Barbados is a stunning Caribbean island that will always hold a special place in my heart after John and I spent a week there for our first trip together. It went off without a hitch and we enjoyed so much of what Barbados has to offer. If you’re a long time follower of my travel content, I’d like you to keep in mine that this travel diary might be a little shorter than most as John and I prioritized relaxing by the pool and on the beach to my usual ‘let’s do everything you can possibly do here’. It was honestly a really nice change to engage in a relaxing travel adventure. Regardless of that, though, I do hope this travel diary serves you well!
So … why Barbados?
John and I were looking for a tropical destination this Summer that was, honestly, not far from Florida. If you’re new around here, John lives in London and, being that I have ventured over to London a couple of times recently, he wanted to venture my way this time! We decided to make it fun by individually making a list of a few places we both might like to go for our first trip. Long story short, Barbados was the only destination that we both had on our list. We heard that the views were amazing, the people were warm and friendly, and the food was incredible so, really … the question is why wouldn’t we choose Barbados? Kidding aside, we couldn’t have been happier that all of those things we heard actually did ring true!
Where To Eat
Barbadian, or Bajan, cuisine, is a bit of a melting pot with influences from African, Indian, Creole, British, and Portuguese cultures. You will see flying fish on almost every menu and a bottle of Bajan pepper sauce on many casual restaurant tables. Do not leave the island before trying both of these and enjoying a side of macaroni pie!
CAMELOT RESTAURANT AT COBBLER’S COVE HOTEL – I felt it only right to highlight the restaurant we reveled in the most in Barbados, the Camelot Restaurant at Cobbler’s Cove. We enjoyed breakfast, lunch, and dinner here at least once so let me tell you what we enjoyed about each one!
• BREAKFAST: With such a gorgeous view from our balcony, John and I felt it only necessary to enjoy breakfast in our room every morning but one! Plus, we’re not the brightest of morning people! It was so nice to have such a large menu to choose from and equally as nice to not have to wait very long for it to be delivered. I highly recommend the french toast!
• LUNCH: We happened to arrive the day that Cobbler’s Cove was having their weekly barbecue and I left so fully, so happy, and utterly speechless. Chef Jason Joseph and his team pull out all the stops and cook up fresh meats, fish, vegetables, pasta salads, etc. A lot of the meat and fish is cooked right in front of you on the grill. I still dream about the barbecue. It was so delicious! We also ordered lunch from the restaurant a couple of the days and I couldn’t get enough of the seafood linguine [pictured above]. It was spicy and delicious!
• DINNER: On our first night in Barbados, we ate at Cobbler’s Coves’ restaurant and enjoyed it very much! However, thinking back now, I believe the other meals we had were much more memorable!
THE FISH POT – We received more recommendations for The Fish Pot than any other restaurant. Our meal certainly did not disappoint but I wouldn’t say it was out of this world. It is worthy of a visit, though, don’t get me wrong. Be sure to try the scallops! They were delicious and the service was amazing!
TIDES – This restaurant is absolutely stunning. It’s set within an old, classic seaside Barbadian home built after the second World War. John and I enjoyed a cocktail outside along the sidewalk that stands between the restaurant and the beach. The sunset was absolutely beautiful! I highly recommend making your dinner reservation for around sunset. Be sure to request a table close to the open windows that overlook the beach. The service was absolutely amazing and the food was lovely. We felt like it was a bit overpriced, though.
THE BEACH HOUSE – I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant. The food was dry and the service was absolutely terrible. Their website says that it’s ‘the best restaurant on the island’ but, it couldn’t have been farther from that.
FUSION RESTAURANT – We went to Fusion, located at the top of the lively Limegrove Lifestyle Centre in Holetown, on our last night in Barbados and couldn’t have had a better send off meal! We were initially stunned and impressed by their outdoor area, just outside of the restaurant, where we enjoyed a cocktail as the sun was setting. We didn’t intend to stay for dinner but loved the modern, contemporary vibe and thought we may as well give it a try. We’re so glad we did! The dishes were creative and tasty without being overwhelmingly foodie. Highly recommend!
THE RESTAURANT AT THE ANIMAL FLOWER CAVE – If you opt to check out the Animal Flower Cave, you cannot miss this place! It was so good! I wish they had a menu on their website but they don’t. They had these potato balls that were SO good. I think they had some fish in them, as well, but I can’t remember exactly! Make sure you get those! Also, they’re open from 11:30am to 3:00pm daily!
