Barbados Travel: How to Live Like Locals!
A trip I began planning with Grace 6 months ago and came out so perfect by the time our stay was over. From the flavors of bajan food to some of the most beautiful waters you’ll ever get to swim in… this is a place I truly recommend you try as a family, solo discovery, or just pure fun overall!
2pm - Landed in Bridgetown Barbados
Since the night before our flight, I made sure we were equipped for SJ’s first ever international flight! What started as SJ and myself, ended with me running into Grace and Ameer on our last leg of the flight to Barbados. It was such a fun surprise running into them on the plane and really set the tone for the remainder of the trip.
One of my biggest lessons traveling with a stroller was that the TSA… American Airlines specifically forced me to check SJ’s stroller in, with the rest of our luggage, opposed to allowing him to ride the stroller to the gate and check it then. As a parent, I now know with certain international flights, the Bentley Trike is considered a bike NOT a stroller, even though it completely breaks down… accept the bike part LOL
Nevertheless, we met a cool couple, also a set of grandparents to the most adorable little girl with the same head of hair as SirJon! They expressed how excited they were to see their daughter who lived on the island with her bajan partner and daughter… I was captivated by their energy from there!
…Ok so we landed in Bridgetown approximately 2pm with Bishop’s (SJ’s dad) flight right behind us landing only an hour later. From there, we immediately hopped in a taxi and drove straight for our vacation home. This was the most perfect Airbnb located in the hills of Oistins with 2 coconut trees in our backyard! Our 4 bedroom home was filled with luscious greenery facing the open deck in the backyard. Inside was an all white kitchen and living room spacious enough to host people… I would rent this very Airbnb again!
We ended the first day by taking a 30 minute stroll down to Oistins Fish Market and ran into mumsy whom we met and still talk to to this very day! Update! Mumsy fell this past month (March) so I bought her some crocs in her favorite color!
6am - Woke up to the sound of rain and 80 degree humidity.
You know those places where the sound of rain relaxes you vs being in NYC where it might attract a little anxiety? (We live in NY) It was perfect timing as I pulled out my materials to read and journal.
Once the boys woke up, we took a stroll down to Miami beach. If you're someone who enjoys a little bit of cardio then you’d love the walk because we got to talk to the neighbors and stop for drinks at a local bar…almost like a makeshift shack plastered in front of someone's home! We had one of the island's signature Banks beer as we continued our walk down to the beach. A refreshing go to drink for the entire trip!
As we approached the beach, we saw an older lady with a tent prompt up, oil burning on the portable stove and that's when I proceeded to ask what it is she's frying… it smelled so good! Her response was “fish cakes” and that's when I went deep into nostalgia of the time Bishop first introduced fish cakes to me. Come back into the present and I couldn't help but to order (10) fish cakes… We came back the next day (day 3) for my mom to try them and then came back the day after that (day 4) to order 25 more! 1 bajan dollar per fish cake!
By 4pm, my mom landed onto the island and it was time for us to head back to the house to greet her. Once mom settled in, we made our way down to St Lawrence Gap, appx 10 min car ride from Oistins or a 30 minute walk! “One of the best-known neighborhoods in the country of Barbados. Sometimes just called "the Gap", Saint Lawrence Gap is located on the southern coast of Barbados along the island's Highway 7. Saint Lawrence Gap features a 1.5-kilometer stretch of bars, hotels, dance clubs, restaurants, inns, resorts, and shops along a white powdery-sand beachfront. It is situated roughly 5 km southeast of the capital city Bridgetown.
This day we stayed at the beach from the afternoon until sun down getting acquainted with the area and adding things to do on our must-see lists! The beach was filled with chickens, roosters and monkeys controlled the island! Their pests arent mice and roaches, its chickens, roosters, and monkeys! The chickens and roosters are all over the beaches. As a tourist you love it but as a local you can't stand it.
Come nightfall, we got dressed up and headed over to Cocktail Kitchen for dinner. Perfect for those looking for a more upscale ambiance while visiting the island. Award winning executive chef, Damian Leach enticed us with his “catch of the day” and ceviche as an appetizer!
Post dinner, I partied all night on the gap with Mom SJ and Bishop. That's when all of the locals and tourists come on the strip. The locals say the town doesn't come alive until about 12am! From that point, my mom and SJ were exhausted from the day so we sent them home and continued to party with our friends who live on the island. Troy took us deep into the island to party with the locals of St. George and it was interesting to see how the people of the island treat Americans. They almost look at you as a local celebrity they grew up with and watched blossom into the human they are today.
