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Back in Barbados with my Beautiful Granddaughter, Maxie.

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Hot on the back of a January Cape Town adventure, I return to Barbados, renowned for its pristine beaches, azure Caribbean Sea, and lush tropical landscapes, which transcend the typical island experience. This blog celebrates Maxie and her first trip to the island- As he title says, we are “In Barbados with my beautiful granddaughter, Maxie

I’ve said many a time in relation to Barbados, ‘you arrive a visitor and leave feeling part of the island family.’ Well this time the Barbados family are in for a surprise as my beautiful granddaughter, Maxie (4 months) is coming along to join us on our 16th trip to this tropical island and what will be her first holiday abroad. May I say, not a bad first stamp on your passport!

Once again our accommodation is provided by the elegant nonagenarian Lady St John and her superhost daughter, Charmaine who can best be described as a font of island knowledge and advice! If Charmaine can’t help you she will know somebody who can. She can also mix a mean ‘Corn n’ Oil’ which I will touch on later. 

Living literally steps from Enterprise , locally known as Miami Beach, is just a dream come true. Sure, we live in Gourock (Scotland), steps from the River Clyde and its stunning scenery, but it can’t beat the beautiful temperature of the Caribbean and the soft white sands. 

Miami Beach 

Miami Beach is small enough to feel secluded and large enough to enjoy. Both locals and tourists visit here and have fun all day long. 

One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that it’s a very familiar crowd every day on the beach. Visitors from Canada, United States, Germany and the United Kingdom return every year and I’m pretty positive that just like me, every year they extend the length of their time in Barbados just that little bit longer. If I can steal the title of Ian R. Clayton’s fabulous book Rogues in Paradise, it would describe visitors to Miami Beach perfectly! I certainly do not mean bad rogues but genuinely nice, honest and helpful people making great memories and most of all having a good laugh. There are the very toned and bronzed silver surfers like George and Carol Davies who at sunrise each morning carry their surf boards the short 10 minute walk to Freight’s Bay. After surfing the waves with James and Laurie Frasch they return to take in some rays on Miami Beach. There is also the sprightly duo of Duncan and Barbro McAusland. When visiting previously during the Covid outbreak, Duncan decided to extend his stay and along with his expat friend, Brian they built picnic benches and placed them in the shade of the trees on Miami Beach. Locals and visitors alike now use these benches daily, if Duncan isn’t painting or repairing them. A character through and through and a true gent! Other regular visitors are Brian and Theresa Pilgrim, who bizarrely were sitting behind us on our Virgin flight out to Barbados, and were heading out to celebrate their wedding anniversary after being married last year on the stunning cliff edge of Miami Beach with their reception in the grounds of Lady St John’s house. Where better to celebrate your wedding anniversary and we hope you have many more …. but Brian watch out for the flying Coca Cola!!

Maxie dipping her toes in the lagoon at Miami Beach.

Apart from the excellent friendships we have been fortunate to develop, Miami Beach really has it all and for young children or people not comfortable in facing the sometimes larger waves at the water’s edge on the main beach, there is a small lagoon area which is very sheltered. It really forms natures perfect swimming pool. Maxie loved floating in the gently lapping water in her baby swimseat amongst some young turtles and shoals of small fish.

View towards Miami Beach from Butterfly Beach Hotel

Maxie on Miami Beach.

As you will know taking your baby on holiday requires a little more planning but shouldn’t stop you having a fantastic time. In Barbados, they have everything you need for your baby: great accommodation, equipment hire services, excellent healthcare and many of the baby products you’ll be familiar with from home, courtesy of Waitrose which supplies the main supermarket. You can also safely drink tap water as Barbados natural spring water is among the purest in the world. The state-run Barbados Water Authority Limited is the exclusive supplier of water on the island which is pumped from wells within natural coral aquifers. One potential hazard if travelling with babies is the proliferation of broken pavements and paths which can make pushing a pram challenging however the bumpy movement seemed to easily send Maxie to sleep so does have some benefits!

Travel & Transport

There is an abundance of transport options on the island, from bus companies to ZRs which can best be described as stop anywhere community taxis (boogie buses). More often than not, locals literally squeeze into the latter so it’s not for the faint hearted but what an experience. 

This visit we again used the ever reliable Kyle Springer for taxi journeys and if there are more than four people requiring transport his father, Rudolph steps in with his 7 seater minivan.

Kyle can be contacted on +1 (246) 265-3830.

Otherwise on the transport front, Gregg Edghill at Grischa Car Rentals comes highly recommended whether for a personalised island trip, airport transfer, taxi services or car hire. Gregg has various car types on offer and can easily arrange your Barbados visitors registration certificate which you must have to drive on the island. 

