After the Lockdown: Why Choose an All-inclusive Vacation?
15 reasons Barbados ticks off the boxes for a happy holiday
One day this COVID-19 coronavirus will be behind us, and lockdowns will be lifted around the world. When it does, will travel be on your list of things to do? Might an all-inclusive vacation be the answer to a weary world?
With an all-inclusive vacation, you are at truly rejuvenating your life cells and rejuvenating your soul. You don’t have to think about a thing – not where to go or what to order… Just simply enjoy. Among the top all-inclusive destinations for such a holiday is Sandals Resorts & Beaches. They are sunny and happy and carefree. And just to focus in on one location, let’s take a look at an all-inclusive vacation in Barbados.
Barbados is known for many things, and if you ask a local, they’ll likely tell you that some of the things Barbados is most famous for are Rihanna, its National Dish Cou Cou and Flying Fish, and Crop Over. All three are among the significant things the island of Barbados is most known for, but there are many others, like the fact that the island is considered the birthplace of rum, and was one known as “Los Barbados.” More on that later…
In any case, ahead of a Bajan holiday, it makes sense to learn all you can, so that while touring, you have a better understanding of why things are the way they are. As one of the best vacation picks in the Caribbean, be sure to take in some beach action while there, and all the other activities that can help you live the best Caribbean life, if only for a few days!
- Tropical beaches
What would the Caribbean be without its gorgeous beaches? A little less mesmerizing, but still pure paradise! Fortunately, you won’t have to experience beach-less vibes in Barbados. In fact, the island is known for having some of the most diverse beaches in the Caribbean, where you can relax and lounge at your leisure, snorkel with turtles, or take in some water sports action. Try beaches on the west and south coasts for calm conditions, and beaches on the east coast if you fancy riding some waves. More on that in the following section!
Insider tip: Love to have unlimited cocktails on the beach? Sandals offers two all-inclusive resorts in Barbados, Sandals Royal Barbados and Sandals Barbados both located right on the beachfront, where you can have first-dibs on some of the best beachside spots. Guests of one Sandals resort, can make use of the amenities and restaurants of both resorts!
- The surf is fantastic!
The Caribbean is becoming increasingly popular with the surfing crowd, and islands like Barbados are at the forefront. The south and east coasts of the island are where you can find the biggest waves, and often, even surfing competitions. November to June is the best time to ride the waves, and the south coast is often the preference for surfers who want quick access to restaurants and entertainment as well. Near the town of Oistins, Freights Bay is a sheltered bay on the south coast that surfers enjoy because of its offshore winds. Branden near Bridgetown is also a good spot, ideal for surfers of all skill levels. The Soup Bowl, Bathsheba on the east coast has earned its fame, as has Surfing South Point, on the south coast. Batts Rock and Tropicana on the west coast, and Maycocks on the north west are also worth a spin. If you go to these beaches to watch and not to surf, it’s a good idea to bring along a picnic basket to enjoy on an all-inclusive vacation with good company.
- Barbados is the birthplace of rum
If ever there was an island that can claim being the place where rum originated, it’s Barbados. Mount Gay Distilleries in particular, has been churning out rum since 1703 in Barbados. The distillery produces the oldest rum in the world. Across the island, there are over 1,500 rum shops, and more distilleries, including Foursquare Distilleries and St Nicholas Abbey; a plantation house, museum and rum distillery. Whether or not you already have a favorite rum mix, chances are you’ll find a better one in Barbados.
- Barbados was once British but is now an independent island country
Barbados was once British, and the island became independent in 1966; this happened after first being occupied by the British in 1627. Ahead of its independence, the island was a British colony until internal autonomy was gained in 1961. Still today, even though the island is independent, Barbados has close ties to the British Monarch, which is represented by the Governor General. The Queen remains the head of state of Barbados.
- Mega-star Rihanna
Believe it or not, Rihanna has very humble beginnings on the island of Barbados. She’s come a long way since then, now being a famous singer, song writer, designer, actress, and the face behind the trending brand Fenty Beauty, one of the most popular makeup brands in the world. Rihanna frequently travels back to the island for the famous Crop Over carnival celebration, and she promotes her island whenever given the opportunity. “Riri”, as she is known by her fans, was honored with the title “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary” for Barbados in September 2018.
- Pirate history
The Caribbean’s pirate history is intriguing, and it isn’t all just a fictional story created for the purposes of putting together a best-selling movie. Pirates did at one point dominate the seas in this region, terrorizing ships in the area. Two notorious pirates of Barbados were Sam Lord and Stede Bonnet. As far as pirates went, Sam Lord was among the more innovative, as he took his plundering ways to the shores. Lord would hang up lanterns in coconut trees to confuse vessels into thinking they were headed to the capital city. Many would wreck their ships on the reefs, and the wheels would be in motion for Lord’s deviant plans.
Stede Bonnet on the other hand, was a gentleman of a pirate, and a retired British army major. He turned to the ‘dark’ side in 1717, and even went as far as purchasing his own pirate ship. His ship was known as “Revenge”, and he sailed it off the New England Coast. Along the way he captured and burned many ships, and later returned to the Caribbean. He befriended the legendary pirate, Blackberry, who at one point took over the reins of his ship, which were later returned. Eventually, Bonnet was captured, and put to death by way of hanging, in 1718.
