When it comes to beaches, Barbados is pretty much divided into South, West and East coasts.
The East coast has a rougher sea, with strong winds and waves, attracting surfers. Not recommended for swimming and you shouldn’t even think about it if you are going with kids. It is less busy, for the same reasons, than the West coast.
The West coast has many kid-friendly beaches, great for swimming and snorkelling – some of them have corals so lots to see underwater. Some of the most popular beaches are in the West coast and you will find that some of them are packed with boats offering all sort of trips – from turtle sightseeing to jet skiing.
The South coast a bit of both worlds – shallow seas with some little waves. It might be good if you take a baby, who will be in your arms all the time, but my nearly three year old daughter was scared of the waves and wouldn’t go in even with us.
Depending on what your plans are, it might be important to define the beach you want to stay: if you want to relax, spend time locally, not go around that much, enjoy the swimming pool, etc, you should consider staying somewhere south – Worthing is alright; Accra beach is nice for kids (although with lots of coral/rocks); St. Lawrence Gap is very busy. They are all small, but very well located. They are all located in the Christchurch area and are about 15 minutes drive from the airport (which, by the way, is NOT in Bridgetown – it is actually the opposite side of it) and 10 minutes to Bridgetown (most hotels in the south and west coasts offer free shuttle to Bridgetown).
If you have a car, don’t worry too much about location – but I would suggest somewhere south or west for the days of laziness and just wanting to do nothing by the beach near your hotel. Barbados is quite small and very easy (more on this on a separate post) to go around. We circulated the whole island in just a couple of hours, stopping at some beaches and for lunch.
Because we had the car, I have no idea about the costs of taxis in the island. I’ve seen several buses going everywhere, so even public transportation is an option if you really want to save money (I don’t recommend if you are not in the mood of waiting for buses under a very strong sun – as far as I noticed, they don’t have air conditioner).
If you are not on a budget, we’ve seen some very nice and posh resorts in the west coast, but also in Crane beach, so worth checking.
Our hotel: Coral Mist Beach
The hotel is good enough for the price is it (or maybe not). Yes, the bathroom could do with a renovation and I think it is badly ventilated. The room has two entrances – one towards the street and one to the beach. We woke up early every single day (before 7am) so we didn’t catch the high traffic noise, but I would say the room was a bit noisy. Also, the problem with this particular room (studio apartment) is that there is only one window, which is in fact the door that leads to the beach, so we couldn’t sleep with “the window opened”. Mr. C doesn’t like sleeping with the air con on and I felt a bit claustrophobic.
Another complaint is that the bed is not a double/king size bed – they basically joined two single beds together, with that annoying division in the middle. Laura slept with us and she always ended up in one of the halves. By the way, there was no way to book a cot/crib/extra bed via the websites and when we got there, we found out that it cost an extra BB$30 per night for the cot/bed.
We didn’t try the restaurant, because when we got there it was about to close – the kitchen closes between 3 and 5pm, but the bar is opened from early til late. The menu was quite simple though, with three dishes of meat, three of fish, three of pasta and some sandwiches. The prices were reasonable.
There is room service everyday, unless you put your “don’t disturb” sign at the door – not sure about you, but having the room full of sand really annoys me, so we opted most of the days to have it cleaned. The hotel has a gym room, which I didn’t use (not even sure what they have in there), and there is a spa nearby, but it isn’t part of the hotel. They also offer guests beach towels, but make sure you return them to the person at the desk – we had an unfortunate episode where I left the towels in the basket but told another member of staff that I was returning them. This lady said “yes, it’s fine, just leave it in the basket” and I left. Later in the day, when I went to collect new towels, the woman at the desk was a bit aggressive saying I had only returned ONE, not three, so I couldn’t have anymore than one. The whole thing became bigger than it was meant to be, because of her tone – she was almost accusing me of not returning the towels – or worth, calling me a liar, because the other lady said I only returned one, when she didn’t even count them. So since that day, I made sure they would get my room number and count the towels (no need for that, as long as you tell the person at the desk).
As with all hotels, you can also book day trips with them – there is a separate desk at the reception and on our last day I finally saw someone talking to a client.
I forgot to mention that the hotel has free wifi, with no password required and it works even in the beach (as long as you are not too far from the hotel, of course).
Here are some of pictures of our room and hotel surroundings.