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
Thanks Kiara, this is amazing and I can certify all these facts and experiences for your Barbados trips. What I love most is that even though you made some rookie mistakes your first time at Crop Over, you were back and prepared early for the following year. Now you have gone even better by sharing your tips and experiences with the World – Love it. Looking forward to you bringing a travel group next Crop Over to beautiful Barbados 🙂
Thanks Cousin! I definitely had to make up for my failure, lol!
I will bring a crew. Just have the World Famous Mr. Delicious rum punch ready for us, okay?
Great Read Ki, albeit biased being one of the sweets from England. So glad you made it back this year and made it to the end!
I’d definitely agree Barbados is my favourite. I love the freedom to be able to get anywhere or ask local for advice/ directions and feel safe about it.
Thanks so much for your comments.
Exactly! We literally have the sweetest people, ever. I always feel safe and welcomed.
Can’t thank you and your crew enough for holding me down in 2017.
Thanks for sharing Kiara! I will never forget my Barbados experience. My husband and I went to Barbados for our honeymoon in April 2016. We absolutely LOVED IT!!! We immediately felt as though we were surrounded by family from the moment we stepped off the plane. Our resort was so beautiful we stayed at the Sugar Bay Barbados All Inclusive. The food and drinks were amazing! We quickly became friends with the bartenders (our favorites were Shaq and Earlene). They hooked us up with the best rum punches everyday!
The staff encouraged us to venture into town and also to take the bus to Martin’s Bay for the Thursday fish fry. I’m not going to lie we were a little nervous at first to travel that far away from the resort, but it was the best decision ever! We sparked up conversation with the nicest older lady on the bus. She took us under her wing once we arrived to Martin’s bay after saying we reminded her of her children. Once we got our fresh fish and beer she led us over to the table where her family and friends were. They welcomed us with hugs, offered us a place to sit, Hennessy, and lots of laugh. We literally felt like we were at our own family BBQ. No one had cell phones out; everyone danced, laughed, ate, and drank all night. I will never forget that night! I will most definitely go back to Barbados one day. One of the best trips I’ve been on.
I loveeee this comment. It kind of goes exactly with my sentiments of Bajans being the nicest people you’ll ever meet!
I love that you stepped out your comfort zone and off the resort and ended up having a great time. What’s a trip to Barbados without flying fish and rum punch?
Thanks again for sharing!
It’s ok to be bias about Barbados, it’s in your blood. 🙂
Glad you were able to experience Cropover again with a group. To jump with friends makes everything sweeter, as we does say. The vibes on the road and being able to have a great time with no judgement.
One thing I love about home (yes I’m a Bajan) it’s easy going living and will make anyone visiting feel the same way.
Barbados the little gem that it is, is big at heart. And of course some of the best food and rum punch; which is inexpensive.
Ahh…I lovveeeee seeing commentary from a Bajan 🙂
You are right! There is no judgement on the road and it’s like EVERYONE around you is having the best time.
I also agree with the sentiments that although the food and drinks are on point, Barbados is quite affordable. I had taken out $200 US when I landed last Crop Over Weekend and it was more than enough spending money for food and transportation the entire time. I even had enough for a souvenir.
Thanks for sharing! I hope to see you around sharing your thoughts often as I am aware you’re an avid traveler as well.
Your review of this trip is on POINT! With you learning from your rookie mistakes in 2017, you were able to prepare me for what to expect this year! Foreday was awesome and the sun was the perfect temperature. I’m so glad we paced ourselves with the drinking because it was a lot to still see! Although towards the end of the day my costume fell apart from dancing all day, it was well worth the experience. It was a trip definitely worth taking. Can’t wait to explore with you more in the future!
Thank you! You know what they say, failure is the best teacher! I do agree that Foreday was awesome because we didn’t bake like we did at Kadooment…and I’m also glad when it came time for the big show we paced ourselves and took advantage of the buses! I still can’t believe we made it to the end! Crop Over is definitely you should do at least once and I can’t wait to explore more with you in the future as well 🙂
I wanting to plan a trip to experience a carnival style festivals with some friends after I graduate from college. I read your post about your trip to Rio. I absolutely love both post! You spoke more about the cost of things in Rio. I was wondering if you notice things like food, drinks, or shopping in general being very expensive in Barbados?
Nice to virtually meet you…I don’t think Barbados is expensive, but I could be a bit bias 🙂 Now I will say it is a bit more expensive than other islands in the Caribbean, but our dollar is still double to theirs. I’d say you can expect to spend between $50-75 per day on food and you’ll have to budget for rum punch too, of course! Of course if you stay at an all inclusive your food budget will be less, but you also need to factor in transportation costs for taxis and such to get around the island. That could cost about $20 a day depending on where you are going and of course you can split that with your friends. Barbados is a GREAT time and even more magical if you go for Crop Over. It’s really a indescribable experience. However, book, plan and budget early–no later than March! Congrats on your pending college graduation, this is an exciting time and you deserve to celebrate it to the fullest!