The Caribbean love affair began when I first came to Barbados on my honeymoon many years ago. Little did I know that it would be the start of two lifelong love affairs – one with the man I married and one with the island paradise in the sun.
I could tell you about the virtues of being married to Arthur but I suspect you’d rather know what brings me back to Barbados year after year, and why it will always have a special place in my heart.
When I tell you I come from Canada (aka The Great White North) you’ll know the winters are seriously long and frigid. In -20 c. temperatures and deep snow, the thought of that wonderful Bajan sunshine in January gets me through the dark November days. By December, I’m mentally packing my bag with sunglasses, sandals and sarongs and can hardly wait to leave the down coat and polar fleece behind! I know that aches and pains will disappear and the sunshine (not to mention the odd tropical cocktail) will have a therapeutic effect as soon as I step off the plane.
Over the years, we’ve ventured to every part of Barbados and it feels like coming home. Some of our favourite places, that we return to each year, are the wild and beautiful Atlantic Coast around Bathsheba (for lunch at the historic Roundhouse and to watch the daredevil surfers), the glamorous ocean front restaurants on the West Coast, the weekly Holders organic market, and the chic shops and cafes of Limegrove and Chattel Village in Holetown. We also make sure to pay at least one visit to the famous Crane Beach and dramatic North Point where the waves crash in on the rocks and spray plumes far into the sky.
Over time we have settled into our routine. We have been lucky to find somewhere to stay that we return to year after year thanks to Paradise Rentals, and it feels good to relax in our breezy outdoor living room or pop into the private pool
for a quick dip or a leisurely swim. We love to walk on the beach first thing in the morning; nearby Heywoods beach in St Peter is a lovely long stretch of white, powdery sand and the sea is warm, calm and great for swimming. We now have a regular crew of ‘holiday friends’ that we meet up with on our morning beach walks as we all return at the same time – like migrating geese!
There’s a special kind of light in Barbados that makes all of the glorious tropical colours so much more intense. The hot pink and fuchsia bougainvillea and hibiscus are bold and showy – they shout, in their bright pinks and oranges. The intense azure backdrop of the sea, turquoise blue and clear, sets off the blossoms and the elegant fronds of the palm trees.
You could never tire of the sunsets. Each one is magnificent in its own right. The colours again are incredible, purples, blues, oranges, pinks. Everyone wants to see the elusive ‘green flash’ – but you have be quick!. The sun sets really fast, falling down the sky and disappearing on the horizon, slipping into the sea and leaving a pink glow in the sky. Make sure you have your
camera ready or you miss the best photos.
Even though we have been to Barbados dozens of times, there is always something fun or exciting to do and always something new to try. This year I’ve tried Bowspring Yoga, taught by Kaya Cole in the lovely airy studio at Sugar Hill – maybe next year it will be yoga on a SUP board! The magnificent Sunday Planters Buffet at Lancaster Great House was another new experience this year – such an elegant setting with extravagant displays of bougainvillea, orchids and tropical blossoms set amid antiques in a gracious, breezy plantation house.
If you’ve been to Barbados this will all be very familiar to you and no doubt you have your own favourite things and reasons to return. If you’ve never been I really recommend that you do. Who knows, you might just fall in love and have your very own Caribbean love affair!
You might need a little help to get here and get organised. Paradise Rentals offer fantastic, personal service and I can happily recommend them to take good care of you, go the extra mile, and make sure your time in Barbados is everything you hope for. They have some great accommodation options that you can look at on their web site, something to suit all tastes and budgets. Contact Karen and she will advise and guide you through the booking process, offering lots of information and helping you every step of the way.
I’ll look for you on the beach next season!