Written by CarolinaPanthers1983 on 30 Dec, 2008
When one visits this island, one would think that this is a growing, industrious island. Factory buildings that many of the island's workers head to every morning. Even though this island is industrious, it is, in its own sense, an industrious paradise. This island not…Read More
When one visits this island, one would think that this is a growing, industrious island. Factory buildings that many of the island's workers head to every morning. Even though this island is industrious, it is, in its own sense, an industrious paradise. This island not only benefits from industrious work and trading, but its ability to attract tourist.Weather- The weather on the island was nice and beautiful. It was hot, yet a nice Caribbean breeze would blow to cool you off. The sun was high and burning brightly as ever. With the sun's rays caressing the Caribbean Sea.Land- My wife and I decided to walk from the port that our cruise ship stopped to the main city. It was about a four mile walk. If you plan to do this walk, please make sure that you hydrate. My wife easily got tired by the second mile before she was asking for something cool to drink. While walking to the city, I noticed that this island was truly secluded. As far as the eye could see, you could only see water and nothing more. I felt like I was isolated. The city is busy we different kinds of inhabitants of the island- I saw business people, workers, people whole looked ghetto, poor people, and many more. All of these people that clashed together to form the identity of this island's personality.It was close to Christmas, and it was weird to see palm trees decorated with Christmas lights. Being in the Christmas mood we decided to buy my father-in-law a present. We went into a store to buy him a Hawaii-like, but Caribbean-style shirt. The workers of the store were very polite and nice.Saint Mary's Episcopal Church- This was the best part of the trip and is worth going. To visit this church is free. If you want to donate money, it is only one dollar to donate- I did donate to the church. We had a very kind and helpful tour guide; he has served this church since he was nine-years old. This church was very old-fashion tell how this church was built. In fact, my tour guide told me that everything in the church has been kept since the church was built. Outside of the church, it was paradise in a serious sense. There would be exotic plants and birds surrounding the church, yet graves lay dormant outside. These graves would remind me how long this church has been in service of this island nation. Some of the graves have been here since the early 1900s. I shall never forget this experience of this trip.While returning to the ship, we were attacked by every taxi cab driver telling us they could show us the entire island for around $40 per person. I rolled my eyes and said no thanks. If you can, try to blend with the people of the island because they don't stop trying to sale you these overpriced tours until you say no for the nine-billionth time.In the end, this island was gorgeous, yet one can tell that this island is growing everyday. I hope to visit this island one day again. Close
Written by AndreaRH on 22 Mar, 2008
We found ourselves on Saint Lucia on the last day of our cruise. We've always liked it here because of the lush landscape, the mountains, and the very friendly residents. The Wind Surf booked a private area of Pigeon Island National Park for the day…Read More
We found ourselves on Saint Lucia on the last day of our cruise. We've always liked it here because of the lush landscape, the mountains, and the very friendly residents. The Wind Surf booked a private area of Pigeon Island National Park for the day and it was a real treat for us passengers. This is a great location near Castries, Saint Lucia's capital city. There are two beaches at the park: one fairly large and one that's just a small patch of sand. If you want to snag a shady spot for your lounge chair, arrive early. (There are plenty of chairs, but limited shade.)Since this is a national park with an entry fee, you won't encounter many locals here and there's no place to shop. If you want to do your own thing, just exit the park or visit the Sandals resort next door to grab a cab. (Windstar also offered three shore excursions on Saint Lucia: a catamaran to Soufriere's Volcano, an ATV trip, or 18 holes at the St. Lucia Golf & Country Club.)On Saint Lucia, the Wind Surf crew threw a beach BBQ. Since we've been to Saint Lucia before, we decided to focus solely on enjoying the beach, the National Park, and the BBQ. It was a blast!Be sure to take your camera to Pigeon Island because you'll have terrific views of the Atlantic Ocean (watch the waves crash on the rocks...it's really rough on that side of the island!). There's also a large park-like area with the ruins of several buildings from various periods dating back to when the British Commonwealth had a presence here in the early 1800s.The park is also home to Fort Rodney (see photos). It's a bit of a hike to the top, but you can get some terrific photos of the entire area from the peak.If you walk up the trail, there will be a few clearings from which to take photos. We made it halfway up the trail before we got too hot and retreated back to the beach below!By the time we returned to the beach, the Wind Surf crew was already setting up the BBQ. The Marina staff had also brought out some kayaks and other