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How to act like a Bajan in Barbados

How to act like a Bajan in Barbados

Posted by Shanelle Weir on February 25, 2015

The island of Barbados is more than just another tropical paradise – as the homeland of rum and one of the newest hot spots for surfing, this island is a diverse mix of history, culture and adventure.

Visitors will experience island hospitality, whether they’re in the sumptuous setting of a five star hotel or one the side of the road buying fresh coconut from a local vendor. It’s an island that has had a long history with Canada, as the two countries traded rum and sugar cane for lumber and fish.

In the 21st century, travellers in search of culture with a side of beautiful beaches will appreciate this eastern Caribbean island. For those wanting to check off their Barbados bucket list items – here’s four ways to experience the island:

As the oldest rum producer in the world, Mount Gay Distillery offers a fun tour that mixes history and tastings.
As the oldest rum producer in the world, Mount Gay Distillery offers a fun tour that mixes history and tastings. [Waheeda Harris]

 

1. History lesson: the well-known Mount Gay Rum, the oldest rum company in the world, started on this island in 1703. The regular daily tours provide a snapshot of the island’s history, as a favoured spot for sailors and how rum played an intregral role in the island’s economic development, trading goods to near and far. And like any good tour, there’s plenty of opportunities to taste as well as to purchase the elixir that has been made on island for over three centuries.

And make time for: St. Nicholas Abbey to learn about the sugar plantation and rum making at this estate, also located near the Morgan Lewis Windmill, the oldest sugar windmill in the Caribbean.

2. Sip and savour: Looking for local home-cooking without having to invite yourself into someone’s house? The weekly Fish Fry at Oistins is the place to be on Friday nights – locals and visitors happily jostle between tables, eating freshly grilled seafood, drinking cold beer or rum punch, with the sounds of reggae, hip hop and calypso encouraging anyone to take the stage and shake their moneymakers. Order fast, find a seat among the long tables and let the mix of all ages out for a good time make for memorable island street theatre.

 

It's worth the wait for the grilled local seafood at Oistins on a Friday night in Barbados.
It’s worth the wait for the grilled local seafood at Oistins on a Friday night in Barbados. [Waheeda Harris]

 

And make time for: Cutters Deli makes the *best* rum punch on the island and a very tasty flying fish sandwich. (And don’t just take my word for it)

3. Perfect waves: The island’s east coast fishing village of Bathsheba is the favoured area for surfers. Nicknamed because of its foamy surf, the Soup Bowl is now the site of several surfing competitions and with consistent waves coming from the Atlantic Ocean, many young surfers come here in the winter months to test their skills on the swells. After a morning in the sun and sea, The Atlantis Hotel offers a laid-back place as well as a Bajan buffet with all the local treats like macaroni pie, fried plantain, baked mahi mahi and flying fish.

 

Silver Sands Beach has become the local HQ for windsurfers and kitesurfers on Barbados.
Silver Sands Beach has become the local HQ for windsurfers and kitesurfers on Barbados. [Waheeda Harris]

 

And make time for:  Silver Sands is the HQ for those who want to windsurf or kitesurf or just watch those crazy souls enjoying the power of the sea and the wind.

4. Sunseekers: Regularly voted one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, the soft pink sands ofCrane Beach on the southeast coast of the island are postcard perfect. Visitors who aren’t guests at the Crane Resort can use a stone walkway down to the beach, with chair rental and other amenities available for day in the sun. For the adventurers, there’s more beach to uncover if you’re willing to wander between the rocks and a cave to find a quiet spot to soak up the sun or play in the surf further along the shoreline.

And make time for: hanging out at Carlisle Bay, for its relaxed vibe and the ability to swim off-shore and snorkel at the Carlisle Bay Marine Park.

Visiting Barbados:

Transportation: Air Canada has been flying to Barbados for 65 years as the longest serving international carrier to the island, offering direct daily flights from Toronto and Montreal in season. Westjet also offers regular direct service four times a week from Toronto.

Act like a Bajan - stop for fresh coconut water and jelly.
Act like a Bajan – stop for fresh coconut water and jelly. [Waheeda Harris]

 

Accommodation: The Crane not only offers access to the only pink sand beach on island, but a laid-back tropical environment to recharge and relax. Guests are treated like family by the friendly staff and spacious rooms are a welcome retreat after a day spent at the beach or one of the numerous swimming pools on property, including an adult-only pool. Make sure to dine at L’Azure for Sunday Caribbean brunch featuring live gospel music.

Travel tips: definitely act like a local and stop at the side of the road for fresh coconut water to refresh and hydrate.

Weather: average temperature in February/March is 26-30C (plus humidity).

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