Would you spend nine hours travelling, six hours of which are in an airplane, to enjoy 24 hours in an exotic destination? I would, and I did! Living in beautiful, but cold in the winter Canada, a chance to scoot off to a warm destination even for 24 hours in the dead of winter, is too good to miss. Would you love a Barbados Vacation?
A 24 Hour Barbados Vacation
Travel to Barbados
My husband had a business trip, and I had the opportunity to go along. Even before the airplane left the gate, I had shed my socks and shoes and donned my sandals.
Don’t enjoy the thought of almost six hours in an airplane? I’m a travel writer, so for me, it couldn’t be better. I do my best work in a coffee shop or airplane because I’m not distracted by “household chores.”
Six hours later, I had done close to four hours of solid writing and was looking forward to our landing at Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI). I always get a thrill as I look out the window and see the air stairs approaching and see the ramp staff walking around in short sleeves, especially when a few hours earlier the people working outside were wearing heavy coats!
The Arrival in Barbados
After quick and efficient processing through customs and immigration, we walked outside into the warm evening air.
We found a taxi and were on our way. Our hotel was about 18km from the airport. Our taxi driver was friendly and talkative and has quite a few family members living in Canada. She mentioned that she found the temperature quite cool this evening. We smiled because of course for us this was a gorgeous temperature.
She navigated the roads expertly. I was glad it was someone else driving. I was startled a few times as cars whizzed past us on the right side instead of the left, as in Canada. She laughed when I commented on it, and understood how I felt since she had just visited family in Toronto.
Our Barbados Vacation Resort
Our hotel was Ocean Two Resort and Residences. Upon arrival, we were asked to leave our luggage at the desk and to have a seat in the lounge. The lounge opens to the pools and beach, and I was itching to go for a walk. You could hear the waves crashing on the beach as soon as you entered the lobby. It was full dark by now, and I could see a Christmas tree against the night sky off in the distance. Not a huge surprise since this trip occurred between Christmas and New Year’s.
A Warm Welcome
A welcome drink accompanied our registration form. This was definitely a civilized way to check-in. With room key in hand, I couldn’t wait any longer to take a look around. The Christmas tree I had noticed earlier, was actually anchored in the sand. It looked so beautiful on the white sand instead of white snow.
A Sweet Suite
Our room was gorgeous. This is the type of hotel where people can own a unit, and the hotel manages the rentals. There are a variety of sizes of suites and hotel rooms. Ours was a one-bedroom ocean-view suite, with a massive walk-in shower, in-room laundry, and fully equipped kitchen that’s open to a dining area and living room. The end wall of glass doors opens up to bring the outdoors in. The huge balcony held a comfortable lounger as well as a high wicker glass-topped table and two chairs.
The pool area below featured some musical entertainment by local musicians. Hearing the steel drums was a great introduction to the Barbadian (Bajan) music vibe. Once the musicians finished, the night air and the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks that shelter the beautiful sand beach, lulled you into a relaxed state.
The Hunt for Dinner
Once settled, our next task was to go for something to eat. The hotel is located in Christ Church, St Lawrence Gap. Within a short walking distance, you can find a wide selection of places to eat. There are open-air seating areas with live music as well as sit down restaurants.
Some of the higher end or most popular places were full. Reservations are suggested year-round. The food here is expensive any time of year. It was the Christmas season, so locals and tourist were vying for the spots.
We finally decided on Paulo’s Churrasco do Brazil, a Churrascaria or Brazilian steakhouse, specializing in a three-century-old cooking technique, featuring 10 or more different types of meat along with a salad bar. Once you’ve loaded up from the salad bar, pasadores move from table to table, carving delicious meat onto your plate.
Pas-sa-dore: a server who comes to the table with knives and a skewer on which are speared various kinds of meat.
The meat was great, but the highlight was when one of the staff brought us warm, grilled pineapple dusted with cinnamon. What truly made the meal excellent was the pasadores. They were friendly and seemed to really enjoy their job.
Evening Stroll (Local Drink)
We had a leisurely walk back to the hotel while enjoying the music coming from the various open-air restaurants and clubs. The bar next to our hotel was super busy, so we decided to check out the hotel bar. It was a bit quieter, and it gave us a chance to chat with the bartender.
