Wedding: Honeymoon: Destination: Barbados
The Caribbean of your spring-break days belongs with your single life — firmly in the past. So for your honeymoon, trade in the shooters and frat boys for cocktails and Brits-on-holiday in Barbados, a lovely 15-by-20-mile island that’s got a bit of worldly glamour but isn’t so stuffy that you won’t ease into slow-paced island life and have loads of fun. The rum helps — as do the very friendly locals and tropically perfect weather. The west coast of the island, on the Caribbean Sea side, is appropriately known as the Platinum Coast and is the place to stay.
BY DAY: Lazy beach days measured in rum punches and bottles of the locally brewed Banks Beer are a good start. The island’s east coast offers a different view for those who want to explore rocky cliffs, crashing Atlantic Ocean waves and sugarcane fields. (We recommend renting a topless Mini Moke.) Or head to Silver Sands Resort on the south coast for surfing and windsurfing lessons at Brian Talma’s deAction Beach Shop, where you’ll get guidance from enthusiastic pros. Even if you’re not scuba-certified, you can do an intro dive with the capable, nerve-calming (and safety-conscious) Andrew Western of Eco Dive Barbados. The spa at Sandy Lane is a recently renovated paradise that’s got the exotic (a rhassoul-clay-and-heat body treatment) and the aphrodisiacal (the two-hour Signature Sandy Lane Romance Ritual). Definitely worth an appointment, even if you’re staying elsewhere.
BY NIGHT: If you’re looking for something lively, there’s a street-festival atmosphere along the southwest coast’s St. Lawrence Gap, simply called “The Gap,” which is a compact strip of bars, restaurants and clubs. Check out the Ship Inn for post-dinner dancing to live music.
WHAT TO EAT: Barbados has something that most other Caribbean islands don’t: dining that’s actually worth its tab in foodie points. The fixed-price dinner at the Cliff is steep, but a torch-lit, seaside, decadent meal at this Platinum Coast spot is so worth it. (The atmosphere alone will make you swoon.) You also can’t go wrong with romantic dinners at the southwest’s 39 Steps Restaurant and Wine Bar, or at Champers. (The catch of the day in Barbados is usually mahimahi; don’t miss it). At the other end of the mix, Bert’s (also in the southwest) is a great casual sports bar with a solid pub menu. And locals and tourists throng to the cheap, open-air Oistins Fish Fry every Friday, queuing up to order tasty-fresh grilled fish and dine at picnic tables.