Is Barbados as wonderful as it seems?

Sep 26th, 2006, 07:48 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 247
I went to Barbados a couple of years ago and stayed at the Casuarina Beach Club. I have mixed feelings about Barbados. I thought our resort was lovely...nice beach, BEAUTIFUL grounds, nice pool, but the rooms were only ok. It was great to have a kitchenette though as food on the island is WAY overpriced.

Barbados has stunning beaches. The island is easy to explore. We rented a little open air car and had a great time exploring the island...we saw so much and loved being able to drive ourselves around---stop in to see a local cricket match, etc.

We also took at 5 hour lunch catamaran cruise which took us snorkeling with sea turtles. It was definitely a highlight.

We found the food on the island to be WAY too overpriced and not too good. The best place BY FAR is Oistens. On Friday nights it is the happening place to be, but it's open every night. We had dinner there EVERY night. For $6 we got a plate of fish, macaroni pie, chips, name it. It's just a bunch of shops set up in a parking lot...but boy was the food good and worth it.

The downside to Barbados is that the island itself is just not that pretty. If you've been to Hawaii and think that's what Barbados will look'll probably be disappointed. That's what St. Lucia looks like. Most of Barbados is under construction and it's not lush like Hawaii and St. Lucia are (parts of the Island, particularly the Atlantic side, are lush).

If you're looking for a place that looks like Hawaii...go to St. Lucia. But that said, Barbados' beaches are much nicer....white sand...turquoise waters.

We went in June, and since Barbados is hit by the trade winds, it was very comfortable.

I would go to Barbados if you get a great deal...when we went there was a fabulous deal going for 7 nights accommodation and airfare from Boston for $650 per person. I wouldn't break the bank to go there though.
Lucia78 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2006, 08:56 AM
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Sorry fllady but I just want to clarify something in response to Lois.

I'm not quite sure how my disagreeing with the negative review is connected to what the hotel posts about their resort.

At any rate, my reaction was based on the copying of one very negative review that highly disparages a place when a simple referral to TA would have led to a more balanced opinion that highlights both the pros and cons.

I can certainly understand that Peach and Quiet is not for everyone. It is not luxurious and makes no pretense to be. However, I don't think it's quite fair for someone who has never stayed there to be blatant about pointing out what a very small minority consider to be negative aspects. And I will leave it at that.
starfish1 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2006, 05:17 PM
Join Date: May 2006
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To put it bluntly -- no. Barbados is tremendously overrated. It is a bland, middle of the road destination, perfect for people who have never been to the Caribbean before or who are skittish about the islands in general. I don't know what the fuss is about: the beaches aren't the greatest, the food is overpriced and service is awful, the island itself is dull and the hotels are mediocre. And yet it draws a lot of Brits and Canadians on packages. Would love to know what you have decided.
jecrow is offline  
Sep 26th, 2006, 05:47 PM
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Whew! What mixed reviews. I'm trying to keep an open mind about our upcoming vacation, reading some Barbadian history, finding out a little about the people, their culture, and dialects. From all the pictures I've seen neither the island nor its people seem bland, but rather very colorful. I also plan to go with an open heart. Wish us well, won't you?
twigsbuddy is offline  
Sep 26th, 2006, 10:58 PM
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Yes - am also surprised about the mixed reviews! We will be going there for the 1st time this winter - combining with St. Vincent and Bequia. We've been to the Caribbean lots of times, but these islands are a first for us. I still don't really get a clear picture from all the comments, except that it may be somewhat comparable to St. Maarten/St. Martin, which we've visited lots of times. But anybody who has been to both, correct me if I'm wrong!
Carola22 is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 06:01 AM
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Much more beautiful than St.Martin. On Barbados, you have only to get outside of Bridgetown and the busy coast roads south of Bridgetown, to have the lovely countryside and sightseeing.
xkenx is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 06:06 AM
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fllady and twigs, I just wanted to chime in with my thoughts on this post. You could have posted any other island in the title of this post (Is Barbados as wonderful as it seems?) and it would have brought out the naysayers and devotees in droves. It's just the nature of these boards. Most folks traveling to *any* island have a wonderful time, and those who do their research ahead of time like y'all are doing are more likely to know of any pratfalls and thus be prepared for them so that the vacation isn't ruined by unpleasant surprises.