By 4am we all had got the munchies and hit the St Lawrence Gap strip for Jerk Burgers. Seasoned with a homemade Jamaican jerk spice, mixture of Scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, green onions, and garlic! These beef patties are not your average American burger by any means!
Grace’s Birthday! We celebrated all day and night long!
Like every morning, I started on the porch with my book The Lost Art of Connecting by Susan McPherson. This day we stayed and enjoyed our airbnb the entire morning! I had the chance to soak in all of the greenery throughout the neighborhood… Mama was sleepy from her trip the day before.
I took this time to romanticize the life around me and give thanks to the universe for providing the blessings before my family! While on the island, Bajans will remind you to slow down and be present in the moment. That way of thinking still holds influence on my household. We came back more at peace and take each day one by one ensuring we stay present to that very moment.
Another takeaway from this day was the realization that on the island it's so much easier to survive versus being in the United States! Fruit that costs $5 in NYC you can pick from a local tree for free! …So on this day, as Bishop, SJ, and myself headed down to Oistins Beach, we stopped at a Dong Tree and picked fruit from its top limbs using a stick that one of our neighbors had previously turned into a mini tree wacker LOL! We discovered the tree by some locals climbing into it and smacking down branches. Come to find out it was a fruit tree. The more red they are the sweeter, the less red the more sour.
Per usual, we made a pit stop to Mumsy’s house on the way down the hill but this time we spent a good hour getting to know her and her past life! She asked me if I was happy in my relationship and I asked her why she never wants to visit the USA…
Fish is pretty much a delicacy for Bajans, especially flying fish! But on this particular day, we tried fried swordfish for the first time ever and OMG!!!! Do not miss out on this amazing protein when you get to the island… honestly any of the fish!
The evening ended with us meeting Bishop’s great aunt for the first time ever and her telling us stories about the family. She lives only 2 blocks from Dover Beach! It was an amazing experience…
As it got later, we sent mama and SJ back up the hill for the night, met up with our friend Troy and partied the rest of the night in Downtown Bridgetown! “Formerly known as the Town of Saint Michael, locals refer to Bridgetown as “the city,” and sometimes, “town.”
A Day of Relaxation
We got our morning started late. By now, the term “Bajan time” finally got to us and we took joy in soaking up the life around us opposed to our normal American lifestyle of “rushing to nowhere fast”. The day began with a stroll through our neighborhood where we stumbled across a local market that became our go-to store for the remainder of the trip.
The biggest takeaway from our daily walks was that there were quite a few unfinished homes. Some looked abandoned while some look like they get progress done every so often… almost like there's a lump sum of money that has come in or the resources needed to continue to build. True definition of “going nowhere fast!”
We hosted a fish fry at the vacation home so we stopped by the Oistins Fish Market to pick up some things for dinner. Bishop made Shark, Marlin, King, Flounder and sides to go with it!
I loved how simple this day was. I think this is when I fell in love with the island and suddenly found myself sad to travel back home… The remainder of the evening ended with us enjoying a live band directly across the street from Restaurant Primo which sits on the water.
Bishop’s Birthday! We let the King rest…
As our trip was heading towards an end, I made sure to get up early with my mom and SJ to take a morning stroll down to Dover Beach while we let Bishop sleep in from his shenanigans the night prior… This man woke up to him with 2 new tattoos and I couldn't help but to laugh and be entertained for the remainder of the trip!
We stayed at the beach from sun up to sun down. No, literally stayed in the same spot and watched the sunset go down. It was the most perfect way to close out the trip because the goal for this one was to relax more than be on excursions so I was happy to have accomplished that serenity.
Bishop caught up with us about 5pm and we did one last activity on the island, archery! It was my first time and honestly I would do it again. They had us in a large open field with a variety of targets at certain distances depending on your skillset. I obviously had the one closest to us but managed to get the hang of my bow and arrow by the time our turn was over.
From there, we ate dinner at Primo for Bishops birthday. This is an upscale restaurant that sits on the water at the edge of St Lawrence Gap. I ate the braised beef over potatoes and it was delicious! I recommend this spot for sure.
Final Day On The Island!
We decided to take one last stroll around the neighborhood and met a nice elderly lady while engaging with the goats. What I didn't realize was this day would change my life because since then I’ve already booked my next trip to another island! My heart lives outside of the states…
By early afternoon, we made it to the airport and had Chefette for the first time! Equivalent to our fast food restaurants like Mcdonalds except caribbean meals! Did I mention the kid meals come with books instead of toys!
Overall, this trip is given an 8/10. And I didnt say 10 because we didnt take advantage of the tourist attractions. We lived like locals but want to enjoy bajan experiences next time we are in town!
Keep scrolling for more highlights from the trip!
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