watercraft for everyone to enjoy and the team from the spa was setting up a lovely area under some palm trees for outdoor massages.Dining manager Abdul brought about 14 crewmen over to the island. They brought tables, grills, and all the provisions needed for the BBQ.Throughout the afternoon, Wind Surf passengers could take a kayak out to investigate the nearby areas. One- and two-seat kayaks were available.A local band played Reggae favorites throughout the afternoon. They were fantastic! By early afternoon, the crew was grilling up a storm! Mouths were watering as they began cooking lobster tails, ribs, chicken, burgers, and hot dogs. And, of course, a full bar was provided. (Drinks charged to your shipboard account; water and ice tea were available free of charge.)The line for lunch was long at times, but the food was certainly worth the wait! I couldn't resist the lobster tail and the ribs were so tender! The spread included a lot of nice cold salads as well (field greens, pasta salad, bean salad, potato salad, coleslaw, etc.).The chefs did it again and carved a watermelon into a cute creature—a turtle this time. It accented the dessert table (an ice cream bar). At the end of the BBQ, they gifted the turtle to some children who were building a sand fort. Cute!Everyone we spoke to had a wonderful time at Pigeon Island. We had to return to the ship far too soon so we could begin making our way back to Barbados. Despite being tired from a full day in the sun, almost everyone found a spot on one of the decks because we were set to sail past the twin peaks of the Pitons right before sunset. Located near Soufriere, these two volcanic mountains rise 2,400 feet. Because there is a deep water channel around the Pitons, the Wind Surf sailed very close to them! Breathtaking!After the sail by, it was time for our last dinner aboard the Wind Surf. We dined at The Restaurant and enjoyed it until the seas got a bit rough! (The distance between Saint Lucia and Barbados is the roughest part of the itinerary. We had smooth sailing for all the other days.)I think this all-day visit to Saint Lucia was the perfect way to end an amazing cruise. A good night's sleep and then it's time for passengers to to disembark on Barbados and head home.Close
Written by Idler on 29 Nov, 2004
One of the pleasures of travelling (and I admit that "pleasure" is a purely subjective term) is figuring out the local roads and transportation. While I’ve done my share of exploring islands by rental car, the moment I laid eyes on the colorful…Read More
One of the pleasures of travelling (and I admit that "pleasure" is a purely subjective term) is figuring out the local roads and transportation. While I’ve done my share of exploring islands by rental car, the moment I laid eyes on the colorful "reggae buses" of Barbados, I knew exactly how I wanted to get around.
There are two types of buses on Barbados: the blue ones with a yellow stripe, or government buses, and smaller yellow ones with blue stripes, which are privately run. While both offer inexpensive, efficient transport to most major destinations on the island, the privately-run buses seem to run more frequently, plus they offer something the government buses don’t-a stereophonic ride.
Boarding a private bus headed toward Bridgetown, I’m lucky to find a seat, or a portion of a seat at any rate, perched next to an elderly man and his capacious shopping bags. The bus is filled with rambunctious kids who were just let out of school. Wearing prim school uniforms and starched white shirts, the kids are bouncing in their seats, singing along to a reggae tune blasting from the boom box positioned next to the driver. Noticing that I’m noticing them, they ham it up, waving arms in the air and mugging for the camera.
As we wind our way through the street of Bridgetown, it becomes clear that being a bus driver in Barbados is as much about socializing as earning money. Drivers fraternally toot and wave at each passing bus driver, not to mention numerous acquaintances on the street and in cars. There’s none of the boxed-in "this is my private space in my vehicle" feeling among motorists here; instead, they view passing through town as an opportunity to check out the local scene and catch up on the latest news.
After I get off the bus near the central market, I’m still feeling the pulsating beat of the bus. It’s late afternoon and not much is happening at the market. With no cruise ship yet in port, the vendors at the trinket stands are casually attending their wares. It seems to me (though I’m admittedly partial) that the Bajans display a particular flair, I’d even go so far as to say a sense of humor, in the way they market their wares. I’m on a quest to find a sew-on patch featuring the striking blue-and-yellow Bajan flag. For years I’ve decorated backpacks and carry-on bags with souvenir patches, and though at this point there’s scarcely a square inch that remains undecorated, finding these patches has become something of a ritual.
Alas, there’s not a single sew-on patch among all the souvenir trinkets, so after a half-hour’s search, I venture to the Bridge Hotel, where the second-floor veranda overlooks the Careenage. The beverage of choice on the island is Banks beer, a better-than-average Caribbean brew with a fierce marketing campaign. There’s even a Banks beer trail (collect stamps from participating pubs and restaurants on a beer trail card to earn prizes such as T-shirts; hats; and, naturally, beer mugs).
