Updated: Jul 18, 2021
This place is a dream.
We’ve been to Barbados several times now. We did three rounds of IVF at the Barbados Fertility Centre which required us to travel to this amazing island.
So after three trips totaling six weeks of time spent, we feel like we know the island pretty well and need to share what this place offers… because it’s A LOT.
All of our accommodations were self-catering as we were always staying for quite a bit of time. Each place had its own pros and cons, which I share below. They ARE all in the same area (Hastings, Christ Church) as we were trying to find places within walking distance to the fertility centre. That being said, I still think it is one of the best family friendly areas to stay on the island but I am completely biased!
Beautiful building, tucked away down a quiet street... and the best part? The building is PINK! They have rooms for all sizes and budgets. This is the most cost friendly place we stayed at. It has a wide patio that you can sit out and eat your breakfast on and watch the monkeys play in the trees. Down the side road you have Lanterns Mall which has a lot of food options, and across the street you have the boardwalk which is a lovely place to stroll and find some more upscale dining along the water.
Our room had a small stovetop, a small fridge and a microwave. We would make our breakfast and lunches in the room and then go out for dinners.
Just up the street from Rosebank is Margate Gardens. This building of condos is immaculate and beautifully kept. We stayed in a two bedroom condo with a full kitchen and living room. We were on the bottom floor and out the back we had a patio with furniture on it for eating, and then beyond that was the garden and access to the pool. The pool is small but we never felt crowded or in anyones way with us and our child. You can click on the link above to access their rental list through the realtor or the airbnb link here for the exact place we stayed in. This is ALSO very close to Lanterns Mall with a lot of food options and a convenient store.
Staying at a larger hotel definitely has its perks! Unfortunately, a lot of those perks we couldn't take part in because of Covid regulations... but this is seriously an awesome place to stay. Access to the beach with private hotel loungers to use. HUGE pool and lounge area. Multiple restaurants on site and across the street. They also have connections with tour companies and can book for you. There is a beach store on site that sells food, essentials and beach supplies. They have a shuttle to and from the airport. AND they even have live music on the weekends... that we sadly didn't get to hear because of Covid. Dang it!
We stayed in a hotel room while we quarantined, which was a pretty typical size hotel room. VERY clean and great views of the ocean. After quarantine we moved to a bigger location (which is actually across the street) but had three bedrooms, living room, full kitchen and lots of space.
It is a little bit further from the liveliness of the boardwalk but has its own kind of magic about it.
If you have a little bit bigger budget, I definitely recommend this place!
I know this is a blog about kid-friendly travel, but thought I would give this place a shout out, too. This is an adults only, all-inclusive resort BUT we did stay here for a couple days and it was VERY nice. Give it a look if you are going to Barbados without kids! We loved the food, location, and yummy drinks as the sun set out over the ocean. Perfect end to a day!
THINGS TO DO
This is one of the best parts of Barbados. So much snorkeling and a lot of it you can do on your own for free! One of the most popular spots to snorkel is Carlisle Bay as it has a shipwreck and a lot of sea turtles near by. You CAN swim there from shore, as described here. We did end up booking a snorkeling tour that left from Carlisle Bay as we had a young kiddo with us and weren't sure how far she could swim. Snorkeling with sea turtles is so amazing. They are such majestic and graceful creatures. A life highlight for sure! Check out our YouTube video below for our snorkel adventure!
Animal Flower Cave
You don't want to miss this. A series of caves underneath the surface, but are are then exposed out to the ocean. Amazing views and so unique! You can hire a taxi to get you here, or you can go on a tour that also includes this location. There is a cafe and toilets on site, but check their hours because they aren't always open. Likewise, if the tide or weather is bad they will close the Animal Flower Cave for safety reasons. They run a Facebook page so I suggest you check before making the trek up to the northern tip of the island!
Also- the walk down to the caves is quite slippery and narrow. They advise older kids and not young children make the walk down.
Transportation Tip- It is pretty easy to get anywhere you want to along the west coast of the island using a "Zader" bus: small buses that have crazy honking horns and drive like mad down the road. If you want a true Barbados experience, get on one of these buses, tell them where you want to go,
and enjoy the ride!
The Richard Haynes Boardwalk
This is one of our favorite things about staying in the Hastings area... the boardwalk is lovely. Our favorite thing to do was shower from a beach day and then head to the boardwalk to watch the sunset. Pure magic.
Local Tip- At the end of the boardwalk (northern end) is a little lagoon surrounded by rocks that is very shallow and no waves for the littlest travelers in your life. It makes a great beach spot to hang out for families!
The underground world is fascinating to me and we always get a chance to head under if there are caves around. These did not disappoint! We hired a private driver (recommended to us by our place of accommodation) and he drove us to the entrance. There is a nice visitors centre upon arrival and you book your ticket to head underneath.
The tram tour is the most popular, with visitors driven in electrically operated trams down through the extensive system of caves. Riding the tram made this particularly kid-friendly as they don't have to walk around on uneven and potentially wet, slippery surfaces.
Excellent tour guides give historical information on this cave along the way. At the lowest level point in the cave, visitors are invited to leave the tram and walk alongside a spectaular waterfall which plunges into a deep pool below .... this is truly an awesome wonder!
Travel Tip- Crime is relatively low on the island, especially among tourists. Bajans know that their economy relies on tourism and treat visitors VERY well.
If you're needing a little bit of fancy shopping or a night at the cinema, head over to Holetown which is home to Limegrove Centre. LOTS of fancy shopping, delicious food options, and a cinema. We were here when one of the "Fantastic Beasts" movies came out, and being huge fans of the Harry Potter universe we had to go find a showing. A great night out.
Hands down the most amazing beach on the island. It is one of the more popular ones, but for good reason. The water is SO calm and always SO clear. It looks like you're snorkeling a pool, but it's the ocean. We couldn't believe the color of the water. Just amazing.
Travel Tip- The conversion from US dollars to Bajan dollar is SUPER easy:
1 USD to every 2 Bajan dollars. The British pound is a little more tricky:
1 GBP to every 2.8 Bajan dollars.
Take an Island Tour
We aren't really tour group people, but thought that this was an excellent way to see the island! We didn't rent a car for any of our trips to Barbados... because for the most part you're walking a short way each day to lie at a beach! No car needed.
We did an island tour with Sun Tour Barbados and they were fantastic. They picked us up at our accommodations, took us all around the island with several other people, fed us a great Bajan lunch, and then dropped us back off at the end of the day. BUT what really sent them over the top is that our little kiddo left a toy on the bus. We contacted them and they came back the next day to return her toy to her! Such kind service.
This particular tour took us up north to Holetown and Animal Flower Cave, then around to the east coast of the island, and ended with a sugar plantation visit. Highly recommend!
Travel Tip- Time for a little expectation management... food on the island is very expensive. Barbados doesn't really have an agriculture industry so most of their food is imported from elsewhere. Think about what you normally spend on food for a trip, and then double that cost to have a realistic
estimate for food spending.
As the capital of Barbados, there is a lot to explore just walking around the city. We discovered the bay, old churches, government buildings and good eats. Just take a bus downtown and wander around! And if you run into a Chefette, get an ice cream shake. Yum, yum.
You really can't go wrong exploring this beautiful island! You can pack your days full of tours,
or sit on the beach all day and it will be a dreamy holiday for your family.
** Check out our other Barbados videos here!**