Getting There and Getting Around Barbados

Barbadian rum shops are an integral part of local social life, and rum remains a crucial export. Credit: ©Terri Cook and Lon Abbott Barbadian rum shops are an integral part of local social life, and rum remains a crucial export. Credit: ©Terri Cook and Lon Abbott

Visitors to Barbados arrive at the Grantley Adams International Airport, on the south coast about 13 kilometers east of Bridgetown. Although there are established bus routes across the island, the most convenient way to explore it is by renting a car. A number of local agencies have depots at the airport. Driving is on the left in this former British colony.

Barbados is very compact, so you can stay on any coast and still see all of the attractions. Most accommodations are in the resorts on the sheltered west coast, which is generally more upscale. The south and especially the east coasts are more rugged and remote. In the southeast, we recommend the historic Crane Beach Hotel, perched on the 82,000-year-old limestone terrace and overlooking stunning Crane Beach, which has been named one of the ten best beaches in the world. The hotel offers two fine dining experiences, but with a car, you can easily access cheaper and more extensive options in St. Lawrence Gap and Dover, both east of Bridgetown, as well as the evening fish market in Oistins.

Fresh tuna, snapper, shrimp, lobster and “flying” fish are all island specialties, along with pepperpot, a meat and okra stew, and cou-cou, a corn and okra pudding. The local brew is Banks beer, but Barbados’ best-known beverage is rum, a sugar by-product you can enjoy at any number of local watering holes, called rum shops, or sample after a factory tour. Additional accommodations and dining options are available on the east coast, particularly in Bathsheba.

Except for a few holidays, tours of Harrison’s Cave (harrisonscave.com) are offered daily. Welchman Hall Gully (www.welchmanhallgullybarbados.com), open most days, can be explored via a self-guided or private tour.

Atlantis Submarines (www.atlantisadventures.com/barbados) offers tours of the modern reef leaving from Bridgetown. If you prefer getting wet, try snorkeling at Paynes Bay or the Folkestone Marine Park, just north of Holetown, or hire a local dive operator to explore farther from shore.

Terri Cook and Lon Abbott

Terri Cook (www.down2earthscience.com) is a science and travel writer based in Colorado and an EARTH roving correspondent. Lon Abbott is a geology professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 06:00