As I nurse my beer and watch the activity below, I ponder the mix of contradictions that is Barbados. Here’s an island where, or so I’m informed, there are no fewer than 365 churches-"One for every day of the week!"-and over 1,200 rum shops, those picturesque hangouts favored by the local men. (Bajan women, I take it, are more inclined to hang out at church.)
Finishing my beer, I take another desultory turn around the market. I’m one of those unfortunate souls who can’t drink alcohol in temperatures over 80°F without turning bright red and perspiring copiously. A large covered market nearby , nearly deserted in the late afternoon, provides welcome shade. Back outside, a woman at a fruit stand gestures hopefully toward her piles of grapefruit (the fruit is said to have originated on Barbados), while nearby a less-enterprising yam vendor catches 40 winks.
I make the mistake of boarding a private bus that is not blasting music. Instead, the driver is obviously a cricket fan, as are many of the passengers. They lean forward eagerly in their seats as they listen to a broadcast of a cricket match. Now, I just have to say that I managed to live right next to the Sidney Sussex college’s cricket field in Cambridge, England for over a year and never did manage to grasp the basic principles of the game. So it should come as no surprise to you to learn that I find the cricket bus, unlike the reggae bus, to be a soporific rather than an invigorating experience. When I get off the bus near the lovely fishing pier at Speightstown (pronounced "Spikestown"), I vow to never, ever get on a Bajan bus that doesn’t feature music.
A day or so later, I’m back in Speightstown to catch a bus south to Holetown. The buses ply the coast between Bridgetown in the south and Speightstown in the north, a stretch of road that passes posh resorts and gorgeous beaches. It’s an easy matter to hop off the bus whenever something catches my eye. Spotting a promising-looking beach, I disembark, toting my snorkeling gear, but it turns out that the water is uncharacteristically murky, so I opt instead to take a walk along the road to see what I can see.
Mostly what I see are the walls of sequestered resorts, but just when I’m beginning to despair, I spot a group of men just up ahead on the sidewalk. One hefts a massive machete, picks a green coconut up from a pile beside him, and neatly lops the top off the coconut with one practised swipe. As I approach, he holds out the coconut and offers it to me. Gratefully, I drink the clear, cool liquid as the man introduces himself. His name, he tells me, is Waynee, and he has a favor to ask: "Can you find me a sweet woman?"
This isn’t a come-on line I realize. My newfound friend is genuinely troubled, "These women here, they don’t give me a chance." I’ve seen the local woman (some, indeed, are formidable specimens), and I empathize with his plight. "I don’t know anyone here your age," I gently counsel, "but I tell you what: I’m going to write an article on Barbados, and maybe someone who reads it will be interested."
So, ladies, here’s your chance. If you happen to travel to Barbados and are in need of a little company, just ask for Waynee at any of the shops or local hangouts in Holetown. He assures me he's well known and has many friends. While I can’t vouch for his solvency, particularly since he’s apt to giving things away, I can at least vouch that he’s a congenial character, certainly good for a chat over a coconut or two.
Refreshed by my draught, I wave goodbye to Waynee & Co. and set out down the road. Within moments, I hear the strains of island music. Under an awning beside the beach, a band of steel-pan drummers entertain guests at a waterfront café. I perch on a pylon, enjoying the complimentary concert, the musical rhythms offset by the gentle sound of the surf.
Soon it’s time to flag down another bus and head back to the resort for dinner. Declining a ride in a cricket bus, I'm rewarded with the next bus–a day-glow fantasy of detail work, music blasting from the open windows. I find a seat to the strains of:
"A’hm get-tin MAHR-ried in de MOR-nin . . .
Ding dong dem church bells a-gonna chime . . ."
It’s a reggae version of the tune from My Fair Lady done Caribbean style. I’m listening intently to the improvised lyrics, which rhapsodize over the prospective bride and her (ahem) physical attributes.
I lean forward and shout to the driver, "What’s the name of the guy doing this song?" He shoots me a quizzical look in the rearview mirror (crazy tourist lady asking crazy questions), but hands back a CD. The young boy next to me solicitously points to the track I’m asking about: The singer is Yellow Man. "Thank you!" I shout, passing the CD back to the driver, who flashes a grin in response.
