On the far southeast edge of Leeward Islands lays a small island with a rich history and arguably the best waves in the Caribbean.
Traveling as a solo female, safety is always on my mind. The island of Barbados was very safe. My plan was to go for a quick 3 day kitesurfing getaway and not spend much time doing anything else. Given my plan, I focused on the kite beach at Silver Sands.
Barbados made me feel easy and comfortable walking the streets. My room was located about 100 yards away from Long Beach, a beach close to the kite beach. My room included a balcony hammock and I could listen to the waves at night. My journey to the kite beach at Silver Sands was a 15 minutes walk thru a slightly rundown neighborhood, but friendly locals all around!
All kiters on the beach were generous and willing to help a fellow kiter launch and land. Though, there were a few Germans…. and you know, they can be a bit direct for American standards. But all interactions were lovely and I found myself invited for dinner twice.
Airport: Bridgetown, Barbados (BGI) is serviced by a small number of US Airports: JFK, MIA, and EWR, although you may find other routes seasonally. I flew American Airlines and on this trip I did not bring my kite gear and rented from the local kite shop. Jet Blue and United both fly to Bridgetown and Delta does not.
Rental Car: I chose not to rent a car here due to the local bus that travels around the island. I arranged for pickup with my Airbnb and did not have to worry about transfer. The bus fares are reasonable at around $2.50 for each ride anywhere on the island. There is no published map of the bus route, but it runs around the island and is easy to figure out. There are a number of rental car companies at the airport and renting a car is recommended if you want to travel outside of the Bridgetown area.
Accommodations: I stayed at the DeAction Long Beach Apartment which was a 15 minute walk from Silver Sands. The apartment had a large bedroom and kitchen area with dorm size refrigerator, two burner stove and sink and was approximately $75/nt (the closer to the beach, the higher the price). The balcony had a nice view and included a hammock to enjoy the sun and the breeze.
No Wind Activites: Renowned as one of the top places for surfing around the world, Soup Bowl is located on the east side of the island. There are a number of other spots that are known to have great 6-10ft waves for amazing surfing.
Food: If you’re looking for good food, have a fish-fry in Oistins – be prepared to pay upwards of $20 USD for dinner. This fishing village has been bringing the local catch for many years and is a must-visit if you come to the island. There is a small fresh market near all the restaurants in Oistins. I purchased eggs and fresh fruit to prepare my own food, I also purchased some delicious fresh bread at a little bakery up the road from kite beach. Eating out for every meal can be expensive on the island, so I found that preparing my own was a good alternative.
One of the local residents has opened a restaurant across the street from the kite beach serving the best fresh fish I had on the island. I would highly recommend eating here. Near this little fish place was a small kitchen serving fish and ships and the things a hungry kiter demands.
I visited in January, and the winds were fairly consistent with 2 of 3 days of wind. The season runs from December – June, as similar to much of the Caribbean.
Silver Sands: This is the main kite beach and offers a kite shop and lots of street parking. There is a nearby park with even more parking. The beach is smaller and can be a tough launch when the wind has more north. The north direction follows a path across a large rock cliff creating a wind shadow. The water itself has a small beach break and larger reef break that has a nice swell and some good rollers. There is a cross current over the reef and you might need a larger kite to combat the strong current despite the strong wind.
Long Beach: The lesser used of the local beaches, wind is usually onshore and the waves are less consistent and come right up to shore.
Finding good coffee is a challenge as it is in most Caribbean islands. The kite neighborhood does not have any coffee shops, so either make your own or buy a daily cup at the local mini-mart. For situations like this I learned to make “Turkish” coffee to get my daily fix of caffeine. Simply put ground coffee in a cup and near boiling water on it. Let is stand for a minute and stir it so the all the coffee grind will sink to the bottom. The finer the coffee ground, the faster it sinks to the bottom.
The picture on the left is the kitchen/kiteshop run by Brian Talma, an olympic windsurfer back in the day. Brian is very involved in growing the local beach culture all over the island and spread the sense of community throughout the world. He certainly is a person to talk to if you want to hear about his ambitious goals. This short trip was an excellent opportunity to scout out kitesurfing in Barbados. I will certainly visit again.
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