- The land of the flying fish
Flying fish is a popular catch in Barbados, hence the references to the island and flying fish, and the reason this species of fish is featured in the island’s national dish, cou cou and flying fish. Cou cou and flying fish is made by steaming the fish with local spices and other seasoning, and serving it up along with cou cou, which is made with cornmeal and okra. There are many other popular dishes that you can try while in Barbados on your all-inclusive vacation, which you can learn more about in our Barbadian food blog!
- Crop Over festival
Crop Over is an epic Caribbean carnival celebration, and its beginnings have something to do with the last sugar cane harvest of the season. This dates to the colonial-era, but today it is Barbados’ biggest party, with lots of celebrities flying to the island to be part of the event. Activities for Crop Over start as early as June and span until the first Monday in August. The explosive finale of the Crop Over event is known as The Grand Kadooment (Kadooment Day). In addition to, day and night parties, around this time you’ll find craft markets underway, a children’s parade and more. Even if you don’t put on a costume, to jump with a Crop Over band, through the streets of Bridgetown, on Kadooment Day, you’ll be in for an action-packed vacation if you travel to Barbados during this time.
- Sir Garfield Sobers was born in Barbados
Sir Garfield St. Auburn Sobers was born in 1936 in St. Michael, Barbados. He is known as one of the world’s greatest living cricket legends. An all-rounder on the field, Sobers played on the West Indies cricket team from the time he was 16. Among his notable achievements is setting a world record in 1958 by scoring 365 runs, without being struck out. That record was finally broken in 1994, but still today Sobers remains a National Hero in Barbados.
- Locals call themselves “Bajans”
Bajans, as they are known, are full of character, and most are extremely patriotic. While you may want to call them Barbadian, most will quickly correct and inform you that they are in fact, “Bajan”. Though both terms are correct, the world “Bajan” somehow seems better able to encapsulate the personality of the vivacious people of this island. While in Barbados on your all-inclusive vacation, you’ll also hear plenty of people referring to the island by its nickname, “Bim”!
- Chattel Houses
Chattel Houses are small, movable wooden houses, which are closely tied to the island’s heritage. Their origin goes back to the plantation days, when movable houses would be purchased, that could be moved from one property to another. Chattel houses are popular with homeowners who may not necessarily own the land on which they live. These houses are normally constructed on blocks, which makes them easier to move, whenever necessary. Years later, these types of houses continue to be a prominent feature in some parts of Barbados, in more elaborate and unique designs.
- Green monkeys
Monkeys are a rare find for most of the smaller islands of the Caribbean, but not so in Barbados. The Green Monkey is a common sight on the island, and sometimes even pops up in people’s gardens. Locals believe that Green Monkey came from Senegal and the Gambia in West Africa 350 years ago. Over time, the monkeys developed different characteristics, as compared to those from West Africa. You have the greatest chance of encountering a Green Monkey in Barbados if you visit places like St. John, St. Joseph, St. Andrew or St. Thomas. These monkeys are mischievous and playful, so don’t be surprised if you spot one taking a stroll in your all-inclusive resort!
- Beautiful views from vantage points
Barbados isn’t known to be a mountainous island, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get amazing views from some vantage points. Mount Hillaby in St. Andrew for example, the highest point on the island, is 1,115 feet above sea level. The views from the top are outstanding, including photo worthy all-inclusive vacation perspectives of the Scotland District.
- Horse racing
Garrison Savannah has a British air about it, and rightly so – it has been rooted firmly in the Barbadian landscape since the colonial era, 1845 to be precise. History suggests that troops were once stationed in the area where Garrison Savannah can be found in Bridgetown, hence the name. In late February and early March, Garrison Savannah plays host to the Barbados Gold Cup, a thoroughbred horse race which has been on the events calendar since 1982. Other than that, if you’re interested in horse racing excitement, you’re best going during any of the three seasons; January-April, May-September, or November-December. It isn’t usually expensive to watch horse races, with tickets for some events as low as 10 Barbadian Dollars.
- The Mongoose
Mongeese are often compared to weasels, or stoats. You may see these little critters scurrying across the road, especially if you’re travelling on a road surrounded by greenery in the Barbados countryside. They are small, furry animals, which are usually brown/grey in color, and they were introduced to Barbados from India for a very specific reason: to kill rats. At the time, the increasing rat population was affecting the sugar cane industry, but this plan backfired with the realization that rats are nocturnal, while Mongoose are not. Either way, there’s still quite a few mongeese on the island.
Barbados has it all and then some…
Whether you’re looking to have a holiday where you can immerse yourself fully in the history and culture of the island, a never-ending outdoorsy adventure, or an exciting time where all you need to think about is what you’ll have for your next cocktail, you’ll find all that and more in Barbados and especially during an all-inclusive vacation. With the experiences to be gained during your holiday, you’ll certainly leave the island with enriched insight on this part of the world, which continues to be one of the most highly rated vacation destinations. Book one of Sandals all-inclusive resorts in Barbados, and you’ll be guaranteed a good time!