Like a Local: A Dose of Barbados
Sure, there are guidebooks that list every restaurant and attraction in destinations around the world. But Porthole’s “Like a Local” department goes straight to the natives, who truly know the way to go.
By Rosemary Parkinson
As a Caribbean food writer and consultant, I travel a lot, and have become a nomad of sorts currently laying me down to sleep in Barbados — a pear-shaped island surrounded by azure seas and amazing coral reefs. A tiny speck in the scheme of things, “The Rock,” as it’s lovingly known by its inhabitants, has a land mass of some 166 square miles on which 280,000 souls live, most descendants of Africa and the United Kingdom. A smattering of others has created a potpourri of cultures and cuisine.
The island is more safe than not. “Bajans” are friendly, but I recommend not picking up just any local to show you around — a free Barbados Holiday Map does the trick. Getting lost has one rule: all roads lead to Bridgetown. Bus stops signs tell all: “Out Of City” means leaving Bridgetown. “To City?” Obvious.
Buses are frequent and cheap — no exact time here. Just one dollar from one stop to another, or until signed destination is reached. I suggest the blue or yellow ones; those little, white, pesky “ZRs” are to be only boarded if fast and furious does not give heart attacks.
Rent a car for freedom. Prices fluctuate, so shop around. Taxis are plentiful and drivers will act as tourist guides, perhaps befriend you, and invite you home for Bajan nosh. Agree on a price before boarding!
When you arrive, find the Tourist Board’s booth for the necessary complimentary publication, Explore Barbados, which is pretty much on-the-spot. Tour operator Wayne Parravicino is local to the bone, and becomes a trusted friend immediately….