Why Barbados, you ask? Barbados is an eastern Caribbean island outside of the Atlantic hurricane belt (major plus if you’re planning a Caribbean getaway during these months).
The British settled here in the early 1600’s. Although the country has gained independence 50 some years ago, much of its customs are British! Afternoon tea? Yes! Add the many white sandy beaches and rich culture, Barbados is the perfect holiday getaway.
So here is our handy list of my favourite things to do in Barbados that will be super useful for your trip planning
Bajans (pronounced Bay-juns), speak perfect English. Like the rest of the Caribbean islands, Bajans have their own dialect with African influences. It’s a spoken language, so don’t worry! Bajans can tell tourists from their own and will speak to you in English.
The currency of Barbados is the Barbadian dollar (BBD). The rate is fixed at $2 BBD to every $1 USD. The nominations are 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100. Coins are 5, 10, 25, and 1 dollar. I found the currency very easy to use! US dollars are accepted everywhere. I suggest bringing your USD in small nominations (1s, 5s and 10s). You’ll get the change back in BBD, then just use the rest of your Barbadian dollars
Getting around Barbados is easy! You can take the bus anywhere along the island for $2 BBD (local currency only!). Or you can take a van called the ZR. You’ll find these vans in highly populated areas. I’ve read they pack as many passengers as they can so it can definitely be an experience!
Location/Where to Stay
Barbados is divided into 11 parishes. Every parish except two border the coastline. I stayed in the Christ Church parish which suited my needs for city living, proximity to the beach and airport, and nightlife. You want country living? Stay in Saint Andrew! Wealthy lifestyle? Saint James is for you! We suggest figuring out how you want to live out your vacation and going from there. Barbados has some inclusive resorts, hotels and a small few of hostels. Airbnb is big here.
Things to do in Barbado
Taste the Island’s Favorite Beverage
Rum is the Caribbean drink of choice, and Mount Gay, the world’s oldest rum distillery, has been making the smooth libation in Barbados since 1703. Because sugar was king at that time, there were nearly a dozen sugar-processing factories on the island. Today, just two are in operation and much of the product is exported. Nevertheless, fields of sugar cane still grow around the island’s interior, and Mount Gay is still making fine rum. Take a tour of the Mount Gay Visitors Centre, just north of Bridgetown, to learn about the history of rum-making, the process, and the equipment…and then head for the tasting room.
Relax at one of the many beach club
What other reason did you come to Barbados is you do not spend the day at one of its many beach clubs by Carlisle Bay/ Browns beach.
Spend the day at the Copacabana Beach. Don’t be afraid to allow yourself to feel a bit privileged. Because that’s precisely how one feels lying in a super comfortable extra large beach cabana while sipping some drinks next to mesmerizing fruit bowls. Offering everything you need to have a dream day on the beach: restaurant with a gourmet selection dishes, top quality drinks, and champagnes accompanied by sushi delicates, cabana massages, boat tours cruising around nearby islands, snorkeling and not to mention the crystal clear sea and fantastic sunset parties
They have water sports available for purchase, so if relaxing by the beach and reading a book is not your thing then maybe water sports will add some excitement to your day.
Other Beach club options include Pirates Cove or Boatyard which is more kid-friendly with basketball courts, volleyballs courts on the beach, water bouncy castles and even a 30minute snorkeling activity for $20.
Unearth the adventure! Venture deep beneath the earth’s surface and explore one of Barbados’ natural treasures as a knowledgeable guide takes you on a tour of a living cave. Hear the rushing streams and witness the calm glassy pools as you travel by tram to the early explorers’ entrance and experience some of their adventures. Exhibits and interactive displays for adults and children alike are strategically placed for your browsing pleasure. Comfortable footwear is a must as there will be plenty of opportunities for you to disembark and get a closer look at the marvellous formations of this natural wonder. Includes transfers and light refreshments.
There are several ways to enjoy the magnificent views of the caves from tram tours to the Eco-adventure tour featuring 3.5 hours of crawling, climbing through the caves natural passages. Price ranges from $30-$100 (USD).
Take a Hike
Barbados is fairly flat except in the central part of the island around Mt. Hillaby (1,100 ft), the highest point of land. Therefore, the island presents a great place for nature walks, casual hikes, and more strenuous treks. On Sundays, the Barbados National Trust sponsors Hike Barbados: 3-hour “loop” hikes that range from “Stop and Stare” walks (covering 5-6 miles) and medium hikes (8-10 miles) to medium-fast hikes (10-12 miles) and really fast hikes (12-14 miles), all of which are offered early in the morning and late in the afternoon,. The hikes are free, and you’re grouped according to your ability.
Take a luxurious catamaran cruise in Barbados and sail along the gorgeous crystalline coastline to a tranquil bay where if you’re lucky you can enjoy a swim with the islands renowned sea turtles. Then, jump in the water and snorkel on a shallow shipwreck teeming with brilliantly hued tropical marine life.
You can book a tour here: Catamayan Cruise
Learn About Plantation Life
Sugar brought Europeans (and slavery) to the Caribbean, and Barbados was virtually covered with cane in the 17th and 18th centuries still is, in some areas. Each plantation had a great house, the planter’s home, which was marked by a cluster of tall palm trees to make it easier to find once the cane grew taller than a man’s head. A few great houses remain in Barbados; two are fully furnished with period furniture and open to the public. St. Nicholas Abbey, a Jacobean-style masterpiece on Cherry Tree Hill Road in northern Barbados, has its own forested gully and rum distillery. Sunbury Plantation House and Museum, a 300-year-old beauty that was completely rebuilt and refurnished after a 1995 fire destroyed everything but the walls, is in the southeast section of the country near the Six Cross Roads Roundabout in St. Philip.
Barbados Wildlife Reserve
If you love animals, then this is a great place to visit. The Barbados Wildlife Reserve is a walk-through zoo that features a lot of animals that you may have never seen before. Go here to get a feel of a different zoo experience that you can only experience in Barbados. If you’re a smart traveler, there’s no way you should miss this place!
Other creatures that may be spotted include brocket deer, iguanas and agoutis.
Bajan food is simple and tasty
Barbados boasts a number of major supermarket chains that stock the majority of items you’ll find in your stores at home. You should note that almost all food and beverage products are imported and so will likely be more expensive than in the UK and major US cities.
Travellers with dietary requirements will find at least one or two options on most menus (or can be accommodated by the chef), and dairy and gluten free basics are widely available in supermarkets and speciality stores.
Check out barbadosglutenfree.com for more information.
A night of fun with Harbor lights Barbados show is just as necessary.Harbour Lights’ Night Club is the premier hotspot for live entertainment on the beachfront. It is an open air, beachfront club with two dance floors, two beach bars and a grill serving up the renowned Harbour Lights’ Burgers. Enjoy drink specials and theme nights, and dance the night away to wild, tropical rhythms.
This experience as a night filled with history, spectacular entertainment, lots of dancing, unlimited drinks and lots of good tasting food.
There are more Barbados attractions that are all a must-see and must-visit, but these are some of the few that you shouldn’t miss whenever you’re in Barbados.
Barbados is a very beautiful island in the Caribbean. As a smart traveler, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t put this place in your “to-visit” list. Trust us, you won’t regret it.