Travel tips for beautiful Barbados

TRV_barbados_beach

As the cold winds come down from the north, out come the wistful screensavers depicting golden sunsets, limpid waters, swaying hammocks and sweet drinks with little pink umbrellas. But when you get tired of holding your mouse really still to get a glimpse of digital paradise, think about cashing in those unused vacation days and heading down to Barbados. The warm Caribbean waters caress its western shores, the wild Atlantic is to the east, and rum takes care of everything in between.

Once a British colony and still part of the Commonwealth, English-speaking Barbados has long been a favorite retreat for the kind of people who like baked beans for breakfast. American tourists are a bit of a novelty on this unspoiled coral island, and you’re unlikely to get stuck with a raucous party of spring breakers in the room above you. There’s a thriving nightlife, but the island’s true siren song is one of tranquility and family-friendliness.

All-inclusive is the way to go for a stress-free vacation in the sun. Mango Bay resort (www.mango baybarbados.com) offers everything you could ask for: Rooms with a fantastic view, helpful staff, a good bar, breakfast (there will be beans), lunch and semiformal dinner, a Caribbean beach with watersports and a sigh-inducing sunset. The resort is literally just steps from a street bustling with nightlife and a European-style mall with high-end retailers.

The resort also offers wedding packages, nightly live entertainment and plenty for the kids to do.

There might be a secret competition on Barbados as to who can serve the best —and the most— rum punch. It’s all pretty delicious, so don’t pass up a taste. If you want a bit more history and a little less punch, visit Mount Gay distillery (mountgayrum.com). They’ve got lunch, a museum, an informative (and musically dramatic) film and a tasting. Rumor has it that Mount Gay was George Washington’s favorite rum.

Tip: If rum isn’t your thing, the resort’s bartenders do sweet, smooth justice to a mango martini.

If you’re the kind of person whose tan more closely resembles Santa’s rosy cheeks than the electric orange of Jersey Shore beach bums, don’t despair. Here’s a sample of activities that don’t require your own weight in SPF 9000:

  • Take a submarine ride: Unlike most of its volcanic neighbors, Barbados is a coral reef topped with clay and dirt. Its spectacular origins are visible 140 feet below the azure waves. Get down with the periscope crowd at Atlantis submarine tours (www.barbados.
    atlantissubmarines .com) and view the best in teeming sea life. If you’ve ever wanted to see an actual shipwreck, complete with Titanic-style eeriness and barnacles, this is your chance.
  • Cave in and take a cavern tour: Barbados has become a little easier on the casual, less adventurous traveler in recent years, and Harrison’s Cave is a good example (harrisons cave.com). The series of caverns, among the largest and best on the island, offer a sit-back-and-relax trolley tour for families and those who packed nothing but beer cozies and flip-flops in their luggage. It also offers a more hands-on and strenuous set of adventure tours for the more daring tourist. Also, mind the iPhones — the caves are alive, and thus very drippy.
  • There’s something fishy in the state of Barbados: riday nights at Oistin’s Fish Fry are a crowded affair — just about everyone, their mother and their children, comes out for an evening of food, song and drink. It’s the perfect place for out-of-towners to mix with Bajans and try local fare.

News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Police seek mother of slain 11-year-old on involuntary…

Police are seeking the mother of an 11-year-old girl who was accidentally shot to death by her 2-year-old brother two weeks ago on involuntary manslaughter…

Local

Chestnut Hill College student found dead Wednesday morning

A 22-year-0ld Chestnut Hill College student was found dead this morning inside a college dormitory, police said.

International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Books

Poems from prison: 'How to Survive a Bullet…

Celebrate National Poetry Month with, "'How to Survive a Bullet to the Heart."

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 16: 'The Americans,'…

'The Americans' Philip and Elizabeth face "painful turns" in their missions. Maybe next week they'll have a nice easy mission with no moral ambiguity? Probably…

Movies

Review: 'Bears' is a cute Disney doc about…

Disney's latest nature doc, "Bears," doesn't completely shy away from the fact that its subjects would devour you (or eachother) if they had the chance.

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Food

Wahlbergs expanding Wahlburgers fast food joint across North…

Wahlburgers will open new restaurants in Boston, Toronto and Philadelphia.

Wellbeing

Could a facelift give you the edge at…

It's not just women lining up for procedures.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

We hit her up for some space-conscious, budget-friendly design tips.

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…