A festive trip to Barbados

Snorkelling with turtles

I spent much of lockdown dreaming about the feeling of soft sand and a warm breeze on my skin while looking out to sea, listening to the waves crash against the shore. In December, just over two years since last stepping on a plane, this dream became a reality when Dan, Ella, Robin and I jetted off to Barbados. 

It’s the first festive trip I’ve been on, let alone to somewhere hot. Wooly hats, scarves and gloves were swapped for sunglasses and swimwear in preparation for the 30 degrees we’d be stepping off the plane into. 

Here’s how we spent our week in the Caribbean:  

Travelling abroad in a pandemic

This was the first time we had been abroad since before the pandemic began in early 2020. To go to Barbados in December 2021 we had to have a PCR test before we went – this had to be done for us and within a certain timeframe. We then had to have one before we flew home and once we arrived home. We had to fill in and upload paperwork that included proof of our test results and vaccination status. 

But, the rules are ever-changing (in fact they changed while we were out there – with the test before we flew home being an addition) and vary from country to country. So it’s important to look at the Government website for advice on the country you are visiting, at the time you are going. 

While there, like at home, we had to wear a mask inside and on public transport. We also had our temperature checked and had to sanitise before going into shops and restaurants. We felt very safe the whole time we were there. 

When to visit Barbados

We went to Barbados in mid-December. I actually didn’t know before we were going but from then until mid-April is the best time to visit. It’s the dry season, so there is less rainfall and temperatures are an average of 30 degrees celsius. That being said, I think Barbados is an island you can visit at any time of year. However, we loved being there in December to see the island decorated for Christmas and listen to festive songs with a reggae twist. 

Where to stay

We stayed in this gorgeous Airbnb just across the road from Mullins Beach. We could see the sea from our balcony and in just a couple of minutes we were strolling on the sand. 

It’s situated on the West coast of Barbados. The calm Caribbean Sea is on this side of the island making it perfect for swimming and snorkelling. 

What to eat and drink in Barbados

Drink: there’s only one thing to drink in Barbados and that’s rum punch! 

Food: Fish is popular in Barbados and a few delicacies are Flying Fish, Mahi Mahi and Barracuda. I’m personally not a big fan of fish but the boys ate it and confirmed it was delicious. Egg cutters are also a delicacy in Barbados. They are served from street-side vendors and are perfect for lunch.  

Where to eat: 

We ate in several beach bars along the west coast – and they were all lovely but our favourite was Sea Shed. It’s situated on Mullins Beach, just a short walk to the left of our accommodation. We reserved a table on the sand and watched the sunset while tucking into the most delicious food. Make sure you try the breadfruit nachos – we were still talking about these long after the trip ended. 

Top tip: The sun sets quite early in Barbados. So, book just before 6pm. Then you can see it in daylight, as the sun goes down and after dark. This restaurant is very popular so it’s best to book in advance. 

To the right of our accommodation was Bombas Beach Bar. It has a great menu but it was the location and a table right next to the water that brought us back here for a second night. 

While we were there Ella and Robin got engaged on the beach and we had a celebration dinner at The Tides. Also right on the ocean, this restaurant is described as one of the best on the island. We could definitely see why – beautiful location, tasty food and soft jazz music playing in the background – bliss!  

What to do in Barbados  

Barbados is the epitome of paradise. As well as soaking up the sun on the sand and taking in the stunning scenery at one of the pristine beaches, here’s a few things you won’t want to miss: 

  • Snorkelling: we booked a trip to go snorkelling with turtles and it was one of the most magical experiences I have ever had. Luckily our group was fairly small and only a few of us chose to get into the water. The turtles swam incredibly close to us and our guide captured photos (which was part of the cost of the trip.) As well as swimming with several turtles, we also saw an array of colourful and impressive fish and swam past a shipwreck. 
  • Ride the reggae bus: there are two buses that will take you the length of the west coast – you want to get the reggae bus. As the name would suggest, reggae music blasts out of speakers. It’s such a fun way to get to your destination.  
  • Visit Barbados Wildlife Reserve: a short drive from our accommodation was this wildlife reserve home to monkeys, deer, tortoise and chickens among other wildlife. Get here for 2pm when the animals all congregate together for feeding time. 
  • See Sandy Lane: while you can’t access this exclusive resort (unless you are staying there, of course) – you can access its beach. Head to Paynes Bay Beach and keep walking north along the sand. You’ll pass One Sandy Lane (the most luxurious accommodation on the island and home to Rhianna) and after walking through shallow water you’ll arrive on the beach. You’ll know when you are there when you see the red beach chairs. 
  • Watch the sunset: the west coast is apparently one of the best places on the island to watch the sunset. The sun goes down around 6pm, so make sure you have a spot on the beach to watch it. 

After nearly two years of existing while locked in our homes, I couldn’t think of a better place to escape to and start living again. We’ll definitely be heading back to this beautiful island again one day.