Think travel – to Barbados, or to anywhere – is out of the question right now? In most cases the Covid-19 pandemic has brought international travel to a halt. There are however some countries that actually want you to come and visit them right now, and the beautiful island of Barbados is one of them.
You can spend a year living the idyllic island life while working as normal; all you need is your laptop and to apply for the Barbados Welcome Stamp. You can apply for this work visa online, but be warned, the application costs a steep $2000. If that seems like a fair price to pay for enjoying a year-long office life on the beach, read on!
What would you do if you had the chance to visit Barbados? Check out writer Sara Salih’s top 5 recommendations.
1.Discover all the beaches
One of the best things I found in Barbados was the number of beaches and how different they were to each other. Two of my favourites were Carlisle Bay and Batts Rock Beach. The first was vibrant and its sand had a way of cuddling your feet like warm socks in winter. The latter was untouched and empty – perfect for a swim in privacy or even praying in the most natural peace. There’s several more, just keep exploring and cherish the moment you stumble upon another gem.
2.Meet the locals
Barbados has so much more than a good climate. We were welcomed and greeted on every street we walked, every beach we lay on and every restaurant we ate in. I guess the warm weather rubs off on their character, because it’s home to some of the calmest, most sincere people I’ve ever met.
One woman showed us around Bridgetown and an area called Speightstown which I recommend, it’s a colourful heaven! When I offered something for her service, she refused! I’ve never known someone to spend almost a whole day with you and not request a thing in return. We fell in love with the locals from our very first day and of course she’s now become a good friend.
Did you know that there’s a thriving Muslim community living in Barbados and across the Caribbean? We asked local Bajan Brother Suleiman Bulbulia to share what it’s like experiencing Ramadan in the Caribbean.
3.Go to Oistins for a meal
Let’s talk food. Ready made halal food is, I’m afraid, hard to find. If you are happy to cook, you can find a local brand of halal chicken called ‘Amir’s’ in some of the bigger supermarkets.
If you enjoy fish and veggies however, then your selection of hot meals when you are out and about is huge. One such place is Oistins, which I would describe as an outdoor food party! There’s live music, dancing and an array of huts and stalls preparing fresh fish steaks, burgers, fries bursting with Bajan flavours. It was so buzzing, we even met and hugged a monkey here! The best time to visit Oistins is on a weekday; avoid Friday and the weekend when it can get extremely busy (and a little rowdy).
4.Go on a catamaran cruise
On the cruise, you can snorkel and swim with sea turtles and beautiful fish just inches from you. We even swam through shipwrecks with exciting tales I’ll leave for you to hear about when you visit. It really is an incredible world under there!
5.Grab a drink at The Cliff
One of the most beautiful sunsets we saw in Barbados was from the open balconied restaurant, The Cliff in Saint James. We caught colours of dusk I imagined only paradise to have. They’ll stir up mocktails for you to enjoy with the spectacular view of the ocean. The food here is pricey but the scenery alone is an experience of a lifetime.
I always thought I’d need thousands of £££ to see Barbados. We managed flights, accommodation and spending money all under £1k! If you’re looking to do the same, my advice is to plan it several months in advance. Pick a budget airline and stay at an Airbnb instead of a luxury hotel. This way, you can surround yourself with the lovely locals and experience a true Barbados.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in May 2018, and has been edited to provide the most up to date information.