Subscribe RSS

Tag-Archive for "barbados"

My final general principles—for now Oct 26

Number 7: Don’t make your itinerary tight. I think one of the best things about travel is finding things you didn’t plan for. These are often time-consuming from the perspective of an itinerary, but they tend to be free or cheap, and they add unforgettable uniqueness to your trip. That interesting store or cafe across the street, that smaller path not on the main tour. Something someone tells you about that they just discovered themselves. Follow that lead! Remember, free stuff is cheaper than the expensive stuff.

I took a side trail on a scooter ride once, and found a spectacular view of a harbor that none of the other tourists got to see.

Nelson's Bay in Barbados

I could give you a million examples. When you have a choice, the more adventuresome one is usually better.

Numbah 8, dahling: Luxury and cheap don’t usually go hand in hand. Some locations, such as Southeast Asia, are known for being inexpensive, and we’ll get into some of that later, but the general rule is that fancy costs money. Luxuriasts make their living creating luxury. They gotta eat, y’know, and you’re the one paying their wages. Luxury is artificial. It’s fantasy. Somebody else does the dishes (okay, maybe that’s a meaningful luxury) but do you really need a chocolate on your pillow? Your spouse could put one on your sleeping bag for maybe 1% of the one in the fancy, sterile bedroom. And a chocolate on the sleeping bag is a surprise and delight. (Spouses, take note.)

What you get for your money is reduced risk. The food at that interesting cafe might be terrible. The small path might lead to a dump (I took one once and it led to a large pile of conch shells. No guarantees. But with the risk are the unexpected delights.

Just don't let something unforeseen happen to your chocolates

Actual cheap places coming up!

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.