A eyeful en a bellyful (Seeing is different from having – a bajan proverb)

3 months ago I managed to nip my fear of flying in the butt and book Christmas in the sun – something very much going against my nature being north European and used to a traditional white Christmas plus a major fear of flying longer than an hour top. But my urge to see something outside of Europe once again (it’s been 4 years), to enjoy the simple island life and the satisfaction to put an out of office on for 3 weeks convinced me in the end. 2 weeks Barbados – 2 weeks of beach, nature, Caribbean cuisine and life style were waiting for me and my better half from the 23rd of December onwards.

When travelling to Barbados, I can recommend the following 4 things:

1. Stay in a Guest house

2. Rent a car for a few days

3. Go deep sea fishing

4. Cook you own bajan dish

These 3 points really made my stay on the Island, I’ve never been a fan of staying in big hotels with all-inclusive and Barbados seems to be overrun by these kind of resort hotels – very grand and very in your face. We were lucky enough to find a little gem of a guest house in Dover, just 5 minute walk from some of the nicest beaches in Barbados and St.Lawrence Gap – Allamanda Guest house. Gabi, who runs the Guest house, is a soul of a person – we have our own room with en suite bathroom but shared everything else with her and another guest. With full access to kitchen, patio and garden it gave us the independence we wanted – you can take advantage of all the great fresh local produce, cook your own bajan meal and enjoy being outdoors, not cocooned up in your hotel room or surrounded by the same other 200 people in the dining room. I can only recommend choosing a guest house over a hotel!

In this post, I wanted to share some of my experience of some of the great beaches along the South and West coast line of Barbados.

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When it comes to the area, there are some of the nicest beaches within 5-20 minute walking distance: Dover beach is one of the largest and most popular with the tourists. Turtle beach is the front beach of a big hotel resort but also open to the public – it’s a lot smaller than Dover beach, more personal and there are some great waves to spice up your swimming routine. My favourite is Worthing beach – it is at the end of St. Lawrence Gap, away from the big resorts and cheap bars. Here you get more of a family feel, you see more locals enjoying the beach and it is a lot quieter.

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If you head in the opposite direction from Dover, you hit Oistins Beach – don’t be put off by it’s position right by the main road, it is a large quiet beach with gentle wave and no hassle or rush from the resorts. Apart from someone trying to sell you a coconut, you are on your own. There are quite a few hidden bays along this beach, so best thing to do it just go an explore.

If you have a car, I can only recommend Bottom Bay. This is a beautiful little gem, a little bit further up the south coast heading east towards Bathsheba, it is hidden between large rocks, you have to find the wooden stairs to descend down the cave and then you emerge on the short stretch of beach, with palm trees that actually offer shade (something very rare on this Island!) and some of the best waves you can ask for if you are not a server but just want to play at the shore. The beach is “run” by two guys who have a cool box with cold bears and soft drinks and harvest the coconut trees for you for one of the freshest coconuts you can get in Barbados.

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If you feel sporty – head down to the south tip of the Island, here is where the kite surfing fun happens. Surfer’s Point and Silver Sand beach are a lot ore “rougher” than the pampered south west coast line with all its hotels. Here you find mainly guest houses and villas, and as the wind is blowing double the speed than in Oistins and Co, you will end up with miles of beach just for yourself and your towel. The surf here is still fairly easy, so more for beginners and learners, but if you are a kite surfer, this is right down your road and you can rent a kite for just 3 hours for around 60 US dollars.

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I am not the biggest fan of the West Coast of Barbados, again it is lined with resorts and as it build up to Sandy Lane – THE hot spot for the rich a famous, you really start to lose the feel of the Caribbean island and it just becomes a playground for the american Dollar. One little gem we did find whilst exploring – Batts Rock Beach. If just just walk a little along the beach heading north, you hit a little bay in front of a hotel fence – don’t be put off, it is a tranquil little space with lots of shade and gentle waves. Perfect for snorkeling as it is quite rocky with a few little reefs close to the shore line.

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