To explore the island state of the Barbados, my sister, brother and I decided to split from the group and rent a car. We were on a single-day road trip around the island!
We got a cab from the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal to Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) where the rental agency was. For some reason we figured a minivan was the way to go.
We started on the east coast of the island, driving through sleepy beach towns to popular shorelines. The highway only had one lane for each direction and often passed through villages and residential areas.
Continuing along the coast, we stopped at Foul Bay, Crane Bay, and Bottoms Bay.
At one point we got a bit lost following our tourist map for driving directions and ended up in a rural area of shanties. We stopped a local to ask for directions back to the coastal road. It went something like this:
Lemme see lemme see Takes map. “Ok, ok, now… here you are… wait a minute wait a minute. Ok ok, here you are on dusty road… Now. You go down this road and then turn right Signals left. Keep going until you reach a church on your left Signals right. Very important, don’t get off the highway, Mon! And then when you get there… ask someone, cause you lost.”
“Ok I think we got it! Thank you!”
“Lemme see lemme see… now… where are we… ok we’re on dusty road…”
It went on like this for 15 minutes.
We didn’t want to be rude and just drive away, but it was getting quite unbearable. Eventually he let us go and we completely ignored his directions to find our way back to the main road.
Further north we arrived at Tent Bay and stopped at Atlantis Hotel and Restaurant for a coffee and to relax a bit.
St. Nicholas Abbey
Our next stop was the famous abbey tucked in the lush hills of the Barbados. On arrival, you pay the park fee at the gate and park your car before touring the property on foot. This sugar plantation house in Jacobean style Renaissance architecture was built ~1650 and is still producing sugar today. The buildings and grounds were very well preserved and maintained.
Mount Gay Refinery
Though not recommended in any guide book, we noticed the name Mount Gay on the map and as it was nearby, we decided to take a look.
As our time was running out, we had to jet back to the port and return the car. The drive along the north-south highway 2A was straightforward and besides some traffic, uneventful.
As Barbados has been hailed the culinary capital of the Caribbean (by Zagat) I had to try out the local specialty, the flying fish sandwich. For fast food, it was truly delicious!
Before boarding, I went to the immigration office to ask for an entry stamp. The officer took my passport and readily stamped it. I was glad to get it and also surprised that they would stamp it since I technically didn’t go through any immigration check. Once I examined the purple ink in my passport, my smile disappeared as I read the word “SOUVENIR” below the “Barbados Immigration” seal…
We boarded the ship and shared our experiences with the rest of the group. Lush forests, amazing coasts, and friendly locals all made the day on this little island one to remember!