It's a fact of life that budget hotels don't offer a lot of ameneties, so if you do choose Peach & Quiet (or anything else comparable), just be prepared. That place in particular has a very strong following of repeat clientele, and if I were traveling to Barbados on a budget with the hopes of exploring much of the island, I wouldn't hesitate to choose it. If, however, I were traveling to Barbados to do some major R&R and stay mostly put at a resort, or at least on a beach, I would be less inclined to pick it.
ejcrowe is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 06:21 AM
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Thank you for all of the replies. I think we've decided to do a cruise instead, but it's helpful to hear everyone's thoughts for future reference.
fllady is offline  
Sep 28th, 2006, 05:43 AM
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Well, I'll have to make the best of it. We are booked at the FRP for ten days beginning Oct.27, which is my birthday!! If we were headed back to the Half Moon, this would be the birthday of a lifetime, because I could share it with my daughter and son-in-law{the best one in the world} My husband and I spent one day on Barbados about seven years ago while on a cruise. I don't even remember what beach we went to, but he had so much fun swimming and riding the waves, he's always wanted to go back. My daughter doesn't love the tropics like I do; she'd much prefer to be off on an adventure to Europe. My son-in-law should be quite happy anywhere where he can deep sea fish. I'll be happy just to read, relax, and sit in the sun. So wish us a happy trip. We know life is short, but we have to make it "wide," and I'm hoping to return with happy memories.
twigsbuddy is offline  
Sep 28th, 2006, 05:57 AM
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twigs, I'm sure you're in for a wonderful birthday getaway. How fortunate you are to have so many loved ones to celebrate with while you're there. FRP looks like a very nice place to stay. Enjoy yourself, and please write a trip report upon your return.
ejcrowe is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 10:13 AM
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Lois, i don't know why but I wasn't able to email you. I am going on Nov 1st and would love your tip sheet. Thanks [email protected]
sleeplessknight7 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 10:27 AM
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My husband and I stayed in Barbados on a return from Petite St. Vincent in the Grenadines. We had to fly through Barbados anyway so we decided to extend our stay for a few days. I have to say we HATED it. We stayed on the south side at Coral Sands. Coral Sands hotel was just fine...clean, bright...very good value. When we were brought to our room our the hotel staff explained how we needed to be sure to use all the locks on the patio doors...both the glass ones and the extra thick screen ones. I swear there must have been 10 locks between those 2 sets of doors. We were also instructed to use the safe even while we were in the room. All of this for a 2nd floor rooom....We wanted to go to the beach and chose this hotel because it had a decent beach and was within walking distance or restarants (did not rent a car). But when we were there they had a sewer line broken and the south beaches were unusable. That started our adventure to find an open beach. We talked to the hotel staff who recommended some places on the west coast. Since we did not have a rental car we had to use taxi service. We went to a "beach club" on the west coast that had chairs for rent and a restaurant since we'd be there all day. The cab ride was about $50 and took way longer than I expected. The water was lovely...very calm and very warm. But the beach hawkers were terrible. We had people coming up to us constantly in the water, on the beach etc. We tried to take a walk to get out of the "beach club" area thinking the hawkers would be less. No luck. They were almost hostile. I was scared. After we got back to our hotel we went to St. Lawrence Gap area which was a short 10 minute walk from our hotel. The walk may have been short, but it too was scary. The neighborhood was sketchy at best and there were no sidewalks and it was dark. We took a very expensive cab back.

I think Barbados is probably very lovely if you stay at one of the big resorts on the west coast and basically stay on property the whole time. I'm sure they keep the beach area clean of the very persistant hawkers and have security.
eks6426 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 11:50 AM
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My husband and I spent our honeymoon in Barbados this past July, and we had a wonderful experience. I recommend staying on the west side near Holetown. We had a few nights at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion and it was beautiful and had excellent service. We also spent a few nights at the Crane on the east coast, and it was a beautiful setting but service was mediocre and there is little to do over there. Definitely get a car to explore! The restaurants at the Crane and all around Holetown were amazing, but very pricey. Our dinners ranged from $100-300 per night, but we were in splurging mode. I would definitely go back to Barbados at some point, but its the only Caribbean island I've been to so I'd like to check out some others first.
Oct 13th, 2006, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 89
A terrible thing to have to respond to with such a hopeful question but I have to agree with those stating - NO.

