Visiting Barbados: A Conversation with Desiree Chavis
This month, we’re interviewing women from all over the world and asking them about their travels to the Caribbean. We had the privilege of speaking with Desiree Chavis about her experiences traveling to Barbados. Here’s a glimpse into our conversation.
Tell us about yourself! What do you do when you’re not traveling the world? Where do you live? What made you decide to go to your most recent destination?
I am a communications professional currently living in NYC. My love for travel and the ease of transport to the Caribbean from my current location are what led me on my first real vacation which, somewhat arbitrarily, ended up being in beautiful Barbados.
How long did you go for? How did you spend your time?
I’ve been to Barbados more than once for about a week (and planning to go for another week this year during Crop Over, their carnival). The first time I went is when I packed the most in. I stayed on the South Coast of the island, which turned out to be absolutely perfect to get the most out of the experience and still be comfortable. I visited Bridgetown – the capitol – during a weekday to get a sense of how the city bustles, went on a party cruise aboard the Jolly Roger.
What were your most memorable experiences? What were the biggest disappointments?
My best experience was by far traveling the island, both during my cross-island traverse to Harrison’s Cave and during my (solo, yes my friend left a day before me) island tour. My one disappointment was that the time spent in Barbados is always too short for me. However, I will further say that Barbados is not one of the cheapest Caribbean islands.
What do you wish you knew before you went?
I would have loved to have known a bit more about the different social and water activities the island offers. For example, I’ve never participated in a water sport (besides jet skiing, which I don’t count), so to know availability and pricing might have changed that. Also, there are things known as catamaran cruises that are great for a group or the solo traveler! These are boats that play music and serve (alcoholic) drinks and food, take you out to sea (or ocean really), and allow you to snorkel amid anything from sea life to ship wreck ruins! I have yet to partake in one of these so I would have loved to know about them before my trip.
Any favorite restaurants/hotels/hostels/sites you’d like to recommend? Tell us what made them great!
You absolutely must go to the Oistins Fish Fry on a Friday night. If you love to be outdoors and appreciate wildlife, the Animal Flower Cave and Welch’s Gully may interest you. These, along with Harrison’s Cave, are more inland and further from the more populated Western part of the island, so make sure you know how you’re getting there and give yourself ample time (if using public transportation) or ample funds (if going by taxi) to make it. I absolutely loved where I staid and recommend the area. The area is called St. Lawrence Gap and the parish is Christ Church. It is situated 20 minutes from the airport, on the beach and near public transportation stops.
Is there anything that women specifically should know before they travel to your destination?
Barbados is a very friendly and safe destination. The same precautions apply here as anywhere else, in terms of being careful when traveling alone at night, especially in non-lit areas without many people around. Remember it is an island that has limited access to things we can buy easily everyday in the U.S. so be mindful of keeping your iPhone/Samsung and other valuable things close to you and out of people’s faces.