My favourite nomad destination has to be Barbados.
Because that’s where my determination to be a nomad really caught fire AND the first place I went as soon as I got my nomad license.
I say license, what I really mean is a job that enabled me to work remotely.
Barbados is a small island in the Caribbean. When I say small I really mean it, you can take a tour of the island in one day, with it taking only 2ish hours to go from the bottom of the south coast to the tip of the north. If you’re a numbers person, the island is 430 km². Some coming from big cities have found this claustrophobic, but I actually think this is one of the things that makes the island so special. With a humble population of nearly 300,000 it’s hard to go somewhere without bumping into someone you know. Like Stars Hollow but on an island.
Barbados’ Welcome Stamp
In 2020, Barbados released the Welcome Stamp to bring remote workers to the island. The island had relatively low coronavirus numbers much like the rest of the Caribbean at the time, this invitation was a tactic to boost the tourism sector at the time which had taken a massive hit. And boy, did it work!
Warm climate. Sandy shores. Good internet connection. Good food and strong drinks. Areas to find complete tranquility and peace, and thriving nightlife to be had in the evening.
Places to work
Since the introduction of the Welcome Stamp, Barbados has seen its establishments and accomodations really adapt to attract remote workers. The majority of AirBnbs feature some sort of ‘home working set up’. Restaurants are ready to serve you and laptop, with the wifi password being a detail that is happily given out. Do you remember when that never used to be part of a restaurant exchange?
On each return to the island, more and more coffee shops are cropping up, not to mention a second Starbucks which laptop lovers flock to. The island even now has a few co-working spaces developed solely to cater to the needs of the growing nomad population.
Coast to coast, there are plenty of excellent places you can pull up with a laptop and keep the tab open for coffee, food, and drinks to keep you company throughout the workday. In this post, I will share a few of my favourites.
How I pick my office for the day
Now, for me, the severity of my workday determines where I will work. For a super heavy day with calls, it will likely be whatever table or platform is available in my AirBnb. When I need to deeply focus, and switch between writing work and conducting calls, in the comfort of my current home is my preferred spot. Mondays, it’s rare for me to venture out.
When I’ve got no calls, however, 9 times out of 10 I’ll voyage out into the island to work whether solo or with friends. Picking my spot for the day based on what I need. I tend to love a place with a little bit of hubbub (for the cathartic background noise) and a view. My favourites have to be
My first working spot in Barbados (other than my airbnb) was Surfer’s Cafe. This cute eatery in the heart of Oistins is nomad friendly, and affectionately referred to as ‘Surfer’s’ this hole in the wall is not to be confused with ‘Surfer’s Bay’ – another fine eatery and bar further south in Silver Sands. This Surfer’s is popular with both tourists and locals, particularly at breakfast time.
The Surfer’s interior is rustic and definitely characterful, with deep wooden furniture and decor throughout. To me, the highlight of the cafe are two window seats right at the back which overlook the shores of Welches beach. Whenever I dine here, if one of those tables are available – best believe that’s where I’m seated. Depending on the time of day you go, a hat could definitely be needed here!
That’s not to say any other table isn’t worth it. I find the cool breezes and ocean noises that you can benefit from in any position make this cafe an absolute joy to be in. Add in the quirky dining ware, wonderfully friendly staff, and toe-tapping music – it’s truly a vibe. Whether for a quick bite, or to spend a few hours with your laptop, Surfer’s Cafe is a wonderful place to be. I may or may not even be here as I write this.
Little note: The wifi here can be a little temperamental so having mobile data is a life saver for if you get disconnected. On the island, I recommend getting a local sim from Digicel or Flow for the best priced data packages. Alternatively, Airalo is great for getting online until you have the chance to swing by the phone shop!
Where to unwind after
After a jaunt at Surfer’s, I might really hammer home the productivity by picking up some groceries at Oistins Massey’s. If I wanna head straight for fun, however, I’d take a stroll to the right through Oistins and have a dip at Miami Beach – perfect for sunset. Or head to the left for a beach walk across Welches Beach before grabbing a drink at Butterfly Beach Hotel. Their rum punches just may be my favourite on the island and happy hour starts at 5pm – you’re welcome.
I tried out this venue as a working spot on my latest visit to the island and was kinda shocked by how perfect it was. Based on Accra Beach, Tiki Bar is usually a place heaving with people and cocktails but when I rocked up at 11am it was empty and the quaintest working spot. Strong free wifi, and a menu of tasty affordable food and drinks – I would recommend this as a place to set up with your laptop.
The only drawback is there are no outlets, at least that I was able to see, so this is definitely a place to come with your own portable charger, or once you’re running low, there is a new Starbucks about 5 mins walk away where you can cool off in the air-conditioning and juice back up.
Where to unwind after
You’re already in the perfect spot at Accra Beach! You can grab and chair and umbrella to lounge, or head straight to take a dip in the blue waters.
Dine at a restaurant along the Hastings boardwalk, or grab a casual delicious bite at Lantern’s Mall or Worthing Square – both a short walk away.
South Gap Hotel
Nestled in Saint Laurence Gap, this hotel is a sleek modern space that backs onto the ocean.
The restaurant (Mist) is located on the lower ground and has recently undergone renovation, white and blue sleek decor 100% gives off beach club vibes. The space has ample tables covered with plenty of outlets, and out on the deck.
There’s also a room on the way to the toilets which is perfect for calls if you need a quiet area. It is air-conditioned and also has more outlets.
Top Tip: Check in with the staff for rates, but the team are often offering a deal for a day pass which is perfect when you want to spend the day and maybe take a mid work dip. As of May 2023, for $95 bbds, you can use the facilities such as the pool and sun loungers as well as get back $45 bbds to spend on food and drink.
With happy hours at both 12pm and 5pm, perfect for a midday boost and after work celebration, this is one of my favourite spots to co-work with in the island.
Fun fact: I did my quarantine here when I first got to the island in 2021 and so have a lot of fun memories here.
Where to unwind after …
- You’re absolutely spoilt for choice in St Lawarence Gap. If you’re ready for food and change of scene all the eateries start opening around 5pm and there’s plenty of places to wet your whistle.
- If you’re after some sand, both Dover and Worthing Beach are short scenic walks away.
My Travel Insurance
Whenever I travel, no matter how overweight my case is, there’s one thing I can’t travel without and that’s travel insurance.
I use SafetyWing due to its affordability and flexibility when it comes to long-term travel. I also work there, but I’d still use it even if I didn’t! 😉
SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance covers me for travel and medical issues. I haven’t needed to claim on it yet, so can’t speak to the claims experience but have had it on good authority that the process is great.
Let’s be honest, the hope when you take out travel insurance is not to have to claim on it, but it’s great knowing I’m covered by a product created by nomads for nomads just in case I ever do need a helping hand.
To wrap it up…
So what are you waiting for? In my opinion, this island which I’ve come to know as a second home, gives an excellent backdrop to perfect your work/life balance. With places to work and enjoy to suit your needs, it’s definitely my favourite nomad destination.
When I first voyaged there with my laptop, not knowing a soul, I couldn’t have imagined all the incredible people I would meet and the life I would start building there. I can say easily, they were the best months of my life.
Looking for your next nomad destination? I highly recommend giving Barbados a go.