Best Beach Holidays Barbados
BARBADOS in The Caribbean
The words of the song make you want to Barbados in the Caribbean for a very good reason. How exciting...a beach holiday on a sun-drenched Caribbean island, with that calypso vibe and happy atmosphere all around you.
You can find all types of accommodation near Barbados beaches to suit your budget, with the US dollar worth two Barbados dollars. There are also a number of all-inclusive Barbados hotels and vacation packages available.
Barbados has come a long way in recent years and is now head and shoulders above other Caribbean destinations that can be run down and not so safe.
Barbados beaches are some of the best in the Caribbean, and on the west coast of Barbados, the beaches are more sheltered, with beautifully calm turquoise water, white sand and palm trees, It's here that you'll find some memorable beach cafes and bars between upscale resorts.
The majority of tourists in Barbados are British, dating back to the colonial days of British rule before Barbados gained independence in 1966. This is a case of desire over distance - it's an 8 hour flight from London to Barbados, yet only 2 1/2 hours from Miami and 4 1/2 hours from New York. Americans also come to Barbados, but they're diluted among other Caribbean islands.
Barbados boasts one of the ten best beaches in the world at Crane Beach on the east coast, with its dazzling pink sand. However, the waves can be rough and it's better to stay on the sparkling west coast of Barbados, a great central base to see this warm Caribbean island. Our pick of accommodation is The Sandpiper, described below.
St James Barbados is a great area to vacation at with only a short walk down some very pretty beaches to the colourful Holetown, where British sailors landed in 1625.
You can find all types of accommodation near Barbados beaches to suit your budget, with the US dollar worth two Barbados dollars.
Taxi fare for the half hour ride from the airport to the west coast is US$50 dollars, but it's cheaper travelling up and down the west coast.
For something different, try the bus service down the west coast for Barbados $1.50. The yellow bus is full of happy people with Caribbean music playing and a casual atmosphere at a rather fast pace. You can take the bus, cab or drive down the west coast to Oistins with its famous Fish Fry on Friday nights.
This is a colourful collection of fishermen in an open market atmosphere cooking up fresh fish for a big crowd of locals and tourists alike sitting out under the stars. The beach is near a flotilla of wooden fishing boats waiting silently in the moonlit water.
The locals in Barbados are generally happy, friendly people eager to help. An endearing quality on this island is their lyrical answer of "Yes please" to questions.
The best accommodation near Barbados beaches is undoubtedly The Sandpiper hotel, perfectly situated on a gem of a little beach on the west coast at St James island with beautiful views over the Caribbean Sea. This hotel is one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and a delight in every way, with lush green vegetation to wander though, opening out onto a manicured lawn overlooking the palm-fringed, white sandy beach.
It's important when travelling that you get what you pay for, especially after viewing resort advertising. We're happy to report The Sandpiper resort hotel has delightful rooms that are stylish, spacious and secure.
Many hotel rooms have big balconies overlooking the Caribbean sea and you immediately melt into relaxation mode, a sure sign of a good Caribbean holiday.
The Sandpiper's rooms also have efficient air conditioning (vital in Barbados) and trendy hardcover and soft colour books for you to enjoy while you lie on a sun bed on your balcony or on the pretty beach nearby.
Barbados has had occasional erosion problems on some beaches, but The Sandpiper has a white sandy beach, a perfect view and all you need for one of the world's best holidays.
It's also important when travelling to be treated well. The Sandpiper ranks at the top for service, with perfectly-attired staff politely attending to every need. It appears that every Sandpiper staff member has been trained in etiquette, a tribute to managing director Wayne Capaldi's hands-on approach. He can be found casually wandering around the resort spending time with happy guests to ensure every need is attended to.
You only need to read Tripadvisor reviews of other resorts to realise how important the friendly attitude is to having a good holiday in Barbados. Some tourists have reported a sullen attitude at some places, possibly a reaction to centuries of rule by the British. Happily, it's the opposite at The Sandpiper, where even the bellboys are charming and wear very nice aftershave.
Most importantly in this internet age, internet access is included free
computer room at this hotel and wifi is available as well.
The Sandpiper breakfast includes every colourful fresh tropical fruit imaginable. Cereals include a delightful home made muesli gently cooked in honey and a full hot selection cooked freshly in the restaurant kitchen. The ambience in the restaurant is wonderful with whitewashed sanded timber, ceiling fans and the beautiful beach right outside.
Dinner at The Sandpiper restaurant is a memorable affair, with brilliant service and tantalising fresh food created by former Aussie chef Christoph. Try the freshest seafood in Barbados including the fresh fish catch of the day or the shellfish.
Barbados is one of the Caribbean islands that has always offered day trips on a pirate ship. This is great fun and really makes you feel like you're in a pirate movie. The Jolly Roger has operated for many years in Barbados, with guests having to "walk the plank" into beautiful water to swim in, and also swing from a pirate's rope into the blue water below.
