In our first installment of our Wanderlust travel series, AmPopsy Founder & Executive Editor, Palanda Brownlow, shares her favorite experiences from her visits to the Caribbean island of Barbados.
Years ago, while interviewing for my first real corporate job, my soon-to-be boss casually mentioned that part of my job would entail traveling to Barbados for board meetings. “A Caribbean trip every year on the company dime? Where do I sign?” I gleefully thought to myself. Sure enough, several months later, I was flying first-class to this incredible island-country that I soon came to regard as a second home.
The first time I landed in Barbados, I remember feeling nothing but a great sense of gratitude as the warm night breeze greeted me. It was a feeling that enveloped me every day as I explored the island, relaxed on its sunny beaches, or simply fell asleep to the nightly song of the tree frogs that always seemed to find me no matter where I stayed on the island…
Eateries to check out….
Tides – A gorgeous, ocean-front restaurant filled with local art and incredible food, Tides is the perfect setting for a romantic dinner or a fancy night out on the town with your besties. Its unique dining room (It literally has trees growing through the floor and roof!) will take your breath away, while the food and delectable cocktails will leave you full and happy.
Oistins Fish Market – No trip, and I mean, NO trip is complete without a visit to the Fish Market. While there are several fish markets in and around Bridgetown, this one is the biggest and is home to the popular Friday night block parties which, at least pre-Covid, was packed with locals and tourists eager to sample the fresh seafood and the very good, though dangerous, rum punch that Barbados is known for. Here, local vendors serve up fresh lobster, snapper, and rice and peas (to name a few) at incredibly affordable prices. And believe me when I say, the food is good.
Where to Stay…
The Colony Club – I stayed here on every single trip I took to Bridgetown, and I was always impressed by the impeccable customer service I received each and every time. Best of all? The staff remembered me every time I returned which always made me feel incredibly special. The property boasts private beach-side lounging, an on-site restaurant and spa, tennis courts, a fitness facility, two bars, and an outdoor garden that features exotic birds. And call me crazy, but I also loved their turn-down service…
La Maison Michelle – The only black-owned, private luxury resort in Barbados, this resort sits on a hilltop on the island’s “Platinum Coast” and has everything from themed rooms to a private poolside beach area and dining gazebo.
What to Do…
While no one could blame you for spending your entire time in Barbados lounging pool and/or beachside, you’ll not want to miss the magic that the rest of the island offers. Here are a few of the activities that I enjoyed during my visits to this beautiful paradise.
St. Nicholas Abbey – If you love rum like I do, then you’re sure to enjoy touring the grounds of St. Nicholas Abbey, a distillery and rum plantation. Here, you’ll learn about the plantation’s history, receive an insider’s view of how rum is made, tour the historic home located on the property, and, of course, enjoy a rum tasting. You’ll even be treated to the sight of some pretty amazing wild and exotic animals who also call the Abbey home.
Harrison’s Cave – If traveling to the center of the earth is something that you’ve always wanted to do, then Harrison’s Cave is for you. Situated between Holetown and Bathsheba Beach, this active limestone cave has stalagmites and stalactites that would make any spelunker proud. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this was definitely one of the coolest experiences I had in Barbados.
Hunte’s Gardens – Owned by Bajan horticulturist Anthony Hunte, this magnificent garden is filled with a variety of tropical flowers, plants, and even a few animals. After enjoying an afternoon of peaceful exploration, visitors can trek up the hill to enjoy snacks and libations with the owner himself who is always happy to share a story or two with his many guests.
Activate Vacation Mode….
Not quite ready to take the plunge? No worries, these items are sure to put you in a Caribbean state of mind until you’re ready to hop a plane to serenity.
Equiano – Billed as the first premium Afro-Caribean rum, this award-winning rum is 100% natural with no added sugar, color, flavoring, or spice. Owned by Ian Burrell, an Afro-Caribbean hailing from the UK, this rum company does more than make great spirits, it also donates a percentage of its profits to ground-level freedom and equality projects annually. Now that’s something we can all raise a glass to!
Bahamas Rum Cake Factory – True story. I’d never had rum cake until I sampled a few while touring this shop in Nassau, Bahamas. As soon as this delicious rum-soaked delicacy hit my taste buds, I knew I was in love. With flavors such as cinnamon, caramel, and keylime, you’d be hard-pressed to not fall deeply, madly in love with these beauties. And since they ship world-wide, you don’t even need to leave your house to experience the joy.
Medford Craft World – If you’re looking for something special and unique, then treat yourself or a loved one to an incredible sculptural piece handcrafted by Bajan artist, Reggie Medford. Created from Bajan mahogany trees, each of Reggie’s pieces are stunning in their individuality.