Chilling out in Barbados: A Travel Guide (Cont’d)

May 1, 2001

Barbados has 200 hotels, guesthouses, and apartments that cater for most budgets. There appears to be a large number of luxurious accommodation as over the last decade Barbados has become the playground for the seriously rich and sometimes famous, who escape the northern hemisphere winter, in search of warmth, the Barbadian pace of life, and a damn good Pina Colada. The art of relaxation has been mastered on Barbados, and although lying on a sandy beach seems to be mandatory during the day, Barbados boasts an extraordinary range of sporting activities.There are a number of exceptional golf courses on the island, with the course at the exclusive and luxurious Sandy Lane hotel being the most famous. Snorkeling and scuba diving are also popular on the sheltered west coast, as there is a 4 mile stretch of coral reef, that is not only home to marine life, but also to some impressive wrecks. Swimming is often forbidden on the rugged east coast, however serious surfers relish the wild conditions, risking the wrath of the Atlantic weather, in hope of finding the perfect wave.

Getting around the island is relatively easy, if not amusing. Car hire is readily available and reasonable, however catching the local bus is a cultural experience not to be missed. Bus stops are not clearly marked, and people appear to jump on and off as they please, with no one, least of all the drivers in a hurry to get anywhere. The bus is an ideal, and inexpensive way to see the inhabited parts of the island, as it winds its way through hamlets, and rows of delightful chattel houses. These are a unique part of Barbadian heritage, and are made of wood (often painted different, bright colours), with a symmetrical fa?ade and an overhanging porch.

Aside from sugar cane, production of vegetables and crops is limited, with the majority food for the island being shipped in daily from the USA. This makes food expensive, both in supermarkets and restaurants, and the choice fairly limited. However Barbados does have some extraordinary restaurants and the combination of a gastronomic feast and exquisite beach surroundings equate to pure heaven in the realm of global dining experiences.

The nightlife in Barbados is fabulous. The Harbourlights nightclub is the most renowned, with local and international DJs performing nightly, but also provides its patrons with some of the best reggae in the Caribbean. Bars such as the very groovy Croc’s have a more laid back (if this is at all possible) atmosphere, where regulars play pool, and compare suntans.

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