It still feels weird saying that I booked my first adult vacation out of the country. I have it marked on my calendar as the first of many. If it isn't obvious by now why Barbados was the choice, I'll tell you; RIHANNA, RIRI, ROBYN, FENTY.....need I say more. I had the whole scenario planned in my head, I was going to meet her and we would hit it off and become best of friends. Read this with no judgement, but a girl can dream. Booked a flight from Charlottetown to Toronto and Toronto to Bridgetown and the same back. I insisted on flying with Air Canada, I personally feel safer travelling with them. The flight to Bridgetown was a little over 5 hours and to be honest, I slept a few minutes after we took off and when I woke up; we were about to land.
When I got off that plane, I felt at home. It just felt so welcoming. Barbados is rich in culture and truly love their own. At Grantley Adams International Airport, there were large human-sized posters that showcased their ambassadors. Getting through customs took about 30 minutes, we already filled our customs forms on our flight and our luggage was out. We had a kind official help with our bags and escort us to our ride to our resort. I booked a two-way airport shuttle with SunTours Barbados, paid $98.80CAD for two.
After pages of pros and cons on different resorts, finally chose the Beach View hotel. It was very important for us to choose an All-inclusive package, this is very important, especially if you are visiting a place for the first time. Our resort also had to be close to beaches and restaurants. The service was great and the food at the restaurant was really good. It cost $210 CAD per night, my only regret is that we didn't double-check to make sure breakfast was included. When you book a hotel stay make sure breakfast is included, you can always wing the other meals.
Since I got back from Barbados, I've gotten questions like, how much did it cost? how did you plan the entire trip? how much did you have to save?..... If you're looking to go on vacation, you should have some money saved. It is also cost-effective and safer to select an all inclusive package and if possible pay for a majority, if not everything before your trip (this would include: resort fees, tours, extracurricular activities). I find this helps because when I reach my destination I know that the cost for my trip is covered and I don't necessarily have to 'over-spend'.
Usual costs for vacationing abroad would include getting a visa, but as a Nigerian citizen, you do not need a visa to visit Barbados (maximum stay is 6 months) which is the same with most countries.
Food- Food was expensive but honestly worth it. In Barbados, you can use both USD and Barbadian dollars ($1 USD - .50c BAD). Here's the twist though, if you wanted to eat local Bajan food; you would not spend that much on food because it was cheap and large quantity. For date nights we would splurge on fancy meals at restaurants like; The Cliff but ultimately we dined at the restaurant at the resort.
Drinks- RUM RUM RUM........On this trip, I can unapologetically say that rum was my water. I mean how could it not? On every occasion, every tour and at every restaurant we were offered 'rum punch', very potent rum punch.
Things to Do in Barbados
There are a lot of activities to do and sites to see in Barbados, I can't possibly mention every tourist attraction. Listed are activities I did and some I had on my list and didn't get a chance to do.
- Catamaran cruise with Calabaza Sailing Cruises.
Small-Group lunch cruise with snorkelling & open bar. This was such an amazing experience; the crew, music, FOOD. Unfortunately, I got seasick 20 minutes into the cruise and I would have been better prepared if I had had this experience before. On the bright side, I didn't let it stop me from snorkelling. A cruise tour is a nice way to see the island from another view.
- Beach Extravaganza Dinner Show with Harbour Lights Barbados
A dinner show & nightclub, admission includes food and drinks as well. This was the ultimate tropical party fusion. The dinner shows are on Mondays and Wednesdays, get your tickets ahead of time because they sell out fast. 3 live bands and steel pan with carnival dancers and it includes round trip transfers to and from your hotel.
- Oistins Fish Fry Experience with Terrvette Tours
On our first night in Barbados, we did this tour and it was the best way to indulge with the locals and learn about their culture. We had our first taste of Bajan food on this night and there was no turning back. Still dreaming of the Baracuda fish, rice and peas, plantains, slaw the list goes on.
You can also get joint tours that include visits to Harrison's Cave, St. Nicholas Abbey, Hunte's Gardens or Flower Forest Bathsheba. Tours in these areas are usually 7-8 hrs long and cost about US$150 per adult.
Tips: It is important to know that a majority of locals make their income from tourists. So at almost every stop there would be people selling any and everything. I always left the resort with the amount of cash I wanted to spend in a day and when it was done, that was it. It helped me minimize my spending A LOT. Barbados is a safe place, visited Brigdetown, Holetown and Oistins; didn't get a chance to see Speightstown. Our resort was in Holetown which is the party and nightlife part of Barbados. So just as you would do in any place, don't wander alone at night especially in lonely places, leave your valuables in your safe and at least let the front desk staff at your hotel know where you're headed especially if you travelled alone. Keep in touch with friends and family, so that they also know your plans and itinerary.
For tour guides, I would recommend Terrvette Tours. Terry and Evette were the absolute best; a very nice couple that told us amazing stories about their country and showed us around. Evette took me to the house Rihanna grew up in and showed me the street named after her (Rihanna Dr.); it was not even part of our tour. If you're into catamaran cruises, get on board with the Calabaza crew. PS: Don't forget to take motion sickness pills like me.
Finally, there is a lot to see and do in Barbados. It's full of culture and love, I felt at home instantly. Bajans are welcoming and love teaching and sharing their culture with visitors. Currently looking forward to my next trip and sharing it with you guys. I'll be posting a Barbados gallery in a few weeks; including a vlog and pictures.
Lots of love,