And ahoy me hearties, watch out for the pirate ship's rum punch that certainly does have a punch on a day out in the sun. The Jolly Roger pirate ship Barbados is currently in dry dock but due back on the water soon.
Antigua is another island offering a pirate cruise near accommodation in its capital - the Black Swan has just started operating after the watery demise of another Jolly Roger, washed up on rocks near Antigua's capital after a storm.
WHERE TO GO BARBADOS
Barbados is only 20 miles long and about 12 miles wide, so everything is nearby.
Starting at St James on the west coast, see the bars and restaurants
at Holetown, which is just a short stroll left along the beach from The
Sandpiper. To the right is the pretty Porter's Beach, and a few minutes
north is one of Barbados's best beaches at Mullins Beach, a nice stretch
of white sand with beautiful calm water and a beachfront restaurant.
There are private villas for rent near Emerald
Beach a pretty beach n
near Mullins Beach.
A little further north is St Nicholas Abbey, a colonial plantation house that's one of the oldest Jacobean structures in the world. It's just been restored and has its own operating rum distillery with delicious rum to savour while the guided tour takes you to the little cinema playing old black and white footage of the abbey's early days cutting sugar cane.
The Barbados Wildlife reserve is nearby opposite Farley Hill, and well worth seeing for the monkeys alone.
Keep on driving to the east coast to see totally different, dramatic coastal scenery. Bathsheba is a wondrous rock formation here. You'll soon come to the interesting Round House, then the spectacular ocean views at the restored Atlantis hotel restaurant, a long labour of love by an Australian of Caribbean descent.
Near Atlantis are the Andromeda Gardens, a botanical garden with spectacular species of flowers and trees.
Then go to Crane Beach with its little village to witness one of the world's best ten beaches.
Further south is the legendary Sam Lord's Castle in St Philip, the former home of one of the famous Pirates of the Caribbean. Legend has it that Sam Lord became wealthy by plundering ships he lured onto nearby reefs, by hanging lanterns in the coconut trees. Captains mistook these lights for the capital Bridgetown and ships were wrecked on the reefs.
Sam Lord's Castle was a beautiful Georgian mansion built in 1820 by the notorious pirate, but has fallen into disrepair and is closed while locals debate restoring it to its former glory.
RESTAURANTS NEAR BARBADOS BEACHES
The west coast is the star when it comes to restaurants in Barbados. There are many restaurants up and down the west coast that are superb for quality and value.
For fine dining with perfect service, try The Sandpiper Restaurant on the west coast in St James.
Harold's Beach Bar at The Sandpiper is the perfect place to sit under a thatched hut with your favourite Caribbean cocktail watching life drift by on the beautiful beach. Try a rum punch with the local Mt Gay rum (known to locals as Mount G these days) or the local Banks beer.
Just down the beach to the left is the colourful Surfside bar and cafe where the casual locals hang out and keep up a good banter with visitors while every one takes in the beach views.
A little further on you'll find the Beach House, where you'll find a great waitress named Arlene taking orders for meals from flying fish to Cajun curry.
From St James, head south to St Lawrence Gap then Christchurch for more good restaurants. In St Lawrence Gap, try Pisces on the beach for fresh seafood, or nearby Sweet Potatoes for its genuine Bajan cooking (upstairs).
A little further on at Oistins is the famous Oistins Fish Fry in a busy setting full of al fresco dining, markets, Caribbean steel bands and white sandy beach. Flying fish is a must to try while in Barbados, especially blacked Cajun style, as well as the fresh snapper and mahi mahi.
The Cliff has a spectacular restaurant setting on the west coast overlooking Paynes Bay, but a cheaper bet is the very popular Cariba Restaurant up a little side street nearby. If you want Italian cuisine, Daphne's is also popular restaurant at Payne's Bay.
When you go to a restaurant in Barbados, don’t be fooled into thinking you’re eating real dolphin when you see a menu offering you “dolphin.” That’s "dolphin fish" (mahi mahi), the Caribbean equivalent of snapper.
The nearby Barbados capital of Bridgetown has a lot of historical interest, and the shops in and near accommodation around Bridgetown are worth a leisurely stroll.
And of course, they're football and cricket-mad here too, with excitement everywhere over the World Cup.
On some beaches, you'll find young West Indian cricket hopefuls with tennis balls flying at opponents at 100 kilometres an hour. Beach cricket is how many of the West Indies' famous cricketers started out.
Even if you have no idea about beach cricket, try the old "when in Barbados, do as the Barbadians do." It's fun, it's a different cultural experience, and you'll be doing it on some of the world's best beaches.
Accommodation near Barbados is at Miami
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