Is Barbados as wonderful as it seems?

Nov 5th, 2006, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 374
My family and I just returned November 4th from a week at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion. I am a avid Jamaican lover, and my family had to use all their powers of persuasion to convince me to spend my birthday in Barbados. I'm glad they did. The hotel had wonderful food, not only delicious, but beautifully presented. They even surprised me on the night of our arrival with a decadent chocolate cake with strawberries and complimentary drinks. What I loved most about Barbados,though, was the people. Every individual we encountered was friendly and helpful, from shopping in Bridgetown, dining in Holetown, and even the people renting jet skis on the beach. Three of those young men became our vacation buddies; I walked up the beach to a a local place called Ju Ju's and bought them lunch. One played football for Barbados. They were funny and made our stay twice as enjoyable. We did rent a jet ski and it was so much fun. Other vendors on the beach were very polite. One young gentleman really understands reflexology and gave me a spendid massage right on the beach,{Trevor} We took an Adventureland Tour to see much of the island, and although I joked that I'd lost my liver on some of the bumpy trails, I'm so happy we took that tour. We snorkeled. went deep sea fishing, relaxed, ate wonderful food, enjoyed the perfect beaches, and loved the people, especialy the ones we met "up close and personally." The beach at the Fairmont delivered the most beautiful gifts of sea glass . We collected every color and began to compete for pieces as clear as rain or for nuggets of aquamarine. Priceless souveniers. Ate at Olives. Calabaza, and the Cliff, which is magical and worth every dime for the experience. There is so much to do. Even the drive from the airport sets the tone, with fields green with sugar cane and cotton and floweres of every color. I still love Jamaica, and love the fact that it's only a two hour flight from our home. The flight to Barbados was a little tiring with a layover in Miami, so try to stay two weeks if you can, that's my advice. I'd surely go again and again and again.
twigsbuddy is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 07:57 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1
I find the posts rather amazing considering my wife and I have been to Barbados three times and are going again next month. Contra to other posters who assume those who have gone and like Barbados have not spent time on islands elsewhere, we have vacationed on a number of islands and in Kauai, HI.

