Over the 7 days I was in Barbados, I walked a lot along the south-west coast. This was partly for convenience - I could take a route taxi any of the beautiful beaches within 20 minutes, and partly because the upper west coast is pretty built up with private clubs, exclusive hotels, and villas. I still think it would be great to spend some time along the west coast next time and check out some of the towns and beaches there. Anyways, that's just to say that you could easily be satisfied just wandering between towns and beaches on a relatively small stretch of Barbados' coastline.
Miami Beach is the next-closest beach to Silver Sands. On mother's day, I went to a small boutique hotel called Little Arches for brunch before wandering towards the beach.
It was the only 'grey' day I had in Barbados but it differed in several key aspects from the light-sucking greyness found in Toronto:
- the clouds didn't diminish the heat or humidity;
- the brightness of the sky was such that I still felt compelled to wear sunglasses; and
- the turquoise colour of the water was perhaps slightly more opaque and less sparkling, but otherwise completely unaffected.
I returned to Miami beach on another day when the sun was shining and the atmosphere was just as festive and beachy as on the cloudy day. They say this is where a lot of the locals like to come swimming, which makes sense as there aren't any big resorts nearby. The beach is just before the bend to Oistins, so you can see the fishing boats and easily walk over to the market.
Most notable characteristics of this beach are the brightly painted yellow life-guard hut, the small, intimate coves where you can find a private spot under shady trees, and the presence of this awesome snack place: Mr. Delicious Snack Bar.
The main quality of Dover beach is that it exists and has pink umbrellas. I suppose that it is also close to St. Lawrence Gap - with an abundance of food and kitschy shopping. I felt that was sufficient to park myself under a palm tree and read for the afternoon. Though the sky looks dark and foreboding in these photos, it's really strange because it felt totally sunny.
A narrow, relatively private (in that there isn't a parking lot, umbrellas, or chairs to rent) and faced with beautiful homes. A good place to walk if you want to enjoy the beach by yourself.
Right next to Worthing Beach, Maxwell beach is a wide beach with super calm, shallow waters because it is protected by a coral reef. The reef hosts fishes and sea turtles, and you can rent snorkel gear on the beach very cheaply. The beach also has this painfully scenic place, The Carib Beach Bar, (from the most recent reviews, it looks like it's getting reincarnated as a new place to eat) where you can get numerous rum cocktails and watch the sun set.
One of the best parts of the day was the moment when I got home, poured a drink, and listened to the sounds of the neighbourhood as the sun set. I could hear people's TV's through their open windows and screen doors; the sounds of friends and neighbours chatting together; goats bleating, dogs barking, chickens clucking, children playing, men playing soccer; and underlying it all was the sound of the waves incessantly crashing up to the beach.
Listening to this, it made me feel so strongly that Barbados does naturally what we in cities are always trying to force: a real sense of community and openness and freedom. Part of it is the closeness that's ensured by living in the same place for generations and the history that goes along with that. But part of it is also the lack of worry and generosity of spirit - people are genuinely interested in other people.