Around Barbados in a day.
The great moments, and the not-so-great moments, summarised into one blog post.
Last Summer, I was lucky enough to spend five weeks of August leading into September, travelling. For some odd reason (I never like to do things the easy way), we decided to begin in Iceland, then fly over to Canada and explore some of Toronto, Vancouver and Whistler then, New York, Washington, Atlanta, Orlando, Miami and finishing in Barbados.. not a simple route, I know.
But nevertheless, it was incredible. Arriving in Barbados, the idea was to keep the six days we spent there, “chill” and use it as a relaxing end to the four previous weeks of non-stop go. However, we soon discovered after the first 24 hours that we are in-fact, not chill at all. Is it bad to say that I was honestly bored of sitting on a beach?
Because I was.
So, instead of sitting on a beach and spending the days in and out of the ocean (which was lovely for the first day), we decided to book as much as we could and explore the Island.
This is when we met Mario Williams.
Mario advertises himself as “Island Explorer Tours, Barbados”.
His normal trips take the route of Speightstown, a hidden gem located in North Point (pictured above), Cherry Tree Hill, Martin’s Bay and then Beachy Head Beach. However, it was to our surprise that he actually offered us a one off intimate trip around the entirety of the island, in a jeep. (It helped that he knew we were Photographers and documented the entirety of the drive across the Island).
Mario had lived on the Island for years, and this meant that he knew the in’s and out’s of the entirety of Barbados – taking us to places that he normally never took tourists, which is what made the tour so much more special.
In the above image, you can see a photograph overlooking Beachy Head, one of my favourite views on the island. The different builds were so interesting to look at, and with Mario discussing each different aspect to the houses and traditional views and rules of Barbados, it made the tour all the more enjoyable. A lot of the houses in Barbados are actually unfinished (as you can see in the above image), giving a sort of “shack” look to them. This is due to the fact that in Barbados, if your house is “unfinished”, you do not have to pay tax. So, instead of leaving their houses in a mess, most people usually leave them unpainted or still with scaffolding surrounding them.
The views surrounding us, went on for miles and miles. Miles of beach, forestry and the most insane mountains and hills in the distance, and with the chance of getting to the highest points in the jeep, the photography opportunities were truly incredible. I edited the above photo in lightroom, slightly changing the colours of Peter Mckinnon’s ‘North’ filter, and I am obsessed with the result.
The above photograph is possibly one of my favourite photo’s taken on the tour. It’s a random photo to choose, because there isn’t a whale breaching out of the ocean, or the empire state and the insane skyline of New York – it is simply just a road leading down to Martin’s Bay. To be quite honest, the photo on the camera and in it’s raw state, wasn’t anything special – but after editing it – I am in love. Barbados as an Island, is actually only 166 square miles, and I found with this photograph in particular you can actually see a large distance of the Island – but just in one photo, which made this location so unique to the previous nine we had visited beforehand.
The memories that go along with this photo are also so great, and so fond. This was around three hours into the trip, racing along the beautiful bajan roads and reaching the most unreal beach, where we stayed and spent a couple of hours exploring the caves and rockery along the coastline.
Although we were told when we got there, that you couldn’t actually take photos of the windmill (pictured above) – this of course made me want to grab my camera even more. The photo’s I captured of the windmill were so pretty once edited, sometimes you have to go against the rules (without offending too many people) in order of getting the perfect Instagram.
I would highly, highly recommend taking a trip here (or asking Mario on the trip if you can hop off and quickly grab a photo), because the views surrounding this particular area were beautiful, and so different to the rest of the island. This area was so green and full of forestry, that I was just obsessed with the contrast against the beaches and ocean in the background.
Please, please, PLEASE take a trip here if you are planning on visiting Barbados.
Now we come to the most “Katie-ified” part of the Island.
The Wildlife Reserve.
I have said this time and time again on numerous Instagram posts and stories, but something that made this place to special and so diverse, was the fact that unlike so many other reserves and zoo’s, this one offered the animals food and a place to meet, but without being trapped or behind a glass screen.
You had to respect the animals and not invade their space, but it made visiting this place so much more intimate, without affecting the animals in a negative way.
The monkey’s pictured above were roaming around the entirety of the Island everywhere you looked, but it was lovely to see how tame they were with the locals. It was as if they had a certain sense of respect for the people, that they were allowed to wander freely, without the option of being caged or behind a glass screen.
However, something that I didn’t quite expect as much was how unsafe I felt in certain areas of the Island. I was aware there were areas that weren’t the best for “tourists” ands the hotel told me that I shouldn’t wear any expensive jewellery when leaving the hotel grounds in case people try to steal it – however I did feel that I had to watch my back constantly when wandering the Island.
I’m not quite sure why I felt this way, because every local that I spoke too was lovely – but that is something I would keep in mind when booking a trip to Barbados. When going back, I would personally choose to stay more so within the area of Paradise Beach leading up to Speightstown, rather than the bottom of the island near Grantly Adams Airport which is where I stayed last time I visited. After travelling the Island, I gained a better understanding of the best and safest areas to visit – and where should be avoided, just like any other place on the planet. There will always be “good” areas, and “bad”.