In your dream you were on an idyllic tropical island, surrounded by aqua-marine coloured sea and beautiful white sand. Until a few years ago visiting the Caribbean island of Barbados, Antigua or St Lucia for most of us would have been just that – a dream! Thankfully, there are now many resorts that have been developed which help to sustain the local economies of these countries, and provide a warm and inviting destination for holiday makers. In countries such as Barbados, many of the hotels have become the resort themselves – mini communities, for example the Almond Beach Resorts. These places have become temples of hedonism; by day, supplying an unbelievable array of water sports and the perfect sunbathing platform. By night, the place comes alive with the smells of fantastic local cuisine and the throng of the nightlife. Most of these types of resorts are all inclusive, but if you have travelled from Europe or the US, you should be curious to discover as much of the ‘real’ country as possible. Barbados is part of the Caribbean archipelago and you are considering what you should do to enjoy your stay. First thing you should is relax, or ‘chill’ as the locals say. The island may only be small (21 miles in length, and 14 miles wide), but there are plenty of activities to enjoy. Mix this with the all-year-round healthy climate and the warmth of the locals, and you have the right blend necessary for the holiday of a lifetime.
Gorgeous Beaches One of the obvious attractions to a Caribbean island is the knowledge that you are going to experience some amazing beaches. Barbados is no exception to this rule with over 70 square miles to choose from. Here you will find a mixture of sugary white and exotic pink sand, on an island that is quite flat and easy to move around. The beaches have gentle slopes and owe their existence to the Island’s coral reefs that have been ground down by the ocean over the millennia providing the perfect foreground to a picture-postcard Caribbean scene. One of the most dramatic areas to experience is the southern beaches, where the gentle waters of the Caribbean Sea collide with the might of the Atlantic Ocean. This is a lively area, perfect for snorkelling and many other aquatic activities.
Cricket at Kensington Oval Barbados is also famous for producing some of the best cricketers of all time. Malcolm Marshall, arguably the fastest bowler of all time, was a local and regular at the Kensington Oval alongside Joel Garner – so often the tormentor of visiting national teams. Take a trip to the ground, located in the capital Bridgetown and take a look around the stadium. Stroll out to the wicket and inspect the playing area or the ‘wicket’, and to try to imagine that you are the team captain and have to make a test match decision whether to bat or spend the day in the hot sunshine fielding.
Cuisine After an exhaustive session on the beach or a long haul around the local shops, most people will have worked up an enormous Caribbean-style appetite. Perfect, because this country is famed for its amazing local food. The culinary styles of the island reflect the rich cultural heritage of the island, yet still manage to subtly draw on unexpected international flavours. Most holiday makers are keen to sample the local cuisine, and the styles generally tend to incorporate many fresh regional ingredients. The staple diet is seafood, provided by the local fishing fleets which are able to offer a rich choice including snapper, dolphin (known as mahi mahi), king fish, bill fish, barracuda, yellow fin tuna and many different types of shell fish. In some places it is even possible to find flying fish on the menu. One of the local delicacies is a ‘cutter’, which is basically a sandwich made from flying fish. This is often served with a side dish of ‘coucou’, which is a dish made from cornmeal and seasoned with okra and topped with tomatoes, peppers and onions.
Bio Peter is a travel agent and writer, and advises customers on the delights of Caribbean and all inclusive Barbados Holidays.