Bathsheba & Round House Inn Restaurant & Bar
In my mind, the most fascinating part of the island is the eastern part. There are waves worthy of surfing (& the surfing competitions that are held there), rocky beaches for exploring (rather than swimming) & a restaurant (& four room inn) that serves the best macaroni pie on the island.Bathsheba is the ideal spot for taking this all in. Surfer’s paradise, it offers great inlet beaches & cliffs overlooking the ocean where visitors can get a bird’s eye view of the surfing below. When you’re driving to Bathsheba, do yourself a favor & take the route which takes you over Cherry Tree Hill – the views of the east coast are spectacular from there.While in Bathsheba, you can grab lunch from any number of places, including the little place with the authentic Bajan buffet I wrote about here. But I like the Round House Innthe best. A reservation is a must if you’re headed there on the weekend, or any day of the week during tourist season. All the food is good, but the macaroni pie is an absolute must – think a baked ziti casserole with macaroni & cheese instead of ziti & tomato sauce.
I have been to Harrison’s Cavetwice during my five visits to the island. The only reason I haven’t been more is because I can’t convince anyone who has already been to go again. This is puzzling to me. Since Barbados is a limestone island, verses the rest of the Leeward Island chain, the underground caves are unlike anything you’ll find on the other islands – they’re more like what you would find in the middle part of the United States. Harrison’s Cave was opened to the public in 1980 & reopened to the public in 2007 after extensive excavation & renovation to turn it into the exhibit that it is today.Visitors board a tram, like something you’d see at Disney World, & are driven down into the cave by the tour guide, who is probably the politest person you’ll meet your entire trip. Throughout your drive down, the tour guide remotely illuminates sections of the cave, revealing amazing rock formations. There is an opportunity, at the lowest point in the cave, get off of the tram & explore a small area, but the tour really is family & handicapped friendly, as you’re seated the majority of the time.By the way, if you’re thinking about heading up to the north shores of the island, stop by Harrison’s Cave first. The 15 minute information video at the beginning of your cave tour will really help you understand the island’s formation & appreciate the cliffs & rocks you’ll see on the north Atlantic Coast.
Adult $60.00 BDS, 1 Child (12 years and under) $30.00 BDS
I’ve written about the coastal area near the Animal Flower Cave before. There is another area that is equally amazing, but much more off the beaten path, called Little Bay(I should note that while this link to the Barbados Tourism folks says that Little Bay is safe for swimming, I think it totally depends on the wave height that day). I couldn’t even begin how to tell you to get there – there aren’t any helpful government sponsored tourism signs like there are for the Animal Flower Cave – but if you head to the north-east side of the island, one of the vendors selling shells or coconut water on the side of the road would be happy to help direct you.It’s hard to put into words how spectacular there places are. No where else do I feel so close to nature than I do when I’m here. The 40 foot waves crashing up against sheer rock face. The salt water spray that gets in your hair, on your cheeks & on your camera lens. The feeling you get when you look around at the rocky terrain & wonder if you’re actually on the moon.If you take any of my suggestions while you’re in Barbados, take this one. I can absolutely guarantee that you will not be sorry. (Photos below are of Little Bay)A side note: I admit to never actually having been in the Animal Flower Cave. I have heard from others that it is quite damp & claustrophobic, so that was enough to draw me to the view & away from the cave. But if you’re in the area, & interested in that sort of thing, you can pay the $20 BDS to the man at the café for admittance down the rickety stairs. The view, however, is free.
Before my Dad moved to the south coast of the island, he lived up on the west coast in a gated resort community. Our three trips there were different – it was truly like staying at a resort, where you could limit yourself as much as you wanted to the outside world (I much prefer where he is now, where I can walk out onto the street with everyone else). Outside the walls of his community, down the road past another resort hotel, is the town of Speightstown. I loved exploring here because it got me out of the walls & into daily Bajan life. Women sell fruit outside stores along the street. Boutiques stock the latest Caribbean fashions. Men play dominoes inside the bars – at all hours of the day. The waves wash up on Speighstown’s little beach as the fishermen bring the haul up to the agriculture building.It’s not glamorous & you may not see another tourist the whole time you’re there. But it’s authentic – & isn’t travel all about getting the authentic experience, not the one manufactured for visitors?
Barbados gained its independence the British empire in 1966. To this day, it remains a popular place for Britons to come visit (as is evidenced by the two British Airways flights & one Virgin Atlantic flight a day that land there from England). Because Barbados is not only a popular tourist destination, but also an important destination for business travelers to the southern part of the Caribbean, British Airways established service between London & Barbados on the famed Concorde airplane. The Concorde only had four regular destinations – London, New York, Paris & Barbados – & only 20 planes were ever built. Barbados was one of the first primary destinations for the Concorde, because of its eastern location & available infrastructure to accommodate the plane.From 1976 to 2003, the Concorde made regular Saturday morning landing’s in Barbados, attractive quite the crowd of on-lookers. Now, one of the Concord planes sits in a hanger just outside the grounds of the Barbados International Airport. But this isn’t just a plane in a hanger – this is an entire experience. There lights that illuminate different sections of the plane as you listen to narration pumped over the loud speakers. A flight simulator allows you to take the yoke & see how difficult it was to actually land one of these things. Visitors even go up inside the plane, taking a seat in one of the surprisingly cramped & uncomfortable seats.
Flying certainly isn’t what it used to be – pat downs at the security check point, tons of fees, cancellations & delays. The Concorde Experience gives you the chance to look back at a time when flying actually was luxurious.
(P.S. I’m not paid or perk’d to write this kind of stuff. These people have no idea who I am. I just love Barbados & want you to get the most of your trip there.)