Whether you're after a quiet beach with calm, shallow waters, rougher seas for water sports, or livelier stretches of sand for people watching, you'll find them all in Barbados
. Rockley and Maxwell beaches are popular spots on the south coast, drawing crowds of tourists and locals alike. For stunning Barbadian beachscapes, make sure you stop off at Crane Beach in the parish of St Philip, a wide beach great for body surfing and considered one of the best in Barbados. Only a few minutes away, Foul Bay is a picturesque, almost deserted beach framed by rugged cliffs.
To get a better feel for the island's picture-postcard coastline, get out on the water with the wind in your hair by opting for a catamaran sailing cruise. Cool Runnings
is one of several companies offering half day trips, their custom-built catamarans crewed by a fun and friendly bunch who make the effort to remember your name. The boats aren't overloaded either, so everyone can spread out comfortably and soak up the sun. Most cruises include three swimming stops along Barbados's west coast, including Paynes Bay, where you can snorkel alongside friendly sea turtles. Most of the crew jumps in too, to assist those who are not strong swimmers. There's a buffet lunch too, and a little bar serving wine, rum punch and other refreshments. As you dock back into port, the ragga jams are pumped loud, prompting everyone to show off their dance moves post-lunch tipple.
Cool Runnings Catamaran Cruises:
Carlisle House, Carlisle Wharf, Hincks Street, Bridgetown, St Michael. Telephone (246) 436 09 11.
By Richelle Harrison Plesse