What to do, Where to go, Where to Stay.
So as you may know, I was born in Barbados and have lived there my entire life. I know my little rock back to front and wanted to share my favorite area on the island with you and give you some suggestions on how to navigate around it.
The east coast of Barbados is on our Atlantic coast and stretches from Cove Bay in St.Lucy, down to the Crane Beach area in St.Phillip. It is our rugged, rustic and nautical-feeling coast. Beach houses scatter the coastline along the endless miles of beaches and families spend their days on their balconies, sunbathing, sitting in the rock-made pools at low tide or going on evening walks down along the shore. Adventure seekers can make their way up the "Sleeping Giant" cliff for spectacular views of the coast - ask a local before you go.
There are many places to sojourn along this coast but very few hotels. Beach houses are readily available throughout the year and can be booked through Air BnB. However, I would like to introduce a few places that live up to our east coast charm.
1) The Atlantis Historic Inn
The Atlantis Historic Inn is located in Tent Bay (an old fishing village) and is the PERFECT picture spot for capturing your "island feel" photos. Witness the local fishermen hauling in their fresh day's catch or watch them repair their old, colorful boats. It is also conveniently a 5-minute walk into Bathsheba's "main town". Photos scatter the bedroom hallway walls from the years gone by and give you a glimpse of what our railway culture was like once upon a time. It was one of the first hotels to exist on the east coast in the 19th century and was accessible at that time from the railway which ran from Bridgetown (the capital) all the way to Belleplaine. It was completely refurbished in 2008 by my family and that should see it through to the next 100 years. The charming boutique hotel has 11 rooms, which all have a glimpse of or a full ocean view. The property includes an ocean-view pool, which can be used as a perfect spot for whale watching in March-May. It also has a cottage, an island-famous restaurant (with amazing Sunday Buffets) and walking trails along the coast. The sound of the ocean should be sure to put you to sleep as the ocean on that side of the island is wild and rugged, so I don't advise swimming - Unless you surf, then you are in surfer's paradise.
2) The Round House
The Round House is a laid back, family owned bed and breakfast, and local restaurant that was built in the late 1800s. It sits on the "Soupbowl" beach, a world-class famous surf spot. Wildlife hikes are just minutes away by car. The ocean breeze and sound of the crashing waves will be there to greet you for every minute you spend there. Getting to know the Bajan culture in this area is exceptional. Get acquainted with our villages and get to know the kind people that live around the Bathsheba area. Rum shops and small mini-marts are moments away. Bring a book with you and relax to the tempo of the waves because this is the place you will want to be.
3) ECO Lifestyle + Lodge
Tucked away in the Tent Bay hills, this refreshing, laid-back hotel is a perfect getaway into the raw east coast nature. Formerly known as SEA-U, the ECO was recently purchased by an American couple - Maryam and Kyle Taylor. You will be sure to enjoy every minute of your stay with them. With a green globe certificate, you will feel indulged in the rustic east coast life and feel centered towards clean eating and the relaxation of the tree-surrounded rooms. ECO has a 10 bedroom spread and is suitable for everyone. Enjoy some yoga in the perfect, zen surroundings or find out when the next retreat is! The restaurant is plant-based and enjoys an organic menu while creating an exceptional sea and farm-to-table experience. The peaceful nights make sleeping incredibly easy - but don't forget about the incredible star-gazing. Relax in one of their many hammocks in the garden or go with a local tour guide to one of the sights nearby - or even drive over to the west coast in a short 25-minute car or bus ride. As they say, "From sunrise to sunset, your time at ECO moves at the pace you choose".
4) Ry's On The Beach
Ry's On The Beach is my dream home. It sits right in front of Soupbowl and enjoys picture-perfect sunrises and sunsets. The 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home is the perfect island getaway for you and your friends or for the entire family. The spacious garden is perfect for kids and the beach is only 4 steps away from the gate. I will continue to tell myself that one day I will live here. It has a small cafe in the garden, opened from 10am-3pm where you can enjoy a snack or a rum punch while you watch the waves. The home was recently remodeled and has wifi, air condition, a barbecue, a washer, and dryer and can sleep up to 6 people. Prepare to sit back and relax with the whole family because there is nothing more you will need to do once you get there.
5) Andromeda Botanic Gardens
Andromeda Botanic Gardens is a culturally significant aspect of Barbados and is worth a visit while you are on the East Coast of the island. The gardens grow out of our limestone rock and produce an array of plants and flowers. Enjoy walks around the garden and the picturesque beauty of nature on our island. With a small cafe attached to it, you can enjoy local art and sip on drinks while watching the butterflies scatter around the garden outside.
Andromeda Botanic Gardens is an amazing historic garden. The variety of plants in this great garden is unparalleled and simply wonderful – a true horticultural delight. It is the only RHS Partner Garden in the West Indies, a status given to those gardens that have a high standard of planting and design. Created by multi-award winning Iris Bannochie, it has been described as ‘one of the most unique and outstanding gardens in the world’. Comprised of a series of connected gardens, the diversity is incredible and its informal design is perfect for its east coast location. Ms Bannochie bequeathed Andromeda Botanic Gardens to the Barbados National Trust in 1988 and it remains an invaluable part of our heritage.
6) Sand Dunes Restaurant, Belleplaine
Looking for authentic Bajan cuisine? Besides the Sunday buffet at Atlantis, you can head over in the car to Sand Dunes Restaurant located in Belleplaine, just a short 15 minutes north of Cattlewash. The flying fish and macaroni pie are heavenly and their rum punch is really good!
LOCAL TIP: THEY ONLY ACCEPT CASH SO BE PREPARED
7) St.Nicholas Abbey
St.Nicholas Abbey is a plantation home that was built in 1658 with spectacular views of the east coast right before you drive in and known for their museum and rum distillery. It has always been a sugar plantation and the museum takes you into what the world of working on and owning a sugar cane plantation was like in Barbados. This is a perfect way to learn about the roots of Barbados and why it is the way it is now. This a great outing for the whole family and is a definite must-do when visiting the island and only 20 minutes from Bathsheba!
Thats all there is for now and these are just my personal favorites so I encourage you to get lost and find your favorite spots around the east coast... Bajans are proud to show you around so if you are ever in doubt just pull over and ask someone for help!