Gregg can be contacted on: +1 (246) 823-6009

Insta: GrischaCarRentals

Taxis can be booked up days in advance so another option is Maria Ryan who runs a spotless, air conditioned Toyota people carrier. She is also open to island tours or transfers. Maria can be contacted on:

+1 (246) 236 1814 or


Kyle, Rudolph, Gregg and Maria are extremely honest, reliable and come highly recommended. 

Local Business Entrepreneurs still Booming! 

It’s really encouraging to see the local young business entrepreneurs mentioned in my previous travel reviews are still thriving. Liam at Cottage Meats (best sausage breakfast cutter on the island) continues to produce top class products sold in retailers throughout Barbados and hopefully soon beyond. We brought Liam a bottle of Bruichladdich (pronounced Brook-laddie), one of my favourite malt whisky’s from the progressive Hebridean distillery on the Scottish island of Islay. How ironic Bruichladdich is now owned by Remy Cointreau, whose liquers & spirits division hosts eight brands including Mount Gay rum from Barbados. To have one of my favourite rums linked with the single malts of Bruichladdich, including Port Charlotte and Octomore, plus the excellent Botanist gin is just heaven made for me.

Liam with his mini bottle of Bruichladdie.

In a nearby stall the talented Kim at Summer Gems continues to make and sell her exquisite handmade jewellery. Both Liam and Kim are a credit to their trades and are ever present at the very popular Brighton Market held every Saturday morning. 

Back at Miami Beach Janelle continues her success story in making and selling a wide variety of natural, health juices. Some really interesting ingredients are on offer and if you’re not there early enough she’s sold out! Locals and visitors alike just love her produce and there’s nothing better than sitting in the soft white sand of Miami Beach sipping an ice cold juice that’s actually good for you.

In different ways all three are true artisans to their produce and highlight the drive and success of young Bajan business people. I wish them continued success and if you’re in the area I recommend you pay them a visit.

Oistins Fish Fry

Oistin Bay Garden is open all week and is full of hustle and bustle, especially on a Friday night when the infamous Fish Fry takes place. It is quieter during the day, although you can still get excellent food and drinks, however in the evening it is transformed into multiple open air restaurants. If it’s your first time visiting, quickly get over the ‘shabby’ appearance and immerse yourself in the inviting aroma of barbecued grilled food. Visitors and Bajans alike congregate at the many small restaurants to enjoy the catch of the day. All sorts of locally caught fish are served with a choice of two ‘starches’ – plantain, macaroni pie, english potato, breadfruit, sweet potato or rice & peas with an accompaniment of salad and coleslaw. Just amazing but the choice is yours! On Friday nights and at the weekend it’s a truly Bajan experience where the lure of good food, local rum and beers along with Caribbean music and entertainment attracts huge crowds. If you get a chance to see Mr Impact, get yourself there. He is tremendous and flips from singing to playing steel pans covering everything from Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, and ABBA to the classic ‘I’m going to Barbados’.

So while you are there I can only recommend the best restaurant! 

Chillin & Grillin – Fish Fry – Oistins Bay Gardens

It’s reassuring to see that Lana and her team at Chillin & Grillin have successfully kept their restaurant at the number 1 spot. The hundreds of fantastic reviews received can now be backed up by a forthcoming documentary on the Caribbean hosted by a well known British celebrity who chose the waters of Barbados to go fishing. More importantly his research identified Veronica, Chillin & Grillin manager, as the local expert on how to marinate and season his catch and for Chef Allan to cook it to perfection. Normally a TV crew would turn up, film and disappear but they returned frequently to try out the full menu. I’m so pleased that over the past three years I have championed how good Lana, Veronica, Shonte, Phillip and the rest of the Chillin & Grillin team are and the documentary is just reward! Congratulations Team Chillin & Grillin keep up the hard work and I look forward to watching the documentary. 

Maxie and Lana at Chillin n’ Grillin.

A still from a video of the Green Flash.

Shortly after our arrival at Miami Beach we saw our first Barbados sunset. It was a stunningly clear bright orange sun dipping into the Caribbean Sea. Our host Charmaine highlighted the conditions were near perfect for a green flash. No it’s not a movie or a Super Hero, it’s an optical phenomenon which happens when the sun is almost entirely below the horizon, with its upper edge just visible. For what feels like less than a second and once the upper rim of the sun disappears a green flash will appear. On this occasion we managed to experience it and to be honest having heard locals chat about it, it was quite exciting to see. I am now reassured that the phenomenon actually exists and is not just a myth. 