THE CLIFF – I saved the best for last. You cannot come to Barbados without dining at The Cliff. It will, undoubtedly, be the best meal you’ve had in a long time and, most certainly, the best meal you have on the island of Barbados. It’s easy to spot tarpon and stingrays in the stunningly lit open cove below the dining balcony. John was like a little kid! He thought it was so cool and, as a former chef, he wished more of his meals were as superb as the lobster linguine that he had! I was, honestly, super jealous of that dish. I wish I had ordered it. It was so good!
Where To Sip
HUGOS – This place was one of those places that we thought was going to seriously impress us because, when you walk in, their decor and the set up of the building is stunning. We enjoyed the most beautiful sunset there but their drinks were only subpar so, we decided to pass on dinner.
FUSION ROOFTOP – This was our favorite spot for drinks and were bummed we found it on our last night!
111 BEACH CLUB – This spot was recommended by quite a few readers who had been to Barbados before but, sadly, they were never open when we went to try it out! Such a bummer because it looks like a cute little spot!
LITTLE BRISTOL BEACH CLUB – John and I went here on a whim likely after 111 Beach Club was closed. We got made to order fish sandwiches and Corona’s. I was so excited that mahi was the fish of the day but, sadly, my sandwich was a bit dry! The Bajan pepper sauce made it easier to get down but I think I tackled more of the macaroni pie than the sandwich, ha! I added this place to the drinks section because, honestly, it has a pretty view of the water and would be a great spot to grab a pre-dinner cocktail at sunset.
Where To Stay
There’s literally no where else you should consider staying other than Cobbler’s Cove, a luxury boutique hotel that has found much-deserved esteem over the last few decades since opening in the 1980’s. It was once the private home of a sugar cane farmer, who built it as a retreat for his family as an escape from the rugged and windy eastern side of the island in 1944. It is a picturesque and relaxing escape from everyday life that will tempt you to come back time and time again.
Cobbler’s Cove is located in Speightstown, which is on the beautiful west coast of the island. It is about a 40-minute drive from the airport. We loved this area because it provided a lot of solitude without being too far from a lot of highly recommended restaurants and sites.
WHAT WE LOVED
There was so much to love about Cobbler’s Cove. I could go on and on but it was mostly the spacious rooms, friendly and attentive staff, delicious food, overall stunning aesthetic & exclusive feel of the property, and their environmental awareness that made our first stay in Barbados, and our first holiday together, even dreamier than we could have imagined. We can’t wait to come back in the future.
• SPACIOUS ROOMS – As much as John and I love being as close as we can to each other [especially being that we are currently living thousands of miles apart], there’s just something about having space to spread out that makes this American girl very, very happy. We opted for an Ocean View Suite, which offers you a bedroom with a king-size bed and on-suite bathroom and a living room area that opens to a balcony that overlooks a garden and ocean view. Head to my Barbados highlight on Instagram to see the view for yourself!
• DELICIOUS FOOD – As I mentioned in ‘Where To Eat’, you will surely never go hungry here at Cobbler’s Cove. You have options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that will satisfy any craving you could potentially have during your stay! We always ate breakfast in our room but enjoyed lunch at these beautiful outdoor tables next to the pool a few times.
• FRIENDLY & ATTENTIVE STAFF – You see the friendly faces of Cobbler’s Cove staff every time you walk the grounds and they always greeted us with kind and genuine hello’s! We also saw the general manager, Will Oakley, quite a few times. He was always making sure guests were getting everything they wanted and needed out of their stay. I’m very particular about customer service and I was never disappointed here.
• STUNNING AESTHETIC & EXCLUSIVE FEEL – One of my favorite parts of this trip was the initial walk through the property of Cobbler’s Cove. It is truly magical. There are beautiful gardens throughout and colonial old English style buildings are tucked away behind lush palms, hibiscus, and torch lilies. You walk toward the main house, called Camelot, and are taken aback by the stunning vibrance of the turquoise water you can see through the opening. Then, you’ll enter into your room and find the charm of the cottage-style decor and wonder how this could all be real! We also loved that you literally feel like you have the place to yourself. It feels so exclusive. Other guests that you do happen to see around keep to themselves aside from a friendly smile or hello in passing. Everything about Cobbler’s is what we were looking for in our accommodations. We didn’t want to share the pool with hundreds of fellow vacationers. We wanted something quiet and relaxing.
• ENDLESS COMPLIMENTARY AMENITIES – There are literally endless complimentary activity options for guests of Cobbler’s Cove. John and I played tennis one day and he went to the gym quite a few times. We watched people opt for paddleboarding, water-skiing, fishing with their long-serving fisherman, Barker, and sunbathing on the offshore pontoon.
• ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS – When I read this statement on Cobblers’ website, I fell even more in love with this place. “We have taken steps to remove as much plastic as possible from our food and laundry service, to reduce the amount of food stuffs that we import from abroad in favor of local produce and to employ local furniture makers, basket makers and artists wherever possible.” I have recently made more of a concerted effort toward reducing my environmental footprint on the world, aiming to reduce my single-use plastic use throughout each week. It is an honor to stay at a place who is partnering in this effort that we should all be making.
Where To Play
Unlike most of the trips I’ve been on over the past few years, the time I spent in Barbados was mostly spent doing … not much of anything other than enjoying time together! I’m learning that sometimes … travel doesn’t have to yield a grand adventure. Travel can be slow, relaxing … reparative, even. Travel can encourage connection without a full days’ worth of to do’s. John and I were both keen to take it slow, enjoy sun time by the pool, read, and just enjoy each others’ company. We took frequent dips in the ocean to cool off and enjoyed a few too many local beers, which always yielded an afternoon snooze. The rest of the time was mostly spent eating, ha! We enjoyed a tennis match at Cobbler’s one morning. Here are a few things we did do / had on our list:
ANIMAL FLOWER CAVE
We could not have chosen a worse day to check this place out. It rained SO hard, ha! But, it was a really cool place, especially if you’re doing a trip with kids! You pay a small price for a ticket to go on a short 15-minute tour of the cave.
SWIM WITH SEA TURTLES
We booked a half-day trip [from 9:00am to 2:30pm, I believe!] with Silver Moon Luxury Catamaran to do a little cruise around the western edge of the island. There were two stops to snorkel, one to swim with sea turtles and another to explore a sunken ship. It was so cool to see these cute turtles up close! The rest of the day can be enjoyed chatting with fellow vacationers and eating a delicious lunch that the staff makes for you on the boat! We agree it was one of our favorite things we did in Barbados. We were able to get back early enough to take a little afternoon snooze then get ready in time to catch sunset at a restaurant. Highly recommend!
BOOK A DAY AT NIKKI BEACH
Nikki Beach is the first and only luxury beach club on the island of Barbados. It sits on 1.4 acres and boasts vast ocean-front views and seating, as well as a pool and restaurant, where guests can enjoy lounge and dance music by a live DJ. There’s a swim-up bar if you’re cooling off in the pool along with dedicated serves who aim to serve your every need if you’re lounging on your luxurious poolside day bed or VIP cabana. John and I went here one day and while we didn’t have the best luck with weather, we definitely recommend it for the ambiance, food, and overall experience!
OISTIN’S FISH FRY
Heading down to Bridgetown to experience Oistin’s Fish Fry was one of the only things I really wanted to do in Barbados because, literally, every blog post I read about things to do there included stopping in to check this place out on a Friday night. As fate would have it, there was a big storm on the only Friday we were in town so we didn’t feel it was worth it to venture almost an hour up there. But, if you are planning a trip, I have heard it is quite popular for locals and tourists alike. Tons of fish mongers take over the stalls and serve up fresh fish dishes for customers. There’s also live music and rum flowing so it ends up being a huge party!
Know Before You Go
SAFETY | According to the U.S Department of State, Barbados is generally safe to travel to. Our U.S. government is currently recommended normal travel precautions. There are some areas with an increased risk. Read more HERE.
BEST TIME TO GO | The best time of year to visit Barbados is December through April. We went in June, which is in the midst of hurricane season, and it did rain a little bit every day. The rain chance is much slimmer during those ideal months and the heat isn’t as stifling.
CURRENCY | Barbados uses the Barbadian dollar and uses the same currency symbol as the American dollar. Download the XE currency converter app to see what your local currency is like against the Barbadian dollar. It might help you decide if this is a good location for you to go for a getaway! It is usually about $1 USD to every $2 BBD.
TIPPING CULTURE | A service charge of 10% to 15% is added to hotel and restaurant bills and any tip added to that is left to your discretion and should be based on the level of service you received. The standard amount of tip in Barbados is 10%. For taxi’s, leave 10% of the overall bill, as well.
HOW TO GET AROUND | From the airport, John and I set up a transfer ahead of time to meet us there. We did this through the hotel so that there was no debate on price. It was a standard $75 USD each way. We opted for taxi’s a lot, to be honest. We simply called down to the concierge and they would call a taxi to meet at the hotel entrance. While it is pretty affordable, the price does add up so we did try to opt for the yellow bus transportation that has made quite a name for itself throughout the island. These buses are very affordable, at less than $2 a ticket, and play loud island music. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the Bajan culture but I would do some reading HERE before your trip just so you are fully aware of how to use the bus system in Barbados.
I think that about does it! Wondering what to pack for Barbados? I got you covered here! And, if you’d like details on any of the outfits you saw me share during my trip, head here! Thanks for stopping by, y’all! xo.