Have you heard of the country Barbados? It’s an island in the Caribbean. When I say Caribbean island, what do you think of? Playing on the sandy beaches, having a fun time in the crystal-clear water, amazing food and upbeat music may come to mind. But, you should also think about getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, ants infesting your home and random stray cats asking for food at your doorsteps! If you ever plan on visiting Barbados, follow my tips on how to make the best out of your trip.
Things to do:
- Visit in the summer
If you’re going to Barbados, go during the party months of June, July and August because that's when Crop Over, also known as the Harvest Festival, happens. Crop Over is a 200-year-old tradition that celebrates the end of the sugar cane season. There is a lot of partying in the streets, parades and food. Crop Over ends with the biggest festival of them all, Kadooment, where people dress up in colorful and feathery, skimpy garments to march in the streets and party all day.
- Hire a tour guide
It's easy to get lost in Barbados! The island has rocky, narrow roads and you have to drive on the left! But, if you get a tour guide, you can ask them to take you to places like Harrison Cave and beaches with pink sand and clear water, according to US News & World Report Travel Guide, which will make your trip more fun. My mother, Medina Jones, said, “It's best to get a tour guide. If you're really new, find a map or local.”
- Carry bug spray
The bugs in Barbados are going to be wild! According to Barbados.org, there are flying cockroaches, ants, sandflies and the notorious mosquito, all which you can combat with the bug spray. Make sure to buy the bug spray in Barbados because the bug spray in America isn't strong enough to kill all of the bugs. Jones said it would be great to bring bug spray but don't expect it to work all the time. “Usually bugs come out at night, so be more careful then.”
When packing, the first thing you want to do is get proper summer clothes, the lighter the better. Another thing to do while you’re packing is to exchange your American money for Bajan dollars — the rate is approximately two Bajan dollars to every American dollar. Also, bring an umbrella because when noontime hits, the sun will be beaming and make you hot and sweaty. You also need the umbrella because it rains randomly and then stops at least 10 minutes later. Be sure to pack sunscreen to prevent sunburn and tan lines.
- Eat the local food
When you go to Barbados, try the food. Cou cou and flying fish is the national dish. It's cornmeal with a side of tomato paste sauce with fish in it. You should also try macaroni pie. No, it’s not macaroni in a pie, it’s just baked macaroni and cheese. This is a big staple in the country’s diet. Another food you can try is a fried savory food called fish cakes. It's made with saltfish and dough batter, seasoned with scallions and other seasonings, then fried to a golden ball of perfection. According to Crane.com, it's the most popular food for tourists in Barbados. Other staple foods are rice and peas and a fruit called gineps, but in Barbados, they call them Bajan ackees. Not to be confused with the Jamaican ackee, it has the shape of a grape with a hard outer skin that you have to bite off. It's very sweet and sour. You can get them from street-side vendors in Barbados. “If you’re new to the island I really would recommend the food, there's a lot of flavor and spice that will make you feel very very excited,” Jones said.
Things not to do:
Beware of the animals
Barbados is full of animals like the green monkey, bats, lizards and rabbits. There are also animals like wild cats and dogs. To combat these tricky animals, don’t feed them! Yes, they may seem cute and cuddly, but they could have rabies, ticks or fleas and they could come back for more food if you feed them. I fed the cats and for sure they came back! Not sure about the dogs, but on the safe side don’t feed them either! If you see a monkey, don’t get too close. They can feel threatened and attack you, resulting in serious injuries. That said, animals aren't all that bad, but don't go out your way to bother them. If you bother them, they'll bother you. “Be careful too, and take awareness if you get bitten by an animal. Get medical treatment as fast as possible,” Jones said.
Avoid poisonous trees
In Barbados, there are many trees and fruits that look pretty and you may want to eat its fruit. However, you have to be aware of one tree in particular: the manchineel tree. Known to grow near coastal beaches, it is a poisonous tree that grows a deceiving fruit that looks edible, but could lead you to your short-timed death!
Don’t wear camouflage
When you get to Barbados, it's best that you keep your camouflage clothing at home! It’s the Bajan Law that you can’t wear camo clothing because it's only reserved for the Barbados Defense Force. This isn’t limited to just green camo, any color camouflage can get you detained!