Barbados, now a checkmark on my "Bucket List"!Author: Evelyn Dixon (More Trip Reviews by Evelyn Dixon)
Date of Trip: July 2013
Barbados was on my “Bucket List” for a few years, but thanks to my good friend Robert, there’s a checkmark next to Barbados now! So to start this adventure, we (me and my good friends Renea and Will) boarded a 6:30 AM flight on American Airlines, which is the only carrier departing Atlanta, GA going to Barbados. This worked out just fine since it required a stop in Miami, FL where Robert joined us. Now, after Renea and I sampled Tequila, Rum and Vodka at the duty free shop at MIA at 9:00 AM, we were feeling pretty good right about now! Three hours later, we landed in Bridgetown, Barbados ready to get the party started!
Day 1: On the afternoon of our arrival and after settling into our suite at the Plum Tree Resort on Rockley Golf Course, we called for a driver to take us to some eats…but we only wanted to eat where the locals did. Ken took us to Just Grillin, an outdoor eatery and bar, across from Accra Beach. We were all anxious to try the local food, so we just got a mix of different dishes. Both Renea and I raved about the flying fish! Robert loved the jerked chicken and I can’t recall what Will had, but there was NONE of it left on the plate when he finished! Oh, let me just say that the Mango Margaritas were off the chain! They were so good that Renea swore that the local birds had glowing green eyes and were staring at her the whole time we were at Just Grillin!
After our treats, we found our way to Accra Beach. This is one of the most popular beaches on the island, in Worthington, Christ Church. There are several vendors and wayside eateries all along the beach. There are lounge chairs, umbrellas and boogie boards for a small fee. The water was warm and the waves were high enough to catch a really good ride on your boogie board. Best of all for me was watching a group of life guards walking along the shore! OMG, these men were the definition of “buff!” My first thought was, “if this is how they grow them in Barbados, I’m not going back home!” LOL!!
Day 2: Today was a slow start, reviewing several brochures to determine what we wanted to do during the rest of the week. The staff at Plum Tree Resort was good to assist us and made the calls to book all of the activities we planned. Later that afternoon, we took a short walk back to Accra Beach and enjoyed the warm and inviting water. The waves were just right for Will to catch lots of rides on his boogie board! In fact, on one of the waves, he slid right between two ladies standing in the water talking. Imagine the look of surprise on their faces and ours too, to witness this! Will’s got some real boogie board skills!
Day 3: This day, we enjoyed some shopping in Bridgetown. After shopping, we walked to the Boatyard on Carlisle Bay. The Boatyard is a really cool, lively and fun place to hang out for an afternoon. You pay one price, $20 US for all on-site beach amenities that include umbrellas, beach chairs, water activities, beach volleyball, rope swing, ocean trampoline, and food & drinks. We were lucky on this afternoon because they were celebrating a racing event, so admission was free! However, you paid for food & drinks. The rope swing was a lot of fun, except I could not hang on for long! I did my best, but the rope got the better of me! The water felt good though as I made my splash!
We capped the evening off at the Harbour Lights Dinner Show which was filled with a host of talented performers. My favorite was the stilt walkers who really got the audience going. I think the fire eater really needs to consider putting out the fire and retiring though. He’s pretty up there in age, so he’s not as feisty as I’m sure he used to be. I think Robert got a kick out of the lady limbo dancer though as he showed off some of his own moves! He got down pretty low under that limbo pole! Go Robert! I was lucky to find some of the treasure that was buried in the sand, a bottle of rum! Will and Renea danced the night away and won the dance contest! Yes, you guessed it; the prize was more bottles of rum! What a fun evening!
Day 4: It’s good to always have a “plan B”. This day was supposed to be a hiking adventure. However, it had rained late the night before, so the trails were a bit wet and slippery. Our guide from Eco Adventures gave us the choice to continue on, or do basically whatever else we wanted to do. It was unanimous, we switched to “plan B” and Bernard took us on an unplanned 7-hour island tour. Bernard truly knew the island and took us to places where other chartered tours don’t go. Highlights of this unplanned tour included a visit to Codrington College on the east coast of Barbados, sitting high on a hill in St. John overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Codrington College is the oldest Anglican theological college in the Western Hemisphere and was built in 1743. We even got a glimpse of the island’s green monkeys while there. We also had lunch at a very “off the beaten path” restaurant and had what’s known as their national dish, flying fish and cou cou. The cou cou has the consistency of mashed potatoes, but much more tasty. We also enjoyed a scoop of Bico Rum Raisin ice cream which puts Baskin Robbins to shame!
Bernard stopped along the way to explain the natural healing powers of several of the islands local plants. We were even able to spot a few of the mongoose that roam the island. We stopped at Bath beach and watched local men cleaning a fresh catch of what else… flying fish! Several stops included breathtaking views from high up on cliffs looking out to sea. Bernard even entertained us with some of his original poetry, also known as “Spoken Words”. This was a great day! I would highly recommend when booking any kind of tour with Eco Adventures (hiking tour, island tour, horseback riding tour), be sure to request Bernard as your tour guide. He’s the best!