Moments later, I begin laughing, for the next tune blasting from the boom-box is a hilarious reprisal of the first:
"A’hm get-tin’ DEE-vorced in de EVE-nin’…"
Only in the Caribbean, I tell myself, and only on a reggae bus.
Leaving the blizzard-bound East Coast to attend the 11th Annual Barbados Jazz Festival, seven days of sunshine and seven star-studded nights of cool jazz, is what I call a plum assignment. Add to that the pleasures of meeting and hanging out with jazz journalists…Read More
Leaving the blizzard-bound East Coast to attend the 11th Annual Barbados Jazz Festival, seven days of sunshine and seven star-studded nights of cool jazz, is what I call a plum assignment. Add to that the pleasures of meeting and hanging out with jazz journalists and photographers from around the globe and you have the makings of an unforgettable travel experience. As detailed in my I’d Rather Be in Barbados journal, daytime excursions, ranging from a jeep safari to a blissful catamaran cruise along the coast, provided an excellent overview of what this charming island has to offer. With a jazz concert held in a different venue each evening, the jazz festival’s music smorgasbord was equally impressive.
Monday night’s concert was held on the grounds of the Sunbury Plantation House, an atmospheric site steeped in history. The great house was floodlit by dramatic blue spotlights, which cast a romantic glow onto the surrounding palm trees and lush tropical foliage, while behind the mansion, vast reception tents and seating in folding chairs accommodated the throngs of festival guests. As the jazz festival is a highlight of the Bajan social season, the crowd on opening night seemed as intent on schmoozing in the catering tents and meeting and greeting as they were on listening to a trio headed by jazz pianist Joe Sample and the Erroll Bradshaw Jazz Project. Still, Sample’s humorous reminiscences of a promised collaboration with jazz megastar George Benson drew appreciative laughter. Even the snarl of BMW’s and Benzes making an exodus after the concert didn’t dampen the spirits of islanders and visitors clearly intent on having a good time.
The hometown crowd turned out en masse for Tuesday night’s concert at The Rum Factory in Heritage Park. Again, the outdoor setting was festive, with the facade of the converted four-square Rum Refinery cast in a dramatic green floodlights. Having learned my lesson the previous evening, I sat closer to the stage and further away from the party-hardy set, and this made all the difference in my enjoyment of what turned out to be a rousing concert featuring Adrian ‘Boo’ Husbands and Michael Cheeseman.
Husbands and his friends, clearly delighted to be playing before an international audience, gave it their all in a rollicking performance that showcased Husbands’ proficiency in such varied instruments as the flute, recorder, trombone, and (I kid you not) a conch shell. Yes, this was definitely a concert with an infectious Caribbean twist, as Husbands, along with keyboardist Miles Robertson, talented vocalists Colleen Brewster and Tamara Washington, assorted congo players, guitarists, and a drummer nick-named "The Cookie Monster," delivered kick-ass renditions of such standards as Summertime, Ain’t No Sunshine (When She’s Gone), and A Few of My Favorite Things, the latter a scat-inspired litany of Bajan delights.
Cheeseman’s smooth set seemed almost dour in comparison; I have to say, though, to his credit, he delivered a more jazz-oriented set. But both Cheeseman and Husbands were born and raised on Barbados, and the supportiveness of the clearly partisan audience was as much an indicator of the future of jazz on the island as the depth of talent on display.
Wednesday night brought out the big guns of the festival, Herbie Hancock, along with bassist Scott College, saxophonist Ron Thomas, and drummer Teri Lyne Carrington. Hancock was perhaps the only artist delivering what hardcore jazz fans were grousing was missing from the line-up-straight-up, undiluted jazz. Unfortunately, the venue for this concert, set on a hillside behind the Sherborne Conference Center, was less than ideal. For one thing, the audience sat downhill from the stage, making the sight lines from the rear problematic. Another member of the press group and I, after waiting fruitlessly to find out if the designated press seating was available, ended up perched uncomfortably on stone steps far from the stage. When our backsides grew numb, we roamed along the side of the crowd, where the antics of the champagne-fueled social set nearly drowned out the music. Needless to say, we weren’t able to concentrate on-or even see-Hancock’s performance.
Liz Wright, who opened for Hancock, also suffered from the venue; her soaring but intimate vocals were more suited to a small club, and in fact, I resolved to hear her again if ever she comes to a local venue. Still, this concert got the thumbs-up vote from the jazz journalists who squeezed their way down to the jam-packed area in front of the stage. "Herbie was in fine form tonight!" was the general consensus.