Bar 557 

Bar 557 daily menu.

As a frequent user of the hospitality industry, with worldwide experience I may add, I thought long and hard about reviewing Donavan’s Bar 557. Recommended by James and Laurie Frasch it’s relatively basic and is also hard to find, particularly in the dark. The best description I’ve heard of it is a quaint, authentic local community based hideaway that offers great ambiance at rum shack prices and food that will take only perfection to beat. I’m happy to confirm this as true to its word.

Owned by Donavan and his partner, chef Janelle who really knows how to cook. Janelle’s expertise is clearly in the seasoning and preparation. The Bajan seasoning on the Marlin, the Kingfish and not forgetting the garlic potatoes was scrumptious. Janelle to her credit doesn’t get flustered and if it’s busy you have to be patient as she won’t take shortcuts in the kitchen which would be detrimental to her fabulous dishes. 

Donavan and his daughter, Adiola provide super friendly service, really make you feel welcome and your custom appreciated. 

Getting there and finding Bar 557 is difficult but once you know, you know. On Lower Carters Gap simply look for the road opposite Bargain Motors. About 100 metres along the road lined with houses you will see a Bar 557 sign on the right, under a streetlight. The bar is at the end of a short but unfinished road. If walking watch out for the rubble especially after a rum or two! 

Bar 557 is open 5-10pm, Thursday to Sunday. If there is a large group of you I suggest you make a reservation as it can become very busy.

Island Experiences

Barbados Gold Cup

Sandy Lane Gold Cup Finish Line at dusk.

This was our second year attending the Sandy Lane Gold Cup which is one of the most prestigious events in the Eastern Caribbean horse racing calendar and, indeed crowd wise the biggest sporting event on the island. We were joined by our American friends Gordy & Michelle Cardwell and Clark & Cindy Green for what was a thrilling afternoon of horse racing. The event as usual attracted visitors from all over the world, both local and regional jockeys competing throughout the event. Just before the main Gold Cup race there is a break with a local brass band playing and various dancers parading along the race course. The primary races included top international jockeys and trainers, with thoroughbred horses from Ireland, Panama and North America. The Gold Cup race is run over a turf course of 1,800 metres (8.95 furlongs) and is open to horses aged three and over. The venue is the impressive Garrison Savannah which has been the home of top class horse racing since 1846. If you happen to be in Barbados at the time of the event I’d encourage you to attend. It can be chaotic to get to due to the sheer volume of traffic on the roads but experiencing this event is well worthwhile! 

Gordon, Michelle, Cindy and Clark at the races.

Now the interesting part! Last year I just about broke even on my betting. I’m not a gambler and last year was my first attempt ever at placing bets at the bookmaker booths. How uncomfortable did I feel! But all said and done I got through it relatively unscathed. So this year, I was a bit more confident. Going from horses with names linked to life experiences I duly placed my bets. In my defence it’s loud and sometimes boisterous in the betting booths plus I didn’t have my reading glasses on, anyway I came away delighted that I had placed my bets for the remaining six races, including the main event, the Sandy Lane Gold Cup. I returned to our party only to establish that I had my horse numbers and races mixed up! In my defence I’m putting it down to my Scottish accent not being picked up by the Bajan betting booth operator. 

On the upside in every one of the bets, apart from one race, our horses were either 1st, 2nd or 3rd! Not bad for a real novice who despite an ‘accent barrier’ ended up with 10 placings out of 6 races! 

It’s certainly not my game but a great afternoon out and fabulous experience. Thanks to Gordy, Michelle, Clark and Cindy for making it so enjoyable! Special mention must also be made to our driver Rudolph who had the patience to drive us back on what should usually be a 10/15 minute journey to Oistins and took 50 minutes. 

Even if you don’t want to place any bets, the Sandy Lane Gold Cup event is really recommended.

Stades Rum Experience at the newly renamed Stade’s Rum Distillery (West Indies Rum Distillery).

Stades Rum entrance sign

Thanks to  Shane Thomas of Invest Barbados I was invited to visit the recently opened Stades Rum Experience alongwith my son-in-law David.

Immediately on alighting our taxi we received a warm Bajan welcome and a rum punch from Joy-Ann, even though we were 40 minutes early due to lighter than expected traffic.

We were then escorted into the very impressive and pristine venue where we were joined by our host Ramon, who is a self-confessed ‘rum geek’. His knowledge, professionalism and joy in delivering his role is unbelievably contagious. The tour is really informative and allows everyone to explore the secrets of Barbados rum at the historic distillery, founded in 1893 by George Stade. You can feel the history, passion and craftsmanship jumping out at you as you tour the distillery which produces award-winning rums namely, Planteray Rum (formerly Plantation Rum) and Stades Rum. This is an authentic rum tour, from tasting rum straight from the barrel in the darkness of cellars to a thorough education on the distilling process and how it responded to changes in the island such as a drop off in sugar refineries from twenty six to one.

