Now, I have been to Barbados many times before, but each time I have experienced new, exciting things. This is a summary of the best of the best in Barbados. If you have any questions about any other restaurant, bar or beach, please post them in the comments as I'm sure I have been there before! :)
Best Restaurant: High-End - The Tides, by far. We went there on Saturday, June 16th for my 21st birthday dinner, and it was one of the best meals I have ever had. To start, my boyfriend and I ordered the Tides Seafood Tower, which has a lobster tail, crabs legs, muscles, smoked salmon, oysters (which I tried and I really don't like them), and jumbo shrimp. This was about $60, and could have sufficed as a meal as it was so large and filling!
For my entree, I had the mahi mahi stuffed with scallops, and I substituted the sweet potato for regular parisian potatos. I ordered cheesecake for dessert cause it was birthday and I deserved a treat haha, and I went to the washroom. When I returned to the table, I was greeted by an empty plate and my boyfriend had a sliver of cheesecake on his fork headed towards his open mouth. I almost broke down in tears, as he normally steals the last bite of every meal, but I did not expect him to eat my entire dessert on my birthday! He whipped out another plate from behind his back, and returned the other plate to its rightful owner, and all was well in the world. To end the dinner, they brought me a slice of cake (which I wish they had said when I ordered cheesecake too) and a complimentary glass of champagne! They also took a birthday photo of me, which they later emailed to me.
Visit the Tides Website: http://www.tidesbarbados.com/
Low-End: Chris' Place
Great food, great atmosphere, great prices. Chris' Place in St. James is basically a barbeque in your backyard at home; well, almost. From the plastic tables and chairs, to the open windows and the wall mounted fans, this is not the place for the high and mighty to eat. You also need to book the day before to ensure that they have the food you want to eat.
I have been here many times before. One time, we had a party of about 25 people so they lined up plastic tables and chairs outside for us to eat at! The last time, I ordered the ribs with macaroni pie and coleslaw on the side (which turned out to be a very good salad). At this place, you also get the bottle of rum and then just go up and buy more mix as needed - quite an interesting concept that you will see all over the island.
Check out Chris': http://www.visitbarbados.org/Listing.aspx?lid=2001&catid=33
Crane Beach, by far, is the nicest beach on the island. They have carefully manicured the beach front and the water to make it pristine for all of their high-class guests. An important note is that all of the beaches on the island of Barbados are public, and you cannot make an attempt to block a beach from public use. If you pull up on your boat, or climb down through the secret path, then the Crane Beach is yours! :)
March Break 2009 - The Boatyard with my boyfriend
Surfside in St. James - great food, and great drinks. The service can be slow, especially on the weekends, but the waitresses are all very friendly and eager to please. Its also right on the beach, so you can always go for a quick dip in the ocean to cool off.
There are tons of places on the island to do some shopping. My old favourite place was just off of the cruise ship, as it had all of the little souvenir shops, plus a Del Sol shop which sells items that change colour in the sun. My new favourite place is up in Holetown called Limegrove, which they have almost finished fully constructing. Limegrove is home to such places as Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and Ralph Lauren. They also have a few cheaper stores, such as Hallmark, where I bought a "I'm 21!" ribbon and shot glass, as you never find these items in Canada.
If high-end isn't your thing, a five minute walk down the road will bring you to the Chattel Village, where you will find every kind of souvenir, handmade soaps and arts, jewellery, and British designer fashion. The houses are each painted a different colour, and they are surrounded by lush plants and flowers.
Best Shore Excursion:
Cool Runnings Catarmaran Cruises - This catamaran cruise is by far the best that I have experienced in the Caribbean. You are picked up from your hotel/residence and transported to the heart of Bridgetown in an air conditioned bus. After boarding the boat, you leave the harbour and start sailing. The first stop is a chance to swim with the sea turtles, followed by a spot where you can explore a ship wreck. The third and final spot is just off of a beach where it parks for lunch, and you can swim ashore if you like as all of the beaches are public. The lunch consists of everything your heart desires - banana bread, fried flying fish, macaroni pie, chicken, salad, coleslaw, and potato salad. The way back is spent dancing and drinking, as the beverages are all included for your price.
Harrison's Cave - http://www.harrisonscave.com/
My best memory of Barbados is visiting friends who live on the island and maintaining that friendship from across the world. I am certain that the memories and experiences we have had with these friends will live on with me forever, and that our friendship will continue for many years to come.
Best Thing To Try:
My recommendation is to try out the flying fish and macaroni pie, if you haven't already! It is my favourite meal when travelling to Barbados.
US dollars or Bajan money. The conversion from Bajan to US is approximately half, so you will find yourself dividing everything in half at the stores. A great way to brush up on your math skills.
Hot, hot, hot! No matter when I visit Barbados, it has always been hot and sunny, most likely due to its location near the equator. My recommendation is to not visit the island in August or September as the temperatures reach about 40-45 celcius, and you basically just sit around in a bathing suit all day sweating. Unless, of course, that's your thing - then go for it!
The locals are extremely friendly, but some might find them a little too friendly. At the bars and clubs on weekends, you will get asked to dance or pulled on the dance floor by a Bajan or two. They are extremely social and want to have a great time, so don't be alarmed. If you don't want to dance and party with them, simply say so and they will back off and find a new partner.
Watch Out For:
-Dolphin is not dolphin! It is Mahi Mahi.
-Most reputable souvenir shops (such as Cave Sheppard) will give you a discount if you present your passport, so bring it with you on your shopping adventures if need be.
-Crazy drunk drivers, who are usually tourists. It seems like the locals can handle their liquor better. :P
-Driving on the wrong side of the road
-Giant snails that crawl everywhere at night!
Overall Experience (1-10):
10/10 - whether it's a day-long visit off the cruise ship, a few days on the island, or a week long vacation, I have never had a single bad experience on the island of Barbados! :)