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rileypenny Jul 27th, 2006 10:33 AM

Just got back from Barbados
Our family of four (with two middle school boys) just returned from Barbados. Loved it. We chose Barbados in order to find a variety of beaches (some to snorkel, others to surf or boogie board), good food and to avoid the usual hurricane path. It had all of that. We usually rent a car and drive all over an island looking for good beaches. One thing we've found true in these adventures is that the description of any particular beach in a guide book or by a past traveller at a particular time may or may not be true about that beach at the time that you choose to visit.

What we found was this- -Payne's Bay had great walk-off-the-beach-and-right-into-the-fish snorkeling on one end. It also had the fabulous sea turtles to snorkel with- -again, you can swim out from the beach, or take a boat tour there. Paynes also has it's share of water sports. Mannie's Suga Suga on Mullins Beach was great for a day. It has a water tramp and lots of water sports operators, and we liked our lunch at Mannie's. Both of these beaches were very still, with fine golden sand, except that there was a small strip of small pieces of coral that you had to walk over at waters edge. It was so small and narrow that it wasn't a problem. The south coast beaches we saw were Accra and Miami. We stayed and boogie boarded at Miami Beach one day. Accra didn't have enough waves for that at this time of year. Miami was very pretty, you can rent a chair and a boogie board, and there is lots of shade available. That strip of coral that you walk over as you go in the water is much wider and more coarse here than on the west coast. After boogie boarding, we had a few cuts and scrapes on our legs, but didn't mind. At least there was a nice breeze, whereas the west coast was quite still. Again, this is our experience for July 2006- -no telling what the conditions are like at other times. Surfer's Point was fun- -the boys surfed at Zed's Surfing Adventures and really enjoyed it. Bottom is a bit rough there when you jump off your board, but the waves broke perfectly for surfing and all the people at Zed's were really nice. Crane Beach was fabulous, and rough. You could surf or boogie board there, or just bounce up and duck down trying to dodge the breaking waves. The beach is perfectly soft and pinkish, with no coral pieces, and the restaurant is good up at the Crane Hotel. We also skimboarded there- -the locals call it "sand-skating". The Crane Hotel charges $25 now for access to the beach through the hotel, which can be redeemed for credit on food and beverages there. There is also a public access to the beach. The drive to the Crane was 40 minutes from Paynes Bay Beach, on the day that we didn't get lost. And boy, do you get lost on Barbados. Most of the roads are not named, so you have to guess.

We enjoyed dining at Lone Star and The Cliff, but had some difficulty with food and service at The Tides. The manager and chef were nice and apologetic as we walked out the door, but our experience there was not as good as the others.

Overall, I would recommend Barbados for beach variety-seekers like us. Just bring a collapsible cooler packed with water bottles and all of your patience and good humor for the drive around the island. And one more thing, bring lots of cash.

greenie Jul 27th, 2006 11:54 AM

Fabulous report! I love Barbados and am headed there again (4th time) in October. Can't wait!

Peace, Greenie

owa Jul 27th, 2006 02:01 PM

Thanks for your report. We really like Barbados, and I agree with you about getting lost. I also agree with you about how different a beach and snorkeling can be on any given day. We stay at Coral Sands which is near the Big B grocery. The Sands has a little kitchen and the people are great. Sad to say my husband has not had to go back and work on the island in the last couple of years. Thanks again, Owa

caribtraveler Jul 27th, 2006 03:21 PM

Thanks for the report. We've never been but would love to some day.

Knowing Jul 28th, 2006 06:35 AM

Thanks for the report. After months of trying to decide upon this upcoming winter's trip, we finally decided yesterday on Barbados. We're not beach variety seekers, but we're looking forward to all the sightseeng options as well as the great food.

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