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.Brady Close
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!
Written by Yad on 02 Aug, 2002
Thanks to the fact that we were travelling on airline Staff Travel (i.e. standby, so we only get on if there is space left), there is always an element of risk concerning whether or not we'll get on a flight. Usually we've been lucky…Read More
Thanks to the fact that we were travelling on airline Staff Travel (i.e. standby, so we only get on if there is space left), there is always an element of risk concerning whether or not we'll get on a flight. Usually we've been lucky and everythings worked out ok, but on this occasion our luck had run out big time, and we were stranded in Barbados...what a nightmare, I hear you say! Well, it is a bit of a problem when you've got work to get back to!
The first sign that we might have problems came when one of our work colleagues sent an e-mail to the apartments where we were staying, to let us know that our flight had turned "mega, hyper, turbo bad!"...not a good sign! It soon became apparent that thanks to hurricane Debby in the northern Caribbean, flights from those places back to England were being cancelled, and consequently flights from Barbados back home were now stuffed full. We tried our luck on the flight we were meant to go home on, and realised that there was no hope for quite a while, since there were about 100 standby passengers all stranded, many having been trying to get home for days!
Well, there was no way we were going to spend everyday at the airport trying to get home, so we hatched a back-up plan. The only place it seemed possible to get to was San Juan in Puerto Rico...and here's the cunning part of the plan. I vaguely remembered having seen West Side Story years before, and that film told me that there were many Puerto Ricans in America, specifically in New York...so the plan became, get a flight to San Juan, and then try and get to NY, from where we can easily get home. Amazingly, this plan was wholeheartedly agreed with by my mates...being the best plan we had! We had a couple more days messing about in Barbados before going to Puerto Rico, including getting ourselves standby tickets for our various possible routes home from the BA office in Bridgetown, but this plan still got us out far quicker than trying to get home directly! We got to San Juan without a problem, and we were relieved to discover that there were indeed many flights to NY.
But this plan couldn't possible work out that easily, and the next problem soon became apparent! We tried to check-in on standby for NY, only to be told that all the flights were extremely full, and we were unlikely to get on! Arrrggghhhhhh!
Ok, plan B was to try and get to Atlanta, Georgia, so off we trooped to try and check-in for that flight. Our luck changed, since we got onto that flight ok, which got us into Atlanta just too late to get that day's flight home!
So, we had 24 hours to kill in Atlanta! We went and had a wander around the downtown area. We walked around the Centennial Olympic Park, and then went up to a viewing floor in one of the skyscrapers...something which was suggested to us by a "neighbourhood guide" who approached us in the street...we clearly looked completely lost!
Then it was back to the airport to see if we can get home today. Our luck was finally in, and we made it onto that flight, and got home about 1 hour before having to get to work that day!
Our 5 day holiday had turned into a 9 day holiday, but it had certainly given us quite an adventure, one that I won't forget in a hurry!
Written by Andy Taitt on 03 Aug, 2000
2. Amerindians and Latecomers
With the years I had moved away from this house, returning after first my father, then my aunt died and the house had come into my possession. After the settling in, I started getting to know the beach again with a sense…Read More
2. Amerindians and Latecomers
With the years I had moved away from this house, returning after first my father, then my aunt died and the house had come into my possession. After the settling in, I started getting to know the beach again with a sense of ownership - 'my' beach. With only a few people living in the immediate area, hardly more than twenty houses, the majority of those who use the beach are 'immigrants'.
Walking the beach, in the mornings especially, I enjoyed discovering all the other species that were also using my beach. There would be shells washed up, debris from passing ships, migratory birds passing through for a few days, life stranded on the sand, even a feral cat that left her prints every morning.
One day I discovered that the triangular pieces of shell, worn perfectly flat on one side, were not accidental renditions of the surf and shingle but Amerindian shell tools. A historian friend confirmed that 'my' beach was a known Arawak settlement. In limestone Barbados, the hardest material they could find was conch shell and the flattened surfaces were achieved by scouring against volcanic rock brought in from neighbouring islands. Some of them could still be seen, black and brown among the off white, green and grey of the coral.
