Traveling is one of those things that you either love or you hate. And if you hate travel, we have to know: how come? Travel is truly a superb experience that everyone has to engage in at least once. However, if you don’t like travel anymore, it might be because you’re not sure where you could possibly go that you haven’t gone. There does come a point where you might feel a little bit burnt out on the standard travel options. Maybe you’ve already done the travel destinations that are close to home, and you need a change of pace.
Might we suggest the Caribbean?
Now, we know wheat you’re thinking — if we suggest the Caribbean, you’re going to automatically assume that we mean Jamaica or something like that, and that’s not where we’re headed. We think that Jamaica is great, and we have another guide on Jamaica if you’re really interested in that. We actually wanted to talk about another destination that’s truly overlooked. You might even know a few famous people that come from this tropical paradise, like Rhianna.
Still not sure where we’re talking about? We’re talking about going to Barbados, silly!
Here’s what you need to know if you really want to make a big splash in Barbados.
The people of Barbados like to have fun, but there isn’t as much separation of themes in the culture of Barbados. Spirituality and religion are very important themes, so you should make sure that at least maintain a certain level of respect for someone else’s background — as long as you are respectful and treat people the way they should be treated; you definitely will have a great time in Barbados.
Tourists that have repeatedly gone to Barbados state that one of the main reasons why they go to Barbados so much is that the people are so warm and friendly.
The people of Barbados serve up a unique blend of different cuisines that all fall under one umbrella: Bajan. No matter what the ethnic background, you’re going to find something delicious on the island during your stay. You can of course stick to more “American” fare, as it is offered on the island… at a marked premium. However, you can also dive right into the food that makes this island worth checking out in the first place.
Spices are going to be the stars of the show, because they add intense flavor to just about any dish. The big dish that is served almost everywhere is going to be flying fish and cou cou. Cou cou is very much like polenta, which is very much like grits or hominy if you’re used to eating that. The flying fish is deboned and served with gravy and herbs, as well as a variety of vegetables and plenty of butter.
Fish cakes are also pretty popular, and that’s no surprise — it’s an island nation. Of course anything to do with fish is definitely going to get a lot of attention. If you’re really a fish-lover, you’ll adore how many different types of fish are on the menu for you to try.
A wide variety of starches are also available, if you’re looking to get some more tasty “vacation calories” — sweet potatoes, yams, breadfruit, cassava, and rice. Breadfruit is a new one on us — it’s actually a green fruit that looks like a football. It has a more potato like taste, but it’s definitely worth trying if you make it out to Barbados — it’s definitely a bit different than russet potatoes.
We couldn’t really leave you with a guide to all things Barbados if we weren’t going to at least tell you about a few places that you can visit, right? Right!
There are day cruises where you and your travel group can ease around the water in true comfort. You can always swim, sail, and snorkel around the island — there are plenty of outlets for you to do that.
Tours give you the best of everything as well — you can do a 4×4 safari tour and cut down on your walking. Contrary to popular belief, there are also tours of museums and even rum distilleries — if you’re an adult and this interests you, have fun with it!
If you’re going to really explore the island, you will definitely want to rent a car — you can rent a car very cheaply because the service is well established. There’s plenty of competition so there are price wars that you can take advantage of. A quick travel search will reveal the best deals, so include this in your budget if you really want to tour the island when it’s convenient for you.
The Expat Factor — Could You Really Live in Barbados?
If there’s one thing that you’ll notice in Barbados, it’s that if you really want to live there it’s going to take a lot of money. Unlike other island nations, there is a significant cost of living because everything has to be imported — there are not a lot of products that are produced in-house. There are some deals to be had on some things, but mostly you’re going to have to make sure that you have a solid amount to live on if you don’t want to “rough it”. Most expats would like to live comfortably on their money, which means that Barbados might not be the answer.
In addition, if you’re used to rushing around at the speed of light, living in any Caribbean country is going to require some getting used to. Things are done a bit slower; the pace is a lot slower than you might be used to if you’ve lived in an American city your whole life.
Should that get in the way of really enjoying everything that Barbados has to offer as a resident? No, not at all.
If you’re going to really make a good show of Barbados, you really need to make sure that your budget is outlined. No, really — we know that we tell you all the time to do this, but if you’re really going to enjoy yourself in any Caribbean nation, you need to figure out what type of travel you’re going to be interested in. We are big fans of budget travel and you can definitely do Barbados on the cheap. However, if you really want to treat yourself there are a lot of different things to do that will indulge your luxury side. Barbados has experienced a bustling new tourism vibe that was designed to attract people that love to spend money. So if you’re into shopping, fine dining, and other luxury-leaning things, you’ll find that in Barbados too.
We often get asked whether or not this is going to be a great place for children to visit with families, and the truth is that Barbados has a little bit of something for everyone. If you really want to get the most out of your visit, you might want to see what the family wants to do. Swimming and other activities are just part of the package when you’re talking about the Caribbean, but don’t count out guided tours and other “natural” treats!
When it’s time to travel with a large group, you will want to be kind to yourself and actually give yourself some extra time to plan everything out. If you’re going to be splitting all of the expenses, you will want to make sure that you collect the money early so that there are no hard feelings or problems. You don’t want anyone to be angry with you for being money-oriented, but you also don’t want to have to dig down into your own pockets to pull out money that would be better spent on your own vacation.
Overall, there is a lot to love about Barbados — it’s a good and safe island country just waiting for you to check it out — why not get started planning your trip today?