Some people who go to island vacations expect to sit on the beach or at the pool, relax, eat, drink and do little else. We have always looked to vacations as a way to explore the people, place and culture. No where have we found the people more enchanting, the place more inviting or culture more interesting. On every island, there are locals trying to sell you something. In virtually instances, a polite "thank you but no thank you" will suffice. The crime in Barbados is nearly non-existent. Would I wave several $100 bills around in a dark alley, but there is little else to concern yourself with. If you rent a car and get off the beaten path, you can stop at virtually any whole in the wall bar or restaruant and will find friendly, open and honest folks who will treat you as you'd hope to be treated. For those who don't like Barbados, I am sure there is an island or other location waiting. For those who have fallen in love with it, I hope to see you there in March and buy you a drink overlooking the pink sands of Dover beach.
Cwalker is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 01:46 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 9
goodness me! i've just posted to ask about a cab fare - and have discovered this thread! calm down everyone... we don't all like the same the things and a good job too... but i hope i like barbados! and if i don't - well that will be down to experience. and do you know what - however bad my holiday will be it can't be as bad as sitting at my desk in rainy grey miserable london!!!
alipali is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 01:50 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 59
WoW, A nice rainbow of comments!! Let me add by saying.............I too have been to Barbados & did not care for it!!! for all the reason already stated! My two faves are St.Johm & Anguilla in that order!!!!!!!!! & sad but true all of the caribbean is expensive! SAVE SAVE SAVE!!!!!!!!!!!
JoenShell is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 06:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 85
I am going to Barbados in March and looking forward to it . I enjoy Islands that have more of a native feel . It seems to me the people on this site that do not care for Barbados like the more Americanized Islands . Does anyone else feel that way ?
We are staying at the Coral Reef.
DianaD is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 06:33 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,477
DianaD, you nailed it. Many Americans feel uncomfortable away from the familiar. Many Americans also go to the islands on cruises for that reason, where their only contact with an island/islanders is on a sterilized tour or in the duty-free shops.
xkenx is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 06:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,832
Well, I think that may be partially true. Barbados is so populated that when we went I wasn't sure how much I would like it as I don't care for the "Americanized" islands myself and thought surely there has to be a lot of that there. We had a wonderful vacation. There was so much to see and while there was a nightlife if we did decide some night that we wanted it, it was no Aruba. (Thank goodness!) The locals were some of the nicest people , the food was outstanding and creative and we were surrounded by magnificent views of water and beaches everywhere we went. A little windy, but that's my only complaint! Enjoy!!
Knowing is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 05:22 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 159
I just came back from a week in Barbados. The last time I had visited was 11 years ago and I didn't like it then. I was impressed with how much better overall the service is all around and how much more welcome I felt the second time there. I do have to say that overall it is not one of my favourite islands but I can see how it appeals to many.
IslandGrl is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 07:46 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 36
I did like Barbados, but not as much as St John, our favorite. We have been to St. Kitts, Cozumel, Nassau, St Thomas, St John, Playa del Carmen and Barbados. Barbados does have beautiful beaches and fantastic cuisine. Downside- it is expensive and the TRAFFIC was terrible! There were actual highways and we were caught in rush-hour traffic. It took too long to get from our hotel to some of these fabulous restaurants. Our hotel was fantastic- the Little Arches Hotel- highly recommend.
passionfruit is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 09:15 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 527
Wow! Iím amazed at how people either LOVE or HATE Barbados! There doesnít seem to be an inbetween. Iím kind of upset because I think we must have just stayed at the wrong place when we went a few years ago. We stayed at the Almond Beach Club and hated it. We vowed never to return to Barbados, but we obviously must have missed something seeing all these responses! Our experience was that it took forever to get to and that the locals werenít friendly AT ALL to Americans. When we landed, there was a giant plane next to use that flew in from England. It seemed that we were the only Americans (except for one other couple we met at the hotel) at our resort while there. Everyone else was English. The staff seemed to cater only to the English tourists. It was very strange. The other American couple who was there noticed the same thing. It was so bad that at dinner we had to get up and get our own water by the kitchen since the wait staff wouldnít come over to our table.

The beach was lousy in front of that hotel and we ended up using the one next door which was nicer. My husband and I went snorkeling out front and got caught up in the undertow. He actually ended up carrying a lady back to shore who had been stuck out for about an hour. We both got stung pretty badly from jellyfish and cut up on the coral trying to get back to shore, and the staff wasnít helpful at all. There wasnít a doctor with the hotel, and they said weíd have to go into town to see someone. We were freaking out because we had no idea what was causing the giant blisters we had all over our arms. Fortunately, a local told us it was from jelly fish. We thought the island itself from what we could see was flat and uninteresting. We thought Georgetown was dirty. It was very, very poor. Itís ashame we didnít see what the island has to offer. My uncle stayed on the eastern shore and thought it was the nicest island heís been to. Maybe someday weíll venture back and stay somewhere else Ė with a doctor on staff! Iíd love to find these nice beaches everyone is raving about.

Itís one of those things though if I was deciding to visit for the first time Iíd probably choose an island that isnít hit or miss with the reviews. There are plenty out there that everyone seems to love.