I was a newcomer to this beach.
On the night of August 1st, Emancipation Day, the first hatchlings emerged leaving their little hatchling version of their mother's tracks to tell the story. Even never having seen them before, it was immediately plain what they were. It took bare minutes to see where they had emerged. Six inches below the surface I met something that felt like a stick in the sand. It was a tiny head. A hatchling turtle emerged, wriggling powerfully, its little flippers trying to force my fingers apart. There were twenty-eight others below the surface.
By sixes and eights as they were uncovered I ferried hatchlings to within four or five metres of the waters edge. Instinctively they headed for home. A woman walking the beach stepped right over them and never noticed. A man going to swim said that from time to time at the hotel where he worked they discovered nests and even saw females emerge from the water. A St. Lucian man who had come to Barbados for the Cropover talked about seeing them on the beaches there too.
When I started encountering eggs at the bottom of the hole, I stopped, afraid of uncovering hatchlings that were not yet ready to emerge. I covered the hole and in the excitement forgot to mark the spot. Later when the Belairs Research Institute people came to investigate the remnants of the nest, we couldn't find it. I discovered though that all the hatchlings will emerge on the same day and what I had seen were empty egg cases. There may have been other hatchlings in the hole but over the next days there were no more tracks to suggest that others had emerged.
Another day there were just a few tracks at another site and I couldn't find the nest. Several of the few that had emerged had been disoriented by the security lights of a beach bar. Some were already dead, others were exhausted. I took them home to be released later in the evening after they had rested. The next day there were even more tracks in the same area and more dead and exhausted hatchlings that had been led astray by the lights. Some had had their eyes bitten out by the crabs. This time though I found the nest and dug out about thirty-five of the little creatures.
Two women who regularly walk on the beach told of their encounters with turtles. It seems they had seen the hatchlings that had emerged from the first nest I found. They had seen 'hundreds' of hatchlings one morning on another part of the beach. They had seen a small crowd another morning around a group of men who had caught a turtle. But the police came and had it released.
I was to find a third nest. This one had been crushed by a vehicle driving over it. Nearly a third of the foetuses had died in the shells; some of the survivors had been twisted out of shape. Belairs collected all the empty cases and all the dead hatchlings to be used to calculate the mortality of the nest.
By now we were into August and the season should be coming to a close. There had been no new nests for some time and those that I knew of had now all hatched. But a persistent turtle came up three times in an area of packed sand where it was hard to dig. I have discovered since then precisely how small a hole a creature the size of a turtle can dig and how easy it is to explore a patch of earth disturbed by a female and miss the nest.
A few nights ago a turtle nested. Exploring the substantial area of disturbed earth that she left behind, I at first thought she had been unable to nest. But she had tried only twice before going back to the water and this was unusual. Prodding with my stick, the end suddenly penetrated a foot or more into the soft earth. A little digging uncovered the first three eggs at the top of the heap. I filled in the hole and disguised it.
The beach patrols would have to continue for at least two months more.
