We've had 'local' holidays in recent years. You know, places like Spain which is just a flying bus ride away. However, last year I wanted to go to the Caribbean and so we had a look what holidays would cost. Not as bad as we expected so we booked up for Barbados for 10 nights.
The hotel - South Beach Hotel - was lovely and our 1 bed suite had a nice king-sized bed in the bedroom (girls had that) and a sofabed and 2nd single bed in the lounge area (hubby and I took those). There was a full size fridge/freezer, cooker and funky microwave that did almost everything but wash up! We settled in and went for a wander along the beach opposite us (Rockley Beach) and the boardwalk. We were trying to persuade the girls to eat as they'd not had much on the plane when we realised it was actually 1.30am in the morning according to their body clocks as, of course, Barbados is 5 hours behind us. Poor things. Off to bed then.
|Looks comfy, but make of metal!|
One of our first adventures was going to the beach. The one opposite our hotel was a bit too rough for children (daily yellow flag warnings) so we headed down on a reggae bus (more about that in a mo) to Pebbles Beach. This was much calmer water and the girls could get in and play or jump over the waves whilst we baked on the sand. The beach was in front of a hotel so we could only really buy drinks there (pricey!) but we stayed until after lunchtime and then headed back to the pool.
Off out for another nice meal in the evening. The girls loved getting dressed up (although the cardigans really weren't needed).
We went off into Bridgetown which is the capital but didn't find it very easy to navigate around without a map so ended up getting a taxi back to hotel for dinner.
We tried out a few places to eat at The Gap but, to be honest, we weren't very impressed with the food and it was really expensive (about £100 for 4 main meals - 2 of which were from children's menus - 3 soft drinks and a beer. We only once had a dessert as Chilly Moo's ice cream was just around the corner from us and much nicer and cheaper). Our favourite place to eat was Swagg, the restaurant that was attached to our hotel and the prices were very good too!
Lots of beach fun and pool fun but we were getting red rather quickly, despite the suntan lotion. On the Saturday, we decided to visit Harrison's Caves. We got a taxi there and back and had a great time looking around the caves. It was incredible when they turned all the lights out. Dark! You literally couldn't see your hand in front of your face!
|View from our room|
Sunday we were back at the beach and having fun in the waves. We always sat in the Copacabana Bar area as they had great beach service.
I asked the girls if they wanted to go out on a jet-ski (jet bike really but they call them 'skis' don't they) and they did. I hired one and sat N in front and S held on. Off we went leaving hubby on the beach. We had a great fun 30 minutes whizzing around. We ended up doing that twice as the girls wanted to go next day as well.
We also had a 2nd go on the glass bottom boat seeing the turtles but this time was nowhere near as good. Why? Well, the cruise ships come in every Wednesday and Thursday and the beach fills up, as does everywhere else around. People snorkeling for turtles looked like a scene out of Titanic! There were yellow life vests everywhere from the launches and 'booze cruise' that arrived. Grown adults were pushing the girls and other children out of the way to try and reach the turtles. We moved away from the crowd - after flippering a few people full in the face - and low and behold, the turtles just came around near us. Fabulous. We got great views and could touch them before the Titanic survivors reached us *grin*.
We also did a complete island tour with our taxi driver, Paul. He took us to Sandy Lane, where all the stars and rich hang out first.
|Rihanna's Apartments - One Sandy Lane|
Then up to Speightstown to have a look around.
Then on to the very North of the island, to the Animal Flower Cave (we didn't go in as we'd heard a about it and it's not very good apparently) where I found a geocache (yes, of course I do that on holiday).
|North of the Island at Animal Flower Cave|
Fed the green monkeys at the animal reserve.
Then we headed back on the East of the island which has very rough water but great for surfers. The girls went and found shells on the beach (well, 'found' is an over-exaggeration as Paul had dropped them for the girls as the beaches often didn't have any and he didn't want them to be disappointed - how lovely).
Glad to be back home after our 5 1/2 hour trip.
So, onto those reggae buses. These are like a mini-bus that holds about 18 people, except they often old more. They stop anywhere and toot you to see if you want to get on with 1970's musical car horns! Crazy. You pile in and it's $2Bds/$1US anywhere per person. The girls loved it! You hang on for dear life on some - no seatbelts - often with the girls sitting on our laps with reggae music blaring out as you go along. Absolutely bonkers!
We also found that if you want to cross the road, you stop and wait and within 15 seconds someone will stop for you to let you cross. Can you imagine that in the UK? Hope we don't get run over now we're back!
|Sunset in Barbados|
|Sunrise in the UK|
All in all, Barbados was beautiful and so laid back. Would we go again? No hesitation.