Speaking of the press group, we were treated to a wonderful cocktail reception hosted by the Barbados Tourism Authority on Thursday night. Many of the Bajan musicians who had performed with Adrian ‘Boo’ Husbands on Tuesday were on hand, with the addition of multi-talented jazz artist Nicholas Brancker, vocalist T.C. Coward (the self-proclaimed Party Girl of Barbados), and several local steel-pan players. This showcase of local talent was not wasted on the appreciative audience-nor was the delicious Bajan cuisine. The Party Girl shimmied and flashed mega-watt smiles, Brancker and his band delivered feel-good Caribbean-infused jazz, and the island itself provided caressing breezes. What a night!
The sole indoor concert, in Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, was Friday night’s performance featuring tenor sax player Kirk Whalum and pop-artist India Arie. I have to say, again, that this was not the best of venues; the cavernous gymnasium suffered in comparison to the charming outdoor venues, and the acoustics were problematic.
Early into Whalum’s opening set, the sound went out for nearly 10 minutes. The ever-obliging Whalum didn’t let this damp his style; in fact, the outage provided one of the evening’s highlights as Whalum took his sax, and considerable sex appeal, down into the audience, serenading swooning ladies and leading a call-and-response gospel-style jazz revival. Later, a long religious soliloquy left me cold; it was patently easy to rev this church-going crowd by invoking "Jesus."
India Arie continued to mine that vein of local religious sentiment in her set, which featured a memorable duet with her mother. The crowd had clearly come to hear her chart-topping hits such as Interested and Brown Skin, and Arie obliged, with her performance lasting nearly 100 minutes. While there were a few awkward moments on stage involving wardrobe mishaps (though not the X-rated kind), forgotten song lyrics, and equipment adjustment, the crowd remained in adulatory mode, clapping and singing along with their favorite songs.
The one experience I missed out on, regrettably, was the post-show jazz scene in lively St. Lawrence Gap. Since I was staying, along with many other press group members, at Almond Beach Resort in the northwestern part of Barbados, getting to the southern tip of the island after the concerts was problematic. The press-group bus, chauffeured by a preternaturally patient driver we dubbed "St. Rick," took us back to the hotel, which was usually about an hour’s drive from most of the concert sites. Usually it was well after 11pm by the time we returned. Ain’t it hell when the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak? A nightcap at the bar and the beckoning soft bed won out every time.
Written by Andy Taitt on 01 Aug, 2000
Right next to the cemented entrance of the play park was a turtle's track. She had dug once and found the earth too packed, then had tried a second place successfully. In my excitement I walked all around the site, examining the…Read More
Right next to the cemented entrance of the play park was a turtle's track. She had dug once and found the earth too packed, then had tried a second place successfully. In my excitement I walked all around the site, examining the two tracks, working out the motion of her flippers and which therefore was up and which down.
I knew that turtles used this beach. One afternoon following a morning of heavy rain I had come with my daughters and one of their friends to swim here. At the end of the evening, almost as an afterthought, we walked along the beach. At first we took it for a table tennis ball but the weight said it was a turtle's egg. Then there was a full clutch of them uncovered by the rainwater runoff. We were thrilled by this little miracle.
We knew they couldn't be left there and that the solution was to call in the Belairs Institute. We packed them carefully in a plastic bag and took them home. A young woman came to meet us and we took the eggs and all went back to the spot. She packed some of the sand in her insulation foam chest and lay the eggs carefully in. Then she took them away and promised to call us when they hatched.
Some weeks later she called to say that our eggs had hatched but she hadn't been able to keep the hatchlings until she could reach us. Instead she invited us to the release of another brood. There is nothing quite like the sight of dozens of three-inch long baby turtles scuttling towards a dark sea that they have never before encountered. As the water comes to meet them, tiny creatures that have just been fighting against an unnatural element suddenly unleash their basic instinct and transform into grace.
But that had been five years ago and since then there had never been a single indication of turtles. It was beginning to look as if that exposed nest was a singular event in more ways than one. Then there was the nest at the edge of the park. Three days later there was another. By the end of the second week there was a third. Over the next six weeks there would be as many as a dozen turtle events on a strip of beach hardly a quarter mile long.
The lucky ones came up where the sand was deep and loose and seldom had to make more than two attempts at digging. Some had to make a third or fourth attempt. The tracks they left behind were purposeful and it was easy to see an urgent female considering her options.
