Hygge places: Barbados

This blog is all about ‘finding hygge everywhere’, and Barbados is about as far from Scandinavia as it’s possible to get (in terms of weather and lifestyle, if not distance). I recently got back from my first ever trip to the Caribbean and I. LOVED. IT. What a beautiful, beautiful island! In the spirit of finding hygge everywhere, I’m going to flag some of my favourite things about this stunning place – and yes, it’s definitely a hygge place.

The food (and drink) (and more drink)

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My overwhelming memory of Barbados will be HOW BLOODY INCREDIBLE THE FOOD IS. My personal favourites were mahi-mahi (known locally as dolphin, but it’s definitely not THAT kind of dolphin!), flying fish and macaroni pie, and I need to give a special shout out to the rum cake. Rachel and I also ate about a thousand caesar salads between us, and every single one was delicious. We took ourselves to Oistins fish fry on a loud, rammed reggae bus, and I had literally the biggest plate of food I’ve ever eaten put in front of me with TWO fillets of mahi-mahi, macaroni pie, rice and peas and coleslaw. I cannot express how full I was. I cannot express how good it was.

And you just can’t talk about Barbados without talking about the cocktails! We had rum punch pretty much every day, and we took full advantage of the daily 2-4-1 daiquiris at Sharkey’s. I also enjoyed the rum paloma at Cocktail Kitchen, the guava margarita at Café Sol (who do an amazing shrimp taco salad at lunchtime) and the rum sours at Castaways. Rachel booked us in for a trip to Mount Gay rum distillery as a belated birthday present, and we certainly took full advantage of the bargain prices in the gift shop.

The surroundings

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Oh my god, Barbados is heart-stoppingly beautiful. The journey from the airport is perfectly green and lush with the striking sugarcane fields and palm trees, and there are punches of vibrant tropical flowers everywhere you look. We took a trip to the wildlife reserve in the north east of the island (more on that in a second), and as the only two people on the tour, we enjoyed a particularly long, scenic journey. We saw the rugged rocky beaches of Bathsheba (no swimming allowed!), tumbling wild forests and coastal surf shacks, and we also had a little tram tour of Harrison’s Cave to admire all the stalagmites and stalactites. The geography student in me loved every single second. I remember saying ‘I feel so overstimulated by all the pretty things, but in a good way!’.

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We stayed in St Lawrence Gap on Dover Beach on the south coast, and my god, that beach… I’m not really a beachy person – you will never find me sunbathing or trying to develop a tan – but this really was special. It looked exactly like something off a postcard, and I didn’t even mind getting knocked over by the waves. On our first evening, we went for a swim in the sea at sunset, and the sky stretched out like a burning peach melba, and oh why does anything need to be that gorgeous?

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The wildlife

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Guys guys guys we saw so many cute critters! At the wildlife reserve, we met A LOT of green monkeys, all of whom were very content grooming their pals and hanging out on the benches under the canopy of the mahogany trees. We also saw dozens and dozens of tortoises roaming around, along with peacocks, Brocket deer, mara, parrots and lots more. So cool.

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One of my personal highlights from the trip was spotting sea turtles, puffer fish and stingrays swimming off the pier at the fish fry at sunset. This was a little taste of things to come, as a couple of days later we took a catamaran trip to snorkel with sea turtles! A. MAZ. ING. The turtles swam right through our little group! After that, we swam over a shipwreck and a little coral reef, and there were hundreds and hundreds of bright tropical fish around us, which was truly incredible. Back on land, we saw a lot of chickens roaming around (crossing roads, not crossing roads… they were everywhere) and some very chilled cats, and as soon as night falls you’re greeted by the white noise of thousands of whistling frogs and crickets.

The people

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The people of Barbados are truly beautiful. I have never been to a place where every single person is so kind, warm and welcoming, and this is where the hygge happens. On a beautiful fairylit terrace or rooftop with the comforting canopy of whistling, rustling animals, the kindness of the Bajan people elevates every single evening to magical levels. Whether it was a barman, a waitress, a driver, someone selling their crafts on the street, the staff at customs (after a very, very long wait!) or total strangers, everyone will wish you a good morning, afternoon or evening, and will always have something nice to say.

Someone told us that Bajans are the happiest people in the world. I wonder what the Danes would say about that? But it doesn’t really matter does it – I totally get why people are so happy here, and I totally get why virtually all the other visitors we spoke to come back over and over again. If you’re looking for hygge but without the wintry chill, you could do a hell of a lot worse than Barbados, and I consider myself a total convert.

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Tell me about the unexpected places you’ve experienced hygge! Was it in a Tibetan monastery? In the Australian outback? On a volcano in Hawaii? I’m all ears!

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