Barbados, Caribbean

Things to do in Barbados

The first time I decided to visit Barbados, it was a 3am decision with no regrets. I didn’t google “fun things do barbados” or “tourist attractions in barbados” because my only intention was to be a beach bum for a few days. I packed a few things like sunscreen, swimsuits, shorts, my credit card,duty-free alcohol and hopped on plane to my friend’s house in Christ Church. It turns out, there’s so much more than just the tourist attractions in Barbados.

Check out my list of 12 fun things to do in Barbados:

#1 Barbados Beaches.

When you think of the Caribbean, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the beach (the second thing might be rum). Barbados is no exception with its warm waters and sunny skies. Barbados beaches are the perfect getaway all year round. The West coast has beautiful white sand and turquoise waters whilst the East coast has choppy waves of the rugged Atlantic Ocean washing up on its shores. Whether you want a relaxed swim or surfing, the beaches of Barbados have got it all! My personal favourite is Adventure Beach, Carlisle Bay, calm clear blue water, easy access to all amenities, it’s my number one spot for fun in the sun and just lazing around. Click here for more on Barbados Beaches.

#2 North Point.

Just as it sounds, it is the most northern point of the island of Barbados and is easily accessible from anywhere. It’s quite a feast for the eyes with the Atlantic Ocean pounding the cliffs along the coast. Beneath your feet are a series of caves and blowholes. One cave, Animal Flower Cave is open to the public. You won’t find a superhero and his pet bats here, it’s not that kind of cave. You’ll find colourful rock formations, natural swimming pools and stunning views through the natural cave windows. Check out more on my experience about North Point.

#3 Swim with the turtles.

This is a must! The turtles are everywhere, it would be an atrocity to come to Barbados and not swim with the turtles. Walk out on the jetty at Oistins, throw some fish scraps (you can get this from the nearby market) into the water and just watch the turtles appear. The fishermen around even encourage you to jump right in and get in on the action. I took a small boat from the Boatyard Beach Club as it was included in the day package. It’s a short trip out to shipwrecks or reefs; they give you about 30 mins of swimming and snorkeling with the turtles and fish. There are many other options to do this as almost all beaches (West coast) and hotels offer a variety of boat tours for snorkeling and diving.

#4 Walk around Bridgetown, Barbados.

Take a walk through the streets of the capital city, you’ll find a variety of department stores, duty-free shopping areas and various street vendors full of local arts and crafts. I was quite surprised at how effortless it was to cross the streets in Bridgetown, drivers are very patient and polite even when not at a crosswalk or traffic light. You can also walk along the waterfront where you’ll see the Independence Arch and the Chamberlain Bridge (which was originally a swing bridge). A good starting point is the waterfront cafe and then wander your way through the city streets (or check out the Waterfront Cafe’s guide ).

#5 Oistins nightly fish fry.

So, it’s 6pm on a Friday evening and you’ve spent all day at the beach, what do you do next? Head down to Oistins Bay Gardens to have your choice of seafood (from the day’s catch) or meat. It’s usually fried or grilled and is cooked in plain view of course the ever popular macaroni pie. It’s a relaxed atmosphere and is always buzzing with tourists and locals. After your meal, stick around, on a Friday the party gets started around 10 pm. Don’t hesitate to join in and “bruk out” (dance) to the local music. On Sunday’s the party goes at a much slower pace and starts around 5pm with  much more of an old school and reggae vibe.

#6 Harrison’s Cave.

Nope, it’s still not that superhero kind of cave. If you like wonders of nature, you should definitely check out this cave. The most popular tour of this Barbados attraction takes you on a tram ride throughout the caves where you will behold Stalactites suspended from the cave’s roof, stalagmites rising from the cave’s floor and water running off the walls flowing into streams and pools. Over time (thousands of years) stalactites and stalagmites grow from the buildup of mineral deposits eventually touching to form impressive columns. The cave features are quite intriguing. You can check out Harrison’s cave for more details on various tours and schedules.

#7 St. Lawrence Gap a.k.a. The Gap, Barbados.

Located in Christ Church, it’s a stretch of road famous for Bajan nightlife on the island. It’s filled with a variety of clubs, bars, live music, karaoke and restaurants. There’s something for everyone. It’s good for far hopping fun! If you decide to visit Club Sugar Ultra Lounge, there is a vacation friendly dress code, no flip flops allowed.

#8 Party Bus Bar Crawls.

I never knew these existed until I was invited to one. It was a party to celebrate a friend of a friend’s birthday. Six rum shops (local bars) in six different parishes in about 5 or 6 hours (honestly, I lost track of time) on an open party bus full of vibes (a good party atmosphere). It’s also an excellent opportunity to try all the local rums from Mount Gay and FourSquare. It was definitely an experience that takes you away from the traditional “tourist traps”. There are a variety of Bus Crawl options from basic to all-inclusive, you can check them out here. P.S. Bajans can dance!

