Barbados is renowned for a number of things: rum, it’s home to the worlds first rum distillery; love for God, in fact there’s an equal amount of churches and rum shops on the island which is over a thousand; sports such as road tennis and cricket; Ri Ri, the national treasure; and ‘flying fish’, which also happens to be their national dish. We were there for a fleeting visit (just four days), and here’s a list of fabulous things we crammed in:
- Mount Gay Visitor Centre – As home to the world’s oldest distillery (1703), a visit to see the spirit that is embedded into Bajan culture is an absolute must. You can chose from a number of options to suit your tastes, go for s signature tasting or a full blown experience that includes lunch and bottomless rum punches. We’re also super excited by the news that Mount Gay has employed their first female Master Blender Trudiann Branker who we had the privilege to meet whilst there.
- Rum Shops, there’s over a thousand of these. We heard that for every church there is there’s a rum shop next door. So whilst the women pray, the men wait in the rum shop and then head home together for a traditional Sunday feast. We visited Judy’s Watering Hole in Saint Thomas’ which is painted with Mount Gay branding but done authentically so it actually adds to its charm. Billboards aren’t allowed in Barbados so this is a great way of brands to creatively have visibility. We loved our rum punch and feasted on some local snacks including macaroni pie and fried chicken. Ju Ju’s on the beach by Holetown is said to do some of the best rum cocktails on the island, sadly we didn’t make this one but friends who have been have mentioned so we thought it’s worth a mention.
- We were lucky enough to be taken on a luxury Catamaran for a sunset sail and a magical sunset swim. If your budget can stretch to that, we would hugely recommend Seaduced for a truly majestic experience. Don’t worry if it doesn’t there’s tons of adventure tours available who can do fun experiences for a fraction of the cost.
- Oistins is an active fishing town on the south coast and a local hangout and a fab one at that on the weekends – think epic street party vibes. We were lucky enough to visit on a Friday and saw the cutest thing, couples dancing like you imagine they would in the good old days (when people actually danced as couples), having a whale of a time – very sweet and unusual to see these days but absolutely adorable.
- Harrison’s Caves are great for those who like underground adventures. Visit one of natures phenomenons, naturally formed by water erosion through the limestone rock which creates the purist water. Our guide was hilarious and had some great nuggets of information about the island and the caves to keep you entertained. Harrison’s Cave is considered an active cave as it carries water, and it is very much alive as its stalagmites are still growing. The water here is also one of the key ingredients for Mount Gay rum. Not great for those who are claustrophobic but if you can zone out the scary thought it’s worth a visit.
- Tamarind Hotel is where we stayed in St James, a stone throw away from Ri Ri’s place and Sandy Lanes. The views here are insane and as part of the package you can enjoy kayaking or paddle boarding for free which is a nice touch. We also enjoyed cocktails and champagne poolside and loved our version of the watermelon martini (we substituted the vodka for rum instead as you do, ‘when in Rome’). We also visited a friend at The Sandpiper, an award winning luxury hotel situated on the West Coast and like most of the hotels on the West Coast boosts a great view of the sea. Pop in for complimentary coconuts (which you can spike with rum of course – just take it to the bar), or a delicious lunch from Executive Chef, Christophe Poupardin.
- The Cliff is possibly the most expensive restaurant on the island but if you are celebrating an occasion its worth forking out the extra pennies. Torchlit with great views of the sea and great for spotting sharks swimming nearby the food and drinks on offer are rather good too. For a more low key affair and laidback atmosphere pop into Lobster Alive on Carlisle beach, pick your delicious meaty lobster straight from the tank.
- Coco Hill Forest, for some zen and to reconnect with nature. Expect 3 acres of rainforest overlooking the East Coast of Barbados consisting of Bamboo groves, hundreds of Royal Palms and tree ferns. Absolute must is to visit the farm or try a tasty farm-to-table experience at Mamu’s Cafe located at Ocean Spray Beach Apartments in Inch Marlow, Christ Church.
For more info go online to Visit Barbados