Barbados, the Caribbean Island known for its hustle and bustle lived up to its reputation, even in the slow season, as June is one of it’s slowest months. High season is long:  October-May and they are located outside the hurricane belt.  The Island is a working island that is committed to tourism and is a port for several cruise ships.  Barbados means business year round however; the only time the local Bajans really let their hair down is June and July when the tourist season slows way down and they get to have some fun. The US dollar is equal to 2.00 in Barbados at least we have some value with our money here.

Yes, I am happy when my work takes me to an Island, however a little more free time to explore would have been welcomed.  I fell in love with the people. They have such a precious, happy, genuine spirit about them. They truly love each day and make the most out of it. The work ethnic beats out any of the other Caribbean  Island I have visited, although my goal is to travel to all of them in my lifetime. The downfall of living here are taxes- many  Bajans have to work 2 jobs just to survive.

As a current  member of the American Tea Party movement, I can not complain about our taxes after learning about what they pay  and am thankful. I do  know that there is a VAT tax (value added tax) bill being introduced soon, yes… here in the US … stay tuned.  Please vote AGAINST this as it will penalize us for eating out and traveling will become even more expensive. Our government is trying to recoup some of their extravagant spending and where will this fall? On us- the American consumer. It will further hurt our local tourism business.

Barbados is a more expensive island than others, because of the high government and import taxes along with a VAT tax that is added to all tourist expenditures from hotels to meals that ranges from 7.5% to 15% extra. There are many duty free shops that offer some bargains but also very high end designer shops opening on the Gold Coast on the Western side of the island.  These folks really need a break and they are playing the high end tourism card. One example was my firend who bought a bathing suit cover-up for 250 US /500 Barbados . Amazing . I would have used a towel or a t-shirt.

Many products  including natural foods and supplements , will cost the importers  a minimum of a 47% landed cost.  The people are very well educated,  joyful and extremely well mannered.  Natural foods and healthier living are becoming more important to the people and High Cholesterol and Blood Pressure are rampant. These conditions are at the foundation of a Diabetes explosion on the Island . The two local natural products markets are Natures Discount stores and medical center www.naturesdiscount.com since the early 90′s  The  Jenn Health store, started in 1985  , which also operates a vegetarian deli and restaurant www.jennhealth.com . Both businesses are expanding and improving their offerings more each year and  locals are showing an  increased support for integrated health measures. From one of the  chef’s at the Hilton  to their supervisor in the executive lounge to the housekeepers- all were interested in improving their health anbd learning how to change their diets.

Rhonda Charles, a knowledgeable , delightful and passionate women looks at least 15 years younger than she is, spouts off health tips every Thursday on the radio show – The Voice of Barbados at 9:30 am . I was honored to be her guest and we had a blast.  Working in the Natures Discount stores and training the staff was inspiring. We are all so different but meeting people globally truly educates you, better than sitting in classroom. The Bridgetown store has a  world renowned body builder name Morris who is over 50 and has abs of iron. I was very impressed. Local blood pressure screenings and cholesterol checks keep George Warren busy as global diseases unify all of us. The Bajan’s downfall are the massive amounts of carbs on every dinner plate-especially the white potatoes, cream and the Bajan bakes … fried sweet wheat flour -major cholesterol and high blood pressure boosting foods. I did enjoy the Flying fish and breadfruit mash and pumpkin is served as they grow locally.

If you have a car, driving is on the left, you can venture out and save money on meals. The local fish fry in Oistins  is a bargain and a great way to meet the locals, located  along the southern shore 05800147 and close to the airport. Dinner ranges about 20-30 Barbados withou05800087t drinks. Take in05800091 the local  music and  straw market with local handicrafts. The  hot sauce is made with scotch bonnet peppers is amazing and a  must buy … it is sold everywhere. One of my  favorites was  ECAF, made locally in Bridgetown; a hot, but flavorful infused with mustard sauce. Some also include turmeric for extra color and health benefits. Of course read the ingredients as some brands do add food colorings, corn or wheat starch.

Barbados is a larger island spanning 166 miles and is divided into parishes instead of counties. Bridgetown was in  St Michael’s parish. All the parishes were names after men, except one. St Lucy must have been quite a women!  The Atlantic side is much quieter than the Caribbean side and offers phenomenal surfing but limited swimming. If you are looking to get away from it all try the Atlantis Hotel.  A renovated 8 room chic- romantic place with fabulous food, a pool and ambiance - close to the Andromeda Botanical gardens. For surfing lessons try Zed’s Surfing adventures www.barbadossurf.com or for an individual lesson, try Mobile Surf lessons  www.surfing-barbados.com

Barbados offers many topside activities from Canopy Zip lining www.arialtrek@carisurf.com to Island safaris -tour Barbados in a 4×4 www.islandsafari.bb to Segaway eco tours www.segwaybarbados.com

The beautiful ocean surrounding this Island offers many treasures below the surface. The diving  mainly on the south and west coasts, was lower visibility than ususal since they were in the middle of an algae bloom, lending a green tint and limited vis of 40-50 feet. When this lifts, the 100 ft vis will be back. There is a barrel coral disease that is happening slowly to the reefs. The coral was absolutely beautiful. In great shape and NO lionfish or traces of oil! There were hawksbill turtles on every dive. There were so beautiful. No sharks. Plenty of fish. The guys at the Barbados Blue Dive Shop, a few minutes from the Hilton where we stayed were fabulous, fun and concerned about safety and low key. The dive sites are close by so your surface interval is back at the shop or the beach  www.divebarbadosblue.com/434-5764. The water temperature was 84 degrees so I only needed a skin, even when I went on the famous wreck The Stavronikita, which sits at a 130 feet ; the max for recreational diving, I was never cold.  A minor miracle for me. Andre Miller is a world renowned marine biologist who also owns a dive shop in Grenada (another trip coming soon!) Kayaks are available here too, free of charge when you stay at the hilton www.hilton.com

For those of you who don’t dive, there were plenty of daily snorkel trips to the turtle sanctuary, fishing trips and catamaran and sailing trips . www.oceanadventures.com The Silver Moon catamaran offers deluxe trip allows only 12 guests and is the best ! Another low key operator is Shasa cruises..www.shasacatarmarancruises.com

Although we stuck close to the hotel and ate there several times , Brown Sugar-excellent regional cuisine, the fish fry ,and a few other local places, our favorite was Mangos by the Sea www.mangosbythesea.com and watching the sun sink into the glassy ocean beneath it.

My friend Karen Clarke in Freeport, Bahamas  has a friend who owns Mangos , Pierre  -so it was a must-do experience. All the way up in Speightown (St. Peter Parish) it was worth the 45 min  drive.  A plus for traveling in the slower tourism months of the summer is that we were seated instantly and enjoyed top-notch service. The food, drink and company was incredible.  A definite splurge.


Mangos Filet Mignon....yummmmBarbados offers so much. The soil is rich and the people do grow sugar cane and sweet potatoes . Many people have their own gardens.  Locally grown herbs and bush tea is popular. There are goat and dairy farms and local pastures for farm animals. Eat local and save some money. The imnported good have the higher taxes. The old and the new are melding and there is a sense of global change in the wings.

I encourage you to put this island in your bucket list. Meet the people, make a difference, leave a good reputation.

In Continued Health, Sally








Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Leave a Reply