This sponsored post was written by Chris Leadbeater, a full time freelance travel journalist with a wealth of travel experience under his belt. Today he is talking about one of my favourite topics: beaches, on the wonderful island destination of Barbados. Enjoy!
When it comes to destinations whose beaches are worth crossing an ocean for, Barbados has few close competitors. This Caribbean island has become a firm holiday favourite in the last 30 years – thanks to both the warm waters that swaddle its sun-kissed contours and the many glorious strips of sand that lie along the 60 miles that make up its shoreline.
And yet, no beach in Barbados is the same as its neighbour. This teardrop-shaped isle 'suffers' from a case of seafront schizophrenia. Its west coast, sheltered from the fury of the open ocean by its proximity to the South American landmass, is nuzzled by the gentle touch of the Caribbean Sea. But the east coast, where the unfettered Atlantic bangs its head against long-pounded rocks, is a distinctly more wild and spray-flecked proposition.
So which beach should you try? Below we list five of the best. And all are easily reached. Direct Barbados flights are available from airports in the UK and Europe on a daily basis.
A proud fixture on the south-east coast, Crane Beach is a combination of the two sides of Barbados's split personality. Major breakers roll to land here, but the beach itself is a soft stretch, fringed by palm trees – the very vision of a perfect Caribbean crescent. Cameras at the ready. For those who want to stay in the lap of luxury, the beach is also overlooked by The Crane, a five-star resort that basks in its position on a headland above the waves.
Best for relaxation – Bottom Bay
If Crane Beach is a well-marked portion of the map, Bottom Bay is its (almost) unknown cousin. Huddled at the south-east corner of the island, below the tiny hamlet of Apple Hall, this is a simple slice of sand – and little else. No noisy bar, no nearby hotel – just a clutch of swaying palm fronds and a photogenic tranquillity. Realistically you need a hire car (and a map) to find this hidden-away spot – but its peacefulness rewards the effort.
Best for Bajan flavour – Speightstown Beach
Although all beaches on Barbados are officially open to the public, much of the shore on the island's coveted west coast is shrouded from view behind high-end hotels and holiday homes. One exception to this is the main body of sand in Speightstown. Barbados's 'second city' is a joyful cocktail of brightly-painted clapboard houses, street stalls and tumbledown churches – and its beach is alive with local life, especially at the weekend.
Best for sunsets – Brandons Beach
Also pitched on the west coast (although nearer to the capital Bridgetown than north-westerly Speightstown), Brandons Beach is another delightful gap in the gilded wall of accommodation. With its undisturbed view onto the embers of the day, it is an ideal place in which to soak up a classic Caribbean sunset, especially if you retreat to Weisers Bar – a popular hang-out where you can toast evening's arrival with a potent cocktail in hand.
Best for surfing – Bathsheba Beach
Barbados's east coast bears little relation to its western sibling. This Atlantic-lashed flank is largely bereft of accommodation – and visitors here should take care as the currents are often too strong for swimming. But the small seafront community of Bathsheba attracts its share of tourists. The beach here, piled high with boulders, is unlikely to feature in any chocolate adverts – but surfers are a regular presence, riding Neptune's ire just off shore.
Thanks to Chris for this excellent article! Have you been to any of these beaches, or do you have a favourite that was missed out? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo credits from flickr: gemteck1, photorall