#9 St. John’s Parish Church.

It’s the oldest church in Barbados and is situated on a hill overlooking the scenic East coast. It’s a popular attraction and also an active church. There are also some very old graves here, like that of Ferdinando Paleologus with its green headstone. Paleologus was linked to the last Christian emperor of Constantinople.  Also, no graveyard would be complete without some scary trees, but it definitely adds to the overall beauty n scenery of the church. More on the history of the church here.

#10 Gun Hill Signal Station.

Today it’s a lookout point and garden that offer spectacular views of the island. It was initially used in the 1800s by Barbadian and British military to share information about possible slave revolts. Check out the towers, you’ll find some military artifacts that tell a tale from a different era.

#11 Barbados South Coast Boardwalk.

This is definitely a simple pleasure in Barbados. Take a walk along the Boardwalk at any time of the day, it’s full of photo opportunities, scenic coastal views and restaurants, none of which will disappoint. On evenings, it’s also a popular spot for jogging in the fresh ocean air.

#12 Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill.

Located in the parish of St. Andrews it is the Caribbean’s largest only functional sugar mill. It is representative of a time when sugar production was the backbone of the Barbados and Caribbean economy. Today it’s maintained by the Barbados National Trust and hosts scheduled demos of sugar cane juice production.

 

What are some of your favourite things to do in Barbados? I’d love to hear from you!

Savita.

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67 thoughts on “Things to do in Barbados

  1. Love the pics. I wish I could just pack a bag real quick and join yall. It seems so much fun, the way described the rugged beach and the calm beach, north point and the turtles.

    I wanna jump on the party bus too. We can bar hop from scene to scene, jamming out old school and reggae.

    You said all year round?

    1. I currently don’t travel a lot but, that’s going to change shortly. I haven’t picked my next destination as yet, I’m awaiting closure on some items at home. I’m starting long term travel in the very near future. I now have the desire to visit all the places that I’ve never been! Do check in for updates on my adventures 🙂
      Savita

  2. I so wanna swim with the turtles! I’m trying to plan my next vacation to the Carribean and you’ve given me a lot to think about here, thanks for all the info!

  3. Hi Savita,

    Swimming with the turtles sounds like a blast. Chilling on the beach seems fun too. Barbados has that island chill vibe I love, which is why I spend so much time in the tropics. Fab post 😉

    Ryan

  4. Visiting the Barbados has always been on my bucket list. You may have moved it up with this article. I didn’t know you could swim with turtles! The party bus sounds like a lot of fun too. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Chad!

      The Turtle experience at Oistins is 100% free! There are paid boat day tours also but come on the best things in life are free right? I’m glad you enjoyed it, do check out my other posts soon!

      Savita

  5. Ah, this looks like you had a lovely time. I visited Barbados as a child and I still remember the clarity of the water at the beach. Stunning.

    I now know what to get up to should I visit again!

  6. Being an aspiring traveler myself, this article stands out to me. I want to make a living on the internet and have the ability to travel on my own terms. I’m after paradise, and it looks to me that Barbados might be somewhere my partner and I would like to visit. The warm waters and sunny skies make it a no-brainer. Thanks for such a well-written article.

    1. Hi Brandon,

      I completely understand the need to work and travel on your own terms, I wish you all the best in the future! I do hope that you make it to Barbados in the near future! Do keep in touch!

      Savita

  7. Hi Savita,
    I think I would check out #5 Oistins nightly fish fry first. That sounds quite promising and like a fun night out. I love grilled fresh fish and local music so I think there would be the place where you find me.
    How about the price, how much would a grilled fish for two cost there?
    The beaches look beautiful too, not crowded, exactly as I like it.

  8. Wow, this is so beautiful! i would love to be there, swimming with the turtles or eat fresh see food. The pictures are amazing. I would also visit the St. John’s Parish old church and cemetery. I love history. A great read.

  9. Barbados must be awesome. We took a cruise in the Caribbean that included some of the neighbor islands but not Barbados unfortunately. I’m wondering what’s the most popular way to get there from the U.S. I’m thinking you catch a plane from Miami. What about other cruise options?

    1. HI Marcus,

      There are regular flights from New York and Miami, as for cruises, I believe the Royal Caribbean goes there. Personally I’m not one for cruises, I don’t have such great sea legs.
      What other islands in the Caribbean have you been to?

      Savita

  10. Hey Savita thank you for a great article and amazing photos.
    Many, many years ago (probably before you were born!) I did visit Harrison’s cave and I loved it.