Ps-fllady Ė I havenít been Nevis, but have been to Maui. I found this link on fodors and it reminds me of Maui! Maybe you would like it here?
And we loved St. Lucia too-reminded us a lot of Kauai if youíre looking for something with hills and lush vegetation. From what we say Barbados was very flat.
kellybeaches is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 06:53 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,477
Kellybeaches, sorry for your problems, but some seem to be of your own making. You seem to have not ventured into the interior of the island or the east coast, which are definitely not flat and boring. And the capital of B'dos is Bridgetown; of course it's congested and not wealthy, like most Caribbean capitals. As Caribbean islands go, Barbados is not a "poor" one. Even people with little material wealth there take great pride in their education, their religion, and their surroundings. Had you researched Almond Beach beforehand, you would have discovered that it is a so-so property with a so-so reputation, and a lousy beach. Barbados is not an island to go to for an Americanized experience, but that's knowable in advance. Again, sorry for your troubles; you seem to have missed out on the positives of a very special island.
xkenx is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 07:36 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 527
Hi xkenx,
Yeah, I guess we didn't do our research before going. We went there about 6 years ago before we really started doing our caribbean traveling. I wish I had done more research prior as some of the reviews here sound like it is really nice. We had been to the different islands in Hawaii prior and I guess we were hoping it would be more similar to that at the time. (I guess I should have checked out Fodors reviews first Anyway, like I said, maybe someday we'll venture back-and this time check out the east coast. We've since been to St. Lucia, St. Martin, Virgin Gorda, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Bahamas, and are going to St. John this fall. I must say we've fallen in love with the islands. We do love the culture and people of the various islands (we just happened to experience negativity from the locals when on Barbados). I really think a traveler's thoughts of the island as a whole depends upon where they stayed, what their expectations of the place were going in, and how much they got to get out and experience their surroundings. With that being said, we had an amazing time on every other place we stayed, and someday hopefully we'll be able to see what we missed on Barbados
kellybeaches is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 08:23 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 131

I wanted to go to Barbados to try a different island. I've been to St Thomas, St Martin, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, visit Grand Cayman every year, and we consistently go to Kauai.
I've also been to Tahiti, Bora Bora, Cook Islands, Moorea, Australia, and most of the popular places in Mexico.

Barbados wasn't worth it to me. I didn't feel safe, shopping was crowded and no fun, and didn't ever find any decent beaches or snorkeling. Driving around was also a big pain. Of note: I'm not fond of closed spaces, so we didn't do the caves. If you like the idea of the adventure activities and sights to see in Barbados, give it a go. If you just want to hang on a beach and do some snorkeling, try Kauai, Grand Cayman, or Bonaire. I've also heard St John is great.

If you plan to stay in Barbados near the Bougainvillea Beach Resort, I suggest dont. St Lawrence Gap is a party area and you'll get woken up at 3 AM every morning, by the young kids drunk returning to their hotels.

By the way, Grand Cayman is expensive but you can bring alot of dry goods with you, eliminating the big costs of dining out while there.

Best of luck.
krissykris is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 05:00 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,477
Coral Reef Club, on the calm, quiet west coast, is the class act on the island, with gounnds, plantation-style low rise bldgs. or cottages, on a nice beach with wade-in snorkeling. And it doesn't cost more than Almond. Tour operators and travel agents promote Almond, which is why they get superior prices for inferior hotel.
xkenx is offline  
Mar 26th, 2007, 04:58 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2
Hmm. . .well, I've been to Barbados three times and intend to return! I loved it! Even got married there. No problems with crime, crowding and the beaches are beautiful (*especially* Miami/Enterprise Beach). Never harrassed by vendors. Maybe it's because we've done a lot of research ahead of time. We've stayed at Sandy Beach (nice hotel, but we had a room on the street side, which was noisy on the weekends), married at Bougainvillea and recently stayed at Inchcape Seaside Villas. By the way, I'm an American and have no interest in going to a beach to get an "Americanized" experience!

MichelleM is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2007, 08:52 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1
Inchcape Villas, Barbados...
Has anyone stayed there and how are they?
Mofan is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 07:44 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 8
Barbados is fantastic! We went into it wanting to explore a new culture and to get away from the States for a while.

The people here are very proud and well educated (close to 100% literacy rate I routinely hear). It shows in the low crime rate and strong infrastructure.
Fish14g is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 04:05 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,899
I have been to most islands in the Caribbean several times, some more than others.

I absolutely do NOT like Barbados. I have been ripped off by taxi drivers, overcharged in restaurants and just generally felt scammed when visiting.

Never again...
kfusto is offline  
Feb 8th, 2012, 12:34 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 104
Thought I would give Barbados another try. Am a bit older now, so could stay at the Fairmont on the "Platinum" coast, thinking that maybe my experience would change. I did enjoy it much more but it was the first time I was called an " White Bit.." by a group of Bajan teenagers who amused themselves by saying this to anyone who passed by. Still not my favourite island but my persective has changed somewhat.
jecrow is offline  

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