The unfortunate ones failed to nest. One determined female crawled fifty yards into the scrub vegetation, crossing the dirt road to do so, to make her attempts at digging. But the earth was packed too hard and the bushes got in her way. In her determination she mangled the small bushes and twigs. Four or five times she dragged herself away to try again. Eventually she gave up and returned to the water.
I wondered if any of the lovers parked under the trees heard or saw her, getting out to watch, and maybe disturbing her? Were they oblivious while she was desperately digging to give life another chance ? Was any one there at the time? I have walked that beach eleven o'clock at night and three o'clock in the morning and have never witnessed live any of the events I would later be party to. The closest I have come is returning the next morning to see tracks that were made after my night-time visit.
Written by leeleereid on 09 Nov, 2006
Never mind that it takes forever to get there, Barbados is a good 4-hour flight from Miami… the most southern point I’ve been to date. The flight down there was beautiful. I’m an island girl myself – I hail from Jamaica, but seeing…Read More
Never mind that it takes forever to get there, Barbados is a good 4-hour flight from Miami… the most southern point I’ve been to date. The flight down there was beautiful. I’m an island girl myself – I hail from Jamaica, but seeing the beautiful expanse of blue water on the way down there, scattered with a few small islands along the way… just beautiful. My boyfriend and I decided to take advantage of some free accommodations and go visit my mother who was working on the island for a short time. On arrival I thought, this is just like Jamaica… only smaller. Narrow roads, quaint homes… until we decided to drive around the island for a day trip– the island is all of 20 miles tip to tip.
We headed east first and went to the coast… the Atlantic Ocean coast…the most beautiful white sand beach, the crashing waves in the perfectly blue water, I had never seen such a beautiful untouched beach as I did here in Barbados. We proceeded, navigated solely by a map, to our next stop – Harrison Cave. We were driven into the caves by tram. Interesting to me as the caves I’d been to before (Green Grotto, Jamaica; Luray Caverns, USA) were never wide enough for vehicular traffic. It was a nice little tour and geological history of how Barbados came to be.
We continued northwest towards the "Flower Forest" where we wondered through a botanical garden with beautiful plants indigenous to the Caribbean. We ended our day on the west coast just in time for the sunset over the Caribbean Sea. The beaches in Barbados are very accessible to everyone and so you did not have to be staying at one of their hotels to access it. My roommate in college is from Barbados and she always talked about their local fast food joint – Chefette. You see, you won’t find a bunch of McDonald’s or Wendy’s in Barbados. Instead for a fast meal you can enjoy their local burger and chicken joint – Chefette, or, pick any of the local snack places on the beach. The Chefette we ate at was beach side, and eating on the beach watching the sunset was great!
For more formal dining, restaurants abound. Barbados has many different restaurants with a variety of cuisines to choose from. Make sure though that your pockets are deep as Barbados is not a budget vacation spot.
On our last day on the island we decided to take a Catamaran Cruise. This was the jewel of our trip. I highly recommend it! Tiami Catamaran Cruises. We headed out there bright and early Sunday morning where we were greeted by pleasant and organized staff, and a glass of orange juice as soon as we boarded. The music played, we set off on the Caribbean Sea to our first of two snorkeling sights. This was my first time snorkeling, and it was awesome. One sight had shipwrecks, the other turtles. I was swimming with turtles! Hello! Great, and tiring… worked up an appetite and were pleased at the lunch provided on board. Chicken, fish, etc… and not just any fish, the fish that Barbados is known for – Flying Fish. Lunch was great. The day was great. Be sure to wear your sun block please, my boyfriend was roasted, toasted and burnt to a crisp on that open water. We headed back to shore in the beautiful sunset of the Caribbean Sea, reggae music playing… we even saw some flying fish… they do actually jump out of the water pretty high.
Barbados is a beautiful, small, relaxing island to visit. Beautiful beaches, very laid back – you won’t find any stores open on a Sunday - with world class restaurants and friendly people. Unspoiled. If this is the kind of vacation you’re looking for, Barbados is it.
Written by MJB1103 on 17 Jul, 2005
We love to travel and see new places. As much history as Barbados has, it is lacking greatly in the friendliness and customer-service departments. Many of the Barbadians we came in contact with almost seem to repeat the same memorized script. It begins with "Is…Read More
We love to travel and see new places. As much history as Barbados has, it is lacking greatly in the friendliness and customer-service departments. Many of the Barbadians we came in contact with almost seem to repeat the same memorized script. It begins with "Is this your first time here on the island?" As much as the conversation starter would be appreciated, the attitude is dull, non-feeling, and lacking any enthusiasm. They continued to tell us how everyone was so friendly here. We had yet to see more than a handful of genuine happy islanders.
