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Common beach bar stereotypes


People you may meet at a Caribbean Beach Bar

We’ve all fallen victim to becoming the stereotypical tourist when we go on vacation. Whether we carry a camera around our neck, wear a backpack with pins from countries we’ve visited, or wander aimlessly until we find a restaurant which looks perfect, only to discover a much nicer one down the street, when we are out of our familiar domain, we do become “tourists”. In the Caribbean, especially at beach bars, those of us who live in the islands become accustomed to seeing and interacting with several bar patron stereotypes, and these are just a few:

  1. The Snowbird Couple

    This is the classic couple who come to the beaches and occupy their glorious four bedroom villa between the months of November to April. ‘Snowbirds’ are typically a retired couple hailing from the North East United States. Most likely, they gained success during their rewarding career in the corporate sector, working in a metropolitan city while residing in the peaceful suburbs with their 2.5 kids and King Charles Spaniel. This couple will chat your ear off with stories about how they’ve spent X amount of years travelling to the Caribbean, and think they know more about the islands than any expat simply because their passport was first stamped in 1994.


  2. The Parrot-head

    Whether it is their first trip or one of many excursions to the islands, the Parrot-head can be spotted wearing a Hawaiian shirt, smoking a cigar with Flamingo-pink cheeks from too many blended frozen cocktails.

    They often talk louder than the rest of the patrons at the beach bar and forget to rub in their sun tan lotion, but the jovial creatures are always up for a good-old fashioned sing along to something by Jimmy Buffett.bilde

  3. The Partier


    The Partiers are about a decade and a half late for the vibe they try to pull off by acting like a student found at a college dorm party.

    Alcohol becomes the staple of their diet during the soul-searching vacation they took from their 9-5 office lives. They can easily be spotted by their ridiculous sunburn and sweaty appearance acquired from several hours spent passed out on a sun lounger. They proceed to skip their evening shower and head straight for a strawberry daiquiri at the bar rather than miss the party.


  4. The Expat

    We all know the typical expat has his/her favourite places to spend happy hour, a night out, or possibly brunching on a Sunday afternoon, and you wont find them anywhere else. They’ve got a usual crowd they will meet or expect to see and a set routine from their first to tenth Presidente or Heineken.

    Some expats stick to the luxury of having $2 beers at their convenience, but others who frequent the fancier bars like to splurge on a bottle of red wine to show the fact that they came to the islands with the intention of making money and not just spending it.


  5. The Local

    These patrons know all the hidden gems of their home country from having spent a large part of their life on an island. Many tend to stay far away from the tourist hot spots and expat hangouts, simply because they’re tired of putting up with the other common bar patrons. Be kind to the local guys and girls, and they will show you a true sense of Caribbean hospitality and let you in on the island’s best kept secrets.


  6. The Lifer

    Lifers are expats who came to the island and never left. Most lifers never intended to stay here, but the magic of tropical paradise lured them to spend their days in the land where they found their sweetheart and started a family (or sometimes the opposite).

    They love to talk about ‘the way it was’ over a beer; first round on them, next few on you. By sundown you’ll know where they were during each one of the infamous hurricanes that ripped through the islands, and how they managed to build their homes back using their bare hands and the spirit of community. vader en zoons

  7. The Trophy

    Not to be confused with a snowbird wife, The Trophy lives her life in plastic, and it’s fantastic, despite the risk of melting in the hot sun. Her husband is a frequent traveller to the Caribbean for business and pleasure, yet she will only ever experience one of the two.

    Trying not to get sand in her Louis Vuitton purse at the beach, she can also be spotted making frequent trips to the powder room to re-apply her makeup. At night time, she joins her husband for lobster dinner over a conversation of complaints about her exhausting day.


  8. The Billionaire

    They’ve got money, they know it, and they’re not afraid to show it. You’ve got to love The Billionaire as they aren’t terribly modest and enjoy spending money on those of us with skinnier wallets at the bar.

    For this reason, they’re rarely spotted in the ocean as it’s too dangerous to leave a wallet of this nature unattended on a beach chair. In the rare occasion they do, they ask the bartender to keep it behind the bar, as they’re real good buddies now after spending so much money the past three days they’ve been on the island.


  9. The Sailor

    There are two types of sailors: the ones who love and leave a place and continue on their adventure, and the ones who love a place and refuse to leave. These friendly, adventurous types have seen the world, and they want you to hear all about it.

    Often having a good reason for why they left the land they once called home, ‘home’ is now a cosy sailing yacht stocked with beer for when happy hour finishes at the end of a long salty day on the water. 398069_10150563695833669_2061377195_n

  10. The Newbie

    Newbies are commonly mistaken for other tourist stereotypes as they share a similar complexion, intolerance to mosquitos, and confusion about the way things operate on an island.

    However, when you see the same Newbie sitting on the same bar stool drinking a rum and coke with a face like a smacked bottom several nights in a row looking around for people to talk to, it becomes more obvious they are here for more than a holiday.

    “Newbie” is only a temporary stage, after a few months this individual should begin to settle down, though many gain a slightly obnoxious, cocky attitude from their three-figure bar tab and plethora of acquaintances.


  11. The Cruise Ship Passenger

    The palest of all beach bar patrons, The Cruise Ship Passenger (aka. Day-tripper) is an obvious one to spot. Locals often classify cruise ship passengers into stereotypes like: over fed, nearly dead, or newly wed. You can’t blame them for holding back on purchasing food or beverages their first few hours spent of the beach, as they have just paid $10 for a lounger and filled up on a full cooked breakfast buffet in the early hours of the morning on the ship.

    Sharing characteristics of a Snow Bird Couple and a Parrot-head, these patrons are only here for a few hours and unfortunately miss out on relishing the true magic of Caribbean culture.



Lauren Charley

Lauren Charley

Writer at aLookingGlass
Lauren graduated with an Honours B.A. in Media Studies from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. She has worked as a feature magazine writer, where many of her stories pertained to events, people, activities, and places in popular tourist destinations.

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