• Barbados: An island gem you don’t want to miss!

    Guest blogger Michelle Surkamp offers some highlights of her recent trip to Barbados in today’s post.

    St. Lawrence Gap, Barbados

    If you’re in search of the perfect tropical getaway look no further than Barbados. Located about 250 miles northeast of Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados is geographically situated in the western area of the North Atlantic, not the Caribbean as most people believe. This island’s envious location means it has perfect beach weather, with average daytime temperatures ranging between 84-88 degrees Fahrenheit (21-31 degrees Celsius).

    In addition to perfect weather, there is also much to do on the island. I visited the St. Lawrence Gap area in March 2012, and while I enjoyed plenty of lazy days on the beach relaxing and soaking up the sunshine, I also spent some time exploring a few activities, which I highly recommend.

    Flipping off the Catamaran!

    Set sail on a Catamaran tour. We embarked on Jammin for a half-day cruise where we snorkeled with sea turtles, viewed a shallow shipwreck, enjoyed lunch on a sandy beach, and saw much of the coast of Barbados. The staff provided exceptional customer service, making every guest feel like a VIP.

    Satisfy your adventurous side with surf lessons from Christian Boos (Boosy) at Boosy’s Surf School. He knows the best places on the island to surf and teaches every lesson himself, giving foolproof instruction for surfers of every skill level. Not only is he a great surfer and instructor himself, but he has a dynamic personality that brings an extra level of fun to the lesson, which you’ll be sure to remember for years to come!

    Experience the vibrant Bajan culture in Oistins on a Friday evening. This small fishing village is known for their Friday night fish fry where local vendors also sell their unique products and share the rhythms of Bajan music.

    Beautiful Beaches

    In addition, the St. Lawrence Gap area offers a variety of bars, restaurants and nightclubs all within walking distance of lodging in that area. Be sure to stay near the west end of The Gap if you don’t want to be bothered with the noise of nightlife. There are a number of lodging options to choose from on the island, whether you are looking for an all-inclusive resort or condo option. I chose The South Gap Hotel, a mid-priced property near the center of The Gap that offered the option of including breakfast in the room rate and was equipped with a kitchenette, which fit my needs perfectly.

    The official language of Barbados is English and they accept the U.S. Dollar around the island at a constant exchange rate of $1.98 BDS to $1 U.S. Dollar. I found Barbados to be a safe destination for tourists, but as anywhere, it is recommended that travelers exercise caution and common sense when traveling abroad. In my experience, the locals were very friendly and always willing to offer assistance.

    Barbados is a popular holiday destination for Europeans and Canadians, but you’ll run into fewer U.S. citizens visiting the island. So, how do you get there from North America? American Airlines, U.S. Airways and JetBlue offer flights from the U.S., while Air Canada and WestJet connect from Canada.

    What are your favorite tropical vacation destinations, and why?

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