Jet-setting to this tropical paradise wasn't a big deal. It wasn't as if there were bars full of rum punch, trees full of hummingbirds and this thing in the sky called 'the sun' that kept you warm all day!
Okay, it's fair to say we were excited. And by 'We' I mean the most Brits Abroad family you could find. An easily sunburnt daughter (that's me), a bald 'we best not miss the cricket' Dad, a Geordie 'gin and tonic on the 6:30am flight is a great idea' Mum, a Ginger 'PASS ME THE FACTOR 50' Brother, his girlfriend who's from Oldham.
So, how would we cope? Where would we eat? Would we pack enough sunscreen? Let's find out!
Location, Location, Location
First things first, this was not an all-inclusive holiday. As much as they sound like an amazing experience they aren’t the only thing that Barbados has to offer. Many of the Villas on our street were available using Air BnB which means you can wave bye to overpriced resorts and be independent instead.
We stayed in a villa just outside Speightstown on the west coast of the island. Speightstown was Barbados' busiest port during the earliest days of the settlement in 1630. Now, known more for its colourful homes and shops, Queen Street is home to a range of venders selling fruits, veg, drinks and salted fishcakes – a local delicacy.
Useful Tip - If you're staying in the Speightstown area then head to Jordan's Supermarket for your weekly shop. The prices are reasonable and they also offer a free shuttle service back to your accommodation.
Life' s a Beach
We were staying a 5-minute walk from one of the island's most famous beaches, Mullins Beach. Now let me tell you, this is one of the most beautiful spots I have ever visited, and I've been to Blackpool 3 times. The sand was warm to touch, the bars served rum punch on tap and the sea was an inviting sight.
Swimming only a few strokes out from the shore we saw turtles swimming past on the right and barracudas on the left. The water wasn't the warmest but it was completely clear which meant scuba diving was a joy rather than a mask full of salty water.
Take your towel, take your book and enjoy a day in paradise.
Useful Tip - If you fancy a trip to Mullins Beach or any other location on the west coast just jump onto one of the Reggae Buses. These bright orange shuttles travel faster than the speed of sound but play the most amazing high energy Reggae music and charge you just $3.50 Bajan dollars ($1.75 US) for your whole journey.
Tastes of the Island
All you've heard so far is rum punch this and rum punch that but if you're heading to Barbados you must try a cup! Home to the oldest rum in the world, Mount Gay, Barbados rum punch is the holiday drink you've been looking for.
If you like Pina Colada and getting caught in the rain, try a cup of rum punch and see the sun again!
Their perfect punch mixture is pineapple juice, strawberry, lime, nutmeg and most importantly the rum!
Once, you've finished your cup (and you'll only need one), you can wash it down with an amazing plate of fresh fish. From tuna and flying fish, to barracuda and salt fish, it's all fantastic!
If you're blessed with a strong stomach try the Pudding and Souse. Served mainly on Saturdays, Pudding and Souse is essentially pickled pork with a steamed sweet potato pudding stuffed inside pig intestines and served covered in chilli. YUM!
For the veggies, try some breadfruit! Part of the Jackfruit family, the breadfruit tastes a lot like potato but mixed with freshly baked bread. What more could you ask for from a carb?
And just as a final note, if you're not into rum then the Banks lager is pretty great as well! Also, it's cheap if you're having a party or just wanting to drink on the beach like a yob!
Points Of Inte-Rest (or Drink-and-Rest)
For many, Barbados is a once in a lifetime trip. This means visiting all the major points of interest is a must, even if you're only there for a week.
We were fortunate enough to have booked a minibus tour with Sam the Man, although our driver was actually called Michael? This was a simple way of seeing as much of the island as possible. Luckily the weather was extra tropical that day, so a rainy minibus was the best place to be.
First stop was the St Nicholas Abbey Rum Distillery. This plantation house has a museum, steam train, rum distillery and a garden brimming with tropical creatures including monkeys, hummingbirds and parrots. Our tour included glasses of rum punch, a rum tasting session and an insight into St Nicholas Abbey's history. Look out for Benedict Cumberbatch's Uncle's portrait on the wall – he's not just related to Richard III!
Over the hill and into the 'Scottish Highlands' the St Nicholas Abbey sits next door to Barbados' only working windmill. Used previously to grind sugar cane for the rum distillery, the windmill is even featured on some of the Bajan coins.
After the windmill I would recommend a trip to Hunte's Garden, it's truly a tropical paradise. Housing over 40 different species of plants and an array of colours that will blow your mind, you can enjoy a walk around this rainforest with the sounds of classical music playing in the background. Supposedly, the music helps the plants to grow.
One last stop to make before you head to the airport has to be Holestown. Awash with million dollar houses, Ferraris and Waitrose food, the Holestown shops have dresses ranging from £300 to £12000. Although not the truest representation of Barbados, Holestown is an essential place to visit for food and the most magical sunset.
So to recap...
And last but not least – Enjoy!