A fortnight trip in the peak of summer proved too much for a family of six in Barbados. The high 30-degree Celsius heat was too much some days, if anything, the almost intolerable heat made for a unique holiday; certainly different from our normal day-to-day lives.
Our Barbados Holiday Begins!
In July 2016, our family visited Barbados on one last epic holiday before we all became too busy to arrange family holidays again. I’m the youngest of 4 brothers, I finished my A-Levels and this was to be our last chance to get together.
We decided to go for it and live these two weeks in luxury and that started the minute we woke up on the day of our flight. We kicked our holiday off in style with a luxury airport transfer to Heathrow, I don’t know if you’ve travelled to the airport without needing to book car parking or drive but it was simply bliss!
The treats continued at Heathrow, I don’t know if you’ve been to T5 but as an 18-year-old this place sparkled and shone like the Caribbean Sea!
Having gotten through passport control and all of the commotion that the airport brings, we had enough time to grab breakfast at the VIP lounge, relax and gather our thoughts for the coming fortnight. After an hour or so wait, we were on our flight and on our way to Barbados!
First Impressions of Barbados; a teenager’s perspective
As soon as I stepped off the plane, I knew I was on holiday somewhere hot. The difference between the air-conditioned plane to the wall of heat I walked into was extraordinary; so much so that I did the typical British thing of complaining about the weather! ‘It’s too hot’ I exclaimed, secretly loving it. Wry smile on face.
Our transfer from the hotel to our villa was beautiful and savoured by all; a coastline drive that not only made me crave swimming, but I knew that the life for those who live here must be one of paradise. Once settled into the villa it was mid-afternoon, so we quickly explored our locality to find out what was around and a get a lie of the land. Having found some local corner shops filled with tourist gifts and a shopping mall complex to contrast, we had our source of grocery shopping well and truly covered!
Barbados Festivals; Crop Over
During my stay in Barbados, we manage to witness the huge national festival that is ‘Crop Over’ which celebrates the end of their sugar season. The first ever ‘Crop Over’ took place in 1688 with singing and dancing; unfortunately, due to the harsh effects of World War II the festival was disbanded but was rejuvenated in 1974 and the festivals have been evolving ever since now featuring buses filled with booming speakers!
The Bajan party hard that is for sure! ‘Crop Over’ lasts for multiple weeks and consists of non-stop partying and drinking for those involved. You can sign up and pay your ticket for all of the over-night festivals, or you can innocently watch the parade during the day. Somehow, two of my brothers managed to get involved without a ticket; but that’s another story.
Big Celebrations and Swimming with Turtles
Whilst we were out in Barbados, my Dad turned the big 50. My step-mum decided to make it special and organised a surprise birthday treat; swimming with turtles. It never dawned on me how cool it actually was until a few years later. It truly was a great day out and truly unforgettable. What started at 7am resulted in a day on a small boat with my family, jamming to Bob Marley whilst drinking rum and swimming with turtles… oh and sunburn all over!
Barbados is home to Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles. Due to the high volume of over-fishing, these turtles are now protected in an attempt to conserve these beautiful creatures. They say that 1 in 1000 make it to adulthood, so they need all the protecting they can get!
Getting around the Island
For those who don’t drive their own cars, there are two bus companies that can drive you to your destination. One of these companies is provided by the Government, the other isn’t a ‘company’ as per say. They are individuals who have renovated their own buses and charge their own prices to drive certain routes. We dubbed these the ‘party buses’; these were also our favoured method of transport.
They were so informal it was actually funny; there were two ‘employees’ on the bus. The driver and the runner. You would get on the bus first and as the bus pulls off, the runner will come and collect your money which seemed fair. They also had custom radios that allowed them to play their own music and they played it loud; hence being dubbed the ‘party bus’. On one of our journeys, the bus was so full that I sat away from my family at the front of the bus in a literal passenger seat and I had to carry another passengers bags because there was no room for her to hold them! I never saw that lady again. I hope she is OK.
We spent a lot of our evenings at our local beach shack watching the sunset with some sort of alcoholic beverage in our hand as we listened to the steel drums play; the stereotypical Caribbean ideals. Whilst we were in Barbados, the London Olympics were also taking place back home. My 2 older brothers and myself ran down to the beach shack to watch the 100m final and it was great to see what the support was like for Usain Bolt; he is as idolised as some of our footballers are and it was nice to see a different perspective of the final. Obviously when Bolt won, the place erupted and even my siblings and I got a little carried away!
The Views and the Beaches of Barbados
The beaches of Barbados are heavenly; not a single stone in sight. It is nothing but white sand and clear water. Even when you are 20 feet deep in the water, you can see the stones on the ocean bed. With schools of fish only 30 feet from shore, we were engrossed in what felt like a sea-life documentary! All types of fish inches from our face, just minding their own business. It is a sight that I will never forget.
With high cliffs and amazing view-points we spent an entire day walking the coast line and looking back on the path that we took from a vantage point which also revealed the white beaches, the crystal sea and the urbanisation of Barbados in one snapshot.
Thinking of Visiting Barbados?
If you are thinking of visiting Barbados, I cannot recommend it enough. The beautiful views, the amazing food, the kind and helpful locals and the overall atmosphere all come together to provide the ultimate getaway. There is more to see than your local area; discover the world and create your own journeys!