SIX COOL EXPERIENCES IN BARBADOS
1. SOLITUDE AND PSALMS
A visit to St. John’s Parish Church in the hills of Barbados is a huge treat. It’s a pretty church, with stone work that’s been etched black and tan by decades of sun and rain and wind. The interior features lovely wood work and stained glass windows. The real treat for some is the atmospheric cemetery, where many of Barbados’ most famous residents are buried. Others come for the views out over the southeast corner of the island. Rolling hills covered with deep green forests fall gently down to the coast, with rolling surf and the blue Atlantic Ocean in the distance.
2. GET YOUR HOCKEY ON
Bert’s Bar is said to have been the first place on the island with Satellite TV. It’s now fairly common, but they still pack in the sports fans at this spot on the south coast. That’s especially true when Canadians come to town, as the bar is partly owned by Canadian Eugene Melnyk, owner of the Ottawa Senators. Senators games, and NHL games in general, are a staple on TV at Bert’s. You’ll also find framed hockey photos on the walls and other sports memorabilia. There’s a nice patio as well as indoor seating, and they’re famous for their banana daiquiris.
3. GOOD EATS
You can do high-end Japanese or Thai at Zen, a beautiful spot overlooking a fantastic beach at Crane Resort on the south shore. Maybe even more fun is a short walk to Cutters, a cutter being the local slang for sandwich. The flying fish sandwich comes on a lovely bun and you can add your own hot sauce. It’s moist and flavourful and delicious, so much so that Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant stopped by a couple years ago for a bite. You can find his photo on the wall. Cutters has won international awards for its rum punch, which is downright dangerous and not at all sweet. Down at Miami Beach, also known as Enterprise Beach, you’ll usually find a food truck called Mr. Delicious. They make a nice chicken and potato curry roti and also a wicked coco rum punch. Try a breakfast up at the Round House on the wild east coast near the town of Bathsheba. The views out to the Atlantic are tremendous.
4. GO UNDERGROUND
The only animals you’ll see are tiny sea creatures, and you probably won’t spot any flowers. But Animal Flower Cave on the north coast is still worth a visit. You climb down into a cave with jagged, slippery rocks (wear old shoes with treads or good sandals that you don’t mind getting wet) and traipse around for 15 or 20 minutes, admiring wild rock formations and pools of water deep enough to swim in. The water is warm and inviting, and there are great views of the surging, green-blue surf pounding onto the black rocks outside the cave. Mind your camera and your iPhone.
5. YO HO HO AND A BOTTLE OF RUM
Most folks know about Mt. Gay rum from Barbados. Lesser known is the pretty St. Nicholas Abbey in the north part of the island, where they have their own distillery. There are nice gardens and a pretty tasting room in an old home. You’ll find a fun video talking about life on the old sugar plantation that used to be on the property, including footage of kids working away in the fields at the tender age of 11 years old. Not far away is the Morgan Lewis windmill, a towering wooden structure that’s said to be the only working windmill left in the Caribbean. Stop at the top of Cherry Tree Hill for great views and vendors selling locally made jewellery and fresh coconuts. This is a pretty easy island to navigate, so try renting a car. Just be sure to practice a little left-side-of-the-road driving in the parking lot before you head out.
6. GO FOR THE GREEN
Royal Westmoreland is a fantastic golf course on the west coast of the island. There are limited public hours but it’s a beauty of a layout, with plenty of elevation changes, exposed walls from an old quarry and views of the Caribbean from every hole. You’ll also likely find green monkeys scampering about on a couple holes. Just down the road is the Green Monkey course, part of the posh Sandy Lane Resort. I spotted some famous English footballers there a few years ago, and Tiger Woods married Elin Nordegren at the Green Monkey clubhouse. Then again, that didn’t end so well, did it?
What are YOUR favourite things to do in Barbados?