Firstly… WOW! This trip was so needed. Traveling during the pandemic is NOT easy or encouraged, but for me, it was necessary and hopefully I will feel open to discussing the WHY in the future.
For a few months I’ve been manifesting clear waters and sunny skies. Being trapped inside during this time took a toll on me mentally along with no Carnivals this year - I was really going through it. I told myself the first place that I am running to is the paradise island of Barbados (or Bacchanal BIM as I call it lol.) I chose Barbados for many reasons with the number one reason being its one of my Top three destinations in the Caribbean. My second reason for choosing BIM is how they were handling Covid and God forbid another lock down happened I have plenty of friends living there.
Preparing for Departure
Coming from a High-Risk and Medium-Risk like the United States, you are required to have two (2) negative Covid tests to enjoy the island. Without two (2) negative results, you must quarantine for two weeks.
Your first Covid-PCR test should be taken no sooner or later than three (3) days prior to your departure flight. I went to a local hospital that provided me with the results within 24 hours. Note that they won’t accept the rapid nose swabs tests that we have seen pop up throughout the city as those tests have proven to be inaccurate. I researched BIM’s Covid travel protocols weekly to ensure that I didn’t miss the weekly updates that was needed to enter the country and. You are also required to fill out the customs form online which is available to you 72 hours prior to your flight.
Upon arrival, your temperature is taken, you are sanitized multiple times and separated in two (those with Negative PCR test results and those without.) Following a brief interview by airport personnel, you may then proceed through customs and gather your belongings. There are airport transfers to quarantine hotels or to the government quarantine facility. You may not arrange for private car services or friend pick ups until you have received your second negative Covid test.
The Ministry of Health provided me with a list of approved quarantine housing (at my own expense) and I was pleasantly surprised to see some of my favorite hotels on the list. We stayed at the Dover Beach Hotel due to cost and location reasons. However, other hotel favorites included on the list were:
White Sands Villas (not the privately owned suites)
South Gap Hotel
Divi Southwinds Beach Resort
Once "quarantining", you cannot leave the hotel room (including visiting the pool or restaurants) for any reason. While this may seem extreme, this is also up to the discretion of your hotel. The hotel staff delivered everything to our room including food deliveries made via Barbados food delivery service, Hopscotch. You are also asked to monitor and record your temperature daily so that you can report it to a public health official once asked. So basically get comfortable!
To simplify things, your second Covid test is taken 4-5 days following your first test. So if I took my test on Saturday in NYC then I can take my second test on Wednesday in Barbados. The hotel arranged an appointment and driver for us to the testing site. We went bright and early to avoid any lines and that was the smartest thing ever because even at 9am we still ended up being there for two hours.
Testing is located at the military base and this is also where they house the travelers who need to quarantine but can not afford to do so at a hotel or those who tested positive and can not afford to quarantine for 14 days elsewhere. Listen guys…if you test positive you may not return home until you recover.
The process itself was smooth and broken up into two parts; a nurse took your information while you waited in line and then you were called in for testing. I can honestly say this was the worst Covid test that I’ve ever taken. Im sure they dug into my brain but I am also very dramatic lol.
Test results take 24 hours or so to arrive via phone call, text or email. We were freed the very next day. Amen!
Normally, I visit Barbados during the Cropover season so this was a true test of my love for the island and their food. Usually I don’t have much time except for grabbing Chefette or a Gap burger so I really wanted to spotlight some spots that were the highlight of my trip.
Tapas: Get everything! Listen everything was great. A cute little tapas restaurant by the water highlighting the intimate dinning vibes was by far my favorite of the trip. Do get the Spaghetti Mare or the Lobster & Shrimp Linguini You won’t be disappointed!
Sea Shed: The Mullins gem that won me over just based off the aesthetic. We ate on the sand surrounded by tiki torches and listened to the waves hit the shore. The lobster pasta was amazing and as you can probably tell, I'm a ocean foodie.
Tabu: Located conveniently in the Gap, Tabu stole my heart with their sticky wings, and crab cakes. Highly recommend.
As a reminder during COVID, a lot of restaurants (especially those located within hotels) close earlier than usual.
Things to do
Everything is relatively still open just the hours might be different in some cases. K
araoke at Hal's in the Gap is very much still alive and just as fun. Jamestown bar and grill was our go to for girls night. I even enjoyed a nice spa date at Sandals resort. The deep relief massage was to die for (literally I think I woke in heaven. The highlight was when rented out the silver moon yacht for a day on the water accompanied by water toys, food and unlimited drinks. A time was had!
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my beach mornings and my Jamestown turn ups. Covid protocols were in effect for all establishments including Covid tracking books, capacity limits, multiple sanitation stations, and of course mandatory masks. The most important thing to remember when escaping to another country is that we are ALL facing the same battle. Be kind, be smart, and follow the same protocols that you would at home.
Xoxo Nakiya Melanie