For our second year anniversary Mr. Deals and I went to Barbados for 5 nights. Prior to going, I really did not know much about Barbados except that there was a direct flight from JFK on both American and JetBlue. Prior to arriving the only reservations made were a car rental and hotel – we’d figure out the rest once we got there. The goal was really to relax, explore the island, and enjoy the sun and beach. My husband was particularly excited as there is some good surf on the island – he gets very excited to go to any spot that Kelly Slater enjoys!
Our JetBlue flight arrived at around 1:30pm and by 2:30 we were on the beach at our hotel. Going through customs was quick and the car rental process was super easy. I rented through M.A.H car rentals. It is a small family owned business that will deliver the car to you wherever you so desire at no extra charge. They were extremely easy to work with and the cheapest place I found. There are probably 50 or so car rental companies on the island, so just inquire at a few places and go with the cheapest one you find (at least that would be my recommendation). I’d also highly recommend the place we rented from! We rented a moke and it cost about $250 for 5 days. The moke has no doors and is just a fun car for exploring the island. The mokes are very popular amongst the tourists, but just keep in mind they are small and trunk space is limited if you plan on carrying a lot with you each day. I am really glad that we rented a car as it allowed us to explore the island easily on our own time. Many tourists I spoke to take the public bus system, which they say is easy and cheap, but I personally liked being able to just jump in the car and go. If you just want a car for a day or two, the car rental companies will drop off at your hotel, so there is no problem there.
Day 1 - Resort Day and Oistins Fish Fry
We arrived on a Friday and spent the rest of the day enjoying the beach and pool at The Crane Resort. That evening we headed to Oistins (a city in Barbados) to go to the Fish Fry. This is an extremely popular place to go to on Friday nights amongst both the locals and the tourists. There are probably 20 or so little shacks set up to order local Bajan food. There is music playing and later in the night it turns into a huge party. It was a really fun experience and I enjoyed immersing myself within the Bajan culture. Many of the food vendors are open every night of the week, but Friday night is the big popular night as it is the start of the weekend. If you are not in Barbados on a Friday night, then try to go on Saturday night as I hear it is a happening place then as well.
Day 2 – Checking out the Beaches at the South and West Coast
On our second day in Barbados we headed to the South. Our first stop was a surf spot called “Surfers Point.” My husband rented a board from Zed’s (one of the large surf shops on the island) and I relaxed on the beach. If you are not into surfing, this particular spot is not one to really see and there is no public beach access. We stayed for a few hours and then made way to Miami Beach (also in the South part of the island). This beach is absolutely beautiful and the water is extremely calm. While we spent more of our time in the water, you are able to rent beach chairs, boogie boards, and umbrellas. Actually, on most beaches throughout the island you are able to rent these beach items. This beach also had a little shack where you could get a flying fish cutter for about $5. Flying fish is a local food and a must have. Almost every menu includes a Flying Fish Cutter, which is just a breaded fish sandwich.
After hanging out at Miami Beach for a little we drove up the West Coast to Holestown. This is the wealthier area of the island where there are many nice hotels and huge houses. This is where the famous Sandy Lane Golf course is located. The Fairmont hotel is in this area as well. It was a really nice drive up the coast and we stopped at a few beaches for a bit. This area is where you can rent jet skies and other motorized boats. After hanging out for a little we decided to make way back down the coast and stop for dinner at a beach bar. The restaurants in Barbados range from these low-key fun beach bars to $125 minimum per person fancy restaurants. We stopped at a recommended beach bar called Caribe. It is right on the beach and a great place for lunch or dinner. It is near St. Lawrence Gap and on a great beach to spend the day at as well. If you want a fun atmosphere right on the beach, I highly recommend this restaurant. It is anything but fancy and you can go right in your beach wear – my type of place!
Day 3 – Exploring the East Coast and Bathsheba
The next day we decided to check out the east coast of the island. We drove along the coast and stopped at some random beaches and lighthouses along the way. The east coast is along a cliff so there are some beautiful views. Our end destination was Bathsheba. It was right past “Soup Bowl” which is one of the famous surf spots in the Caribbean. We parked our car in front of the Round Hill restaurant and got lunch there. It is a great restaurant perked up on a cliff. It has great views and excellent food – I highly recommend! Afterwards we walked down to the beach where the water is rough and not as calm as the west coast. Due to the location of the reef close to the beach these little pools are formed to wade in. This is where our beach bag was stolen from right under our nose. It was not the end of the world, but definitely unfortunate. It made me think no less of the island as theft can happen anywhere, just left me with some lessons learned and to be more cautious. The day ended early as we were left with no clothes aside our bathing suites. After hanging out with the police filling out a police report we went back to the hotel. Although we were sad about this theft, everyone on the beach and at the restaurant were so helpful and kind.
That night for dinner we ate at the Italian restaurant in the Crane Resort. The prices were very reasonable and the food was great. If you want to sit outside though, make sure to make a reservation in advance!
Day 4 – Relaxing at the Crane Hotel
This day was spent lounging at the hotel, enjoying the Crane Beach on site and the many pools the hotel has to offer. At one point this beach was voted one of the “Top 10 Beaches in the World.” It really is a beautiful beach, but not sure I’d label it top 10 in the world. Since the hotel is on the east coast, the water is rougher, but the waves can be a lot of fun! The cliffs were really cool and you had to take a glass elevator ro get to the beach.
That evening we actually headed back to the Caribe beach bar as we loved the food and atmosphere so much!
Day 5 – Back to the South Coast
Out of all the beaches we saw in Barbados, we really loved the south coast beaches. They were fun, relaxing, great scenery, beautiful, etc. The day started out sort of gloomy so we parked the car at Accra Beach and just walked along the boardwalk for a while, passing by many beaches along the way. Many of the beaches are more cove-like, so there are rocks preventing you to walk from one beach to another. However, in January 2012, this great boardwalk was built allowing you to stroll along the beach for a few miles. We got smoothies along the way, admired the scenery, and judged the various hotels we passed by.
On our walk back we could see the dark clouds rolling in, but luckily enough made it back to where our car was parked. We ate at another beach bar for lunch, called Side Shore. It is similar to Caribe as it has the fun, chill, beach atmosphere. It absolutely down poured during our lunch and pretty much until dinnertime. We just hung out at the beach bar and enjoyed a few Banks Beer (the local beer of the island – very cheap and good!). When the rain let up slightly, we decided to brave the drive home in our moke. Remember, no doors, so we got slightly wet. Definitely a fun Caribbean experience.
That evening we ate at Zen restaurant at the Crane, which had fabulous views of the beach and ocean. It is a top rated Asian restaurant on the island perched up on the cliff.
Day 6 – Time to go Home (sad face)
Our flight did not leave until 2:20pm, so we were able to spend the morning swimming at the hotel pool. We made sure to arrive at the airport two hours prior to departure time to give us enough time to drop off the car, check in, and clear customs.
We were definitely sad to head home as we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Barbados. I actually cannot wait to return back some day especially since you can fly JFK to Barbados for 25,00 British Airways Avios points roundtrip! Availability also seems to be great. The same flight on Amerian Airlines using AA miles would cost you 35,000 miles. Another great usage of British Airways Avios miles!