When people say that the people in Barbados are unfriendly it is harsh because it pangs of an over simplification of a serious systems issue IN Barbados that is impacting on tourism....Barbados to me and the many times I have visited my dear friend living there - struggles terribly or rather doesn't struggle just perpetuates major Classism, Racism and Sexism...and this seems to be making it increasingly painful for people who work there to be "happy" - maybe that is too much and maybe it is me being too much of an arm chair sociologist...but it is my observation. In terms of the island specifically - all the islands offer different things geographically and Barbados appeals to those looking for a simpler landscape with BEACHES....but I was shocked at how expensive it has become if you want to try a nice meal out....not even a "fancy" just nice...but on the flip side...there are amenities in Bbdos that you don't find on other islands - prioritize for yourself...

I found with my friend some of the best Cafe Lattes I have ever had in my life....but as terrific as they are...not what I am in the Caribbean for...

If you go I do hope you get to enjoy all that is wonderful about the island - just because it is a NO to me doesn't mean it will be a NO to you...
Carib_dreamn is offline  
Oct 16th, 2006, 10:49 AM
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No, no, no...I can't tell you how disappointed I was in Barbados. People told me that vendors were a problem in Jamaica and Mexico but I had no idea what I was in for when I was in Barbados. I stayed at the Southern Palms which was in the St. Lawrence Gap area. Maybe I was in the wrong area but I could not walk outside the hotel to the store or to the restaurants without being harassed about timeshares, hairbraiding, jewellery etc. Even in the hotel, as soon as I went in swimming, I was pestered about renting jet skis. ANd this isn't the "no-thank- you-and-they-will-be-on-their-way" experience either. I was shocked because Barbados is supposed to be an upscale island. The hotels were a bit run down on the southside as well.
sandyjoy is offline  
Oct 16th, 2006, 11:56 AM
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Typically you will not find this to be true at some of the more expensive island hotels like Sandy Lane, Coral Reef Club or The Sandpiper. However, the beaches are public and while they try to discourage vendors, some can be persistent.

On the South Coast they have set up several vendors stands on some of the beaches (like Accra, Sandy Beach) so that vendors have a place to display their items for sale and not become a bother.

In the St. Lawrence Gap area you will find many more vendors and timeshare people that you may find annoying.

We just completed our 24th trip to the island and have traveled throughout the Caribbean as well. We keep going back to Barbados as we feel it has the most to offer in the Caribbean.

Lois is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2006, 11:01 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
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I know my reply is late in coming, but I wanted to add my two cents.

I read this post before I visited Barbados for the first time (Oct 21-28th). I was a bit hesitant to go, after reading some of these posts. Turns out, there was no reason to be. I fell in love with Barbados! Our first few moments were a bit shaky. As soon as we got to our resort, we walked the beach, and the vendors did intimidate us a bit. But we soon realized they were harmless & just said "no thank you" & went on our way.

I found everyone that we spoke to - whether they were resort employees, taxi drivers, other visitors, or other Bajans we just ran into- to be warm, friendly and helpful. Every last one.

The island is beautiful, the food is wonderful and there's plenty to do. Or not do.

YES, Barbados IS as wonderful as it seems!!!!!!!!!

(I hope to write a trip report soon.)
ruffian62 is offline  
Nov 4th, 2006, 09:03 AM
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Thank you SO much for your 2 cents. We are going to Barbados in Feb and have been hearing so many negative comments that it really is nice to hear someone come back and say something positive. Please DO post a trip report for those of us who have yet to experience the island! Thanks!
Knowing is offline  
Nov 5th, 2006, 02:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Yes - also looking forward to any trip reports! Like I said, somehow it's hard for me to get a clear picture of this island. It may be a first and last visit for us - we usually go to St. Martin/Anguilla, since these islands are much easier to get to for us. But we just thought we should try something else for a change, so we'll be in Barbados for a week followed by some time in St. Vincent and Bequia. Anyway, any information is most welcome!
Carola22 is offline  
Nov 5th, 2006, 06:54 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
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What an interesting thread. I admit I was surprised by the "love it/hate it" reviews. I couldn't help thinking "Is Barbados the new Jamaica?".
There was an in-depth article on Barbados in one of the Caribbean Travel & Life magazines and I have to say the country looks beautiful. It's definitely on my list of places to go. I'm looking forward to some of your trip reports.
caribtraveler is offline  

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