Barbados Honeymoon? Hell Yeah!
Happily married and off we go...
The flight to Barbados seemed to me the shortest flight I had ever taken. No sooner had Ash and I closed our eyes but we were opening them and gathering our gear to stumble blinkingly into the bright Caribbean sunlight. After the minus however-many-degrees temperatures of England's uninspiring Spring, the humid wall of Barbadian heat was like an embrace from a long lost friend.
A short (blessedly air-conditioned) bus trip took us from the airport and through the small town (Oistins) that was local to our hotel. Palm trees, colonial-style buildings and bright blue skies filled our greedy eyes. The Hotel (The Barbados Beach Club) was a glorious pink monstrosity with neat lines and a myriad of sea-facing balconies. We were bumped up two classes of room as a nod to our honeymooner status and we entered our room to find a bottle of champagne chilled and awaiting our parched lips. Nice touch.
- Barbados Travel Information and Travel Guide - Lonely Planet
Barbados tourism and travel information including facts, maps, history, culture, transport and weather in Barbados. Find popular places to visit in Barbados - Lonely Planet
- Barbados Travel Guide: Barbados.org
Barbados: All holiday travel information for your vacation! Things to know and do. Where to stay, eat and shop. Island events, activities, maps, pictures, stories, people and much more.
- Barbados - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A few facts about the island
- Barbados was an English colony from 1627 to 1966.
- In the late 1830s when the slaves were freed, their population was 83,000 strong.
- Barbados shares with Japan the highest per-head number of residents over the age of one-hundred
- The official language of the island is English, but the local dialect is called Bajan. This is English but with heavy influences from West African languages and other carribbean dialects.
- Cricket is the island's most popular sport
After spending a couple of days availing ourselves of the hotel pool and beach we were recuperated enough to start getting itchy feet. I say a couple of days... in reality having bought and moved into our new home a mere 3 weeks before our wedding day we didn't venture beyond the hotel proper for four days!
Fully rested we availed ourselves of the little car-hire place next to the hotel and got 24 hours worth of beach buggy for $90 US. We set off up the west coast and checked out first Bridgetown and then more fabulous beaches.
One of the great things to do in Barbados is to go swimming with turtles. These amazingly beautiful and graceful creatures have been fed to nigh on tameness by the locals who have spotters on the beaches who call in their location. There were a few different ways to get out and see the turtles. We took the slightly cheaper version in the glass-bottomed boat. This little trip was touted to us by some guys on the beach who finally sold the idea to us. I have to admit we almost didn't go just out of the habit of saying 'no thanks' automatically to anyone who approached us.
The one complaint there is to have about Barbados is the proliferation of unemployed locals trying to sell you stuff constantly. It was a rare day that someone on the beach didn't offer us weed or cocaine at least once! Not having the inclination or the budget to accomodate such things we learned early on to 'just say no' before the approaching salesperson had had time even to stretch their most winning smile across their chops.
Anyhoo, after assuring the boatman who'd approached us that I wasn't in the mood for any 'Charlie' what with the heat'n'all, we clambered on and got given a short tour of that bit of the West coast. We wallowed over brain corals and fire corals with our glass-bottomed craft; gazing down into water that was stunningly clear.
The swim with the turtles itself was a simultaneously beautiful and odd experience. The creatures were truly magnificent and it was such a spine-tingling pleasure to get so close to them and swim with them as they fed on the rain of chow being hurled from the boat. However, the clumsy groping that the poor things were putting up with to get the food was cringeworthy. Most of the other divers either didn't care or were too wrapped up in their own experience of the situation to notice small signs of distress from one mother turtle when her offspring was grabbed by one too many a blunt-fingered hand.
It was only a moment's discomfort in the end though as the turtles were clearly masters of this underwater realm and the clumsy humans sploshing about the place like retarded sea-monkeys honestly looked clownish and comparitively harmless.
We took another beach buggy on a seperate occassion and made our way inland and over to the East coast of Barbados. The experience of driving amongst the plantations of sugar cane and bannanas was wonderful. Along the way we were treated to intermittent wafts of hot caramel-smell drifting from the Sugar-processing plants and rum-distillaries over the landscape. That really is the smell of Barbados for me - a mixture of sea-salt air and burning sugar. Yum!
Our favorite two bits of the trip that day were Codrington College and the Atlantis Restaurant which are both on the same bit of the East coast of Barbados, quite near to a place called 'The Bowl' which is a famous spot for surfing.
As you can see from the copious number of photos, Codrington is a colonial style place in a very tropical setting. Sea on one side, jungle on the other. Very cool.
We went a bit further up the East coast after Codrington. The character of this side of the island is a lot more rugged. There were fewer tourist traps, more jungle, and big waves. The East coast faces into the open Atlantic. The result of this is that the beaches are pebbly and rocky, the sand all having been mostly blasted round to the other side of the island.*
*I have not researched this geological process even slightly - feel free to correct my haphazard guesswork in the comment section below :)
We stopped for afternoon tea at a famous restaurant right on the water called The Atlantis. Some literature on the walls told us that it had once been a train station. Though they had stopped serving food for the afternoon - they allowed us a portion of beautiful rich tasting bannana bread fresh from the oven. It was a heavenly moment - staring out onto the wind-whipped ocean as we sipped fragrant sweet tea and and munched on still-warm hunks of moist bannana bread.
To bring this little travel piece to a conclusion, I can happily recommend Barbados to one and all who are thinking of this lovely island as a holiday/honeymoon destination. My new wife and I had a most excellent time and enjoyed it thoroughly.
One piece of advice I will give, is be adventurous! Don't just stay in your hotel the whole time because you will miss some of the things that are the absolute gems of the place. Hire a car and explore - talk to the locals so you know where to avoid and where is a must see. Go explore!
Also... if like my wife you crave char-grilled jumbo prawns with garlic butter then buy yourself a throw-away bbq and do it on a beach at sunset yourselves. None of the locals seemed to be using BBQs and/or were not cooking prawns in the requisite way. We cooked prawns ourselves as the sun was going down on the private beach in front of our hotel. Serious romance points. We'd had to craft our own skewers from hotel clothes hangers and scrape the paint off them with a pen knife in a very laborious way... but it was well worth it. On balance it was probably my favorite meal of the holiday.