On the customer service side, the hotel was awful times ten. Tamarind Cove ran hot and cold all week. I can only believe this is normal practice. Where one receptionist wanted to help, the other could care less, and answering even a simple question seemed to be too much effort. When the security guard offered to help us in getting ice, he then refused to give us the full bucket in exchange for our empty one. They were identical. That interaction was plain weird. The Oasis bar next to the restaurant, allows a dinner menu, but ordering at 9pm meant dinner didn't arrive until 10pm. The kitchen is 20 paces away, and I know it doesn't take an hour to cook a hamburger. The rooms were okay--nothing special. The hotel is part of "The Elegant Hotel Group". I'm unsure who the people are who created this group, but Tamarind Cove is equal to a motel or lower-budget hotel. They are slowly renovating rooms, but I have no idea what the finished product will look like. I would think in the mean time, they should lower their prices to fit their service and older amenities. The in-room safe is archaic. It is a key on a chain that goes to a paperweight size lock. They state you have the only key, great for the single person but what about a couple and why make your beach guest carry one more thing down to the water? I haven't been in a hotel without a digital safe with personal key code in over 10 years. They have all the other modern electronics, Internet, cell phones, cable TV, why not in-room safes??
The island is a mix of new and old. There seems to be no zoning laws so the rich and poor live next to each other. The streets appear congested and cluttered which gives the appearance of unkept or dirty.
Our friends stayed in a couple of Villas in Holders Hill/Polo ridge. While these were beautiful and kept well. The staff was great and service much enjoyed, and I didn't understand the security. For an island that boasts safty and tourism, these very expensive villas became known as the compound. More than once, my husband and I had been there visiting past 11pm, when the security guards told us we should just stay since the doors were all locked for the night. Locked for the night? For what? We called a cab and went about our way. This we were unsure if it was too much for them to turn a lock or if we were in fact in danger and from what? No one could find an answer to the extreme security at the villas, compared to the lax security of our hotel one mile away.
Written by stephenrparker on 10 Feb, 2004
Things to do and ONE THING NOT TO DO IN BARBADOS:
Go out the door of the South Beach hotel (where we stayed: see my review), turn right and walk a block or two to Frogs, which is a bar. It will acclimate you very quickly…Read More
Things to do and ONE THING NOT TO DO IN BARBADOS:
Written by ChrisJBrady on 23 May, 2006
Crane Beach, Barbados - WRECKEDWhat was one of the better beaches in the World has effectively and practically been wrecked - not by Hurricanes but by the swamping of the beach by sun-loungers apparently belonging to the nearby Crane Hotel, along with broken glass, rubbish,…Read More
Crane Beach, Barbados - WRECKEDWhat was one of the better beaches in the World has effectively and practically been wrecked - not by Hurricanes but by the swamping of the beach by sun-loungers apparently belonging to the nearby Crane Hotel, along with broken glass, rubbish, metal beer bottle tops, and other detritus presumably left by guests and not cleared up by the beach staff.A few weeks ago we ventured out to Crane Beach on the South Coast of Barbados. Our guide book "Barbados Directions - Accurate, Reliable, Informative" by Rough Guides (nominally dated: 2004) states "... it's still a fetching place [the hotel] and worth a look even if you're not staying (a fee of B$5 is charged for use of the facilities, though you can put it towards any food or drink you have during your visit."My travelling companion, in her 60s, is somewhat mobility impaired (from a double knee replacement some weeks ago) and needs a stick to help to walk. But having read about Crane Beach we decided to spend a day there. We took a local bus from Bridgetown to the entrance gates of the Crane Hotel, and then walked through the grounds to the lobby. However when we enquired about getting onto the beach, we were rudely told by Reception that it would cost us B$25 EACH just to pass through the lobby and use the steps down to the beach. That is the Crane Hotel now CHARGES to visit what is supposed to be a FREELY accessible PUBLIC beach. We were then told that we could redeem this amount in the Restaurant on the way back - if we wished to. When we complained that the Guidebook only mentioned B$5 per visit to "use the facilities," the attitude of the hotel staff was 'take it or leave it' - typical arrogance for this kind of pretentious establishment, but not what we expected to find in Barbados.We struggled down the rickety steps to the beach. Incidentally the no. of steps down are only 88 and not 200 as per the Guidebook. Anyone who was more disabled wouldn't have had a chance of getting down there, so despite charging for access, the hotel in its many years of stewardship has done nothing to improve access for the physically