10 Things You Must Do in Barbados!

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In November, AB introduced me to SecretFlying and showed me that I could go to Barbados for a sweet deal. I thought long and hard about it for all of one minute and hit that button! When I bought the ticket, I was not sure that I would have travel companions. It didn’t matter. The price was good, the location had been on my mind for along while, and hey, it was travel!

The week before we left, I started to feel a tad guilty. I had just returned, in January, from a two-week long vacation from work. I was leaving again for a week. But wise counsel let me know that a time will come in my career and personal life when I will not be able to just up and go as I please. When that time comes, it would be nice to have these memories and satisfaction of “been there, done that, loved it”.

I went there, and loved every minute of it. Actually, I was sad to leave. Sniff. So here goes, 10 things you should totally do in Barbados when you visit 🙂

1. Be a Bajan

“I’m a Bajaaaaan, a Bajaaaan”

Lyrics from one of the songs that followed us everywhere on the island. I am a novice traveler. In my mind, however, not so much. From speaking with people who have done a lot of travelling for the sake of learning about the world, there is no better way to do this than immersing yourself; becoming one of the locals. To do this, where you stay is important. In this age of airbnb, why not stay at an apartment; in a house; surrounded by locals. Let’s be honest, a nice hotel or resort can make one too relaxed to go out. I know they can make me lazy. The one day that we took a break and spent all day indoors, we kept laughing at ourselves for doing exactly what we would be doing on a Saturday back in our NY apartment.

Barbados

Travel- First Aid Shop in Barbados

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Bus Stop

2. Catch the sunset on Dover Beach

People! People!! People!!! Sunsets. Before my first evening on the island, I could not remember the last time I deliberately watched and appreciated a sunset. My theme for the year is to live deliberately. Perhaps it was the new eyes with which I was looking at the sunset but man, jaw-dropping gorgeousness. The lack of artificial lights on the beach, the vast body of water and then the small burst of yellow light from the heavens that appear to kiss the water at the corner…

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Beautiful Sunset- Dover Beach

3. Take a sip of 18-year-old rum at St. Nicholas Abbey

Every place has its history. Where it has been. Why things and people are they way they are. St Nicholas Abbey is a 350-year-old sugar cane plantation where slaves toiled. It has a small rum distillery on-site that produces premium ‘made-in-Barbados’ rum, no dilution involved. Part of the tour of this impressive property includes rum tasting. Hard liquor is not my jam but even I could appreciate the smoothness and richness of the 18-year-old one that we tasted. As the Yorubas will say, “o de be” (translation: it hit the spot). The first distilled rum that is produced is clear, colourless. The rum is usually aged in huge wooden barrels. This is how they get their caramel/ brown colour. The older the rum, the darker the colour.

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- St. Nicholas Abbey Entrance
St. Nicholas Abbey entrance
Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- St. Nicholas Abbey
Hats of an owner, a policeman, and a planter
Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- St. Nicholas Abbey- Rum
Cheers!
Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- St. Nicholas Abbey- Aging Rum
Rum aging in a barrel
Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- St. Nicholas Abbey- Fine China
Look at that china
Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- St. Nicholas Abbey- Old Radio
The radio still works. “Sometimes it picks up stations that play Nikki Minaj…”

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- St. Nicholas Abbey- Bajan Rum

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- St. Nicholas Abbey

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- St. Nicholas Abbey

4. Fall in the middle of beautiful waters at Carlisle Bay

If you can’t swim and you decide to spend a week on an island, a time will come when your friends will convince you to ride a banana boat. You will be hesitant. You will not want to give in to peer pressure. They will tell you that you need to live a little. A part of you will agree and so you will drop your book on the beach chair and go into the water with them. You will struggle to get on said banana boat and then you will experience the tale in this image:

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Carlisle Bay- Banana Boat

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Carlisle Bay- Banana Boat
Before the ride…
Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Carlisle Bay- Banana Boat
Right before the fall.
Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Carlisle Bay- Banana Boat
After the fall. Spot the difference.

5. Munch on fried breadfruit at Chillin & Grillin

I have to say that there is not a wide variety when it comes to food in Barbados. We did not try all the local dishes as suggested on the internet. Every time we asked for where to get some local food, we were met with “at this time? There’s probably nothing.” These responses were given as early as 5pm. Anyway, thanks to our tour guides (everyone on this island is a tour guide BTW. Everyone is a cabbie, a tour guide, a water sport instructor, you name it. Where their pure grade sugar used to be the number one export, tourism is now in close running) we found Chillin & Grillin (hi Ralph!). This is where we had our first taste of breadfruit. I tried the grilled and fried versions. Fried version all day! Bajans also make a mean macaroni pie. I do not think I can eat mac and cheese anymore after having the bajan mac pie almost everyday for a week. So good! And the seasoning that their fish and meat are cooked with? My my my… had to come back with the Bajan seasoning.

6. Have a rum punch

Or two, then three. Have rum punches everyday. The recipe? 1 sour, 2 sweet, 3 strong, 4 weak (or 4-a-week, like I thought I heard my teacher say). Sour could be lime or lemon juice. Sweet is your sweet syrup, whatever you choose. Strong is the rum. Weak is the water. When you get sick of rum punches (and I doubt that you will), find a market and hook you up with some natural wine. These are wines made with food/ fruit ingredients. They have flavours from rice to plaintain to local fruits like sorrel and gooseberry.

