Sunday, December 5, 2010

Travel Pick- Barbados. Friends choose their favorites.

Carlisle Bay

FashionMom and Friends Travel - Barbados

Brief History.

Barbados is the eastern most Caribbean Island. The island is less than one million years old and was created by the collision of Atlantic crustal and Caribbean plates along with a volcanic eruption. It is geologically unique, two land masses that merged together over years (coral formed accumulating about 300 feet).
The first indigenous people were Amerindians, the Arawaks and Caribs from Venezuela. The strong warrior Caribs eventually ruled the island. 
The Portuguese came to Barbados en route to Brazil. It was at that time the island was named Los Barbados (bearded ones) by the Portuguese explorer Pedro a Campos. It was names after the island’s fig trees, which have a beard like appearance.
 The Spanish arrived and gained control in 1492. They imposed slavery on the Caribs. A combination of slavery, small pox, TB and other diseases led to an end of the Carib population on the island. However the Spanish left the island open for anyone who wanted to colonize it.
The English arrived.
In 1625 England claimed the island under King James 1.
Sugar Cane was introduced to the island in the 1630s and thus came the need for labor in the form of white indentured servants. Kidnapping victims and convicted criminals were forced to work the lands for sugar, tobacco and other crops. Between 1644 and 1670 Dutch merchants provided slave labor from Sierra Leone, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Nigeria.
Slavery was abolished in 1834. It was followed by a four year apprenticeship period (45 hour work week for no money in exchange for living in huts provided by the land owners). Formal freedom was thus celebrated in 1838.
The island gained full independence in 1966.
 There are tourists all over the world, the largest majority are from the UK,Americans and people from other Caribbean islands and South America.


Please note there is much to see and do in Barbados but these are our personal picks. Please refer to official guide books for other information or check with your local hotel for tips and information.

From:  DG

Barbados is so beautiful, we stay on the south coast near to Accra beach and when we're there I go for my walk on the boardwalk every morning as long as there is no rain. I can stop for a dip in the sea on the way back.
 It is truly amazing. My family and I feel safe while vacationing in Barbados.  
We go out for dinner, ice cream at night, we can walk anywhere in the evening and have not been harassed by anyone. The Bajan people are warm and welcome tourists to their country.
The beaches are wonderful and cater to your needs - there are calm beaches, others with lots of waves. Whatever your taste there is a beach for everyone.
The boys also like the Crane Beach. There are many beach options.
 My kids like Chefette for lunch and Mama Mia's lunch or dinner, Southern Palms has a great Sunday lunch on the beach with live steel pan music.
The Crane has a Gospel Breakfast -buffet style breakfast with gospel singers.
Paulos is a fantastic Brazilian restaurant.
Oistins Fish Fry is a must on Friday nights.
Champers if you want to treat yourself
Barbeque Barn or Just Grillin for easy family dinners.
We also like the Flying Rabbit for lunch; they also have a pool, shooting range and pool table there. We like the Accra Beach best and the Barbados Yacht Club.

Shopping at the Brighton Market on Saturdays is a treat but it is an early morning 6:30- 7:00am is best.
 If you are looking for all inclusive vacation there are not too many places. It is the type of island where you go out and blend with the locals.

  From: AM - Barbados

Shopping – Harrison’s and Cave Shepherd for souvenirs, books, perfumes, colorful beach wraps, caftans and magazines.
Little Switzerland and Columbian Emeralds – jewelry.
Earthworks Pottery- for really cool signature pieces and gift items.
Street and Beach Artists- who make really cool sculptures and jewelry
St Lawrence Gap for just hanging out.
Beaches on the South and West Coasts.

 From: FashionMom

All of the beaches are open to local and tourists. That is one of the best things about this island, there are no restrictions to beach access, and anyone, local and tourists enjoy all of the same beaches. Transportation via bus is a breeze and locals are friendly.
Accra Beach- South Coast – waves and beautiful people watching. Head over to Chefette for lunch, pizza and ice cream. Buy sarongs on the beach.
Beach West Coast – St James, calm waters
Best Outdoor Party- Oistins Fish Fry or Baxter’s Road on Friday night- hang with locals, enjoy local music along with fish and fries.
Best Sightseeing– Farley Hill. Quiet, serene and historic. Farley Hill National Park takes you back to a different time. Built in 1818, it was once the most impressive mansion in Barbados. Also the site of movie filming for Island in the Sun in 1965. It was destroyed by fire and was declared a national park by the queen in 1966, the same year Barbados became independent from England.  If you are there in January, the open air concert is excellent,a part of the Barbados Jazz Festival.
Best Golfing- Barbados Golf Club offers lots of challenges during great 18 hole play and for a relaxing time for you and your kids try the local 9 hole at Rockley Golf Club.
Best Time to Visit- Crop Over Season- Early August for the carnival. Best time of year to see locals and tourists alike have a great time.
Best Local Inn- Walmer Lodge Apartments. The Worrell family has been providing outstanding service to tourists for over 25 years.
Best Driving Experience- rent the car of choice for tourists…. if you can get one, a “moke” (open on both sides) to enjoy the beautiful breezes.
Best Hotels- anything on the west coast is premium since the waters are so calm and beautiful.
Most Expensive Hotel- Sandy Lane, stay and play with royalty, celebrities.
Best restaurants- I only hang where the locals hang, some of my all time favorites, Mangoes by The Sea in St Peter( on the water, get the flying fish), Mullins Restaurant and a little local restaurant with no name on the road to Sam Lord’s Castle, the smell will hit you coming and going, just stop and eat!
Favorite all time hotel- Barbados Hilton. Renovated and is back. Glamorous.
Best place for nightlife and still take the family- St Lawrence Gap (The Gap). Shops, clubs and restaurants provide a promenade for the entire family. The little ones may not go to the clubs but the entire family can enjoy the walking experience.
Best Shopping- Sunset Crest area of St James (Promenade of gift shops). Try the Cave Shepherd branch there for great books for children from England and other souvenirs. Not as crazy as the Bridgetown branch.
Breezes- Drive
around the island (should take less than a day), stop for snacks, or a dip at any beach (take your pick they are all yours), it is beautiful.

 From: RMW

I love the beaches,Chefette, The nightlife in St Lawrence Gap and the fish fry at Oistins.
Sam's Lord's Castle for sightseeing
 and shopping in Bridgetown.

History excerpts from History of Barbados.

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