Our stay in Barbados is all too brief, but we have been enjoying the small community of St. Lawrence Gap where we are staying. The main road through “The Gap,” as the locals refer to it, is only about a mile and a half long so everything here is accessible on foot.
All beaches in Barbados are open to the public and there are many small access points if you search for them. But many folks head directly to Dover Beach which offers a nice swimming area and amenities such as water sports rentals and umbrellas and lounge chairs.
This area is diverse: There are a number of hotels and villas, both luxury and simple. Probably the biggest property here is the Divi Southwinds, but there is also the Turtle Beach Resort . There is an all-inclusive called the Escape at the Gap, and an upscale property called the Southern Palms Beach Club & Resort Hotel. There is also a new large condo complex called Sapphire Beach with units for sale. Eight of our units here at White Sands Beach Villas are also on the market (www.wsbvillas.com).
There is an array of little shops, all brightly painted, and reminiscent of Key West. My sister Beth and I must have inherited our mother’s shopping genes because yesterday she and I visited every one of those little shops. Most just sold beach gear and were not too impressive. I also paid way too much for a tee-shirt in one shop, only to find it for $5 less at the next one.
The nicest shop by far is called Best of Barbados and it is in the Southern Palms Beach Club. It features a very nice selection of island items, including books and toiletries. It is well worth a visit.
What The Gap is best known for all over the island, however, is its great restaurants. There are about 15 restaurants in this area. At the luxe end there is Pisces seafood restaurant, Josef’s and the Brazilian Steakhouse. More moderately priced is Bellini’s Trattoria, the Café Sol (Mexican) and Sweet Potatoes. Most of these are located at the northwestern end of the Gap. At the other end, there is Luigi’s.
For breakfast or lunch, we recommend Happy Days in the Chattel House Village. We enjoyed dinner at Bellini’s (right on the water) and at the St. Lawrence Steak House and Pizza Hut (funny name but moderately priced food). We would not recommend eating at the Red Rock Café (breakfast took two hours and was totally unremarkable).
There are also a couple of nightclubs here, mostly featuring reggae music.
If you are planning a visit to Barbados I would definitely recommend staying in The Gap. It is tourist-friendly (cabs are readily available if you want a tour to to travel elsewhere on the island) and while prices are high like most everywhere else here, you can find cheaper places to eat and you can find local dishes (like flying fish with macaroni and cheese, called “Fish and Coco” readily available.
There is also a church, right on the water. I believe that the Church of St. Lawrence is Anglican (as Barbados is a British island) but it would be pleasant to attend services here.
You can download a fun map of St. Lawrence Gap at www.barbados.org.
This afternoon we head to the pier to board the Royal Clipper.
Photos by Chet and Cindy Janssens