Barbados

We just returned from Barbados (December 2016) and it is a wonderful place to visit. I was told not a lot of travel agents have been there. We did a short tour of the island. Plan on going back in 2017 and seeing more.

Barbados is a relatively new destination for those of us in the United States. It is an eastern Caribbean island and an independent British Commonwealth nation. The capital, Bridgetown, is a cruise ship port with colonial buildings and a synagogue that was founded in 1654. One side of the island is on the Caribbean Sea and the other side is on the Atlantic Ocean. The differences are amazing. Most things are on the side with the Caribbean Sea. The Atlantic side reminds me a bit of being on the cliffs in Ireland. There are plantation houses, caves and botanical gardens to visit to name a few.

The Bajan people had just celebrated their 50 years being an independent nation when we arrived. They are very friendly and very proud of their island.

You are very near the equator and it was hot. I was amazed to see people laying out in the sun with their skin bright red. You can get a major sunburn very quickly here.

We took a tour of the island and learned more about the people.

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To help students learn about other countries, they had them decorate Christmas trees with items that came from their assigned country and the top of the tree had the flag of that country. It was fun going downtown and seeing all the different Christmas trees.

George Washington was in Barbados around 1751. The house he stayed in is now a museum.

There is a lot of coral around the island and it is illegal to harvest it. From what we were told the government enforces the laws regarding harvesting coral.

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At one time, everything was made from mahogany. They went to the point where they had almost harvested all the trees. The government has placed a ban on cutting down any mahogany tree unless you have a permit. You can trim them though. They have a place on the Atlantic side of the island called Cherry Tree Hill Reserve where they have set aside an area for reforestation of the mahogany tree. There is also a viewpoint there with some great views.

A lot of the buildings we saw that have since become official building date back to when the British came to the island. Our guide told us they are kept up and because of the way they were built they stay cool inside. They used sand and the final run off of the sugar cane as a glue to hold the stones together.

 

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The oldest church on the island was the St. James Anglican Parish Church which dates to 1628. Ronald Reagan visited this church and there is a marker where he sat. The pipe organ in the church was amazing. The pipes were huge.

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One of the beaches we drove by had a rock climbing iceberg anchored just off shore. Beaches here are all public beaches and they were packed.

The island gets the greatest majority of their income from tourism. A lot of people from Great Britain and Canada were at the resort. Other income comes from sugar cane and sweet potatoes.

During our drive, we saw green monkeys, cows, goats, pigs, and mutton. They have strict rules about letting dogs run free so you would only see them in the back yards.

img_6981The other interesting fact about the island is the Chattel Houses. Houses used to be built on stones; temporary structures. When they wanted to move, they would take down the house one wall at a time, move it and then reverse the process. While driving around you could see where people were putting in permanent foundations, but we were told there are still some that move around.

The island is very green as you can see. We saw hummingbirds every day while we were there. Was told that the hummingbird population is starting to come back to Barbados. At night, the smell of evening jasmine scented the air.

IMG_6765.JPGFriday night in Barbados most folks head to Oistins for their fish fry and music. Here they have seafood and chicken prepared with authentic recipes of the Bajan people. As you walk around you’ll find local arts and craft for sale and after dinner the party gets started with dancing to reggae and calypso music. One suggestion here, if you go convert at least $50 into Bajan dollars. It will be easier when paying. It gets real crowded so once you find a seat, keep it.

We found Barbados to be a very welcoming destination. Of course, there was a lot of places we didn’t get to see and things to do. Next trip we are looking forward to seeing Harrison’s Cave that was first mentioned in 1795, St. Nicholas Abbey, the Animal Flower Cave and Miami Beach. Then there are the things to do like catamaran cruises, swimming with the turtles and of course meeting the people.

Experience it for yourself.

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