This most easterly, most English and once most sedate
of Caribbean islands is now a bustling place. But even though signs of the
tourist boom do show on the lovely Barbadian landscape, the island has
succeeded in retaining its natural good looks. With jet flights bringing
tourists daily and cruise ships stopping by almost as often, it is important
during the January-March season to make advance reservations. In the off
season, from mid-April to mid-December, the weather stays fine, even and sunny;
no reservations are needed. Barbadians justifiably boast that their island is
the place other Caribbean islanders come to when it is sticky and rainy at
home. Even in hurricane season, Barbados is lucky—by the time they get at all
nasty, most hurricanes have already moved far northwest of the island. Because
of the good year-round weather, hotel rates on Barbados drop only 20% out of
GETTING THERE: From New York, British West Indian
Airways 707 jets leave each Saturday at 3, take 4� hours, nonstop. Pan American
jets leave Tuesdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m., with stops, take about 6 hours.
Round-trip first-class fare is $415; economy, $300. On January 10, Pan American
begins jet service from Miami to Barbados, with planes leaving Sundays and
Thursdays at 3:30, arriving at Barbados 7 island-hopping hours later.
STAYING THERE: If you don't join the house party at
Sandy Lane, you'll find several other congenial ones going all season at other
clublike hotels. These are a Barbadian specialty, and they have virtually the
same membership requirements as Sandy Lane's: good manners and enough money to
pay the tab. The Coral Reef Club and the Colony Club, both on the fashionable
leeward side of the island (on Barbados it costs more to stay out of the wind)
are luxury establishments, in beautiful beachside settings. The Colony has 28
rooms, many with private terraces facing the sea. The Coral Reef has 27
cottages and 11 rooms in a main house. Both have their own boats, dancing, and
a tariff in the vicinity of $30 per single, about $45 per double room, full
American plan. Other clubs worth noting: the Miramar ($25 single, $42-$46
double), Accra Beach (about $30 double), Sam Lord's Castle (about $20 double).
Less clubby hotels include the Caribbee, the Ocean View and the Paradise Beach.
All have their own beaches. And at rates of $22 to $30 per double room with
meals, they are also among the best vacation buys in the Caribbean.
EATING THERE: Barbados, unlike many a Caribbean island
which imports its seafood from England or America, has excellent native fare.
One specialty is flying fish, delicious baked, fried or in a flying-fish pie.
White sea urchins, which the natives call sea eggs, are good saut�ed with
onions, and crane chubb are best when fried straight from the sea. Suckling pig
is a Barbadian delight, as is a hot Creole pepperpot soup. Fodor's sound Guide
to the Caribbean calls the Colony the best restaurant on the island, the Coral
Reef a close runner-up.
PLAYING THERE: The beaches are pink and white,
completely ringing the island, with Atlantic surf (which can be treacherous on
unguarded beaches) on the east, a calm Caribbean on the west. Tinker's Antilles
Watersports, run by Gene Tinker, a 33-year-old ex-New Yorker, offers deep-sea
fishing, yachting through the Grenadines, scuba expeditions to coral reefs,
water skiing and moonlight boat rides. There are tennis courts at Sandy Lane,
the Colony, the Yacht Club, the Savannah Club and the Marine Hotel. Guests at
Sandy Lane can use its nine-hole course for $9 a month and $3 green fee.
Non-guests may play the Sandy Lane course for $15 a month, plus green fee.
Rockley Golf Club, also nine holes, charges $26 a month membership, $1.70 green
fee. There is polo from July until February, and three four-day Thoroughbred
meetings each year, in February, August and November. Twenty charter fishing
boats are for hire at about $30 per day, offering the gamefisherman reasonably
good luck with billfish, dolphin, wahoo and albacore. Since Barbados is a
stronghold of old English life, naturally there is cricket. From March 16 to 28
island business will stand still while India plays Barbados and the West