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Fresh Natural Coconut Water
Proper coconut water
Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Natural Wine
Display of natural wine

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Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Fresh Natural Coconut Water- Coconuts

7. Ride the Reggae Bus to Bridgetown

White small buses that literally play reggae music at the highest possible volume. They cost $1 per ride (2 Barbadian dollars) and are not the most comfortable. But they are cheaper than taking a taxi everywhere and this way, you get to hear that Bajan dialect in true form conversation. The Bajan dialect is to Bajans what pidgin is to Nigerians. Pretty difficult to understand if your ears are untrained.

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Ride The Reggae Bus- Bridgetown Bus Station
Bridgetown bus station

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Ride The Reggae Bus

8. Go wok-up at Oistins Fish Fry

“So, you girls coming to oistins tomorrow night?”

“Yaaas! We will be there. Are we going to see you whine?”

*laugh*
“We don’t whine. Jamaicans whine. We wok-up.” *impressive demo commences*

So the fish fry happens every friday night. It is basically an evening of good food, drinks, and music that morphs into a night of dancing outside to a DJ that feels the need to interrupt the music every second to remind the crowd what his voice sounds like. Tis a lot of fun! You meet locals, who contrary to what we thought, do not seem to do a lot of wokking up. You meet tourists who seem so much in awe of the scenery.

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Wok Up- Oistins Fish Fry

9. Party for 5 hours on a catamaran cruise

Best. Activity. Hands. Down.

These begin at 9:00am, usually, and go on until 2:00pm. We did ours with Cool Runnings and had an amazing time! The crew, besides being there to ensure safety of the cruise and passengers, are there to aid the fun to be had. The boat usually stops at two locations – one a ship wreck where passengers can snorkel and another at a secluded beach where passengers can swim with turtles. Best believe that I did not do any of those activities. Too much chicken. The cruise included a filling and yummy lunch and then after that, we cranked the party up right until they kicked us out of the boat.

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Catamaran Cruise- Snorkeling- Cool Runnings III

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Catamaran Cruise- Snorkeling- Cool Runnings III

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Catamaran Cruise- Cool Runnings III

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Catamaran Cruise- Cool Runnings III

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Catamaran Cruise- Cool Runnings III

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Catamaran Cruise- Cool Runnings III

10. Learn about the island from Harrison’s Cave

Harrison’s Cave is a crystallized limestone cave. Of all the islands of the carribean, Barbados is the only island that was not formed via volcanic eruption. It is formed from upward moving coral. The Bajans pride themselves in not getting natural disasters. They always seem to pass over them. This is why they believe that God is a Bajan.

The water in the cave is said to be 99% pure because they are naturally purified by the limestone.

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Harrison's Cave- Calcium Deposits
Looks like a shrine, no?
Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Harrison's Cave- Calcium Deposits
Eventually, the top and bottom shall meet to form a column… in approximately 2000 years
Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Harrison's Cave- Calcium Deposits
Calcium deposits, not snow.

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Harrison's Cave- Calcium Deposits

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Harrison's Cave- Calcium Deposits

The island reminded me a lot of Lagos, if Lagos was quiet and not so densely populated. Having experienced the people for a week, I think that I can say with some certainty that Bajans are friendly and warm. We went against many of the teachings that mama gave – do not talk to strangers, do not enter a stranger’s car, do not go to a stranger’s house. These are things that we will not do in the city that is home to us.

Barbados is not a cheap city, however. The barbadian dollar is pretty strong. 2 barbadian dollars in a dollar (sigh, Nigeria. Sigh). Of course, because this is a desirable tourist destination, you have to be ready to pay and pay for everything (even sea shells!).Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados-

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Visit Crane Beach
Crane beach

As with every trip, no matter how many reviews you read and testimonies you hear, you need to find that which appeals to you for yourself. The Bajans say that the best time to visit is in August, during crop over. So if you are thinking about visiting, perhaps August will be a good time to just go!

Travel- 10 Things You Must Do In Barbados- Party on the Jolly Roger
The Jolly Roger. She is supposed to be THE party boat

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P.S: There shall be a guest post soon about how we went to Barbados for 7 days on less than $1,000. Watch this space.

Love,

MeeMee

xx

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The Joy!

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13 Replies to “10 Things You Must Do in Barbados!”

  1. Barbados is a great place. I’m glad you had a lot of fun. Oistin’s on a Friday is everything and then some.
    The accent is something else… they talk about African accent, but wait until you hear a Bajan speak raw! lol
    I’m glad you had fun.

  2. Wanderlust o. 😍😘
    I especially love the picture of St nicholas abbey, it’s so beautiful and colorful.
    The banana ride is something i totally see myself trying.
    The picture of the market totally reminds me of lagos and those mallams who display their items in wheel barrows.

  3. Yes yes yes. You did it all girl! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 HOW GORGEOUS IS CARLISLE BAY?? Unbelievable. And Harrison’s cave was great! Crane beach is so beautiful! And yassss go Oistin’s Fish Fry! It’s so lit on Fridays 🎉

    I love Barbados forever.

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