Here we go: my first international trip wrap-up, Barbados!
As noted in my “About Me” page, I have an affinity and love for Barbados that runs deep. My Grandma Daisy (which is why you will often hear my father refer to me as Daisy, it’s my middle name 🙂 ) has Bajan roots.My dad and his siblings traveled to the island as kids for summers and left their parents back in Flatbush (Brooklyn)!
I LOVE culture. Not just my own, but others, which is another reason why I’ve become so passionate about travel. I was in the Caribbean Student Association at Delaware State University (hey Hornets!) and I love that blue and gold.
I know a lot of people think if you’ve been to one island you’ve been to them all but Barbados is special, and I’m not being biased when I say this. Barbados has breathtaking waters, luxury accommodation options available, delightful delectables, the best rum you’ve ever had (Mount Gay), the friendliest people and helloooooo, RIHANNA!
I visited Barbados for the first time in 2010. This was where I was able to connect with family I never met, including my Sweet Aunt Beryl before she passed on, my cousin and Bajan Legend Joel (AKA Mr. Delicious) and my dad’s godmother, my Cousin Betty <3. The next two trips were all about one of the most colorful, lively and amazing festivals you could ever attend. CROP OVER! Crop Over celebrates the end of the sugar cane season. It begins in June, runs through the first Monday in August, and is not to be missed.
In 2017 I attended my first Crop Over and let me tell you, this rookie failed miserably. I traveled solo this year. I did meet the sweetest girls from England who stayed with me the entire time but here is my first Crop Over tip—DO NOT DO CROP OVER ALONE. I’m all for solo travel, but this aint it. I know I am high-key dramatic at times, but I get extremely sick when it’s super-hot out. Couple this with dancing for 8 hours under the Bajan sun, without eating proper meals or hydrating and you get a whole mess. I threw up the entire day and had to ride in the complimentary vans with air conditioning after 3 hours. I did not make it to the end of de road…I was cute tho!
In 2018 I got my girls together in February and the trip was booked by March. We booked our costumes in April and all I had to be concerned about from then on was getting my body together. Aint no waist shapers with these costumes. Jesus be some weight loss.
How to Do Crop Cover (if you are “jumping”).
Jumping is when you fully participate and dance behind the trucks.
- Pick a band…early. The band is who you will “jump” with and who provides your costumes. Follow several on social media so you can see their costume release and start budgeting. I jumped with Zulu International both years and I love them. Your costume will run you anywhere from $300-1,000. Now my first year I got sticker shock. I was like “all this money for this little piece of material!” But the costumes are beautiful and you have the option to downgrade your feathers and accessories to pay less. Also, your purchase comes with a goodie bag, 2 meals and snacks, unlimited premium drinks and that A/C cool down bus that could potentially save your life. I saw some costumes sell out as early as May of last year, so again, book & plan early.
- Fete tickets. Fetes (parties) will be in abundance while you are in Barbados. One especially worth mentioning is Foreday. It’s a night time street party where you are splashed with mud and paint until the early hours of the morning. There is a similar band concept so if jumping you will need to pick your band in advance as well. There are also breakfast fetes, cruise fetes and cooler fetes, all of which sell out quickly. It’s best to plan which parties you are attending and purchase tickets in advance.
- Plan your travel early.Prices to travel to Barbados skyrocket for Crop Over season. I suggest booking by the spring or your airfare will be ugly. A lot of the hotel options sell out as well. There are different areas to stay in Barbados to meet your needs—i.e. if you’re looking for luxury, being close to the restaurants or prefer to be central. However—do note Barbados is a small island and traveling to the stadium for the day won’t be a huge issue.
- Show up prepared.I suggest having a fanny pack or backpack to have all of your essentials like your phone, keys, hand sanitizer, sunblock, toilet tissue, cash, pain medicine, etc. You will be on de road for hours…just think of everything you would want to have handy.
- Stay hydrated.No need to elaborate here. Especially if you intend to get lit.
I hope this will make you consider traveling to Barbados, even if it’s not during Crop Over! Get some fish cakes, go to all the fetes (parties), and wuk it up!
I’d love to keep the conversation going below. Have you been to a Caribbean festival? What’s your advice? Have you been to Barbados? If so, what did you love about it?
Thanks for reading!
De Road–The path you take marching along the parade route
Wuk it Up–Bajan Dancing