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!