A beautiful Caribbean island filled with colour and personality. Barbados has some of the world’s best beaches and most inviting people. Named after the ‘bearded fig tree’ Barbados is perfect for a luxury holiday. Although only a small island at 21 miles long it is full of life and entertainment.
With lots of fun activities for families and couples the island is excellent to explore. Here are our top 7 things to do in Barbados…
1. Enjoy the delights of Barbados’ most famous attraction: its beaches
Beach view, Barbados
Home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world Barbados has more than 80 beaches.
The floorless south coast beaches are sheltered by reefs perfect for swimming but can be very busy. Alternatively the east coast is much wilder with strong currents, so tends to be quieter for sunbathers. The calmer west coast is much more popular with upmarket travellers thanks to its clear waters and pure white sand, perfect for snorkelling, swimming and sunbathing. The cliff lined north coast of the island gives way to a few sheltered beach coves.
Located in a luxury resort with show stopping pink sands and calm water, Crane Beach is one of the top 10 beaches in the world. In the more popular lively south, Accra beach (or Rockley) is a common favourite, one of the widest stretches on the island the beach is excellent for a beach day of fun. Read our post for the best beaches in Barbados.
2. Try the local food
Oistins Fish Fry, Barbados
No visit to Barbados is compete without trying some of the island most loved dishes. You can enjoy an abundance of excellent restaurants serving freshly caught sea food and local Bajan dishes. Bajan cuisine is a pleasant fusion of African, Indian and British influence with a Caribbean twist.
Here are some of the most famous dishes not to miss:
- Cou Cou & flying fish- A unique local dish.
- Rice and Peas- A quintessential West Indian dish.
- Fishcakes- Fish fried with spices and local Bajan herbs.
- Breadfruit- A nutritious, starchy fruit served alongside fish and meat, it’s similar to a potato.
- Salt bread- A much loved savoury bread.
- Guava cheese- A ‘citrusy Jam’ this treat is cooked to a sticky texture often used as a spread.
- Macaroni pie– A decadent pasta and cheese dish, this is ultimate comfort food.
- Pudding & souse- A savoury dish made from parts of a pig; a local delicacy
- You can also enjoy delicious grass fed meats, sweet plantains, curries and local caught fish including red snapper and swordfish.
3. Get in the spirit with the local Rum Punch
Rum Punch, Barbados
For 350 years rum has been distilled in Barbados. Considered the birthplace of the spirit it is made from Molasses, a by-product of the sugar cane plant. It is said the first crop was planted in 1640 to create a drink called ‘kill devil’ but almost a century later this transformed in to the rum we know today. Barbados has perfect conditions for the sugar cane industry and you can visit the distilleries and plantations today. You can enjoy rum tours to see how it’s made and taste it fresh at Mount Gay or St Nicholas Abbey. The island is dotted with several rum shops and don’t go home without trying the islands deadly ‘Rum Punch’.
4. Celebrate with the locals in the islands many festivals
Festival in Barbados
If you time your visit wisely you can enjoy some of the islands many festivals. There are so many going on year round celebrating food, culture, heritage and the joys of life. A perfect way to make your stay extra special a festival is one of the best things to do in Barbados. Here are some of our favourites:
- Crop over- A summer long celebration of music, food, heritage and Caribbean life.
- Oistins fish festival– Celebrating the local fish industry this festival serves some unforgettable food.
- Barbados food, wine and rum festival– A series of events serving delicious local cuisine and beverages.
5. Discover the islands rich history and heritage
Garrison Museum, Bridgetown
Barbados is not just about its beaches but also its rich history. The island gained its full independence in 1966 but is painted by its involvement in many historical events. A visit to the islands capital Bridgetown is a must. An eclectic mix of old and new the vibrant city is great for shopping and dining. Catch the colourful street stalls and don’t miss a visit to the Barbados Garrison, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
6. You’ll never be stuck for things to do in Barbados: Get active in and out of the water
Swim with Turtles, Barbados
Add more to your visit and indulge in adventure. Jam packed with activities you can enjoy sports as a spectator or participant. Particularly popular on the island you can enjoy horse racing, polo, golf and cricket with some high profile events taking place on the island.
If water sports are more your style there are many fun activities in Barbados. The clear waters make Barbados perfect for snorkelling and diving, you can even swim with turtles. For the adrenaline seekers the more choppy beaches attract surfers and windsurfers and the calmer beaches are littered with Jet Ski’s, paddle boards and catamarans. For a unique experience try fly boarding!
7. Explore the islands natural wonders
An island of great natural beauty Barbados is blessed with wondrous underground caves and year round tropical flowers blooming across the island. Although many of the caves are not accessible to the public, a few of them are open to the public for tours.
To experience the Islands flora and fauna visit the Flower Forest. A wonderland of trees and attractive flowers the colourful forest stretches across 53.6 acres. Open daily from 8am – 4pm entry is 30 Barbados dollars for adults.
Located in the central uplands, the breath-taking Harrisons Cave is a beautiful cavern filled with waterfalls and glistening deep pools. The cave is open 8.45am – 3.45pm daily. The Animal Flower Cave is the islands only accessible sea cave. Discovered by two English explorers the cave is well known for the sea anemones found in its pools. In low tide you can also swim in the caves relaxing rock pools. Open 9am – 4.30pm.
These are our favourite things to do in Barbados, but what are yours? Tell us in the comments below. To talk about holidays and your next Caribbean adventure call our experts on 0800 294 9311 or find out more about Barbados here.
Barbados is an all year round destination with a host of events and festivals happening throughout. To find the best time to visit, read our guide to weather and events in Barbados.
To make the most of Barbados’ wonders, find the perfect place to stay with our guide on where to stay in Barbados.