An interview with Marc McCollin, our Caribbean Destination Expert

Marc's exclusive guide to all things Barbados

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A low-lying island paradise surrounded by colourful coral reefs, with white-sand beaches, bobbing boats, swaying palms, limestone hills and cool waters, Barbados offers a true glimpse of paradise. The island has got it all: it’s a golfer’s paradise, the Caribbean culinary capital, the home of a vibrant annual jazz festival, and boasts a wealth of history, culture and activities to enjoy. A villa holiday here can be as easy-going or exhilarating as you like, and, though it's a typical choice for a romantic getaway or honeymoon, it’s a brilliant destination for a family holiday too.

In this week’s blog post, we’ll be chatting with Marc McCollin, our Caribbean Destination Expert, on all things Barbados. From travel tips to restaurant recommendations and day-trip inspo, look no further for all the info you need on this incredible island.

Tell us about yourself. How did you come to work in the Caribbean?

I previously worked with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc's UK office and we had worked with CV Villas on a couple of projects and campaigns. While at an industry event, I found out that the CV Villas team were looking to further grow their Caribbean business and were seeking a Destination Expert - I was asked if I could recommend anyone. As I was in the process of returning home to Barbados, well, I recommended myself! And so began my journey with CV Villas. 

My role is essentially to ensure that our guests have an amazing and stress-free time in destination. Working with the sales team as well as the local villa companies, my job is to make sure everything is in place for the guests' arrival and their time on the island. Should they wish to explore the destination through any of the excursions or activities available, or enjoy culinary masterpieces by one of the island's award-winning chefs at the top restaurants, I'm here to make that happen. Should they just want to lounge in the villa and do absolutely nothing at all but relax... the team and I will do all that is possible to make this a reality.

Why choose Barbados for a villa holiday?

Alongside the amazing villas we have on the island, the great thing about Barbados is its accessibility. It’s pretty flat, so getting around is easy, and we are kind of small - just 166 square miles - so everything is pretty close. This is a great combination considering all the things you can do in Barbados: hiking, biking, sailing, snorkeling, diving, garden tours and rum distillery experiences, just to name a few! But what makes people come back time and time again is the people. We always welcome our guests with open arms and want them to be immersed in our way of life, and visitors absolutely love that. It makes them feel like they are truly at home.

The ideal day spent in Barbados?

For me, there is nothing better than spending time on the water. A lunchtime catamaran cruise is a must: from 9:30am through to 2:30pm, you will spend time sailing along the west coast of the island, including two snorkeling spots where you can swim with the turtles, plus lunch, snacks and beverages… so rum punches at the ready! Following the cruise, you can head back to the villa for a siesta and relax for a bit. Some sundowner rum cocktails poolside would be the order of the day before heading out to dinner at one of our amazing restaurants.

What’s the most useful thing to pack for a villa holiday here?

A good charger and plenty of storage on your phone, as you will definitely want to document your amazing experience with as many photos and videos as possible.

Is there any restaurant in particular you recommend to eat at, and why?

In terms of fine dining, my number one recommendation would be Lone Star Garage, located in St. James. There is just something about the ambience and atmosphere that I enjoy, and the food... just wonderful! I would also recommend that guests pay a visit to a rum shop - you will find one in every community - and it's a great place to meet locals and enjoy our favourite beverage... rum! There is an energy and a vibe in a rum shop that just cannot be replicated in a bar or restaurant, which is very unique to Barbados.

Is there any food you think is a must-try?

In Barbados the national dish is cou cou, served with flying fish. Somewhat similar to polenta or grits, cou-cou is a delicious savoury dish made with corn meal and okra - a signature part of Barbados' cuisine and definitely worth a try.

Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

I always like to remind people that Barbados is so much more than our beaches. We do have some amazing ones, of course, but there is so much more to see in terms of heritage, culture, attractions and activities. The opportunities are endless!

If the thought of a villa holiday in Barbados has taken your fancy, make sure to speak with one of our Villa Specialists or make an enquiry today. For more, have a browse of all of our Barbados villas.