During the pandemic, this island encouraged those in search of a remote work paradise to make this now independent British commonwealth island (I was there for the celebrations naturally) a temporary home. Originally scheduled to go in February 2021, the trip was pushed to November, and it was the most relaxed I felt the entire year. One dip in the ocean cured all the stress I had been harboring – even that of learning to drive on the other side of the road.

There is a lot that makes Barbados unique, but I loved how this small island (a little over 20 miles long and wide) offered a diverse landscape for equal parts adventure and zen. On the eastern side, the Atlantic delivered big waves perfect for surfing and jagged, jaw-dropping coastlines. On the western side, the Caribbean does what it does best – it relaxes you with smooth, pristine waters perfect for swimming and beaches perfect for lounging. In the middle, rainforests. And the sunsets everywhere – spectacular.

I’d recommend this island for a more lengthy jaunt – it’s a great place to schedule a remote work/play vacation – the WiFi is the best I’ve seen – and you’ll want some time to find and relish the kind of vacation state of mind that can only be found in ocean swims set to the tune of a reggae band.

Hot Tips:

Make sure you have cash – sometimes the ATMs don’t work so be sure to bring some dollars with you; they’ll take it.

Definitely rent a car (in advance) so you can explore all the island has to offer.


where to crash and get some R&R


Booking this Airbnb was not only cost-effective ($130 a night) but gave us more of a locals experience, and I highly recommend getting more out of your trip to Barbados than resort vibes. This one was ideally located in Oistins – no frills but with a pool, where my friends and I did morning workouts and I occasionally indulged in a night swim. When booking a place, definitely ask about air; we had air in the bedrooms but not in the common areas (which was fine), as we had ample shaded porch space. My recommendation – hone in on Oistins and Hastings for the walkability factor.

Cobblers Cove

Nestled in a beautiful cove, this is a boutique hotel amongst a slew of luxury resorts nestled on the Northwest side of the island in Speightstown and a perfect spot for the splurge part of your trip, especially if you don’t want to empty your savings account at Sandy Lane. We spent our last day on the island taking in the indulgences of this hotel – from the oceanside English breakfast to the beachside pool to the Tata Harper spa. The cove offered perfect waters for swimming, snorkeling, and paddle boarding – there’s even a jetty you can swim to and grab some sun in a more solo setting. Even though I didn’t stay there, I peeked into a room and they were spacious with dreamy porches that reminded me of the South … and they should be luxurious at $800 a night in high season and around $500 a night during the summer months.


…where to chow down and then unbutton the top button

Baby Doll (Hastings)

A great casual spot on the boardwalk in Hastings where you are welcome in a bathing suit, bun and sun-kissed makeup free skin. Cozy up in a lounge chair and definitely get the fish tacos and rum sour to accompany the sound of the waves and views of the beach. Paradise!

Naru (Hastings)

I’m a sushi connoisseur thanks to many years of living in LA and this spot is legit. The menu is vast and the dishes are familiar with options such as papaya salad, nigiri and a variety of rolls. I’d recommend the sashimi sampler (it’s a great price!), the Hemingway Roll and the catch of the day – you can’t go wrong with a dish that fresh. And if you like sushi and your travel companion doesn’t, don’t worry, there’s a lot of cooked options that will satisfy.

Lone Star (Mount Standfast)

I love a good dinner splurge one night and this would be my recommendation even though, caveat, I didn’t go there during my trip. But i did walk by … and the views and ambiance are incredible; it’s like an elegant treehouse that landed on a white sand beach. We went to Champers and I honestly thought it was overrated, especially from a service perspective. Lonestar is on the west side of the island nestled between some of the nice resorts and we learned from people throughout the week that the food was hard to beat. Make reservations in advance – you’re not the only one who wants to splurge.

Oistins Fish Fry

On Friday night, the action is at Oistins Fish Fry where you’ll find cooks grilling up everything from barracuda to flying fish to snapper to Mahi Mahi in an open air, casual setting. It can be overwhelming when you walk up – there are a ton of options and the picnic tables are crowded with both locals and tourists drinking ice cold Banks and enjoying no frills but super delicious seafood with all the fixings (plantains!) cooked right in front of you. A live band completes the vibe with laid back reggae filling the night air. Get there around 7, not after 8 – plates are around $25 and beers are about $2 but it’s cash only – they take American and Barbadian dollars.

Surfer's Cafe (Oistins)

This was my preferred start to the day every morning I was in Barbados. I’d walk along the beach to Surfers Cafe and order a coffee, coconut pastry and an omelette, be greeted by the friendly staff and if I was lucky, escorted to the best table in the house – right next to the window with incredible ocean views. It was also a great place to work if you’re not completely on vacation the whole time.