Written by catiebug13 on 29 Jan, 2009
With a diverse landscape and beautiful beaches, Barbados is a must-see island in the Caribbean. It is recommended for travelers who enjoy beach resorts for relaxation but also like to get out and explore local cultures. Quick TipsBarbados is divided up into regions called parishes;…Read More
With a diverse landscape and beautiful beaches, Barbados is a must-see island in the Caribbean. It is recommended for travelers who enjoy beach resorts for relaxation but also like to get out and explore local cultures. Quick TipsBarbados is divided up into regions called parishes; each has something different to offer travelers. Some areas offer better surfing, others are known for their great restaurants. Take a moment to research and decide which location will be best for what you are looking for from your vacation.Only stopping by? Be sure to take a tour of the island. Because Barbados is relatively small, you can drive around the perimeter in less than a day.How to Get AroundDepending on where you stay, you can grab a shuttle from your hotel or ask how to use taxi/minibus transportation system to get from town to town. Close
Written by AndreaRH on 22 Mar, 2008
During each Wind Surf Caribbean itinerary, the chefs host a Caribbean buffet. The crew transforms The Lounge into a large dining room and prepares a sumptuous smorgasbord that's displayed in the art gallery (between The Lounge and the Yacht Club). A gloriously whimsical dessert buffet…Read More
During each Wind Surf Caribbean itinerary, the chefs host a Caribbean buffet. The crew transforms The Lounge into a large dining room and prepares a sumptuous smorgasbord that's displayed in the art gallery (between The Lounge and the Yacht Club). A gloriously whimsical dessert buffet was also setup in The Restaurant’s lobby.Here's just a smattering of the delicious items that were available:prosciutto-wrapped melonshrimp cocktailcrab legsshrimp-stuff avocadoroast suckling piga traditional cheese coursebread board and salad barThe pastry chefs also outdid themselves at the dessert table. There were dozens of items to try, including:a cake in the shape of the Wind Surf (with marzipan dolphins decorating the display!)carrot cake (in the shape of a carrot)apple strudelstrawberry cream swan puffscheesecakechocolate cakecookiesstrawberry cake...and so much more!The meal was simply out of this world and the artistry shown in the décor and desserts was impressive. The crew show followed the buffet and everyone went back to their cabins smiling! Close
Terre-de-Haut, Iles des Saintes is a gorgeous—albeit tiny—enclave with just 1,500 residents. You'll tender from the Wind Surf to the small coastal town of Bourg. Here you'll enjoy shopping the main drag for T-shirts, jewelry, rum, paintings from a local art gallery, etc. There…Read More
Terre-de-Haut, Iles des Saintes is a gorgeous—albeit tiny—enclave with just 1,500 residents. You'll tender from the Wind Surf to the small coastal town of Bourg. Here you'll enjoy shopping the main drag for T-shirts, jewelry, rum, paintings from a local art gallery, etc. There are several restaurants here, an ice cream parlor, and a few outdoor cafe/bars. (When you visit, note that the shops and restaurants close in the afternoon between noon and 2:30 p.m.)Everyone here is very friendly and if you speak French, all the better. This is the French West Indies, after all!Our Basse Terre tour guide had raved about Pompierre (Pont Pierre Beach) on Iles des Saintes so we decided to head there first. To that end, we left our cameras on the Wind Surf. Big mistake! To get to Pompierre, you must walk for about 20 minutes along a paved road (some parts are a bit steep). After about five minutes, there's a switchback in the road and you'll have an amazing view of the bay and the Wind Surf. Wow! I wish we had our cameras!As we walked further, we were greeted by sheep, goats, cows, and roosters. The trek was a bit much in the heat, but it was so worth it when we arrived at Pompierre. This is a spectacular beach with lots of shade trees and several gazebos that are so useful when you want to enjoy a picnic lunch. Be forewarned though...the goats here are a bit feisty and will try to nab your snackables!Iles des Saintes was spectacular and we can't wait to visit again soon! Close
Today was one of those perfect vacation days! We tendered to Marigot on the French side of St. Martin. This is so much better than arriving at Philipsburg on the Dutch side of the island! All the large ships head for Philipsburg, so the Wind…Read More
