The words “Barbados” and “budget” rarely appear in the same sentence. But if you know how, you can live large when traveling to this idyllic paradise Caribbean island where the palms sway gently, the white sand is warm, and the rum delights.
1. Fly JetBlue. Beginning October 1, 2009, JetBlue will be flying from JFK to BGI. Introductory fares are especially fabulous and if JetBlue is true to its discount roots it will continue to offer great rates.
2. Stay in a condo or villa instead of a hotel. You’ll get a larger place with a kitchen where you can save lots by preparing at least breakfasts and lunches, if not dinners, too. Also, you can rent a two-bedroom and take another couple and split the cost. Go to HomeAway and other vacation-rentals-by-owner sites for listings of well-priced holiday rentals in Barbados.
3. Say no to martinis! Enjoy Barbados’ rum instead — in moderation, of course. It’s believed rum was developed in Barbados in the early 1700s. It’s an ingedient in marinades, sauces, desserts, and beverages, and a tasty, fairly-low-cost libation to sip.
4. Use public transportation. Barbados has a bus system that’s not terrible and only 75 cents a ride. All buses go to Bridgetown before they go other places, though, so plan on taking your time getting anywhere. The island also has a private system of “Zed” vans (so-called because their license plates begin with the letter “Z”) that zip all over the island. Although the rest of the island is on island time, the Zed vans zip through the streets like getaway cars from a bank heist.
5. Eat on the street in St Lawrence Gap. Every night you can get fabulous chicken, fish, along with Bajan macaroni pie, yams, and plantains off the barbecues set up along “the Gap” on the lively south coast. Music pours wafts through the warm night air, the street is alive with happy people, and the food is great. You can also take your food to the beach and have a picnic; you’ll be getting the same million-dollar view you’d be getting at the high-end restaurants.
6. Eat at Oistins on Friday nights. It’s a tradition: everyone goes to Oistins Bay on the south coast on Friday nights for the Oistins Fish Fry. Cooking stations are set up along the beach there, musicians play, people party … it’s a really good time and you’ll get our famous flying fish. Is the fish fresh, you ask? Um, is still-wiggling fresh enough for you?
7. Travel in low season. Between April 16 and December 15 you will find bargains galore — and don’t be shy about asking about further discounts.
Come find out why, of all the Caribbean islands, Barbados has the most repeat visitors. Once you visit, you’ll be back, too. Not just for the beaches or the warm aqua sea or the friendly people, but for … here it comes … for your Friday fix of freshly fried flying fish … Now, after a couple of rum punches, say that fast three times!