Barbados Highlights

Here are our “Barbados Top 7”: Our favorite memories from our stay there and our top recommendations to anyone going there. We had an amazing time on this charming, beautiful, welcoming island, and we definitely see ourselves returning some day.

(1) Snorkeling with sea turtles and jet skiing

We snorkeled with sea turtles: Such an uber touristy thing to do in Barbados, but we really loved it! We took a ride in a glass bottomed boat, which sounds cooler than it is because the glass part is pretty small and you can’t actually see much through it, BUT the boat stopped twice to let us off to snorkel, once with a shipwreck and once with sea turtles. We had a blast and I got to check snorkeling off my 30 before 30 list. We also went jet skiing for the first time ever!

Protips: No advanced reservations necessary, just show up at Pebbles Beach and someone will find you within five minutes and ask you if you want to take a glass bottomed boat out to snorkel with sea turtles. The price they’ll suggest is negotiable: You can and should bargain it down! Snorkel gear is provided. Jet skis can be rented from the same people, for 15 minutes at a time.

 

 

(2) Swimming in the most beautiful turquoise water

Does it get any better than that? It was hot in July, and the water was so, so perfect. Accra Beach and Pebbles Beach were our favorites.

 

 

(3) Exploring Harrison’s Cave

I’d never seen a cave before, and it was somewhat different from what I expected. I don’t know why, but I expected stalactites shimmering in blues and purples and greens. There were stalactites alright, but they weren’t colorful. I guess my image of caves came from cartoons maybe? Anyway, I was thrilled to get to see my first cave, because I love doing things I’ve never done before.

Protips: You can get here from the south or west coast very cheap by public transportation, but it will take a while! We didn’t mind because we enjoyed getting to see some parts of the island other than the beaches. Some water will drip on you during the cave tour, so wear clothing you don’t mind getting a bit wet. But don’t expect a hard core adventure trek or anything: You’ll be riding through the cave in a small open train with a guide. It’s totally safe. You do get a few chances to step out of the train and walk around.

 

 

(4) Eating lots and lots of fish

From beachside “cutters” at Cuz’s fish shack to late-night fried marlin at Baxter’s Road, we ate a lot of delicious fish in Barbados. Foods we sampled for the first time ever included marlin, dolphin, and flying fish, as well as breadfruit, macaroni pie, salt bread, ackee, and coucou. More yummy Barbados food photos and recommendations right here.

 

 

(5) Strolling through St. Lawrence Gap

With its lovely views, fun hip vibes, and plenty of food and drink options, St. Lawrence Gap was the perfect place to spend a warm summer evening.

Protips: Don’t miss the two for one happy hour specials or the famous “gap burger,” and check out Scoopie’s for live music!

 

 

(6) Enjoying coffee and dessert with some friendly ducks at Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

We stumbled into this lovely little nature sanctuary by accident when we got caught in a sudden rainstorm on our way to St. Lawrence Gap. We ended up spending at least an hour here. There’s a little cafe, indoor and outdoor seating, beautiful lush green scenery, and interesting wildlife, including ducks that waddled right up to us hoping we might share our food.

 

 

(7) Riding in ZR vans

We used ZR vans to get around the island, rather than taxis. We loved this means of transportation because it reminded us SO MUCH of Kenya’s matatus! The van arrives at a gallop, tooting its fun, goofy-sounding horn, windows open, reggae music blaring, and you climb in with ten or so other passengers. Such fun.

Protip: Just jump in a van going the direction you want to go (toward the East or West coast?) and tell the driver or a passenger where you’re going. They’ll let you know when to get off.

Barbados was our first visit to the Caribbean (another first!) and we absolutely loved it. We can’t wait to go back!

Dreaming of palm trees, sand, and sunsets…

 

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My “30 before 30” list

Because I’m the kind of person who needs to make herself lists like this so I don’t spend the next three years sitting on my couch sipping ginger tea and watching Friends for the fourth time through.

  1. Go to South America.
  2. Run a 10k.
  3. Run a half marathon.
  4. Learn to salsa dance.
  5. Go parasailing, hang gliding, or ziplining.
  6. Write and publish something, anywhere.
  7. Learn to speak Kiswahili. Improve my Spanish.
  8. See the Northern Lights.
  9. Read at least 30 new books.
  10. Cook at least 30 new recipes.
  11. Go to Iran or Cuba.
  12. Learn how to do yoga.
  13. Take a jewelry, pottery, or woodworking class.
  14. Participate in an open mic night.
  15. Road trip out west. See the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Portland, Seattle, LA. (I’ve seen pathetically little of my own country!)
  16. Learn some Kenyan and African history.
  17. Watch all my 2015-2016 ELL 9th graders GRADUATE!!!
  18. Learn how to code. (They say it’s the new literacy?)
  19. Go windsurfing, paddle boarding, or snorkeling.
  20. Keep a plant alive for more than a year.
  21. Have a baby.
  22. Learn the major guitar chords. Be able to play at least 3 songs decently well.
  23. Start seriously saving for a down payment, retirement, etc. Get an IRA. Get better at budgeting.
  24. Bench more than just the bar.
  25. Buy a good camera and learn how to use it.
  26. Learn to make at least five cocktails really well.
  27. Learn to make really good coffee.
  28. Really seriously master makeup, skin care, nails, and dressing myself. Invest in the perfect little black dress, the perfect pair of comfy and gorgeous leather boots that will last for years, and a timeless handbag.
  29. Keep a gratitude jar for a year.
  30. Do at least 30 random acts of kindness for complete strangers.