Just got back from BB a couple of days ago. We flew with MyTravel from Gatwick - the flights were fine, and we only had relatively short delays of 90 minutes each way.
We stayed at the Sierra Beach Apartments in Hastings, Christ Church, on the south coast. Transfer from the airport was about 10-15 minutes. I have left a review of the accommodation on the Hotel Review section of this site, and further details of my experience of MyTravel on the Airlines section.
Hastings is not that far from St Lawrence Gap, just a short taxi or bus journey, and only a 5-10 minute walk from the nearest selection of shops and eateries. Within a short walk is a bank (with 24 hour ATM) and a small supermarket, and the resort is based on the busy south coast main road so you can always get public transport to the busier areas or to Bridgetown (the capital).
The public transport service is great and very cheap. There are blue buses (corporation buses), yellow buses (privately owned) and ZR vans (so called because their reg numbers begin ZR). Any journey will cost you a flat fare of BDS1.50 (about 50p) one-way. The drivers can be a bit mad, but the ZR vans are great fun if you don't mind loud music, erratic driving, and being squashed in like sardines! In fact, we found the ZR drivers to be the most helpful people we encountered, often going out of their way just to take us somewhere, even if it did mean having to sit on the gearbox! I think a lot of tourists are a bit put off by them, but they are perectly safe and good fun, plus they run at all hours of the day and night and are much cheaper than taxis.
Bridgetown is worth a brief visit, even if it's only for breakfast at the Bean & Bagel cafe overlooking the Careenage. Sit outside on one of the high tables and you will get a lovely breeze from the water, and you can people-watch as much as you want before doing your duty-free shopping. Try one of their mocha frappe's - they are the best iced coffees in the world!
There a loads of beaches along the south coast, and it's worth going along to a few just to see which you like best. They were relatively quiet and you can hire sunbeds and parasols for about BDS20 (about £5) for the whole day, as well as boogie boards on some of the beaches if you want to ride the waves! The sea is much rougher on the south (which is still partly on the Atlantic) than on the west coast (which is on the Caribbean sea), but it is still warm and great fun if you are reasonably confident in the water. All the beaches are state-owned, so anyone can access them from the various public access points dotted along the coast road. Even the people in the swankiest west coast hotels can't stop you bathing on their beach, and it's great to mingle with the locals who also love to come for a swim after work or school.
As far as the entertainment etc. is concerned, St Lawrence Gap is really the closest thing to nightlife on the island. They have a selection of restaurants from Tex/Mex to expensive seafood, so you can pretty much suit any budget and taste. There are also Irish and British style pubs a bit further on down the Gap. None of this is to my taste, but we did visit a couple of times just to say we'd been. In my opinion it's a bit too false and touristy, and more suited to Magaluf (e.g. a police booth right outside the pub) but then what do I know?!
Food can be expensive, but we found a number of places to eat that were good value. Just Grillin' is an informal open-air eatery with nice food, but I don't suppose it's to everyone's taste. Cafe Sol (Tex/Mex) in the Gap is good value, you get loads of food for a reasonable price. There are also a couple of pizza places which are good value. It just depends what you want out of your holiday, really.
The Bajan people are just the best. I have never come across so many friendly, helpful people in any country before. A complete stranger at Bridgetown bus station gave my partner $2 when he overheard us having a "heated debate" over whether we had enough change for the bus. A ZR van driver went completely off his route just to drop us off at the wildlife reserve. A number of elderly ladies waved and shouted to a bus driver to get him to stop for us, even though they wanted a completely difference bus. You just have to know how to take them, and if you are respectful and polite then you will have no trouble.
We hired a car for 3 days and took the opportunity to visit the east coast, which has some spectacular scenery and views of the Atlantic. We ventured into the relatively sparsely populated areas in the north, and people were waving at us from their houses. Many of the roads take some courage to go down as they are in such a poor state, but it's worth it. Just beware - there are virtually no signposts and the maps are rubbish, but if you don't mind going up and down the same road 5 times then you'll be fine!
Overall, I had a great holiday but was perhaps a little disappointed with the resort. My only previous Caribbean holidy was to Negril in Jamaica, and I suppose I was expecting the same long stretch of beach with access for each hotel. This wasn't the case, and unless you are lucky you will almost certainly have to travel to get to a nice beach, whether that is a short walk or public transport. This can make it a bit of an expedition to go for a day to the beach, as you have to remember to take everything with you instead of being able to nip back to your room from the beach. In my opinion the beaches were very nice but not in the same league as Negril. However, this only relates to the south coast resorts so I can't comment on the west coast, which I am told is fantastic.
I was also a little disappointed at the resort itself. Again, I had imagined this long stretch of beach with hotels dotted along, all of which you could visit for a drink or a meal in the evening. However, again we had to travel to get anything to eat - we were self catering but it was so hot (and the apartment facilities so basic) that we just couldn't be bothered to cook.
So, overall a nice holiday but next time (if I ever go back) I would pay that bit extra and go HB or AI on the west coast. That way you can have a more relaxing holiday with everything on your doorstep, instead of having to travel around if you don't feel like it.
Hope this is of help. If anyone has any questions please PM me.
Post a Reply
Please sign in or register an account to reply to this post.