Things to do in Barbados

Barbados offers more than just its stunning beaches and warm tropical breezes. From its vibrant culture and history to the diverse array of activities for travellers, Barbados promises an experience unlike any other. If you’re wondering what to do during your visit, here’s a list of ideas to help you have a memorable stay.

Beaches and Water Activities

Carlisle Bay
Nestled on the southwest coast, Carlisle Bay is a tranquil beach. Its calm turquoise waters make it perfect for swimming, snorkelling or scuba diving at one of the shipwrecks. Don’t be surprised if you come face-to-face with a friendly sea turtle during your underwater adventures!

Surfing at Bathsheba
The wild east coast of Barbados offers a stark contrast to the calm Caribbean side. Bathsheba, renowned for its impressive rock formations and roaring surf, is the best beach for surfing in Barbados and a magnet for surfers worldwide. The ‘Soup Bowl,’ one of its most iconic spots, challenges even seasoned surfers with its powerful waves. Even if you’re not into surfing, the rugged beauty of Bathsheba provides a breathtaking backdrop for beachside picnics and photographs.

Water Sports at Mullins Beach
For those looking to indulge in water sports, Mullins Beach is the place to be. From jet skiing and parasailing to paddleboarding and water skiing, there’s something for everyone. Local operators provide boat trips around the island, and offer banana boat rides and inflatable doughnut spins!

Sunset Catamaran Cruise
What better way to end a day in Barbados than with a sunset catamaran cruise? These cruises offer a unique vantage point of the island’s beauty, often accompanied by live music, delicious cocktails, and a mesmerizing Barbadian sunset. Many cruises also include snorkelling stops where guests can swim.

Barbados Landmarks

Barbados is a melting pot of cultures and traditions and is steeped in a rich history that dates back to its Amerindian roots, through to its colonial past, and up to its independent present. The island tells its story through various historical landmarks, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Here are some must-visit spots that offer a glimpse into Barbados’s intriguing past.

Harrison’s Cave
Located in the heart of the island, Harrison’s Cave is a marvel of nature and history combined. This crystallized limestone cave features flowing streams, cascading waterfalls, and deep pools of crystal-clear water. Visitors can journey through its vast chambers to witness stalactites and stalagmites that have been forming for thousands of years. Guided tram tours make this underground experience both educational and awe-inspiring.

family wearing hats at harrisons cave
Harrisons Cave

George Washington House
Did you know Barbados is the only country George Washington ever visited outside colonial America? The George Washington House, situated in Bridgetown, is where the first U.S. president stayed in 1751. Today, it stands as a beautifully restored museum, showcasing period furnishings and offering a vivid picture of 18th-century Barbadian life.

The Garrison Historic Area
Adjacent to the George Washington House, the Garrison area houses several colonial-era buildings and the Barbados Museum. This site once served as the British military headquarters. The museum details the island’s rich past, from its indigenous peoples to its role in the sugar and rum trade.

St. Nicholas Abbey
Visitors can tour the Jacobean mansion and sample the Abbey’s renowned rum. The lush grounds and the charming great house transport visitors back to a bygone era.

Local Culture

To truly experience Barbados you should embrace its festivals, arts, music, and people. Here are some cultural highlights that you shouldn’t miss.

Oistins Fish Fry
Every Friday night, the Oistins Fish Market transforms into a lively festival of Bajan culture. It’s a short taxi journey from our Barbados villa. Locals and tourists alike gather to enjoy food and local music. while freshly caught Barbados fish sizzle on the grill!

Bridgetown’s Local Markets
To get a taste of daily Bajan life, a visit to the bustling markets of Bridgetown is a must. Vendors proudly display fresh produce, vibrant spices, and artisanal crafts.

Crop Over Festival
Originating from the harvest festivals, the Crop Over is Barbados’s most anticipated cultural event. Spanning several weeks in the summer, it’s a celebration of music, dance, and colorful costumes. The festival culminates in the Grand Kadooment Day, a carnival-like parade with masqueraders dancing through the streets to the pulsating rhythms of soca and calypso.

Barbados Nature and Adventure

Barbados is not just about beach villas and lounging on the sand; it’s a treasure trove of natural wonders and thrilling adventures waiting to be discovered. From lush botanical gardens to adrenaline-pumping activities, there’s no shortage of ways to immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty and diverse landscapes.

Andromeda Gardens
A true oasis of tranquillity and beauty, the Andromeda Gardens sprawl over six acres in the parish of St. Joseph. Created by renowned horticulturist Iris Bannochie, this botanical garden boasts a diverse collection of tropical and sub-tropical plants.

Island Safari
Climb aboard a rugged 4×4 vehicle and embark on a journey through the island’s off-the-beaten-path terrains. From panoramic cliffside views to secluded bays, these safaris offer a unique perspective of Barbados, complete with local folklore and legends shared by knowledgeable guides.

Animal Flower Cave
Located at the northernmost tip of Barbados, the Animal Flower Cave offers a unique coastal adventure. Named after the sea anemones found within its pools, this cave allows visitors to marvel at its stunning rock formations and enjoy panoramic views of the crashing Atlantic waves from its cliff-top location.

family at the animal flower cave sign
Animal Flower Cave

Welchman Hall Gully
This ravine boasts a collection of native and exotic plants, making it a green haven in the heart of Barbados. As you wander its shaded trails, keep an eye out for green monkeys playfully darting through the trees.

Arts and Crafts

Throughout the island, you’ll find a wealth of creativity, from traditional crafts to contemporary art.

Pelican Craft Village
Situated close to Bridgetown, this vibrant craft village is the largest arts and crafts center in the Caribbean.

Barbados Arts Council Gallery
Located in the historic Garrison area, this gallery showcases the works of local artists, offering a diverse array of paintings, sculptures, and other visual arts.

Earthworks Pottery
In the parish of St. Thomas, Earthworks Pottery offers a hands-on experience for those interested in the ceramic arts. Visitors can watch potters at work, molding clay into beautiful pieces, each reflecting the colors and contours of Barbados. Don’t miss the opportunity to purchase a one-of-a-kind memento for your home.

Barbados Nightlife

When the sun sets on Barbados, the island comes alive.

St. Lawrence Gap
Often referred to as “The Gap,” this bustling street in Christ Church is the heart of Bajan nightlife. Lined with bars, clubs, and restaurants, it’s full of live music and great bars.

Harbour Lights
Located on Carlisle Bay, Harbour Lights is an iconic open-air beachfront club known for its Monday and Wednesday beach parties.

Mount Gay Rum Distillery Tours
While this may be a daytime activity, no trip to Barbados is complete without trying the local rum. A tour of the Mount Gay Distillery not only educates visitors on the rum-making process but concludes with a tasting session of their legendary tipples.

The final word on things to do in Barbados

Barbados, often called the ‘Gem of the Caribbean’, is more than just its idyllic beaches and shimmering waters. It’s a tapestry of vibrant cultures, historical landmarks, natural wonders, and lively experiences.

From the rhythmic beats of its nightlife to the tranquil beauty of its wildlife reserves, the island beckons travelers with plenty of activities that cater to every taste.

Whether you’re seeking adventure on its waters, indulgence in its culinary delights, or a serene moment on the beach, Barbados promises memories that will last a lifetime.

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Lucy Bridge

I love to travel with my family. Over the years, we’ve found ourselves coming back to the magic of Sunset Crest. So much so, that we finally decided to take the plunge and buy Villa Sunnyside in 2022!