Sunshine, seawater and surf… What more could you ask for?
We’ve just come back from a week in Barbados and the island took my breath away.
The people were super chilled and friendly; the beaches were beautiful; there was surf and – best of all – we spotted turtles…
We stayed on the south-western coast of the island, in Christ Church at the Sugar Bay Hotel. Situated right on the beach with a pool (and swim up bar), the hotel was amazing. Staff were helpful, location was brilliant and we had a breathtaking view from our balcony which looked right over the beach.
Leaving the comfort of the hotel, we managed to cram a fair amount into our short time there. If you’re travelling from Europe, I’d recommend staying for longer – 10 days would have been perfect!
Here are some of our highlights from the beautiful Caribbean…
We did three surf lessons with the team at Barry’s, based just down the coast in Salt Ash. Each lesson lasts two hours and they loan equipment (rash vests and boards) for the duration (with board rental an option for those booking multiple lessons with them).
Thankfully, the team at Barry’s met and smashed every single one.
More to come in a separate blog post…
Snorkelling with turtles
From nearby Carlisle Bay we jumped on a glass bottom boat which took us round the coast to two very well-used snorkelling sites. The trip took one and a half hours and to start with, I was sceptical.
We snorkelled over a shipwreck, spotting hundreds of colourful fish – but also surrounded by quite a few catamarans and groups of tourists.
When we got to the second stop-off, the two-man crew promised us turtles.
One of the guides jumped into the ocean and beckoned us to follow him, telling us the turtles were in his direction. Unsure whether to believe him or not, I followed, only to feel a tug on my leg. I spun round and saw Luke pointing – there was a turtle heading in my direction. Honestly, if I’d reached out my arm, my fingertips would have brushed its head – the creature was so unbelievably close.
I turned slightly and saw another turtle to my left – also incredibly close. Together we watched the two turtles swim together until we could no longer see them in the water.
Beyond doubt, the most incredible experience of my life so far.
Racehorses at the beach
This was an insider tip from my Dad, who had been to Barbados before. Leaving our hotel at 6am, we walked towards the Garrison Savannah racecourse which was about 15 minutes away from Sugar Bay. Spotting one of the handlers walking a horse down the road, we followed and ended up on Carlisle beach.
What we saw, kept us on the beach for over an hour…
One by one, horses are walked down from the racecourse into the ocean. They’re given a wash in the shallows before being encouraged to swim a couple of hundred metres out, with handlers and groomers holding on to their harnesses. At some points you could just make out their heads above the surface and when they got back, their nostrils were flaring from the efforts they’d made swimming.
It was an incredible thing to watch and I never thought I would see horses in the sea like this!!
Spotting a green monkey
One evening as the sun was setting, we decided to walk along the beach. Turning right from our hotel, we walked along the shoreline, dipping our feet in the ocean.
At one point, we had to walk slightly inland among the trees and it was here that Luke just stopped and looked up. He said nothing and I asked what he was looking at.
“I just thought I saw something” was all I could get out of him for about two minutes.
Do you see that little face hiding among the foliage?
That’s a green monkey; mischievous little creatures which have called Barbados home for around 350 years. We spent about 10 minutes just watching him scamper across branches, eating leaves and even staring back down at us.
To spot one of these guys hiding among the trees, literally on the coast, was amazing.
Cherry Tree Hill
On one of our final days, we hopped in a car with my Dad and his partner and drove around parts of the island, visiting a number of places including Bathsheba and Bridgetown.
One of the areas we headed for was a well known vantage point called Cherry Tree Hill. The views from here are spectacular and no matter how many photos we took, the images just couldn’t do justice to the view.
Rolling fields, small towns and incredible blue seas just lie ahead of your vision. It has to be seen to be believed.
We always say that with so many places in the world to visit, it’s unlikely that we’ll go to many places twice.
But thanks to the surf, the turtles, the friendly people, the delicious food and the beautiful beaches, Barbados stole a part of our hearts. We’ll definitely be going back.