An insiders guide to Barbados from our very own Brand Ambassador Natalia Wolski
Having visited almost every year since 18 years old, Natalia describes Barbados as somewhere that “feels like home”. This is a place her and her family adore so much, that her parents even decided to buy a holiday home so they could enjoy it all year around.
Barbados is a magnet to those looking for sun, sea and the potent local rum punch. Travellers have flocked to her turquoise shores for decades and the island has become a paradise for jetsetters, satisfying the highest standards of luxury whilst simultaneously retaining a rustic charm. A much-loved playground of the rich and famous, winter bolthole to many a sunseeker, and famed for stunning beaches, sparkling seas and luxury resorts.
If Barbados has been a place on your wishlish, read on whilst Natalia shares her love for the beautiful Caribbean island – Barbados…
My love affair with Barbados began almost three decades ago and this vibrant little gem in the Caribbean has punctuated the key moments of my life. An annual pilgrimage from the age of 18, it quickly became a second home, spiritually and practically. Barbados has given me a husband (fortuitously working there at the time), a wedding, and two christenings in what has become our family church, high in the hills of St. John. The attraction of Barbados for me lies not in her glitz and glamour, but more in her simplicity and charm. Scratch the surface and explore beyond the five star hotels and you will find a country rich in history, faith and personality. Bajans are a proud nation with a strong faith, a very unique identity, and a history of triumph and resilience over adversity.
Passed down through generations, chattel homes are carefully maintained and painted in a rainbow of colours, and are often found juxtaposed between the hotels and private villas of the glittering West Coast. Tradition and worship is still so key in communities. Wind your windows down to see the ladies in their Sunday best, resplendent in their modest dresses and hats as they sing loud and soulfully in their local churches. Divided into parishes, much like British counties albeit a fraction of their size, each has a very unique personality.
Despite its modest size, (21 x 14 miles), you would be forgiven for thinking you were in a different country entirely when you cross from the serene turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea in the west coast to the rugged East Coast and the wild beauty of the Atlantic Ocean.
East Coast Trip
A trip along the East Coast is a must while you’re on the island - car hire is easy and they even drive on the left. When asked what Natalias favourite part of Barbados was, her answer was the east side thanks to it’s breath-taking beauty as a result of remaining reasonably untouched.
Don’t miss St. Nicholas Abbey for a tour of a traditional rum distillery, or buy handmade souvenirs amid breath-taking views at the top of Cherry Tree Hill, before journeying down through local villages, bordered by sugar cane fields and banana plantations. Children and adults alike will love the refurbished Harrison’s Cave, an active cave network that was excavated in the 1970s. In your subterranean tram you can journey deep within and see the amazing stalagmites, stalactites and white flow stones. Find locally handmade, beautifully painted pottery at Earthworks, and escape the heat of the day at Flower Forest Botanical Gardens or Hunte’s Gardens. Children will love observing native green monkeys at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve.
The Party Side
The South Coast, traditionally the ‘party’ end of the island, brings a more bustling and hedonistic feel, with beach bars and nightspots that are a little more low key. The famous Oistins Friday Night Fish Fry has long been a Barbados institution, popular with locals and visitors alike. The huge white beaches and calm waters provide an array of watersports opportunities. Keen windsurfers and kite surfers alike flock to Silver Rock to enjoy the perfect conditions that the winter season, from December to April, brings.
The north of Barbados brings more rugged and breathtaking scenery at North Point, where you can enjoy a local lunch, perhaps macaroni pie, a flying fish cutter, or a roti. Visit the natural sea cavern, Animal Flower Cave and, if you’re really lucky, in the winter months you can watch the humpbacks as they bask in the warm tropical waters. Roads and signage have improved over the years but relax and take your time, Barbados style, and enjoy the views. Be careful to avoid the mongoose and perhaps patronize one of the numerous rum shacks and ‘Auntie bars’ along the way!
No matter your holiday aspirations, Barbados really does have something for everyone. Barbados is Little England by name and nature, but comes with rum, even more cricket, and better manners than England. Add Barbados to your bucket list and begin your own Caribbean love affair.
Sojourn – Winter 2020 Edition
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