I pulled up to the digital donned Jet Blue check-in with surprisingly no wait. I glided my fingers carefully over the screen until I was checked in. I searched around for an attendant so that I may drop my bags when I spotted the crew! Danny, Rachel, Will and Ianthia rolled deep in the airport like a entourage headed to the VIP section! We all made it through the dingy white gates of TSA where we connected with Jazz, Gloria and Jessica. I knew then this was the beginning of a beautiful trip.
There would be a whopping total of 10 black female travel influencers hand picked by Danny of Black Girls Travel Too and The Barbados Tourism Board. The idea was to collaborate in the travel space rather than compete. It wasn’t about who had the pretties picture, the most followers or who’s been to the most countries. Right? We were setting the tone for the culture. I was truly honored to be a part of this experience as we go down in history as the first ever black female influencer trip sponsored by a tourism board.
After a smooth and sleepy flight we landed on the beautiful island of Barbados in Bridgetown. The first thing I noticed was the smile on the face of the people who warmly greeted us. The sun shinned over us as a slow breeze stirred the air. Something about Barbados felt like a welcome home.
After a scenic ride through the south we arrived to The Club Barbados Hotel and Resort. While each of us checked in we were given fresh cool towels lightly scented and served chilled bubbly. We retreated momentarily to our beautiful rooms with breathtaking views of the ocean.
After the excitement of arriving to a new country I was plenty hungry and ready to dive into Barbados cuisine. Beside a nice ambiance and a friendly staff, Daphne’s did not disappoint my pallet one bit. I absolutely devoured my peri peri shrimp, slurped deliciously crafted cocktails and most certainly saved room for dessert.
I must have dined myself into a food coma and drifted into a slumber in the coziness of The Club Barbados Hotel and Resort because before I know it, it was day two of the Barbados Influencer Trip!
The next morning I met Ari, Blake and Lee as they joined us for our next excursion. Danny being an honorary Bajan, introduced us to some of her favorite Soca songs as we rode up the coast to Pirates Cove. There we met Chef Creig, the official Chef of Barbados Food and Wine Festival. We were given cooking lessons as some of the influencers pitched in by cutting, mashing and simmering with the chef orders. When it was all finished the spicy chicken salad rocked my world. I grabbed one rum punch for the road because it was on to the next!
We jumped in our ride and zipped to the next venue. As the driver willed the curves of the road I spotted a sign that said Nikki Beach! What! I love this brand and was elated to see what the Barbados location had in store for us. We poured into the spot like we owned it. The deck was incredibly plush with a sparking pool, stacked bar and rocking DJ! This was lit! I flung my cover up off and rushed to Soak up some good vibes. Will was our official photographer and snapped some jaw dropping drone shots of us queen basking in the sun. The music was blaring as we chatted about the beauty of Barbados, nibbled on a smorgasbord of bites and sipped on mojitos, Barbados style! Nikki Beach should come with slogan “If you show up, well show out”! It was a fantastic time that I’ll never forget! Trust me on that!
After checking into the lovely Hilton Barbados we set out for the a day filled with cultural activities. There was a brief stop at Huntes Glen where I felt like Alice in Wonderland amongst the tallest palms trees I’ve ever seen, interesting insects and a barrage of tropical flowers. We also embarked on a tour through Saint Nicholas Abbey turned into a distillery which is equivalent to a plantation home found in New Orleans. The history always sits in my throat like a log. I’m always thankful that I have an opportunity to see the world and know the truth but as they say, the truth hurts.
We sat down for lunch at Eco Lodge Lifestyle for a moment to slow down and take in the nature around us. This was a great opportunity to bond with one another while devouring Lobster Egg Benedict. I chatted with a fabulous influencer from Atlanta named Ari with a passion for beauty and a smile so sweet. I’m so glad I got to love Bahamian and tv personality, Ianthia even more after meeting her. It was so good to see Danny, Rachel and Jazz again. The four of us were brought together by The World Peace Connection as speakers on a travel panel in Washington, DC at the BYOB Retreat over the summer. Connecting with each other is what made this experience one for the books.
The last activity was an island Safari. I had never heard of such a thing and was instantly curious. We had a humdinger of a driver who reminded me of Richard Pryor with an island accent and no cussing, but plenty of laughs. There was nothing like Ari, Ianthia, and I singing “Rude Boy” at the top of our lungs as I balanced my rum punch in between bumps in the road! I’m so glad I laid my eyes on Animal Flower Cave it was something to marvel at. I drifted into deep thoughtful as the waves crashed against the cliff with the most beautiful force of power I’ve ever seen. Simple thrilling to say the least.
Have you ever been on a boat? Sure but have you ever been on a Catamaran? The soca playing, rum punch overflowing as we sailed through the day with no cares. One minute we were “walkin’ up” and the next we were waking up from a nap!
We needed something to commemorate the moment that 10 black female influencers took Barbados by storm. The Sea Breeze Beach House was the perfect backdrop for all of us laced in Reigns Regalla holding ballons brandishing “1 MIL” which mean that when we come together we have an influence of 1 million followers. The intention is to make the tourism board take note that not only does the black community spend 50 billion (currently 63 Billion) in travel but we also belong at the forefront of the travel culture.
To celebrate our accomplishment we dine at Cocktail Kitchen with chef Damien Leach. I didn’t not have one bad meal when I was in Barbados. The vibes are good and the crowd is a good mix of locals and tourist her at Cocktail Kitchen. I can clearly see why this is Danny’s favorite spot in Barbados.
We retreated back to our plush accommodations at The Hilton Barbados. I took a deep soak in the tub, wrapped myself in a white cotton robe and sat out on my balcony listening to the waves crash. Barbados certainly rolled out the red carpet for us. The warmth of the sun, the cold rum punch and the genuine smiles of the people will forever be in my heart. I never asked to be a travel influencer but it chose me. Am I an influencer? Well it depends on your point of view…but it looks really good from here.
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