Today was one of those perfect vacation days! We tendered to Marigot on the French side of St. Martin. This is so much better than arriving at Philipsburg on the Dutch side of the island! All the large ships head for Philipsburg, so the Wind Surf definitely has an advantage by arriving on the French side...much lighter crowds (although the island was jammed when we were there anyway! It's a very popular Caribbean island.)Since this is one of the more developed islands that we're visiting on this itinerary, we decided to rent a car. We selected a mid-size, four-door from Xtreme ($35 US). The rental kiosks are right on the pier so it's very easy to rent a car, even if you don't have a reservation. Xtreme provided great service and the car was ready after about two minutes of paperwork.We immediately headed to nearby Fort Louis (you can walk to the Fort from the pier, by the way). Once you park there is still a very steep staircase that you must climb, but the view is really worth it! From here, you can see just about all of Marigot. This is also the perfect spot to take photos of the Wind Surf.From the Fort, we headed to Plantation Mont Vernon. This is a good stop if you enjoy learning a bit about the history of the island and want to take photos (plantation house, coffee bean production area, rum distillery, etc.). There is also a nice gift shop here.After the Plantation, we headed to Orient Beach…quite lovely but really crowded! If you want to parasail or water ski, this is a great spot. If you want peace and quiet, find a more secluded beach!After looking around for a bit, we moved on to Grand Case and had a delicious lunch at a small French restaurant called Le Soleil. From there we drove around to take in some sights and then ended up back at the pier for some shopping at the Marigot Marketplace (local crafts and souvenirs).We were getting pretty tired so we headed back to the ship to rest and decided to have dinner there. Close
You've probably heard about St. Barthelemy, or St. Barts, before. It is beautiful! It's also an enclave for the rich (make that super-rich) and famous. Just walk along the dock at Gustavia (where the Wind Surf tender drops off visitors) and you'll see mega-yachts from…Read More
You've probably heard about St. Barthelemy, or St. Barts, before. It is beautiful! It's also an enclave for the rich (make that super-rich) and famous. Just walk along the dock at Gustavia (where the Wind Surf tender drops off visitors) and you'll see mega-yachts from all over the world. This is a French outpost, but most locals also speak English.Gustavia is a cute little village with lots of restaurants, duty free boutiques, and specialty shops. We had originally planned to rent a car, but thankfully changed our minds. The roads are incredibly narrow and steep! The mountainous terrain can be intimidating to drivers, especially the areas that lack guardrails. Instead of renting a car, we opted to ride the shuttle. For $15 per person, you can hop on and hop off the small minivan and visit different parts of the island. The trip provided a great overview and we were able to get off the van whenever we saw something of interest. (If you do want to rent a car, you can do so right on the dock where the tender drops you off. Be sure to reserve a car in advance. There aren't many on the island and if you don't have a reservation, you may be out of luck.)The beaches are lovely but a few are tougher to reach than others. For example, you'll need to hike a bit to get to Colombier (but we heard it was worth the effort; we'll head there next time).Many Wind Surf passengers walked to nearby Shell Beach to enjoy some snorkeling. Others went to La Saline, Gouverneur beach, and Grand Cul de Sac lagoon. We visited Saint Jean Beach so we could also check out Eden Rock Hotel. Close
Nevis is another small island, but the beaches are gorgeous. Some of our fellow passengers headed for the posh Four Seasons resort; others went to the beach for swimming and snorkeling. This is the place to see lots of animals, including monkeys, goats, rosters/chickens, etc.Windstar…Read More
Nevis is another small island, but the beaches are gorgeous. Some of our fellow passengers headed for the posh Four Seasons resort; others went to the beach for swimming and snorkeling. This is the place to see lots of animals, including monkeys, goats, rosters/chickens, etc.Windstar offered tender service to Charlestown, as well as a few excursions. In hindsight, we should have signed up for the 3.5 hour kayaking adventure. That sounded really fun! There was also a biking tour and a trip to the plantation inns of Nevis.Weather permitting, this is the place to spend time at the beach. We unfortunately had a cloudy, somewhat rainy day so we didn't visit as many places as we originally thought we might. When you go, check out Pinney's Beach, Oualie Beach, the Nisbet Plantation Inn, Montpelier Plantation, The Hermitage, Golden Rock Plantation, the rainforest, and the Botanical Gardens.After an hour or so on Nevis, we headed back to the ship for a dip in the pool before dinner at The Restaurant. We dined toward the end of dinner service, but the room was still hopping! The meal here was one of the best we’ve had on any cruise ship. In fact, it was one of the best meals I’ve had at a restaurant…period! My starter was a roasted acorn squash timbale while Leonard had a Caesar salad. We both enjoyed French onion soup and then a perfect Maine lobster tail. (We’re from New England and have easy access to Maine lobster, but we both agreed this was the tastiest lobster we’ve had in ages.) For dessert, I went for a caramel pudding and Len couldn’t resist the cheese course. The meal was scrumptious!After dinner we strolled around the ship and then enjoyed a nightcap before retiring for the evening. Tomorrow we visit St. Martin! Close