First Timer’s Travel Guide to Barbados

Barbados

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Last month I traveled to Barbados for the first time and I felt relaxed the moment I walked off the plane and felt the warm humid island air! Barbados is known for its distinctive charm, beautiful beaches and warm hospitality – it did not disappoint.

Barbados

Gay Travel

We were originally a bit hesitant since Barbados is not known to be the most gay friendly travel destination. I was thinking, “Is it okay to stay with my bf in a room with only one bed?” and “Would we be thrown overboard on the catamaran for glancing loving at each other?” But we were totally fine and those thoughts quickly faded into excitement to see the island. We did not experience any issues and would just recommend that you keep any PDA private and you should be fine!

Where we Stayed

We stayed at the Treasure Beach (by Elegant Hotels) in Paynes Bay – on the western side of the island. It is a boutique adults-only hotel with no screaming kids in sight! The resort was super cute and the service was very personable since they only have around 30 suites. The resort has a nice pool and small section of the beach, and it is right next to one of their sister properties, Tamarind, which has a larger beach and complimentary water activities. The only downside of venturing to Tamarind is that it’s a larger resort with kids – yuck! JOKING – I love kids. Maybe just not on vacation when I am trying to relax.

Treasure Beach offers complimentary breakfast and sun down happy hour at its restaurant, Tapestry. The food was delicious and the best part was that there’s a complimentary Chef’s dinner for guests staying 5 nights or longer.

Treasure beach Treasure beach

What to See and Do

We didn’t have too much time before the trip to figure out what we wanted to do in Barbados, but that doesn’t mean you should do the same. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started on your trip planning. (You’re welcome!)

Beaches – I think this is a given. Definitely check out the beaches of Barbados. You can obviously stay on the beaches offered by your resort, but you can also venture out to one of the many public beaches, like Bottom Bay – a pink sand cove lined with palm trees.

One evening after dinner, we walked out along the beach and noticed tracks in the sand, so we followed it to a giant sea turtle laying eggs into a hole it dug in the sand. During the same walk, we also found a baby turtle making it’s way to the ocean. It was such a magical moment and I am so glad we over-ate and had to go for a walk on the beach. Anyway, the bottom line is that the beaches are amazing and a must!

Catamaran – Taking a tour out on a catamaran is both relaxing (booze and dinner are included) and exhilarating (snorkeling with turtles and checking out ship wrecks). We went on the ‘Saturday Afternoon Delight Cruise’ with Tiami Catamaran Cruises, and it was perfect! The staff was attentive and it wasn’t a busy day – there were less than 10 of us on the boat. The complementary meal was also delicious!

Catamaran

Swimming/snorkeling with the turtles – Either join a tour or see if your resort offers one, but this is another must do. Sea turtles are so elegant and swimming alongside was amazing!

Oistins Fish Fry – Each Friday night, hundreds of locals and visitors flock to Oistins for the fish-fry, where you eat seafood to your heart’s content. There are rows of food stands where you can order everything from marlin, to flying fish, to snapper, to lobster tails. There are also small stalls selling local crafts and a small stage where they play music for those brave enough to hop on stage to dance. It was a fun night but be warned that it was crowded, hot (from all the grills… I was melting!), and the traffic in the area was moving really slowly.

Rum Tour – Take one of the famous rum distillery tours and explore the ancient secrets of how rum is made. Mount Gay Rum is the oldest and largest distillery. It offers daily tastings at its visitor center, where you will learn about the rum making process, but don’t expect to actually see the distillery process as it is located elsewhere.

Harrison Cave – A large, underground stream system with caverns filled with stalactites, stalagmites and pools of water. There are two types of tours: a tram tour (no fun!) and an adventure tour where you have to walk, crawl and swim through the cave system.

Water Sports – Most resorts, like Treasure Beach, include water sports such as waterskiing, tubing, kayaking, and sailing. Do it all! We had so much fun being flung around in a water tube and then we relaxed on a hobie sailboat. It’s just a fun way to enjoy the ocean.

Barbados

Barbados was a magical place and definitely worth going back. With so much to see and do, it’s worth planning your trip so you can make the most out of everything!