are from neighbouring territories. Vibrant flavour notes permeate not only the culinary fixture of Bajan culture, but cultural too as the island is home to millions of outstanding citizens including talent powerhouses including but certainly not limited to: Miles Robertson, Akela Jones, Robyn ‘Rihanna’ Fenty and retired cricketer Sir Garfield St Aubrun Sobers, AO, OCC.
It is fitting that the national motto of Barbados is Pride and Industry, as I imagine that this ethos is the reason behind sharing a world record with Japan for having the most centenarians per capita on earth! Maybe this distinction can also be attributed to the endearing love Barbadians possess for their neighbourhood bars, colloquially referred to as rum shops.
As far as geographical topography goes, Barbados sits on more than 85 percent limestone. This type of rock not only forms part of a revered marine ecosystem, but quite literally, is the foundation that provides for awe- inspiring beach settings for all to protect and enjoy. It also acts as an eco- friendly water filter, giving a distinct smoothness across the palate while enjoying spirited beverages in Bim, as it is affectionately referred to by repeat visitors and residents alike.
It’s capital city Bridgetown and its Garrison is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of many attractions to visit while you’re here. If you are looking to explore Barbadian culture at your own pace, don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are a number of reliable online resources to consult prior to visiting, and if you are so fortunate to have a Barbadian colleague, reach out to them for assistance in curating your next memorable vacation.
Though the island is divided into 11 parishes, it is much simpler to navigate the island by seeking to visit the South, West and East coasts. Whether you visit during the island’s peak tourist season, Crop Over, which runs from June to August or you choose a more subdued vibe for your stay, let’s explore a few gems along the South Coast of Barbados!
Whether you choose to rent a villa or check into a hotel, exploring the South Coast is an ideal starting point to truly appreciating Bajan culture. Choosing where to stay is a breeze: you may check out luxury all amenities inclusive options such as The Crane or mid- range properties such as Divi Southwinds Beach Resorts and if you prefer to stay in a short term rental apartment, Airbnb is a great online resource for finding a place that best works for the budgeting traveler. Whatever your choice of abode, you will be close to the famous St. Lawrence Gap, a popular visitors attraction, which has a dazzling array of restaurants, live music spots and bars to choose from.
Similar to a few of its Caribbean neighbours, you won’t have to search very far to find a rum shop, an integral infrastructure of Bajan popular culture! There are more than 1500 options to choose from and all of these are regulated by the Barbados Association of Rum Shops. Rum shop culture is one that is very easy going, where you can get alcoholic beverages for very cheap prices when compared to other more formal dining options and somewhere to get some really good food! A quick visit to R A Mapp Bar in Eagle Hall, St. Michael may turn into a few hours lime once you try their rotisserie chicken and chips dinner!
There is a burgeoning food truck scene too as there’s a secret but not so secret pork heaven that is Eddies! Located at the bottom of University Drive, they are open for business on Wednesdays through Sundays, from 6:00 pm until the food is all gone. Eddies is a family operated food establishment popular amongst Barbadians for their smoky-sweet signature ribs served with lots of sauce and chips which costs between Barbados Dollar* (BBD) $20.00 to BBD $30.00 depending on if you choose the half or full portion. There are other protein -and-starch options on the menu for varying diets but that is not the reason week after week we wait in line! #ijs
Another popular yet uniquely Bajan food truck is parked in Abberfoyle, Black Rock Main Road in Bridgetown. Dubbed Yelluh Meat, they offer roasted breadfruit bowls with mouth watering topping options such as lentil and veg, buljol and black belly lamb. Yelluh Meat also offers delivery service from their website: www.yelluhmeat.com or via telephone.
Vacationing in Barbados is no excuse to hit pause on living a healthy lifestyle. Feel free to drop in for a week at CrossFit Bassa Bassa or take a stroll along the popular Richard Haynes Boardwalk which stretches along Hastings Rocks for 1.6 kilometres between Camelot and Accra beach and follows the south coast of Barbados.
Another possible spot to spend some quality time soaking in the clear Atlantic waters of Barbados’ South coast is at Pirate’s Cove: a family friendly, wheelchair accessible beach facility. Additional options for beach liming in the same area are Accra and Miami beach.
For the lady in town for a more formal occasion, and may need to visit a hair salon, you are in good hands with one of Barbados’ top bridal hair specialists, Leann Allen. Leann can be contacted at her Instagram address @signaturestylebdos or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
If your preference is to host a private event, then the owner of Bar by Infusion and newly minted Plantation Rum global ambassador, Dameain Williams should be on your list of vendors, as his illustrious 15-year career has most recently seen him managing bar logistics for Hero Cricket Premiere League, an annual Twenty20 cricket tournament held in the Caribbean.
Williams was kind enough to share with Caribbean Flexitarian Travel, his recipe for a delicious Five-Year Punch:
- 2 oz Plantation 5 year rum
- 1 dash orange bitters
- 2 dash angostura bitters
- 1 drop clove essence
- 1 oz lime juice
My final recommendation is to enjoy as many sunsets as you can while choosing from La Cabane’s sustainably sourced menu options. They are a recently opened bar and grill located on Batts Rock Beach and caters to house music lovers. You may find them on Instagram @la_cabane_barbados!
Planning to visit soon? Many visitors opt to fly with major airlines Virgin Airways, JetBlue and Caribbean Airlines; all of which operate multiple weekly flights in and out of the Grantley Adams International airport, located in Bridgetown.
*BBD Barbadian Dollar * The dollar has been the currency of Barbados since 1882. The Barbados dollar replaced the East Caribbean dollar at par in 1973. Since July 5, 1975, the Barbados dollar has been pegged to the US dollar at 1 USD = 2 Bds$.
Stephanie Lumley is a digital communications creative who has for a decade, worked across several disciplines in the regional and global communications industries; both analog and digital. The UWI alumna is passionate about all things Caribbean- the food, it’s culture and people. Eternally curious by nature, Steph enjoys writing and producing podcasts discussing issues affecting new and newish entrepreneurs at WI Love Creators. Her passion for advocacy also saw her establish SR|PR Consultants, and amplifying brand messages for such clients as Rituals Coffee House (Jamaica), Budding Chefs and Spur Tree Spices. Being the ‘washbelly’ and only girl of three siblings, there’s little wonder that her voice also extends to the boardroom where she serves among other esteemed directors for the Postal Corporation of Jamaica. You may follow her on Twitter @Stephylumz.