This article was originally published in May 2013 and updated in April 2018
Beautiful Barbados is known as the playground of the rich and famous, and for good reason. Stunning white sand beaches, perfect temperatures and piercing blue waters framed by swaying palm trees make nearly every vantage point postcard worthy, and there are plenty of things to do around the island even after the sun goes down. Adventure seekers love the water sports like scuba diving and snorkelling, while those who prefer a slower pace are content to soak in the sun on a lounger or explore the local markets. Add to that the friendly locals who won’t try to get more than a smile out of you, and it’s the perfect place to unwind and get away from it all. For those lucky enough to visit this special spot in the Caribbean, here are some of the top things to do during your trip to Barbados.
Places to visit in Barbados
A great way to see the top Barbados attractions is by renting a car, or hiring a private driver for an island tour which usually costs about $50 per hour plus tip.
While the south and west coasts boast sun-soaked beaches, the east coast is decidedly more rugged. A drive along the East Coast Road is a great way to take in the view, and you’ll see why surfers flock to this part of Barbados in search of epic waves. The Soup Bowl is also a popular spot, and the site of an annual international surfing competition. A quick stop in the capital of Bridgetown will give you a glimpse of city life, and many tourists make sure to stop at Harrisons Cave, where you can travel through winding, underground tunnels to check out the specially-lighted caverns. The hour-long tour will set adults back $25, while children cost $12.
Most drivers take their passengers on a route that includes Cherry Tree Hill for some breathtaking views, a stop at the Morgan Lewis Windmill (the last sugar windmill to operate in Barbados) and St John Parish Church. Shutterbugs will enjoy a jaunt around the parish property, as it offers some stunning gothic architecture and great views.
If you’re in town on a Friday night, be sure to head to Oistens which is home to the aptly-named Oistens Fish Fry. Every Friday night, locals and tourists head to the fishing town to grab a piping hot plate of fresh fish, cooked right on the spot. For about $15, you’ll get the catch of the day along with sides like macaroni salad (a Barbados specialty) and a cold beer. After chowing down, you can walk around the market and listen to live music while browsing the arts-and-crafts up for sale.
Of course the most popular pastime in Barbados to simply sit back and relax. Enjoy the glittering water by going for a scuba dive or snorkel, take a long walk on the beach, or simply order another pina colada to sip by the pool.
Where to stay in Barabados
First a warning: Barbados is not cheap. All-inclusives start at about $2500 per week, a figure which only goes up as you get into the more ritzy accommodations. However, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for, as the quality of food and drinks is much higher than you’ll find in many resorts in Cuba and the Dominican Republic for example, and the country is also extremely safe.
If budget is no concern, splurge on a stay at the luxurious Sandy Lane Hotel. A favourite of celebrities like Oprah and Tiger Woods, this $1000+ per night property has its own golf course and spa, and sits on an incredible piece of coastline. Sandy Lane Beach is THE place to go if you want to snorkel with giant sea turtles and stingrays—a highlight of any trip. The great thing about Barbados is that all of the beaches are public, meaning you don’t have to be staying at Sandy Lane to get access to its beach.
While whichever resort you stay at is likely to boast a fantastic waterfront, there are a few notable ones well worth the drive to get to. Crane Beach has been rated one of the top 10 beaches in the world, thanks to its dreamy pink sand, sparkling water and stunning scenery accented by rocky cliffs. The beach is accessible by a staircase or a glass-front elevator, which is joined to The Crane Residential Resort. Miami Beach is another popular option, located near the town of Oistens on the south tip of the island.
Other highly-rated Barbados accommodations are:
Turtle Beach Resort: Part of the Elegant Hotels group, this well-priced resort has huge rooms with gorgeous ocean views and easy beach access. Click here to book
The Sandpiper: Guests love the personalized service from staff at this boutique hotel, along with the well-appointed rooms and pool area. Click here to book
Sandals Barbabos: This resort gets big marks for the all-inclusive factor, as even tips and activities like water sports are included in room prices. Click here to book
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