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Barbados Dec 09

Sounds rather like a cattle brand from southern Texas—bar-bay-dos. But it’s an island in the southern Caribbean; the eastern-most, as a matter of fact, quite a long ways from Texas.

The island is noticeably different from Dominica. Barbados, unlike many Caribbean islands, is not volcanic. It’s a pile of limestone, so the hills are low and rolling, and grass is clearly evident on the slopes. This has the advantage that the ground water on the island is drinkable—the limestone filters the water, unlike the hard basalts of the volcanic islands that let their rainwater run off.

Barbados is by far the most touristy of the islands mentioned so far in this series, and that’s saying a lot. You have to walk through a (bright, clean) shopping building to get to the tour buses, and the port is in an industrial area, so you pretty much need to take a taxi or tour bus to get anywhere.

The snorkeling is pretty good. The island is dotted with wrecks in fairly shallow water, and the sand on the beaches is a beautiful white. Beware the word “pirate,” though. It means “party, rum included.” they might take you to a nice wreck to snorkel around, but it’ll be accompanied by unbelievably loud Caribbean music and a lot of carrying on on the way back.

You'll note that not everyone on a cruise is beautiful.

You'll note that not everyone on a cruise is beautiful.

If you care to go on a more land-based excursion, a fellow named Carlos has a little shop outside the terminal. He will rent you a four-wheeled ATV and lead you to the northern tip of the island and back, and you get to stop at a nice beach or two while you’re at it. Barbados supports other water sports than diving, by the way. The east side—they call it the Atlantic side—is pretty rocky and windy and the surfing is excellent there, not to mention highly popular wind surfing on the south. Which I don’t think you can do in Texas.

Have you ever visited Barbados? Tell us about it in the comments.

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