Day 5: This day, we enjoyed ourselves on the Black Pearl Jolly Roger party boat, where the rum punch was free flowing! The crew was awesome and got the party started the moment we set foot on the boat! Our first stop was snorkeling over a shipwreck that was in about 60 feet of water. Our second stop was snorkeling with the sea turtles! These turtles were so friendly and curious; they came right up to you as if they really enjoyed all of the attention!
Now after a few rum punches, I was ready for some more adventurous action, like walking the plank! What a splash I made! Will tried his hand at swinging from the rope and Renea was even ready for a swim, even though she can’t. After a few rum punches though and gentle coaxing from her husband Will, who used to be a life guard, she got up enough nerve to get in for a swim. Will was right there by her side though, to guide her along and keep her safe. I was so proud of her for doing this! Now Robert enjoyed the snorkeling too, but I think he really enjoyed himself with the ladies while HE was pole dancing! Robert was a big hit with the ladies in the conga line too! LOL! What can I say but another great day!
Day 6: Well this was our “chill day”, after all the action from the prior days. Will enjoyed a round of golf at Sandy Lane Golf Course, which he described as one of the best golf courses he’s played at. Coming from an avid golfer, that puts Sand Lane pretty high on the list of beautiful golf courses! Meanwhile, the rest of us just kind of kicked back and relaxed most of the day. This was my birthday though, so the evening was full of celebration!
We enjoyed the evening at Champers restaurant, which is on the upscale side. Champers is one of the finest restaurants on the south side of the island. Originally, I wanted to go to another restaurant that was recommended by Ken our driver, but when we got there, it was closed for the evening. So we went to Champers which Ken had also recommended earlier in the week. I don’t know how they pulled it off considering that we did not have reservations, but our menus were specially made to commemorate my birthday, we had seaside seating and were entertained by their extremely hospitable staff who sang Happy Birthday to me! This was just “icing on the cake” as they say, to an excellent dinner of seafood and seaside ambiance that’s hard to beat anywhere in the world! I highly recommend a visit to Champers for anyone visiting the island! The ambiance, food, views and hospitality was the best!
Day 7: Okay, back to the action! This was our much awaited day for our zip line adventure! Ariel Trek Zip Line Adventures, here we come! This was on all of our “bucket lists”! Now, I don’t mind saying that that I was a nervous Nellie on the ride to the zip line course. Once we reached there, I was sweating bullets, even though I did not let it show…well at least not until I geared up and reached the take-off platform. The staff at Ariel Trek was very accommodating and patient with me. The guide gave us all instructions on how to zip and what to do in case of a mid-air stop.
Robert was first up and even though this was his first zip line experience, he took off like a pro! Renea was up next, with no fear she quickly zipped across to the first platform! My time next, the guide saw the fear in my face and I think he even heard my knees knocking together! With his guidance and patience, he calmly talked me into taking off! Weeeee, there I go, eyes completely closed until I reached the platform! Once I felt the second guide’s hand who was reaching out to pull me in, I opened my eyes and all of my emotions came down. I cried like a baby, but they were tears of joy and excitement in disbelief that I actually did it! Now, this was only the first of 8 platforms. I was in it for the long haul and ready to take on the next platform! Before that though, here comes Will right behind me and of course, like a pro! We made it through all 8 eight platforms, over the top of trees! Without a doubt, in all of my travel adventures, this ranked among the top five most adrenaline rushed experiences I’ve had! And it surprises me to say that yes, I would do it again!
On our last evening on the island, we enjoyed the famous Oistin’s Fish Fry. Oistin’s is a small fishing village on the south coast and the thing to do on Friday is the Oistin’s Fish Fry! Here, you have a choice of seafood and other dishes from several different vendors. Selections include fresh lobster, fish, shrimp, conch and more! This event is frequented by both locals and visitors alike. I suggest getting there around 6:30pm and placing an order for food because as the evening grows, so does the crowd.
After eating, enjoy the music and entertainment. Stroll along the beach, visit the vendor huts and shop for souvenirs. Most of the vendors tend to carry a lot of the same thing, but there are a handful of vendors that have very unique items. For instance, one vendor had some beautiful decorative bowls that were made from fish bones. Another vendor showcased his original artwork of little figurines made from wire and mesh. I found these so interesting that I bought one myself. There was no little sticker on the bottom that said “made in China”. It was truly an original! Oh and yes, you can negotiate price with them, if you have the patience to do that. Another great day!
Day 8: Sadly, our Barbados adventure had to come to an end. I dreaded this day, but was so thankful that I had the opportunity to check two items off of my bucket list! Barbados is a must for anyone who likes to visit the Caribbean Islands. Don’t miss it!
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