Barbados, paradise can’t wait!
Planning a holiday for children and families in Barbados

There are times in life when we would like to change everything. Appointments, work, children….we would like to drop everything and get away.  Set off to some beautiful, hot destination full of colours, smells and flavours. Well, believe it or not, this is actually a possibility, at least it was for us and we’re going to tell you all about it in, giving you advice and tips so that you too can go!

Fed up with the cold, grey winter we decided to have a break: we wanted to go to an island which was hot but not oppressively humid, with beautiful waters  and spectacular, easy-to-reach beaches of white, picture-postcard sand. A place that was  easy to reach and where communication would be possible without too many problems. And, last but not least, we wanted a place that was safe from both a health and political point of view where we could really relax.

After a bit of detailed research (I’m a Virgo and so I go through everything with a fine-tooth comb) we decided on BARBADOS and I must say it proved to be a great choice, so here you can find some tips and tricks for planning a family trip with kids in Barbados.

Barbados is an Island in the Caribbean, it is part of the Lesser Antilles, which is a coral island guaranteeing lovers of  total relaxation and sunbathing, white, pink-tinged sand and turquoise waters. On one side it faces the Caribbean Sea which is calm and teeming with brightly-coloured fish and turtles (a unique sight for grown-ups and children alike) and on the other the Atlantic Ocean which offers incredible waves for the surfing fanatic: in fact the World Surfing Championships are held here; on this side of the Island there are breath-taking cliffs and endless beaches ( the Caribbean Sea is better for swimming, as the Atlantic has strong under-currents). Barbados was an English colony until 50 years ago, today it is independent but still under Commonwealth rule meaning that it retains its colonial charm and most importantly its British refinement,  their discretion and good manners. The people are very kind and friendly.

No particular precautions are necessary regarding food or vaccinations; perhaps you could have a Hepatitis A vaccination just to be on the safe side as this is advisable when travelling in tropical and sub-tropical areas. The food is excellent, a mix of international cuisine and Creole cooking called Bajan. Bajan cuisine is a delicious mix of flavours with influences from African, Caribbean, European and West Indian cooking and offers an authentic and unique experience for the palate. As might be expected, fish  is an important ingredient given that the surrounding sea offers an abundance of delicacies such as tuna, shark, salmon, cod and martin pescatori, as well as prawns, lobsters, crabs and sea urchins.
But it’s really the Flying fish, the national emblem of Barbados, which adds a touch of refinement to the diners’ plate. As well as fish, there are many Bajan meat dishes made with chicken, beef, pork, turkey and duck. These foods are served fried, barbecued, baked, roast or prepared in brine.

The hotels are of a very high standard. We spent 3 nights at the Turtle Beach Hotel and three nights at the Almond Beach Resort, both were almost directly on the beach and had beautiful swimming pools: we all know that, even when the sea is fantastic, children love diving and playing in the pool. We enjoyed the sea and sun, but then who wouldn’t enjoy lazing in the sun cooled by a pleasant breeze while it’s snowing or raining at home! But we also explored the island, its places of natural beauty and its flora.

Inland the vegetation is lush and tropical. We suggest you visit the Flower Forest and Harrison’s Cave, a chalk and fossilized coral cave reached by a miniature railway. You’ll be amazed by the sculptures formed by the stalactites and stalagmites. Don’t miss the Barbados Wildlife Reserve a park where you can see little green monkeys (strange but funny), fawns and a lot of tortoises. We would advise you to plan your visit at about 2 pm when it’s feeding time for the animals and the monkeys get up to all sorts of mischief putting on a hilarious show for the children.

Another magical place that you shouldn’t miss are the Hunte’s Gardens, beautiful gardens which are in the centre of the Island and so easy to reach from all parts of Barbados. A visit to these gardens offers all nature lovers one of the best experiences to be found on the eastern Caribbean islands. The park was created by the horticulturist Anthony Hunte, who added thousands of tropical flowers, water lilies, orchids and rare plants including the mimosa sensibile whose leaves close when touched, to the already lush tropical vegetation which winds through a wide canyon. A walk through the park is accompanied by soft classical music and at the end of your visit you can enjoy a ginger lemonade comfortably seated on Mr. Hunte’s verandah. This garden is a real paradise!

We did a lot of things during our stay – we visited the ocean floor, the barrier reef and saw thousands of colourful fish from the comfort of the Atlantis Submarine. We spent a whole morning on the Tiami Luxury Cruises catamaran which took us to the most beautiful beaches on the Island and showed us Rhianna’s fantastic villa, I don’t know if you know that she is from Barbados! We dived into the blue and turquoise water and swam with  turtles.

Barbados has proved a magical place to spend a relaxing holiday with all the family: the sea and the beaches are spectacular, the hotels and resorts are of an excellent standard, you can try many sports from surfing and kite surfing to sailing, diving, tennis, horse riding and pony trekking. You can visit Bridgetown, the island’s colourful capital and do a little shopping and  in Oistin every Friday night you can try the delicious barbecued fish, listen to music and browse around the stalls which bring this pretty fishing village to life every Friday evening (Oistin’s Friday Night).

There is a direct British Airways flight which operates daily from London. The flight, on a comfortable Boeing B777, takes about 8 1/2 hours. It is an excellent airline and you can also enjoy films in Italian on board.

Take my word for it…….. book a holiday to Barbados, you won’t be disappointed!!!!!

Chiara Rosati
Photos courtesy: Chiara Rosati, Stefano Monteleone, Barbados Marketing Tourism Inc.