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To Plan Trip

May 2023
1min read

The Barbados Tourist Office (1-888-BARBADOS; www.barbados.org ) is a good place to start, but so is your local bookstore. All the standard guides offer reliable advice on hotels, restaurants, and sights. A more focused account of the island’s culture and history can be found in Adventure Guide to Barbados by Harry S. Pariser, which is also a good source for the basics. With its two-hundred-plus years as a resort, Barbados has plenty of hotels and guesthouses in every price range and style. I stayed at two places: the very new and attractive Bougainvillea Beach Resort, a time-share that also offers rooms by the night, and Sandy Beach, a comfortable older property that sits directly on the blazing white beach of the same name. A ten-minute walk from Sandy Beach is St. Lawrence Gap, a beachfront restaurant row, where I had particularly good meals at David’s Place and Pisces Restaurant.

Since Barbadians in New York and on the island raved about Harrison Cave as the number one attraction, I booked an afternoon visit to this ancient, dramatically lit underground passage, which was first revealed and explored only twenty-three years ago. For me, at least, it proved only half as interesting as the other place on the tour, the Flower Forest. This is a rambling hillside garden built on the site of a plantation and filled with the world’s most colorful and exotic plantings. There is a good map, an easy path to follow, and benches in the shade.

Of Bridgetown, the capital, an American friend who had spent time in Barbados told me, “Don’t worry if you don’t get there.” I ended up roaming its streets for hours, fascinated by its vigor and color, from its busy harbor to its restored eighteenth-century synagogue and on to Suttler Street, where locals buy fresh produce from shops whose facades wear brilliantly painted murals of their offerings. Giant peanuts march across one wall; watermelon and various fruits decorate another. So by all means, make time for Bridgetown.

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