Getting Inside The Real Barbados
Part 1: 5 Surprising Joys Of The Great Outdoors

with Martha Chapman

The P.E.G. team

Cricket at Kensington Oval

The Country Club at Sandy Lane

Sightseeing with Atlantis Submarines

Sun and sand. Tropical tans. For many clients, these are the big attractions of the Caribbean. And Barbados has all of that – but so much more! What is it that sets this enticing island apart?

The outdoor attractions go far beyond the many lovely beaches, famed stretches along the south and west coasts. Here are five very cool, very unexpected outdoor delights to be discovered in Barbados:

Meet the piglets and fall in love: The dream and passion of Bajan entrepreneur and environmentalist Paul Bourne is P.E.G. (People, Environment, Growth),  a 100-acre farm where the emphasis is on the rhythms of nature, respecting the land and letting very happy cows graze in a different pasture every day. As well as raising cattle, pigs, chickens, medicinal herbs and vegetables, the 20 employees of P.E.G. host school groups, tourists and cruise ship passengers who want to learn about the challenges and rewards of being stewards of the land.

Cricket:  We say it’s a sport but Barbadians (“Bajans”) call it a religion. Tourists can take a tour (US$10) of the mecca of cricket in the Caribbean, Kensington Oval, near the capital of Bridgetown, and learn how to decipher the game. (“It take a while to understand,” my cab driver Edwin said, in spectacular understatement. “People from non-cricket countries say ‘How you get it do?’ ") On weekends countless informal games are played across the island, and visitors are warmly welcomed. Complimentary explanations will be on tap from your fellow spectators – I promise.

Swim with the horses: In Spain they run with the bulls, but in Barbados visitors have the chance to do something truly enchanting:  join racehorses as they cool off and get a bit of exercise with their grooms in the turquoise waters at Pebble’s Beach near the racetrack south of Bridgetown. The gentle, pony-sized creatures seem to love the water (and being patted) as much as we do. The fact that this impromptu activity, usually between 6.30 and 7.30 am, is free of charge makes it even more entrancing. 

Golf: Hard to exclude golf from this story, especially when the island has some of the best courses in the Caribbean. The island has seven courses, three of which Canadian golf writer and editor Anita Draycott describes as topnotch. “The Country Club at Sandy LaneRoyal Westmoreland and Apes Hill also all have excellent service, lovely clubhouses and great food.” Perhaps not a bargain at US$200 a round but for the avid golfer a great way to spend a week, says Draycott.

Go under on a submarine:This isn’t technically outdoors, but it totally qualifies as an unusual and very cool thrill.  Atlantis Submarines take visitors down 130 feet to visit the ocean floor, its abundant inhabitants and even a shipwreck. Day and night tours are available.

Martha Chapman

Martha Chapman Columnist

An OJ columnist since 2006, Martha is responsible for the Biting Questions features as well as special seasonal series. A travel industry lifer known to all in the biz, she frequently covers industry events for Open Jaw.

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