When you think of Barbados, most people think of sandy beaches, warm weather, and calypso music. However, Barbados is more than just a sunbather’s paradise.
Apart from the laid-back atmosphere, the island has a rich culture and history, vibrant nightlife, and tantalizing cuisine that would transport you to the seventh heaven.
Barbados is a special place, and you should visit it once in a lifetime, not because it’s the birthplace of rum and Rihanna (sic). Now, many of you may think – Why should I visit Barbados? Are the plane ticket and other expenses worth it? What would I find there that is not present elsewhere?
We will discuss that and a lot more in this blog. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Beaches – Barbados has more than 80 beaches. Can you believe that? The white sandy beaches adorn the coast, while the pristine water comes in hues of aqua, turquoise, and deep cobalt blue. Mullins, Brandon, Carlisle Bay, and Browne are some strips that you must check out.
The Bathsheba, Cattlewash, and Action beaches are a paradise for water sports lovers. The rolling surf and strong winds there are perfect for sea surfing, kiteboarding, etc. All the beaches in Barbados are free and open to the public.
Harrison’s Cave – This is one attraction that you should not miss. The Harrison Cave is a 1.5 km long, underground network of coral caves. Visitors can tour Harrison’s Cave by boarding an electric tram. Mapped in 1974, this exquisite marvel of nature is very humid, and the temperature hovers around 80 degrees. You will see magnificent stalagmites, stalactites, and plenty of freshwater streams and waterfalls during this 60-minute tour.
Word of caution – Don’t touch anything outside when you are on this tour. You don’t want to disturb anything in this tranquil, blissful heaven.
Atlantis Submarine Tours – One of the most highly recommended activities to do in Barbados would be the Atlantis submarine tour. You can choose from the day dive, night dive, 5-star Champagne tour, and cruise ship tour. You and your children can sit inside the submarine, observe the mesmerizing marine life like fishes, corals, turtles, etc., while listening to the pilot’s exciting narration. This activity is a must for kids as it will teach them about life underwater and the different creatures that live in the ocean.
Rum tours – Barbados is supposedly the birthplace of rum. Many tours in Barbados offer you a chance to sample the local flavors. Barbados’s love affair with rum dates back to 1703. One noteworthy mention goes to Mount Bay, a visitor rum center in Bridgetown, where more than 10,000 rum bottles are produced each day.
Another popular rum destination is St. Nicholas Abbey, a former colonial plantation house in the 1660s. Out there, you have the opportunity to choose from their 5, 12, and 18-year-old rum bottles. If that wasn’t enough, there are more than 1500 rum shops in Barbados.
Crop-over party – The crop-over party began as a sugarcane harvest festival during the colonial period. Now, it is one of the most happening parties in Barbados. The crop-over party spans over weeks in late summer, where rum flows freely along with craft markets and children’s parade. In the final stages of the crop-over celebration, especially on Kandooment, people get out on the streets in a road march.
Flatbed trucks playing loud music are a common sight at these parties in Bridgetown. You don’t want to miss the crazy energy plus the pulsating Calypso and soca music. Bring comfortable shoes and stamina; you will need them both.
Nightlife – You think Barbados is a small, sleepy island with just good beaches and good food. Well, you thought wrong. The best place to experience the happening nightlife of Barbados is St. Lawrence Gap in Holetown.
Many clubs and bars operate alongside bars and restaurants in the Gap area. They are quiet during the day, but they miraculously come alive post evening. These nightlife hotspots are an attraction for tourists and locals alike.
Flora and fauna – Experience the diverse flora and fauna of Barbados by embarking on a hiking trip. You will come across many species of plants and animals. Birds like the Antillean Crested Hummingbird are a sight to behold.
If you are a history buff, historical places in Barbados like George Washington House, Sunbury Plantation Great House, Barbados Garrison, Gun Hill Signal station, etc., will interest you. Make it a point to visit the Orchid World and Tropical Flower Garden, which is 810 meters above sea level, where you can see more than 1,000 orchid species and countless other plants and flower varieties.
Swim with the racehorses – If you’re in Barbados with family and friends, you need places where children can enjoy themselves. There are plenty of activities for kids in Barbados; the Rascal’s Waterpark is one such place. There are plenty of activities for kids, team-building exercises, plus you can even host birthday parties. Children can even learn how to swim, which will provide them with life-saving skills in the future. The restaurant on the premises places special emphasis on healthy food like smoothies, a balanced diet including proteins, and light alcoholic beverages.
Walking food tour – When in Barbados, do as the Bajans do. If you want to experience the rich culture and local Bajan cuisine, the walking food tour is a must. The food tour starts at $72, where you can eat like a local. If you try to hunt the culinary hotspots in Barbados on your own, it will take you ages, plus there is no guarantee that you will get access to all the goodies. The Walking Food Tour allows you to experience the delicious food of the islands and live a local’s life for 24 hours.
Food – Barbados is a melting pot of cultures, and it reflects in their food as well. Flavors from Portugal, Britain, West Africa, Ireland have influenced Bajan cuisine to a great extent. Seafood, homegrown herbs, and spices are common ingredients in Bajan dishes. If you traveled to Barbados and failed to taste the flying fish, cou cou, fish cakes, chicken curry, pepperpot, mahi-mahi, pudding, Cassava pone, then your visit was a waste of time.
Fishing – For those who love fishing, a full/half-day fishing expedition in Careenage, Bridgetown, would be the ultimate adventure. The best months for fishing excursions are from January to April, where you can catch loads of fish like Mahi Mahi, tuna fish, kingfish, wahoo, etc. Confirm with your tour operator or charter operator in advance about the fishing licensing requirements in Barbados.
Swimming with turtles – Turtles are magnificent creatures, giants but friendly and gentle. When you are in Barbados, get on a fishing charter or a catamaran tour, the vessel’s captain will drop you off at a spot where you can swim with hawksbill and leatherback turtles. All you need to do is suit up and dive in. The island’s west coast, shipwrecks in Carlisle Bay Marine Park are ideal for turtle sightings. Research about turtle habits and lives so that you can enjoy the experience to the fullest.
Golfing – If you love a good old golf game, you should pay a visit to all the golf clubs in Barbados – Barbados Golf Club (9 to 18 hole course), County Club at Sandy Lane, Almond Beach, or Roya Westmorland Golf club. Don’t forget to pack bottles of water and carry sunscreen. Afternoons in Barbados can get pretty warm.
Project Harp Space Gun – Back in the 1900s, a British engineer named Gerard Bull and his partner Donald Mordell teamed up with McGill University (financial help), the US army, and the Canadian government to fund a test project in Barbados. The concept of this project was based around the space gun that would thrust objects into space using a gun. Although this project was shelved in 1967, the remnants of the project can be found at Foul Bay, St. Phillip. You can visit the site with prior permission.
As seen above, Barbados is a land full of surprises. There is so much to see and so much to do. Even a year is not enough to explore this magical island. If you want to experience an unforgettable vacation alone or with family, Barbados is the place to go. Book your tickets, pack your bags and fly off to Barbados. What are you waiting for?