Always on the lookout for local drinks, my husband ordered a local beer called “Banks.” When he asked the bartender if it was good, he answered, “If it’s not Banks, then no thanks.” I ordered a glass of wine, and we took our drinks out to the patio and enjoyed the warm night air and the sound of the waves.
The next morning, I enjoyed making coffee in our room and sitting on the balcony. Our balcony overlooked one of the pools as well as part of the outdoor dining area. It was a bit busy and wouldn’t necessarily have been my first choice, but it ended up being great for people watching and had a fantastic view of the gorgeous turquoise water and the sparkling white sand beach.
Breakfast was at the hotel restaurant. It’s a buffet with standard breakfast fare including an omelet station. My favourite was the thermal carafe of coffee left on our table as well as the coconut bread from the bread station. Both went well with the beach atmosphere.
Day at the Beach
The air temperature was 29c, with a mainly sunny sky. The sun here is intense, so lots of sunscreen was needed. It was a bit windy, so the red flag was out on the beach. The beach area in front of the hotel has a volcanic rock breakwater, which had spectacular waves breaking over it. There are open areas in the rock with sand paths that lead you directly into the water.
If you prefer a swimming pool, our choices were the 150-ft pool adjacent to the beach or one on the top of the hotel. On the roof’s panoramic deck are a plunge pool and two levels of seating. The sweeping views of the water are breathtaking.
At the beach, the hotel provides a bin with fresh towels, and there are lots of seating areas. One of the staff was entertaining guests by using a machete to chop pieces off whole coconuts to make drinks in.
The glistening water was warm and the sand soft, yet not hot underfoot. There were a few people with surfboards and a handful of swimmers bobbing in the water. The trick with the waves is to keep your eye on them, turn sideways and then to jump when they arrive. Most of the time, this prevents the waves from crashing over your head or knocking you over unless that is fun for you.
Mother Nature at her best
As we bobbed and jumped and enjoyed the warmth of the water, we noticed a group of people gathering on the beach. They had formed two parallel lines that were about five feet apart. We swam over to see what they were doing and realized that there was a nest of endangered baby hawksbill turtles hatching and they were making their way to the water.
They had a hard go fighting the waves, but the instincts of nature are strong. As the approaching waves would sweep the turtles up, one or two would make it into the water, while several others were swept back up on the beach.
After about 20 minutes, no more hatchlings appeared and all that had were in the water swimming away. Statistically, of those that did make it into the water, only 1 percent of the hatchlings will survive their first year.
Tired from playing in the waves, we adjourned to our comfortable beach chairs. I like the sun, and my husband prefers the shade. There were plenty of umbrellas on metal stands anchored in the sand to provide the needed shade.
After a couple of hours of reading and relaxing, it was time for some lunch. Our suite had a full kitchen. We thought that going across the street to The Dover Market, we might find something easy to put together for lunch.
The Dover Market has a bit of everything. There is a small souvenir area, beer, wine and spirits, fresh fruit, deli meats and cheeses and fully cooked hot meals for take-out as well as sundries. Staying for more than 24 hours this would have been a good option.
We decided that we would try the hotel restaurant for lunch. It’s in the same onsite restaurant as breakfast, but you order from a menu. A new term for us is the word “cutter.” A cutter is a bread roll that is cut in half, crossways and stuffed with a savoury filling. My husband ordered a jerk chicken cutter made with local herbs, jerk spices, and toasted pineapple. I had a handcrafted beef burger made from local Bajan beef.
After one last short walk on the beach, it was time to wash the sand off and get ready to checkout.
Time to Say Good-Bye
The open-air airport is not overly large, and everything is close together. Don’t let the significant number of people you see worry you. At the departures entrance, they separate passengers that arrive at the airport from one of the many cruise ships arriving at the Bridgetown Cruise Port, from the rest of the departing passengers.
Security is efficient, and the gates are not too far apart. Being a Caribbean Island airport, you need to walk to your airplane once you are cleared to do so.
It was worth it
We had only been in Barbados for 24 hours, and all we did was eat, swim, rest and relax. Everyone we met was smiling, friendly and welcoming. The 24 hours was just long enough of a taste to make us want to come back to this beautiful island.