The travel bug first bit me during my high school graduation trip to Edmonton with a few friends. Since then I’ve visited a bunch of different cities around the world. But it wasn’t until I travelled to Barbados on New Year’s Eve 2013 (or Old Year’s Night as the Bajans call it) that I found a place I could easily call home one day.
Barbados may be a small island, but it has more to offer than you might think. From the calm turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea to the rugged and rough Atlantic coast, there’s a perfect mix of adventure and relaxation.
It was in Barbados that I crossed off three of my top bucket list items. I went horseback riding on the beach, snorkeled with sea turtles and tried my hand at surfing. And despite the gallons of water I swallowed during the last two activities, each of those memories will last a lifetime.
But the most unforgettable day for me didn’t involve anything on my bucket list. It was spontaneous and I couldn’t have planned it any better.
Midway through our trip, my aunt and I visited Bottom Bay – a secluded beach, far from the tourists and what I consider the definition of paradise. The water was too rough to swim, but the scenery was stunning. A small grove of palm trees stood tall at the back of a white sandy beach and big rolling waves crashed into the coral cliffs that framed the bay. It really was picture perfect.
While there, we unexpectedly met a local cricket player, Kayode, who ended up taking us on a three-hour personal walking tour down the coast. We strolled along the edge of the cliffs as he told us about life in Barbados. We saw the ruins of Sam Lord’s Castle – a former pirate’s mansion that was turned into a hotel before burning down in 2010. We met more locals who offered us water for our long walk and others who showed us their catch of the day as they fished off the edge of the cliff. We explored different bays, each with their own unique characteristics but just as gorgeous as the next.
When we reached the end of our journey, we had a much better understanding of the island and a new friend. I’m sure we couldn’t have paid for a better tour than the one he offered us.
From the friendly people we met to the food we ate (can’t beat macaroni pie and flying fish!) to the unbelievable beauty at each and every turn, Barbados truly is paradise and I recommend it to anyone, whether you’re an adventure seeker or just looking to relax.
What type of vacation do you prefer? Vegging out on the beach at an all-inclusive resort, a sightseeing adventure or something completely different? Do you like to plan your vacations or are you more spontaneous? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.