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a week in barbados-what should'nt we miss!

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a week in barbados-what should'nt we miss!

We've booked a week in Barbados, staying in st James. all inclusive. We've 2 boys, 11 and 9 and I need to know the best things to do? Were all keen to snorkell ,any tips on where to go? Is it worth hiring a car for a couple of days-better to do it here or there? or just get a car and driver and any places where we should head off to? Any tips gratefully received.

Central Scotland
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1. Re: a week in barbados-what should'nt we miss!

Bobbie depends what you and the boys are looking for.Harrisons cave and the wildlife park are entertaining enough for a short while.Catamarans run up and down the west coast offering a relaxing cruise and some albeit brief snorkelling,these can be booked either via your rep or at the harbour in bridgetown(food and drink included).Having been I would take your snorkelling gear up to speightstown and have a swim with the turtles just of the bay !.Holetown also offers some snorkelling and scuba.The beaches are outstanding,plenty watersports or cricket with the locals though never crowded.St. Lawrence Gap is where the relaxed nightlife can be found,street vendors and a variety of restraunts(prices vary,can be expensive to eat out,though bellini`s is worth it if you book).For a good family or couples night Friday night at Oistins is a must,barbecued fish,reggae music and a relaxing evening watching or joining the locals dance.(Its an open air fish market by day)A car for a couple of days will cover the island and as a local told me "you can`t get lost in Barbados mon.." though I tried!Watch out for the boogie buses...crazy unlicensed mini bus/taxis,cheap but not for the faint hearted.East coast is more rugged and in some places really beautiful but has strong currents and winds,makes it a surfers paradise but snorkellers nightmare,its also less developed with very few hotels.If the races are on at bridgetown they are a must,the whole island goes horse crazy for a day with a carnival atmosphere....that should keep you going for a week,I fell in love with the place and people hope you and the boys do too.

Central Scotland
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2. Re: a week in barbados-what should'nt we miss!

P.s. forgot to menton that there are no private beaches on the island at all,so you can use any one any where anytime which may be good news for Mrs. Bobbie if she wants to star spot at Sandy Lane for a day!

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3. Re: a week in barbados-what should'nt we miss!

We've been going to Barbados for many years, and we keep going back because it is one of the few islands that has enough going on in addition to beaches and pools. We're back this February for the umpteenth time we always rent a car- someone there always seems to know someone with a deal. Dining out can be expensive, but worth it, hey you're on vacation. We try a couple of new one's each year and that is always one of the highlights of our trips (Olive's, Mango's, The Cliff($$$), Garambola, etc. etc. Sunday brunch at Atlantis (reserve a seaside table in advance) will give you a dose of Bajan cuisine and a chance to see the spectacular scenery on the East coast. Rent a car for at least that day, drive over in the morning stop for brunch, tour Bathsheba, etc. and head back to the West coast at a leisurely time. Brown Sugar is also good for Bajan cuisine. Try the Fisherman's pub in Speightstown on Wednesday night, live entertainment, limited menu but lots of locals with character- cheap cheap cheap too. I'd second the Oistin's recommendation. A trip to Crane Beach and a glass of champagne on the terrace while the kids play down below on the beach can be real memorable. If you are into pottery, Earthworks is the quintessential Caribbean pottery and there's a nice little cafe looking out over the island and the West Coast to make it an afternoon trip. You have to take the kids out on the Jolly Roger just so that when you meet anyone who has been to Barbados you can say you went. Above all meet some bajans they are possibly the friendliest islanders in the Caribbean- a local rum shop will prove the point- don't be afraid of the locals hanging around, step right up order a banks or a rum and be entertained. Pick up a current copy of Inns and Outs of Barbados from a hotel lobby when you arrive its a good guide and a good keepsake as well.

4. Re: a week in barbados-what should'nt we miss!

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5. Re: a week in barbados-what should'nt we miss!

You don't say which hotel you're staying at but St James has fab beach with great snorkelling which you're likely to be able to do straight from your hotel. Not to be missed - we were in the water every day.

Swimming with the turtles is an absolute must - the kids will also love it!

Our hotel did free trips so don't book anything in advance as you might get it included. If not, can easily be sorted from the hotel.

Harrisons Caves - good and the kids will probably like them. Although I must admit that I found Wookey Hole and the Cheddar Caves back in the Uk just as good if not better, so don't worry too much if you don't have time for them.

Regarding hiring a car - Barbados is not very large - you can get around quite easily although we found the day trips offered by the hotel/tour company quite good value and convenient.

I understand there is a 4-wheel drive safari tour that we didn't do, but others said was good.

Altho' relatively safe in Barbados, I have heard of natives setting up road blocks to try and extort money out of tourists. Personally I think you'll be safer with a guide or on a tour.

But if you're only going for a week and are keen on snorkelling and watersports you probably won't want to leave the beach/hotel for more than 2 days!