disabled. However when we arrived down there we found that sun-loungers and sunshades occupied every foot of the beach. These stretched side-by-side from one end of the beach to the other, leaving very little room for anything or anyone else. The only piece of spare beach was in a small 'alcove' underneath some coconut trees (with coconuts ready to drop), and unfortunately also occupied by two scruffy-looking beach vendors.We were also dismayed to see the rubbish littering the beach (and amongst the palm trees at the rear); this being broken glass, discarded beer bottles and plastic soft drink bottles, metal beer bottle tops and other detritus. There were also at least two obligatory beach vendors lazing around trying to con people into purchasing conch shells and necklaces made out of coral etc. Don't the hotel management/owners realise or care that 2 million conch shells are plundered from Caribbean waters every year, and that around many Islands so many have been taken that many local species are now extinct? Obviously not.Thoroughly exhausted by the climb down my lady companion sat down on one of the many (about 30) spare loungers to recover. She couldn't sit on the sand itself due to her reduced mobility. The Guidebook stated that the 'admission charge' included the use of all of the hotel facilities. Right? Wrong!!As we settled down one of the hotel's staff (a real jobsworth) started shouting at us in the most disrespectful manner that my companion could NOT use the sun-lounger unless we were guests of the hotel. We thought that the use of the sun-loungers was included in the cover charge to the beach - but apparently not. And instead of simply closing a blind eye to her use of a lounger this idiot made a real issue of it, so much so that I had to insist that he come with me to discuss his rudeness with the hotel management.Unfortunately the hotel management was equally adamant (and again typically arrogant) in that we were not going to be able to use any of the hotel's sun-loungers, stating that such use was NOT part of the B25$ (each) deal to access the beach. The attitude was that if we didn't like this arrangement then we could simply leave.Meanwhile whilst I was upstairs debating the issue of having to pay to access a public beach with the management, down on the beach another member of the hotel staff was trying to physically intimidate my companion from her sun-lounger. But she refused to budge until I returned.But when I got back to her she stated that she no longer wanted to stay on the beach anyway and wanted to go back into town to find a friendlier beach. I only found out that she'd been intimidated by this other member of the hotel staff after we'd left. This was totally unacceptable.So we promptly left the beach, the hotel, and the grounds. The day wasn't wasted because we went back to our favourite beach - and one infinitely better than Crane - at Sandy Bay, near Worthing. Noticeably there were many local families there, the environment was infinitely happier and relaxed, and the sun-loungers were available to anyone and everyone to use (for a small fee but one which went into the local economy). And access to the beach was free - as it should have been at Crane.C.J.BradyClose
Written by lwoodie on 08 Nov, 2002
Barbados is a beautiful island, one that is sometimes forgotten due to its off the beaten path location as compared to the other islands (much like Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire).
We spend most of our time in Christ Church on both visits. My husband…Read More
Barbados is a beautiful island, one that is sometimes forgotten due to its off the beaten path location as compared to the other islands (much like Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire).
We spend most of our time in Christ Church on both visits. My husband and I were married there in 1997 and returned to the spot where we took our vows in 2000. It was as beautiful then as it was the first time we saw it.
The beaches in Barbados are exceptional, at least on the southern tip. White sand - large expanses of it, like you would find in Virginia Beach, VA, or in Florida. Beautiful green palm trees littering the beach. Turquoise water that is warmed by the sun. It's the perfect beach experience.
If you are looking for a vacation on the beach, somewhere to lounge in the sun and relax, Barbados is the place. The people are friendly and unintrusive. There was timeshare staff milling around (what travel location isn't inundated with them nowadays?), but none of them really pursued you (at least not when we were there).
The shopping? Well, the prices didn't really represent any discounts as far as I could tell. The store fronts in town were lavish, although you could find a merchant stand on the outskirts. The selection was minimal, but you're talking to someone who would rather buy a sarong or pareo and be on her way. Polo and Ralph Lauren were all over the place, but again, the prices seemed comparable to here in Virginia.
If you are a music enthusiast, you won't be bored in Barbados. From reggae to soca, there are live bands available for you to listen to.
The food in Barbados is good - you simply must have their country dish: fried flying fish. It is incredible!