(2010) Since I live on beautiful Ft. Lauderdale Beach I consider myself a beach snob. From Asia to islands in the Americas I have critically critiqued beaches for the sand not being soft, clean or white enough and the water for not being clean or blue enough in comparison to my hometown beach. Barbados was worth a beach vacation for someone that lives on one. I think I found one of the best beaches I have ever left my footprint on.
CRANE BEACH: It is located and the Southeast part of the island. East of the airport. The reasons I loved this place are many. At first sight, from above looking down, this view defines picture perfect. The sand is a soft white baby powder, perhaps not that soft but as sand goes this is pretty smooth. On closer inspection the sand is pink near the water’s edge. The water is that light aqua-blue almost teal. Yes there are a few beaches that will fit this description throughout the island but the following reasons I put this above the rest. There are waves, the fun kind that are big enough to body surf or boogie board. The water is really warm. Good size waves and bath tub temperature water is a rare find in the East Coast of the USA where I come from. Lastly no-one bothers you here. There are 2 chair concessions, one for those staying at the Crane Hotel and the other for anyone visiting. The beach is cleaned daily, there are chairs, boogie boards and rum punch all for purchase. The public way down to the beach you must walk across the rocks, it could be difficult for the elderly or very young. You can go through the Crane Hotel property, there’s an elevator that will take you down to the beach.
Now on to the practical information about the island. Barbados dollars are 2 to 1 USD. During the winter month’s accommodations are VERY expensive. New York squared prices. Actually nothing is inexpensive here, not the food, drink, car rental. After a search for a hotel throughout the island, which accidentally included a place asking $850 USD a night with a sliver of sand for a beach, we found the Crane Hotel, thus finding my beloved beach. SEE BELOW for the hotel review.
If you want to explore the island, I highly recommend you do, you should consider renting a car. The least expensive will set you back about $80 USD a day. There are so many excellent restaurants and beaches that renting a car is worth the money. We rented our car at the port and returned it at the airport. There aren’t many roads but they aren’t many signs either. Pick up the Barbados in a Nutshell book at tourist info, this has a map listing most of the hotels and restaurants, which can be used as landmarks to get around. Some beaches like Long Beach are hard to find, yet once you do you are likely to be the only one there. St. Lawrence Gap aka “The Gap” is a great place to go for sunset and to grab a meal. There’s public parking I think it was about $5 USD, you can walk around. Have a drink at the bar facing the beach to watch sunset. We ate at Josef. It has a sea view and the food was very good. Service was great.
Swimming with the turtles. You will see this advertised everywhere. Before going I made the comment well they must feed them since they are always found in the same place. Unfortunately I saw one of the tour guides feeding the fish in the area. Since we had our snorkel gear and a car we decided not to take a tour and go on our own. We drove to Carlisle Bay/Browne’s Beach. There is a free public parking lot; it’s located just before you get to Bridgetown when driving west. The swim out to the area where the turtles are is about 2 football Barbados fields; it’s an easy swim in calm water. To find the turtles just look for the catamarans with their tour group. DO NOT WEAR FINS, this is to protect the turtles from being hit with them.
CRANE HOTEL/RESTAURANTS: For the amenities, cleanliness, type of hotel we were looking for this was probably the least expensive at $307 a night. (Including that huge tax you will find in Barbados)
The room was the lowest category yet it was great. It had a queen bed, huge bathroom with a shower and a large Jacuzzi tub, a small kitchen area with a refrigerator, microwave, and dishware. The “Garden View” was a great patio with 2 padded lounge chairs. The property is stunning; it sits up on a cliff and overlooks the water of what I found to be the best beach on the island. The Employees are fantastic, friendly and helpful. Especially Dwayne at the front desk.
If you like to sit by a pool and look at the sea there are 4 pools to choose from. Whoever built this place knew exactly what they were doing. There’s a town square with a bar, shops and the location of the Italian restaurant.
The restaurants were ok. There are 4 on property and we ate at 3. The Italian place at 7pm was out of the Marsala Sauce, which was all over the menu, and when the chef was asked to make Chicken Parm instead he said he couldn’t, yet it was on the lunch menu. The restaurant only had a few tables occupied. I was surprised ingredients couldn’t be found at the other restaurants since they are all run by the hotel. So we only had pizza here and it was ok. Zen, the Thai/Japanese restaurant has fantastic sushi. It over looks the water and is just beautiful. Make sure you have reservations!!! You can’t go wrong with the steak sandwich from Azure for lunch!
There is nowhere to walk to off property, except maybe Cutters a good deli just outside the hotel’s main gate, to the right. There is a market on property that sells pasta, rice and other food so you can cook in your room. If you have a car there is a supermarket about 10 minutes from the property, you would have passed when driving in from the airport.