What to do in Barbados
Why the review?
We stayed for a 2 week break at the Coconut Court Hotel (you can read the review of the hotel by clicking here) in Hasting, Barbados in July 2017 and we were set to explore the island. Without some guidance it can be a little overwhelming to find some great things to do, hence the review of the island.
There are loads of things to do but we have picked some of our favourites to start people off in the right direction.
Moving out of our hotel the first place to visit is the ‘Mama Mia’ deli about 50 meters up the road, which you can eat lunch at or order a take away pizza in the evening. If you go further up the road towards Bridge town, past the Garrison, you start to hit a few more places to try out, including an Indian, Jamaican and a few others.
Most hotels also accept bookings from visitors, the Hilton and the Radisson looked to have some great eating venues but expect to pay more to use their facilities compared to the independent places dotted all over the place.
We need to mention this little shop. Just next to Mama Mia’s deli there is a shop that we called the $10 shop. Yep, take a bag, 4 bottles of Banks beer for $10 (Barbados) and quick trip back to the fridge in the room allowed us to have a beer whilst we got changed for evening shenanigans and we saved a small fortune.
Going the other way from the hotel, towards Oistins is a better walk (facing the sea turning left), 50 meters along the beach you hit the ‘Board walk’ a decked walk way that stretches off into the distance and has loads of food places along the beach, Blakeys looked great and the Tapas bar did too. A little further you could do a KFC (but why would you?) Then there is Bubba’s (fantastic coconut shrimp) on the other side of the road and a little further along again there is Cheffette (Barbados answer to McDonalds). These are up to a mile from the hotel we stayed at and easy walking, just make sure you have the right shoes if you chose to walk the beach front.
NOTE – Food in Barbados, compared to the UK is a little more expensive, unless you are happy to really go out into the country and try new things like Oistins Fish fry then make sure you budget. Oistins fish fry is well worth a trip, their busiest night is Friday with music and loads of people, the Saturday is slightly quieter. There are $2 (Barbados dollars) to $1 (US dollar) and both are readily accepted around the island.
Transport up and down the main road outside the hotel is easy. They are all $2 (Barbados dollars) and will pretty much get you anywhere between Bridgetown and Oistins. There is a bus stop outside most hotels however it is worth mentioning the transport.
The big blue busses are the recognised Barbados busses, these do not give change, only stop at the but stops and run infrequently.
The yellow “reggae raggae” bus (as most play music) are the same size, give change, only stop at the stops and run the same route, again not so frequent.
Then we have the ZR busses – these are white mini vans, that run the same route and you are almost guaranteed to see (or hear them honking) one every few minutes. The registration plate starts ‘ZR’ and they have a number ’11’ sticker on the front. They will pick up and drop off anywhere on the route and not stick to bus stops and they cram as many people in as they can. There is no harm in checking the occupancy first before deciding to wait for the next one.
We wanted to spend as much of the holiday on the beach, however again we wanted to see the island so we did venture out. We walked to Bridgetown from the hotel (about 2 miles). We took lots of water and a hat, it got quite hot.
We walked to ‘The Boatyard’ (check out the separate review) a couple of times. Once was along the beach, going under the bridge at the Radison hotel, but this is hard work. It is about a mile away from the Hotel on Carlisle beach – we have written a review for this place – check it out.
We walked to ‘St Lawrence Gap’ which is the other way towards Oistins, again just under 2 miles from the hotel. This was worth the trip for all the eatery places (and then a ZR back).
Evenings in Barbados
In the evenings we would stroll down the Board walk and one evening we took in the Garrison Tour, again we have done another review for this trip, as it is important to recognise the work and effort these people have put into maintaining the history. You can read it here.
Evening in Barbados is kicked back and relaxing. There are some really cool looking beach night time places, certainly St Lawrence gap can fill this need, as well as a visit to Oistins!
On the first day we went out for a walk, about 11 o’clock in the morning along the board walk, we were waved at by a mad woman. She had a look of determination in her eye that made us walk wide. As we got closer we saw a crowd gathering and we stopped, stared in amazement as there was a nesting Turtle just off the boardwalk. The ‘crazy’ woman was a Turtle Patrol volunteer. We got as close are we were allowed and spoke with her. She was a Marine Biologist and told us how lucky we were to see this as turtles never nested in the day and this was a one off.
We took a few snaps, chatted to the volunteers about what happens and left amazed. These critically endangered, Leatherback turtles were just beautiful and their plight (1 in a 1,000 survive) was a story in itself.
This then lead to us knowing why there was torch lights being shone up and down the beach every night at the hotel, as these intrepid, hard working volunteers kept a watchful eye on the turtles, recording and checking on nesting sites as they went.
Need a Treat?
As we were away for my partners birthday, we booked a one-day pass to the Sandals all inclusive resort ($125 US each) which granted us access from 10.00am until 6.00pm (needs to be booked the day before). We had food, drink, entertainment, beach, pools, loungers, everything that the $400 a day (US) paying clients had. It was worth the day rate, especially as we ate all 3 meals there, drank enough rum to sink a small boat, all for the cost of 2 meals at a posh restaurant elsewhere.
We had stayed mainly around Hastings for the duration and speaking to the lady at the activities desk in our hotel, we arranged a hire car for one day, so we can get out and view the rest of the island. It was a good deal as we checked the internet. The hire was an all in one charge (including a Barbados driving permit).
We had a small car for the Sunday (as it was quieter on the roads), it had air-con and was an automatic. We paid extra for a sat-nav and when we met the hire delivery man, Julian he showed us previous peoples places they visited on the the stored info on the device which made it easier for us to track a route.
We zipped around the whole island, stopping at different beaches and enjoying the different aspects of the island. Found a great place to eat and got back safely. It cost us $30 (Barbados – as we had the air-conditioning on constantly) to refuel but we saw the entire island and it was worth it.
Check your hotel can do extras!
At the end of 2 weeks, on our last day we had arranged with the front desk our transfer back to the airport, and we booked a day room for an hour (free of charge) so we could shower and change from the beach. However the rum party from the night before changed our plans a little (ouch!).
Thanks to the hotel with a 12.00 check out, we were able to have a lay in and be out the room for 12, nursing only a small hangover. Sitting in the activities desk room, in the cool, reading and watching TV for a few hours saw us right to get back in a taxi for our transfer back to the airport.
That was it, apart from a very easy check in and comfortable departures lounge we were on a plane and back in Blighty before we knew it.
We truly loved this holiday, it was different to our normal breaks. Very satisfying that we got to see the island for what it is all about. Had we not stayed at this hotel in Hastings we would not have done all these things, been so close to everything and seen a nesting turtle.
Until the next holiday, we will always have Barbados!