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Bitches Island Guide: Barbados

City Guide
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You know that elated feeling at 4 p.m. on a Friday when you prematurely set your holiday out-of-office, sending extra smiles to your co-workers as you enter their contact information next to the bolded sentence which reads “I will have no access to email”? Reason number one to go to Barbados : unless you have Wifi, you’re electronically free from the world you leave at home. You will be forced to invoke jealousy via #latergrams and revel in the unpopular feeling of absent buzzes and beeps. Hello, proper vacation.

This guide was written while peeling on a plane home to New York with partial liver failure and withdrawal from rum, fish and anything you can deep fry. Carving a week for vacation is special wherever you go, but I highly recommend Barbados for your next Caribbean getaway. This is why.

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1. The beaches – see-through sky blue ocean in a paradise you can’t stop photographing. You can swim out to sea turtles from your chair without paying persistent locals hundreds of dollars to get there by boat. The ocean is bathwater warm. Need I go on?

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2. The locals – everyone who lives in Barbados seems to be as happy with their island as the tourists. I’ve never met nicer vagrants..I even contemplated letting a smelly man rub my feet on the beach because he was just so friendly. That being said, if all I had to do all day was shower in the ocean, ride around on a jet ski and drink cheap rum, I’d be anything but a Bitch who Brunched (har har). Seriously though, the friendly Bajans made this vacation.

3. The food – we didn’t have a bad meal, which can be rare in any place that attracts tourists. From a roadside roti den to an elegant multi-course fine dining extravaganza, every meal was more memorable than the next. You get a lot for your buck if you’re willing to supplement fancy with local. More to come here.

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4. The drinks – in Barbados drinking is its own food group. Mount Gay Rum, as well as a plethora of other local rums, are made on the island and it’s as cheap to order a piña colada as it is to order a water bottle. Rum Sours and Rum Punches are the island specialities; try both at every meal. Don’t feel guilty drinking when the sun rises..pretty much everyone on the island is right there with you.

5. The culture – combine the friendliest people with the coolest music, a lot of fabulously cheap rum, sun, sand, and plentiful seafood and you’re in Barbados.

Booze & Bites

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Buzzing Classic
Beach House: They serve the dinner menu for lunch at half the price until 6 p.m., so get the early bird special and watch the sunset, which happens very early on the island. Everyone loved their meals, the drinks, the view and the prices. Hwy 1, Holetown, Barbados +1 246-432-1163

Raise your Glass
Coconut Bar: Tucked away down a sandy walkway off the beach, adorned with fallen coconuts, locals with Banks beer, tourists with burns and reggae beats, this is your go-to lunch place. Everything on the menu is $5 USD. This includes any alcoholic beverage as well as the fish sandwich, served in a styrofoam cup. Paynes Bay Beach

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Foodie Fix
Roti Den: Follow the aromatic trail of curry in the streets to this culinary treat. Choose your roti filling, whether it be lamb, chicken, vegetable, or beef and prepare to be amazed. In true Barbados style, grab your own beers from behind the bar and enjoy a flavorful lunch at a local joint. Paynes Bay, St. James

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Food with a View
Round House: Venture off the beaten path and cross over to the “wild East side” of Barbados, where you will be rewarded with majestic views of cliffs over oceans and a gem of a restaurant offering what I thought was the most memorable meal on the island. We shared a coconut shrimp appetizer and a catch of the day sandwich and both dishes embraced the classic flavors of the island. I loved everything about this lunch, but mainly just this day (see: Activities, East side drive). Bathsheba, St Joseph

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Fancypants
Tides: Tides is the perfect blend of overwhelmingly great service, food and ambiance. I dare you to walk in the door without getting five hellos before you’re seated. The frothy rum sours won our cocktail award of our week, and the jumbo shrimp curry served in a coconut was amazing. This is a great last night of vacation meal and if food is something that makes your holiday, go here. Holetown, St. James, +1 246-432-8356

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Nightlife
Oistins Fish Fry: Your Friday night should be committed to Oistins, where islanders from East to West flock to experience local food, music and entertainment. There are various vendors to choose from for dinner, all offering fresh fare and huge portions. The atmosphere drastically changes come 9 PM, when the music gets louder, the locals get drunker and people stop eating. We left soon after the party started, but I imagine it would have been quite the night if we stayed.

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See and be Seen

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East coast drive to Bathsheba: It’s easy to be satisfied staying put the entire vacation on your beach, but we were eager to see other parts of the island so we rented a car and drove East to Bathsheba for day. We had a lovely lunch at Round House and explored new terrain and great views of the island.

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Elegance Barbados Catamaran Tour: This was by far our favorite day, thanks to the lovely Elegance boat and crew who guided us through the beautiful Caribbean Sea to swim with sea turtles and explore shipwrecks. The lunch they served was great quality, the rum sours were up to par with any restaurant, and the crew was impressively friendly.

Water Sports: Pretty much any water sport you want to get involved with will be accessible from the beach. Barter the heck out of the Bajans for a good deal or you will get completely ripped off.

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Paynes Bay Beach: This was our favorite beach on the island, situated next to one of the most luxurious condominiums on the island (where Simon Cowell is rumored to have an apartment!).

Second Suitcase, Please

Lime Grove – Name the designer and you’ll find it at Lime Grove, a sparkling, pristine new shopping center in St. James featuring brands like Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry. This is a great outing for a rainy day if you have money to spare. Hwy 1, Holetown

Oistins – After stuffing ourselves silly for dinner at Oistins, we meandered around the outdoor shops. I was expecting to score a Barbados treasure, but didn’t find anything more unique than what I could probably find in an airport. Don’t expect to be blown away by these “authentic” stands, but it’s an experience nonetheless.

Bitch Tip

Everywhere we went accepted both USD and Barbados $. However, the locals hate it when you insist on getting U.S. change back. So don’t be a jerk; take the change that’s given to you.

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