Barbados: Tick off your entire bucket list in a single holiday
From playing polo to swimming with turtles to yoga on a beach at dawn, the sun-soaked Caribbean island has it all
Imagine your ultimate bucket-list holiday, individually tailored to all your favourite activities, tastes and whims. Perhaps you want to begin your day with yoga on the beach, followed by horse riding and paddle boarding? Or maybe you would prefer to drink champagne on a catamaran, go golfing beneath palm trees, swim with turtles or play tennis in the grounds of a luxury estate?
The Week Portfolio did all of this - and more - in a lightning-quick, adrenaline-fuelled tour of food, adventures and laughter in Barbados. You, however, may want to take a more measured approach and spread it out over a week or two.
Here is how we did it.
After a pleasant eight-hour flight from London to Bridgetown, the veranda window of the Crystal Springs Villa swings open to reveal the powdery white sands of Barbados' famed Platinum Coast beach.
Situated in a village, Crystal Springs Villa is a five-star residence spanning 12,000sq-ft, connected by coral stone terraces, pathways and bridges.
It features numerous living spaces, an infinity pool, three al fresco dining areas and ten guest rooms, all with their own en-suite bathroom and luxurious amenities.
Our day starts on the private beach, where yoga teachers basking in the warm air welcome the rising sun. If you want more, L’Atitude 13 Degrees North Beach and Wellness Festival, from 2-3 September, brings together local groups of instructors, musicians, speakers and chefs for two days of reggae, exercise, massage and meditation.
Once our sun salutations are finished, the resident chef sets us up for the day with a hearty breakfast, the star of which is unquestionably the freshly-cut tropical fruit. Food in Barbados is almost always fresh and local; mangoes practically fall from the tree straight on to your plate, while local fishermen serve up their catch a couple of hours after they've reeled it in.
A day of high-octane adventure then beckons. Guests can choose between paddle board, windsurfing, water-skis, doughnuts or jet-skis to explore the warm ocean under the watchful eye of experienced instructors.
If you fancy an adventure beneath the waves, the Dive Fest Barbados offers the perfect opportunity to try snorkelling, scuba or free-diving for the first time, as well as advanced sessions for seasoned divers. Conservationists are also be on hand to educate attendees about the island's many projects helping to sustain the diverse marine life that lives just beneath the waves. Its inaugural session this year was such a success they're already planning next year's, to be held 4-8 July.
With the adrenaline still pumping, it's time for polo, a truly thrilling experience played by elegantly coiffed ladies and gents wielding mallets.
Polo is not regarded as an upper-class pursuit in Barbados and people from all backgrounds get involved. The island also features four polo grounds, with several matches scheduled every season between visiting professional teams and locals.
Once the game is finished, we dismount to a lunch of grilled lionfish served against the stunning backdrop of the Apes Hill golf course, a par-72 championship course recently rated as one of the best in the world. It also offers a sanctuary for native wildlife, monkeys included.
Upgrading from golf buggy to jeep, a five-minute drive brings us to the Apes Hill tennis club and while the ferocity of the midday sun may present a challenge for less hardy travellers, the encouraging attitude of the coaches spurs you on. If you are looking to improve your tennis skills, training in Barbados is a good option. Coaches are widely available across the country. Enquire in town centres or click here for more information.
Activity gives way to languor as the sun creeps down the sleepy hillside. Amid all the sport and adventure, life can move at a slow pace in Barbados and the humidity of the night invites a delicious lethargy – and the romance of the island is particularly contagious at dusk.
Boarding a catamaran to sip champagne and sail out to watch turtles gather, we arrive at the most luxurious moment of our day, with Seaduced Barbados. Waves lapping gently around us, we dive headfirst into the cool waters just as bales of turtles swim by, apparently undisturbed by our presence.
The animals are a protected species on the island, which is home to the once endangered hawksbill and leatherback turtle species, and there is a 24-hour hotline set up to alert conservationists to turtles, nests or hatchlings in need of rescue. Turtle flotillas are sociable and tend to stay in the same area, following a steady routine, with families playing and feeding along the inshore reefs.
After the perfect end to a perfect day, our catamaran sails gently back to shore to be met by a line of waiters with glasses of prosecco.
Sundowners are served at the Fusion rooftop bar, situated in the nearby Lime Grove complex. Gazing up into the stars seems a fitting way to bring the ultimate bucket-list adventure to a close.
Tick off your own densely packed bucket list holiday with Blue Sky Luxury.
For inspiration on what to do and where to go, check out visitbarbados.org
British Airways flies from Gatwick to Barbados daily during the summer and 12 times a week during the winter. Return flights start from £571. For more information, visit britishairways.com