Definition of “Ballin” according to Urban Dictionary: Livin the good life. “Im still ballin” (im still livin the good life)
Barbados is known by many as the Caribbean island with the most prestige because of its affluence and wealth that flirts with every visitor to dine in a exquisite restaurant or lust after flashy cars. Attracting super sized private yachts, luxury hotels with helipads and stars such as Simon Cowell and Rihanna, there is no surprise that Barbados has this reputation.
Despite all the glitz and glamour that Barbados attains, it still is a romantic traditional Caribbean island. There are secluded coves and beaches that aren’t draped in fine dining establishments, but filled with rustic tin huts where bartenders serve you glasses of strong rum punch with a gaped tooth smile. There are still stalls and places to eat that sell traditional “flying fish cutters” and barbecued pork tails. If you want to explore the true traditional Caribbean way of life, head over to Bridgetown to embrace the heaving mass of rasta’s, local market stall owners and merry mothers purchasing their bargains. The whole area is recognized by UNESCO because of its historical significance with crumbling cathedrals and ancient parliamentary buildings.
There are many things to do in Barbados, as well as a number of beaches to sprawl yourself in the sun on. Dover, Accra and Carlisle Bay are some of the most popular. A visit to Hunte’s Gardens is a hidden sweet spot to escape the searing heat in beautiful lush gardens that are filled with blooming shrubbery and hidden enclaves. There are also a number of caves that are popular to visitors such as Harrison’s Cave, and there are several world class Golf Courses. You can arrange a Snorkelling Trip to swim with turtles, although previously I have been able to swim with them by walking off the beach. As there are a number of tour companies that offer this activity, going to the spot yourself out of the hours of the tour boats means you are able to share the turquoise waters with just these majestical beasts, really making you feel at home with them in their environment. Other activities you can do is, to visit the Artisan unique shops- which are aplenty and are created for the pleasure of tourists. Pick up a magnificent watercolour painting of the beach or a terrifying traditional mask- just make sure you barter with them for a price. My favourite activity, due to Barbados being the sole exporter of my love and elixir: Mount Gay Rum, is heading over to the Distillery. Here you can learn the process of creating this delicious beverage and sample a number of aged rums, all with distinctive flavours.
Although the attractions of Barbados are moderately priced, the real elegance and luxury stems from where you stay, drink and dine. Sandy Lane is notorious for its luxury five star accommodation where every superstar or celebrity chooses to stay, if not on their yacht of course. Its clientèle don linen trousers and fly British Airways, arriving with style in hotel limos and sipping champagne in the back seats. Although highly regarded, there are a number of similar establishments that broadcast their status to neighbours, and even average priced hotels that offer packages for holiday makers, which makes Barbados an all round destination.
Dining out in Barbados is exemplary and with such a vast repertoire of exclusive and elite customers, the standard is incredibly high. With Lone Star’s location, this restaurant makes a great visit for lunch by the sea, whilst Cin Cin always serves exquisite dishes. Daphne’s is another fantastic restaurant to dine walking distance to the beach and Tides serves delicious dishes (and rich deserts). The most expensive and luxurious restaurant is The Cliff, and reserving a table must be booked well in advance. The location, service, décor and food is consistently stunning. If your scene is more barbecued Mahi Mahi than smoked salmon, head over to Oistins Fish Fry, which is popular with locals and visitors because of its tasty traditional dishes and warm atmosphere.
Bars in Barbados range from local joints that welcome you with notes of steel drums and a warm haze of smoke, beach extravaganza’s dedicated to cruise ships and tourists wanting the full Caribbean experience, and classy bars and night clubs that are filled with glam slinky dresses and dapper looking gentleman. The night-life, just like the island, is a mix of people, style and charm.
If you are looking to visit a Caribbean island where you can dine in the same restaurants as the previous prime minister has, or party all night with merry locals whilst staying in accommodation that is suited towards your own style, then Barbados is the place.