    Now I want to visit again to swim with the turtles and go on the Party bus crawl..sounds like fun!… mmm… I can almost taste the rum! 🙂

  11. Great post and some good places to go and visit. Next time I am in Barbados I will visit these places. The last time I was there I did not visit all the places your mention. Love the water and the weather.

  12. Ahh, I would love to swim with the turtles! But I guess, I would scare them all away haha…
    But anyway, Barbados seems really interesting and amazing! It’s definitely a place I will visit in the future. There’s a lot of things you can do and many ways to have fun at Barbados.

    1. Hi Donny,

      I doubt you’ll scare them away 🙂 The guides actually encourage you to touch the turtle’s shells very gently, but don’t wiggle your fingers in front them, or they might think you are food.

      Savita

  13. Oh man the beaches look fabulous in Barbados. It’s on our travel list and hoping to visit next year.
    Oistins is already on or list and thanks for sharing all the other great site.
    In your opinion, when is the best time to visit for best beach weather?

  14. when i was reading your article from down here on the gold coast in australia (which has some of the best beaches in the world , no competition) I was thinking what could Barbados offer that i don’t already have on my own doorstep.
    then you mentioned the turtles.
    environmentalists here and the politically correct control freaks would never let tourists have that much fun here.

    1. haha! I definitely have to come check out your beaches! In Trinidad you’re not allowed to touch the turtles (leather back)either, but for good reason. If you’re lucky, during the hatching season, under supervision you’re allowed to help the babies get into the water 🙂

  15. Get out and meet the real people in Barbados..talk to them( friendliest people other than Newfoundlanders) ..go to a rum shop that is not touristy…shop the Cheapside market at 6am on a Saturday…go to the fishmarket and talk to the people preparing the fish…lots more to do…for the more adventurous, try scuba diving and discover the tranquil world beneath the sea ( Eco-Dive Barbados is wonderful for all ages)..

  16. Hi Savita,
    I really like the idea of traveling! I never have the time to travel, so it’s nice to read your site. I love the pictures and your content is really on the edge. Thank you!

  17. Ugh, its nearly midnight and snowing in dreary old London, and my Pot Noodle has gone cold. This was the perfect article to read before dropping off to sleep… thank you for reminding me that there is sun, and cake, out there somewhere x

  18. Man, Barbados looks like an incredible place. I think I would really love swimming with the turtles. I have always loved turtles ever since seeing a giant turtle in a movie called “The Neverending Story”. It was cool and I was impressed as a child 😀

    I am not going to lie – eating out and having drinks with my loved one and my friends is one of my favourite things to do and The Gap seems like the perfect place for that. I’d like to think of myself as a “lavish” person if I had the money ahha but for now I have to deal with the fact that budgeting gets tight… and can’t afford “lavish”… yet…

    Thanks for sharing!

  19. You make me want to explore Barbados right now! Great article and the visuals are awesome! This article is very inspiring for someone like me who loves to travel but do not have the resources as of yet. I will be checking in on your future travels. Good luck!

    1. Thank you!
      Hopefully, some of the future destinations will be an easy sell based on resources! I’m actually looking at doing some volunteering to help offset some of the costs! It also helps you experience the culture as a local.

  20. I love this post! Sounds like Barbados is perfect for honeymoon ideas. It is so beautiful and it seems like you had a wonderful experience!

  21. I have always wanted to go to Barbados, and your article made me want to go more, but it also made it feel like I was experiencing the trip myself. Great article.

  22. Hi Savita –
    This post is so inviting I want to pack up and go 🙂
    I love the Carribean but I’ve never been to Barbados. I’ve been in Asian shores too where I got to swim with colorful salt water but swimming with the turtles ?! That is totally new. Do they snap at you?
    The Party Bus is also very interesting and fun! Barbados will be our next destination. Thanks for your post!

    Gigi

    1. Glad that you enjoyed it! The turtles are harmless, just don’t wave your fingers in front them, they may think it’s food. The turtles are EVERYWHERE in Barbados.
      You’ll definitely enjoy Barbados!
      Savita.

  23. I love every place in the Caribbean! The bluer the water, the better! I haven’t had the opportunity to visit Barbados but it looks absolutely beautiful! How long of a flight is that from the US? Do you know if Barbados seems very wheelchair accessible?

    1. Barbados is one of the more developed islands in terms of tourism, so yes it’s pretty wheelchair accessible for all the major sites at least. Also, from Miami, a direct flight should be no more than 3 hours. It’s sunny all year round 🙂

  24. Hi Savita and thanks for the tips!
    I was planning to visit again the Caribbean Island, but after reading your post, you made my decision hang on Barbados definitely! I have been in Dominican Republic and I really enjoyed that, and I guess I will really enjoy even Barbados thanks to your tips!

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