Our excellent ‘pint sized’ guide Saraih.

Ever since an introduction to Plantation XO rum (now known as Planteray XO) by a Commodore from the Regional Security System and a Major in the Barbados Regional Defence Force, I have been a fan!

However, for those who prefer their rum in a cocktail, the new Planteray Cut and Dry Coconut Rum is also delicious and is taking the market by storm. 

At the conclusion of your tour you have a custom tasting at the cocktail masterclass on the Beach Deck Bar which really caps off the whole experience. Four rum options are on offer including Stades Bond No. 8 and the brand’s award winning white rum, Stades Beach Vat No.1. Two contrasting tastes but in the sun who knows what you will prefer! 

One thing that is clear throughout this world class experience is the outstanding customer service and attention to detail from beginning to end. The staff undoubtedly make it and have been quite rightly described as the ‘special ingredient’! Ramon, Joy-Ann and our excellent ‘pint sized’ tour guide Saraih are a real asset to the company and true rum aficiodos. 

Stades T-Shirts.

Simply one of the best Barbados rum tours I have been on and in a stunning location, exclusively on Brighton beach. Be there before it sells out! I will undoubtedly be back. 

Check out the various tour packages, available here:

Silver Moon Catamaran Cruises

Shallow Draughty, Bridgetown

As a gift we were booked on our fourth Silver Moon catamaran cruise. This time accompanied by Maxie, which could have made it a bit different to previous trips, however the staff all worked tirelessly to cater for her every need. 

Silver Moon is slightly more expensive than others such as Calabaza and Cool Runnings but it brands itself as exclusive (which it certainly is) and the original luxury catamaran operator in Barbados. On board their stunning vessels you really do get more room to relax, each trip is limited to maximum 12 guests, and extra special attention from staff.

This time, Captain Drew, Akeme, Josh and Lydia were just fantastic, even between onboard roles they did some babysitting duties allowing our group to eat the fabulous dinner in peace. During the snorkelling stops they get you up close and personal with the turtles and hundreds of tropical fish. There is the option of a buffet lunch or sunset dinner cruise virtually every day. All four of our cruises have been the sunset dinner offering which is a really enjoyable way to spend 4 hours, featuring hors d’oeuvres, delicious food, homemade rum punch and unlimited drinks. You also get to take in the stunning sunset, weather permitting. It truly is a trip to remember and I guarantee if the opportunity is there you will keep coming back!

Crew member Lydia taking care of Maxie and with Dad at sunset.

A very big thank you to Sarah, David, Maxie and Paco for a fantastic gift!  

High End Restaurants 

The island has several high end restaurants which to be honest can be expensive but they are certainly top class and worth every Bajan dollar. It’s hard to identify a clear number one but on this trip we visited Champers, La Cabane, Cafe Luna and The Fish Pot where Manager, Paul Edwards welcomed us personally. They are all definitely competing for that coveted number one slot. All four should be booked in advance to avoid disappointment. 

All have stunning views. La Cabane is set in trees on Batts Rock beach and we find this better for lunch. The Fish Pot, situated on the beach just north of Speightstown, is most probably the hardest one to get to without a hire car, so we visited when we had our car from Grischa Car Rentals.

Champers and Cafe Luna are easiest to get to from Oistins, with Champers most probably sitting slightly above Cafe Luna in terms of service but equal on the delicious menus.

The choice will be yours but I’m positive that you would really enjoy any one of them. I’m also sure that Lone Star,Tides, Lobster Alive and The Cliff could easily be added to this category. I’ve only eaten in Tides and Lobster Alive and while both were excellent this was some time ago. 

Popular local drinks

The island’s restaurants, bars and rum shacks abound with drinks options to try. Apart from Banks, another great beer is Deputy which is a pilsner lager brewed by Banks (Barbados) Breweries Ltd, its party logo is #WeBringDeVibez. Two local alcoholic drinks are also recommended: 

Rum Punch

  • 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice (1 of sour)
  • 2 oz simple syrup (2 of sweet)
  • 3 oz Mount Gay rum (3 of strong)
  • 4 oz  Water or Fruit Juice (4 of weak)
  • a few dashes of Angostura Bitters

and sprinkle ground nutmeg to taste

When on the island you must try what some people call the island’s signature drink. Rum Punch Barry, a sole trader on Enterprise Road, was the first person on this visit to hand me my first of what would be many rum punches. The punch comes from the Indian word ‘panch’ which means five and refers to the ingredients. It is available everywhere with various flavours but the original recipe is a simple one to learn by singing, ‘One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong and four of weak, a dash of bitters and a sprinkle of spice, serve well chilled, with plenty of ice’. Has to be done in a Bajan accent!

