We asked destination expert Linda Thompkins (@justatraveler) where to find Barbados’ best beaches, restaurants, shops, attractions and things to do…
Q – What are the best family-friendly beaches in Barbados?
A – “The beaches along the western and southern coasts have the calmest waters as they border the Caribbean Sea. The best family-friendly beaches on the southern coast are Accra, Dover, Miami and Maxwell. On the western coast, family-friendly beaches include Batts Rock, Folkestone, Mullins Bay and Brighton all of which have public facilities, beach rentals and restaurants either on the beach or close by. The eastern side of the island borders the Atlantic – this is home to the experienced surfing crowd and with giant waves, no swimming is allowed.”
Q – What kind of food should I expect in Barbados?
A – “The island’s national dish is flying fish and cou-cou, and you can order your fish fried, baked, steamed or grilled. Cou-cou is made from corn meal and okra, and has a very creamy texture. Pudding and source is another local favourite consisting of steamed sweet potato and pickled pork. Pork, sweet potatoes and even breadfruit are all pickled with hot peppers, onion, lime and cucumber. Cutter sandwiches are popular at lunch, these are made with Bajan salt bread with a choice of fish, ham, chicken livers, cheese or egg. Other staples in the local diet are plantains and macaroni pie.”
Q – Can you recommend restaurants to suit a range of tastes and budgets?
A – “Barbados is the only island in the Caribbean to have a Zagat rating, and there is an abundance of restaurants featuring every possible cuisine from around the globe – for every price range. Affordable dining choices include the island’s own fast food chicken chain Chefette which offers pizza, rotis, and they have a kids menu. Try some of the best cutters on the island at Cuz’s Fish Shack in Bridgetown, and enjoy the beach. Restaurants on the south coast with a kids menu include McBride’s Pub, Harlequin Restaurant, Café Sol Mexican Grill, and Lucky Horseshoe. The most affordable fish dinners on the island are located in the town of Oistins on the southern coast which features a Fish Fry every Friday night. Wonderful romantic dinners for adults can be found at The Tides, The Cliff, The Fish Pot, Champers, Cin Cin, Cariba – and Lemongrass for wonderful Asian cuisine.”
Q – What kind of local wildlife can visitors expect to see and where?
A – “Green monkeys can be seen all over the island, and the best time to view is in the early morning hours. Small birds are used to being fed around the resorts, so do not be surprised if they show up on your balcony looking for crumbs. The Barbados Wildlife Reserve is definitely worth a visit – go for the afternoon feeding, and get a close up view of green monkeys, giant turtles, armadillo and exotic birds such as parrots, flamingos, pelicans and peacocks. Watch your handbag as Green Monkeys can be cheeky thieves! While not seen, all night long the tree frogs (also called whistling frogs) can be heard all over the island with musical chirps at a rate of one every second.”
Q- About the Bajan lifestyle and culture, are the locals friendly?
A – “Barbados is known for being the island with the most return visitors, and this is mainly due to the friendliness of the locals.”
Q – Are there any special customs people should know in advance?
A – “The culture is a mix of British and African customs and traditions. Bajan people appreciate a smile, along with good morning or a simple hello and they love to talk about their island. Locals prefer that visitors wear cover ups when leaving the beach and heading to restaurants, bars or even back to your villa. There are no nude bathing beaches in Barbados.”
Q – What are the most popular sports in Barbados?
A – “Cricket is king in Barbados and this sporting tradition dates back to the 1800’s when British soldiers were stationed on the island. Cricket is played on local greens and at the Kensington Oval. Other popular sports are horse racing, sailing and road tennis – and one of the most popular activities is dominoes! Horse racing at the Garrison Savannah is a family affair.
Linda Thompkins – Destination Expert
Linda Thompkins is a Caribbean travel consultant, writer and destination expert. Throughout her career she has worked as a travel agent, consultant and destination specialist. Her travels have been taking her around the Caribbean for more than 15 years. Visit her blog Travel 2 the Caribbean.