In the last few years, the ladies have slowly been taking over polo in Barbados. Last year saw the first all ladies’ tournament at the prestigious Apes Hill Polo Club located on the shores of one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean.
Barbados is not your typical place to play polo, far less containing your typical people. One step in the polo club and you know right away you are in for an experience. Between the laughter, drinks, and hospitality, it’s not difficult to feel welcome straight away.
Flying to Barbados is quite easy. It’s a direct 8-hour flight from London, a 3-hour flight from Miami, or 5-hour from Toronto, plus many more direct flights from all over the world.
Barbados is a seasonal location and during the months of December to April, it is packed with events, activities, and plenty of entertainment. This is the best time to visit the island also because it is the polo season!
Barbados offers everything from top restaurants, polo, and adventure to lazy beach days in the white sand.
Even though Barbados is a small island, it contains a massive amount of hotel and accommodation options ranging from the famous 5-star Sandy Lane on the west coast down to your boutique-style accommodation like Little Good Harbour. The most popular option among the polo crowd seems to be Apes Hill Club, which boasts as the first country club on the island. Offering private villas and homes as the main choice of accommodation, it’s a no-brainer for Polo players and golfers alike to enjoy stepping out their front doors right on the Polo field or golf course. Afternoon sunsets here are some of the most stunning views of the entire west coast and the Caribbean Sea.
For those who want to be on the beach, Lone Star Boutique Hotel, located on the west coast takes the cake for boutique. With just eight rooms, Lone star offers an idyllic setting but maintains a laid back atmosphere. Wake up each morning with uninterrupted views of the Caribbean Sea and direct access to the beach just footsteps away from your bed.
Wherever you decide to stay, it’s not hard to get around the island. Everything is just 15 minutes away at the maximum.
The location of your accommodation has no effect on the access to polo as well. Apes Hill Polo Club offers a full stable of horses. If you decide to come for two weeks for a polo holiday or a few lessons, there is a choice of horse to accommodate any level of player. Playing in the Apes Hill Ladies International or any of the other tournaments is also easy to organize. One phone call to the polo manager at Apes Hill and he can supply you with a string of ponies, groom, accommodation choices, car rental, and anything else you may want. The club offers a bespoke experience that prides itself on making the experience as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.
Looking to join the entire polo season in Barbados? Renting a string for the season or even bringing your own is an option. Apes Hill takes care of all the details, all that is required is that you show up.
Playing polo in Barbados is one of the most amazing experiences to be had by any player of any level. Playing on the main field at Apes Hill, you get one of the most amazing views of the Caribbean Sea. Add one of the famous Barbados sunsets with this and you have just completed a bucket list moment. Polo is usually played in the late afternoon in Barbados to avoid the midday heat. Horse polo matches and chukkas usually start around 3:30 pm or just a little after.
Polo in Barbados can be better described as “Island Polo.” While being competitive during certain matches, it is always about fun and playing with friends. The level of polo ranges up to 10-goal mixed and 12-goal ladies. This allows for some great polo to be played and also gives everyone in the club a chance to play. With this being said, Apes Hill Polo has 10 days of the season marked out just for the ladies.
If you think the men of the club would have a problem with this, think again. They get very involved and supportive. Mainly, the dads of the club end up being the best cheerleaders on the sidelines. It’s one thing to play mixed Polo all season, but the opportunity for the lady players to have this time for just ladies to play with ladies from all over the world is an extra bonus.
Play usually finishes as the sun sets around 6:30 pm. This is when the players make their way into the clubhouse. Met with the local hospitality at the door, you will be offered drinks, conversation, and if you are lucky enough to be there for one of the famous clubhouse parties, you may end up racing across the rafters and getting many lessons on how to dance to the local music.
After all this, it’s time to eat. Dinner at Apes Hill is usually an Asado with local sides like Macaroni Pie, Corn Pie, and Flying Fish for those who do not eat meat. If not eating at the club, a plan will be made to head to one of the restaurants on the west coast.
The favorite and still one of the best places to eat on the island is The Sea Cat Restaurant. A secret gem located five minutes from the club, this small chattel house-style restaurant offers a casual dining experience with some of the best food you will ever have on the island. Must-trys on the menu are the Barracuda and Blackened Mahi-Mahi with locally grown sweet potato fries and a bank of beer.
When not on the polo field, there are so many other activities to do and things to see. A must-do when on the Island is a catamaran cruise. Sail along the calm, crystal clear waters of the west coast of Barbados while enjoying a swim with turtles or just sunbath on the deck of the boat. While enjoying this amazing experience, a delicious lunch with wine and dessert will be offered onboard.
Want more water action? Surfing, windsurfing, and paddleboarding are also very popular activities on the island. If you’re a beginner at these activities, there are plenty of places to go to learn. If a pro, we will see you out on the water!
For those who love land activities, Barbados has plenty to offer—from shopping in Limegrove with stores ranging from Louis Vuitton to Michael Kors to some of the most amazing movie theaters you will ever experience, complete with large cushy chairs with food service in your movie seat.
The night time activities on the island are great as well. Two of the main spots for partying would be the renowned Harbour Lights, which is known for its massive beach parties on a Sunday afternoon which go into the night. The last call is when the last person leaves.
Looking for something a bit more composed? Second street, which is located across from the Limegrove Mall, offers a few bars to choose from. Red Door, which has become a favorite on any night of the week, is located at the end of Second Street. From the music to the drinks, this is the place to be. You never know which celebrity you may run into!
No matter what you choose to do on or off the polo field, Barbados has it all!