Make sure you check the alcohol content on some of the pre-made bottles. You don’t want to add additional rum to what can already be a strong drink with a ‘punch’! 

Corn ‘n’ Oil

2oz       Rum (preferably dark)
1/2oz.   Falerum
1/3oz.   Lime Juice
3 Dash Angostura Bitters\1 lime wedge for garnish
1 lime wedge for garnish
Serve over crushed ice

Corn ‘n’ Oil is a classic Barbados cocktail although surprisingly does not feature on most bar menus. It’s a simple drink that uses falernum which is full of clove, lime, vanilla, molasses, almond and of course rum. It’s a convincing rebuttal to those who think rum is only for summer. If you use a darker coloured rum it looks a bit like oil as it floats on top of falernum which is lighter in colour, hence the name.

Falernum is a great rum companion, many have tried to describe the syrup and its deep history, including a fable about how to say “you have to learn it” in a heavy Barbadian accent, ‘Fa-learn – um’. It has a low alcohol content and some say it originated as a bottled form of a popular local punch. Most importantly, it’s inexpensive and generally well stocked on Barbados. Corn ‘n’ Oil is certainly a worth a try, any decent mixologist should be able to make you one off menu! 

Life is Nice

This is the slogan used by Banks Beer and often makes me think about buying a property and living on this beautiful island. Barbados is probably one of two places that I would feel comfortable enough to buy a property, the other is the beautiful white village of Frigiliana, Spain.

Having kept an eye on the Barbados real estate market there are a whole range of options at various prices. Whether it’s in Oistins Bay Area popular for its vibrant communities and beautiful beachfront properties, a luxurious 3-bedroom apartment in the gated St. James development, a refurbished villa in Sunset Crest, or a sprawling home in Apes Hill offering panoramic but breezy Atlantic views, there are undoubtedly options for all. 

Sarah Akida at One Caribbean Estates, is the perfect person to help in your search for the idyllic property in Barbados, be it a vacation home, a private residence, or a even commercial investment, Sarah and One Caribbean Estates will start your exciting journey to find your very own slice of paradise. 

Sarah can be contacted on: Tel: 1 (246) 266 8777

Maxie – The girl on the go! 

There was a slight trepidation when it was announced that Maxie would be joining us on Barbados. Thankfully she had all her vaccinations in plenty of time, and probably three swimsuits for each day of her holiday, so was good to go. She was a complete angel on her two flights travelling from Glasgow via London to Barbados. Sleeping most of the journey in the bassinet with her proud parents seated beside her. 

On arrival she coped very well with the heat and loved her fan which was attached to her pram. From the first night she settled into a normal sleep pattern. Everyone from taxi drivers, supermarket staff, restaurant and bar owners to the crew on Silvermoon catamaran took to her immediately and she reciprocated with wide smiles. She was the star of the show and whether sitting in the shade on a sun lounger, swimming in the sea or tasting her first piece of watermelon she took it all in her stride. I’m admittedly biased but she was just wonderful and full of smiles within her tropical surroundings. As her trip came to an end the timing of a later flight back to London suited perfectly as once on board she had her last bottle of the day and slept soundly for the duration. At Heathrow she experienced her first airport security regime being searched and patted down but again was completely unfazed.

What a privilege and pleasure it was having Maxie, Sarah and David join our trip and for us to share their first holiday with such a happy and contented little girl!

Roll on to the next holiday with Maxie and thank you David & Sarah. 

Sunset at the lagoon on Miami Beach.

Once again, the sunsets on our month-long trip to Barbados with its serene beaches and lush landscapes. Totally smitten by the island’s unique charm and its people, we already look forward to our next visit, which we hope will be for a longer period. We secretly hope that subconsciously our love for the island and its unique charm has passed onto our granddaughter Maxie. What the island will be like by the time Maxie is an adult only the future knows but I’m sure even then, the people will make Barbados! 

Summary Video

Maxie is joining our 16th visit to this tropical paradise, thanks to the hospitality of Lady St John & her superhost daughter, Charmaine. Can’t wait for her to experience Miami Beach! Miami Beach was the perfect spot for a toddler.

Calum Glenny – Gourock’s ‘Avid Traveller’

More like this – The AvidTraveller.News

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