Epic Surf Cafe (Oistins)

This coffee shop is on the fancier side, serving up great lattes with alternative milk options (yay) and acai bowls. The coffee is on par with prices in the US and the seating is minimal, but it’s great for a to-go cup and a healthy breakfast.

De Roti Shop (Oistins)

This is the best roti on the island, according to, well, everyone. And this is why you have to get there in the morning when they open to get your order in. I went around lunchtime and everything was sold out. It’s a cute little green house on the main road – you might be wondering if you’re in the right place, but you are. If you’re lucky enough to make it in time, the ladies will make yours to order with fresh, perfectly spiced protein and vegetables.

Salt Cafe (Hastings)

I didn’t make it here – you can’t hit it all – and it’s hard to get in last minute, so you’ll need to make reservations. It’s a cozy kitchen and dining room (no ocean views) with 8-10 tables perfect for a farm-to-table inspired menu with fish, meat and vegetarian options. Cute little date night if you’re there with your partner!


where to drink up and get down

Surfer's Bay Beach Bar (South Coast)

This spot is everything you need in a beach bar – cheap beers, reggae music, bathing suit attire and fire pits. We rolled up to this surfer’s haunt after a boat ride and a swim and we blended in perfectly to the laid-back, open air casual vibe just steps from the beach. It’s definitely packed on a live music night, but the servers are amazing at finding you a table when you’re not on the dance floor. And if you need a break from the music, you can step outside to the fire pits and take a breather in the salt air.

Sea Shed Barbados (Mullins Beach)

If you want to get a little dolled up, look no further than the scene at Sea Shed. It’s right on the beach with great wine and amazing food – from crudo to lobster rolls to pizza. You definitely need to reserve in advance (before you arrive on the island), especially if you want to go on the days there is a DJ. Make sure you stay for the sunset and drinks at the bar – it’s a spectacular way to end an evening.

MOJO (Hastings)

Wednesday is the night to head to Mojo – it’s reggae night and it’s popular with both locals and tourists. After a bit of waiting, my friend and I got a table, but I’d recommend reserving something as the place get packed. They’re known for their burgers – and honestly they’re just OK – but it’s a good break from seafood if you’re on the island for a decent amount of time.  

Blakey's on the Boardwalk

On the Hastings boardwalk, this is a good spot if you’re interested in doing some dancing without having to get dressed up; the vibe is very casual and of course, beachside. They have live music and DJs – I went on a DJ night and my group had a blast singing, dancing and noshing on pizza. We skipped it one night when we heard the band playing metal music which is not my scene, but hey, it could be yours.


what to do when you can’t sit still

Roundhouse (Bathsheba)

I’d highly recommend taking a day to explore the East Coast of Barbados – the coastline reminds me of parts of California, Hawaii and Ireland. Part of your tour should without a doubt include the Roundhouse. Situated on top of a cliff with sweeping views of the coast, it’s the perfect stop for lunch or sunset bites followed by a picturesque walk along the beaches. Warning: the drive up the hill to parking is an adventure in itself.

Animal Flower Cave

At the northernmost tip of the island, the incredible coastline views are hard to put into words. While this is a tad touristy, the views are worth the hype, even if there is much better food on the island. It IS worth it in my opinion to do a tour of the cave – I’ll just let the pic speak for itself; it’s a super cool vantage point and if it’s not a rough day, you can go for a dip in one of the cave’s pools. On your way back, stop by Heywoods Beach in Speightstown to swim and take in the sunset.

Catamaran Tour with Sail Calabaza

Maybe one of the best days (and best decisions) ever. The sail is semi-private which is ideal for feeling like it’s special, but also an opportunity to make new friends. It was $110 per person for 4 hours of sailing, open bar, a sunset swim stop and a very healthy amount of apps. This is not your typical boat fare – they served an array of appetizers – from samosas to caprese to gourmet chicken fingers – that were fresh and delicious. And their special rum punch was a treat. If you do one thing, do this.

Coco Hill Forest

I’m the kind of person who gets antsy lying on the beach for a week, but the diversity of Barbados allows you to experience both adventure and relaxation – the best of both worlds. Case in point – there’s a rainforest on the island offering sheltered walks through lush forests with a good chance of monkey sightings. My friend and I tried to venture out on our own which wasn’t the best idea, so I’d definitely recommend a guided hike. Call them to find out times and availability for hikes; google doesn’t have the latest information.


where to nab the best threads

Limegrove (Holetown)

This is a luxe outdoor shopping mall for the posh side of the island, and the prices are reflective of it – from the gourmet grocer to the jewelry boutique. If you’re looking for casual and not-so-casual beachwear, there are a ton of great options. My friend and I bought dresses at Island Stories for our day at Sea Shed. Salt & City and Always Summer are also definitely worth a drive by.