Caribbean, Travel and Adventure

A Visa run to Barbados

Gavin’s UK visa had run out and the closest embassy to get a renewal was Barbados. We only really needed a couple of days down there to get all the documentation dealt with, but we decided to make a little holiday out of the trip.

We stayed in the Dover Beach Hotel on St. Lawrence Gap. Saint Lawrence Gap is located on the southern coast of Barbados between Oistins and Worthings. The ‘Gap’ as it is also known is a 1.5km stretch of road famous for it’s bars and restaurants, lively nightlife, hotels and good shopping.

Here are some great things to see and do whilst in Barbados…

Dover Beach – This large expanse of golden soft sand is a popular spot for watersports, has great swimming conditions in warm, calm waters, a great boardwalk to take a stroll along and be sure to check out the numerous stalls selling food and drink to crafts and souvenirs.

St Lawrence Bay – A great place to snorkel with a great reef bordering the bay, superb rock formations, arrays of tropical fish and is a popular spot for turtles to hang out. A fantastic bay for windsurfing and kayaking. The front is also lined with a number of restaurants and bars where you can take in the beautiful views of the bay.

St Lawrence Gap – A fantastic strip filled with bars, restaurants, hotels, grocery stores and lively nightlife. We had a great time staying in the heart of the action!

Rent a car – We rented a car for two days for a fairly good price. We find it’s the best way to explore the island. The roads are generally in good condition apart from the odd pothole here and there, some of the roads are quite narrow and not many of them have pavements so beware of pedestrians walking on the side of the roads. Although Barbados isn’t a huge island, it can be fairly easy to get lost, so take a good map. People generally drive pretty fast and beware of the drunk drivers, as there are no restrictions on the island for drink driving.

Holetown – Located on the western side of the island, this great little town has a beautiful beach with a great boardwalk, fabulous restaurants, a marine park and sugar museum to explore. Every February they host a festival with music, crafts and a parade.

Speightstown – Located on the north-west coast, this is the second biggest town on the island. It was once a port with exports of tobacco and cotton until Barbados started producing vast amounts of sugar. It’s a relatively quiet town with a few shops and restaurants that cater to tourism running down the main street. Watch the local fishermen as they anchor their boats near the jetty to see what their catch was for the day or check out one of the many local markets for their fresh fruit and ground provisions.

Animal Flower Cave – Located under the cliffs at the most northerly point of Barbados at St. Lucy. Coral steps lead down through a former blowhole into the cave. The name ‘Animal Flower’ comes from the sea anemones found in the pools of the cave. The still waters of these pools look deceptively shallow, but they are deep enough for you to swim. The surrounding cliffs offer spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and don’t forget to check out the stalls selling local jewellery and crafts.

Harrison’s Cave –  Located in the central uplands, the caves are one of Barbados’ wonders. You can take a tram tour through the extensive system of naturally formed caves experiencing the crystal clears waters that drop from spectacular waterfalls into deep emerald pools. The calcium rich water has formed unusual stalagmites and stalactites formations. A real beauty to see!

Bridgetown – The capital of Barbados offers a huge amount of things to see and do and is a must on your visit. We got to Bridgetown by jumping on one of the local mini buses. It was quick, very cheap and the drivers were great, they dropped you anywhere you needed to be. We took a walk all over the capital exploring the main shopping district, the local markets, we walked along the harbour, took a look at the Garrison Savannah Racecourse (unfortunately there weren’t any race meetings on whilst we were there or I would have had a bet or two) and checked out the Kensington Oval (famous for the cricket).

We stopped in at the Boatyard Beach Club one afternoon for some lunch. You buy a day pass on the door and it includes sodas, sun loungers, water based and land based activities such as volleyball, dive platforms etc. The place is pretty cool, but full of cruise ship guests, very overcrowded and feels a bit like a holiday camp.

The best thing we did in Bridgetown was visit the Mount Gay Rum Distillery. We took a historical tour which lasted over an hour and was a fair price. The guide was very comical and informative. You learned the history of distillation, ageing and the blending techniques. It was a very boozy tour as it included a rum punch as you waited for the tour to start, another cocktail as you set off on the tour, samples of 3 different tasting rums, more drinks throughout the video and a drink in the bar to finish off with. Highly recommended if you’re in the area!

Oistins Fish Fry –  Friday nights are the busiest nights with locals and tourists alike heading on down to this wonderfully authentic Bajan experience. Oistins is a bustling little fishing town, open 7 days a week selling the catch of the day. Market stalls line up selling local crafts, jewellery, pottery, clothes and ceramics and food stands sell lobster, chicken, swordfish, tuna and mahi mahi. There is a live band, people dancing and locals playing dominoes. The place is atmosphereic and the food is amazing!

We only had 5 days in Barbados, but this island known for its diverse and rich cultural heritage, beautiful beaches and fantastic Bajan vibe, definitely make it worth a visit!

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