Wondering what to do in Barbados? We thought so. Here are our top 10 things to do on the island, by members of our team who’ve visited recently.
1. Swim with giant turtles in the Caribbean Sea
The clarity and calm of the waters here make them perfect for snorkelling. An encounter with leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles that live just off the shore is a ‘must-do’ experience.
Almost every west coast hotel will offer a trip out to see the turtles. Additionally, you’ll probably find many complimentary watersports and snorkelling equipment offered.
In the Know: At Fairmont Royal Pavilion, the kids’ club’s ‘snorkelling with turtles’ activity includes information on their protection.
2. See the north and east coast
If you’re on a luxury Barbados holiday, it’s likely that you’ll be staying on the glamorous west coast or in the lively south.
However, this doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to see elsewhere on the island. Far from it! An island safari in an open-top jeep is a great way to see more of the rugged landscapes of the north and east. This certainly adds to a more exciting Barbados holiday.
One of our team stayed at The Atlantis a few years ago and still remembers it fondly:
“We were wowed by the east coast after years of staying on the west coast. That side of the island is so completely different. It’s rugged and beautiful; like something out of Jurassic Park!”
In the Know: Bathsheba Beach is well worth a stop. It was named one of the ‘Most Beautiful Beaches in the World’ by the readers of Condé Nast Traveller.
3. Check out Oistins Fish Fry
If you’re in Barbados on a Friday evening, the fishing town of Oistins really is the place to be.
Home to a fish market during the daytime, the place comes alive on Friday and Saturday evenings. Dozens of barbecue stalls open, sound systems are cranked up, and tables and chairs are placed anywhere they can fit for an authentic fish fry.
The place comes alive on Friday and Saturday evenings when dozens of barbecue stalls open.
Try mahi-mahi (known as Dolphin in Barbados), lobster and barbecued red snapper. However, don’t miss the classic Caribbean accompaniments like plantain and rice and peas.
However, one of the best things to do with your time at Oistins Fish Fry is soak up the atmosphere. Enjoy the vibe and get a feel for the place by partaking in that essential holiday experience – people watching.
In the Know: Many hotels run shuttles and boat transfers – such is the feeling that this is a must-do experience whilst in Barbados.
4. Discover the ‘Concorde Experience’
The aviation history of Barbados is linked closely to flight’s most incredible creation: Concorde.
At the island’s Barbados Concorde Experience guests can discover what it would have been like to fly on the supersonic craft thanks to its resident British Airways Concorde G-BOAE. Once into the hangar at the Grantley Adams Airport, you’ll be able to go inside a Concorde, experience the luxuriant seating and understand the history of the Concorde. For those wanting to remember this Barbados experience, there is also a souvenir shop.
At the island’s Barbados Concorde Experience guests can discover what it would have been like to fly on the supersonic craft.
5. Encounter the beauty of naturally formed caves
A national treasure, we highly recommend experiencing life beneath the earth’s surface in Barbados. Amble through the lit pathways of Harrison’s Caves with its stalactites, stalagmites and underground pools.
Elsewhere, you might like to explore the beautiful Animal Flower Cave right at the north of the island. We think this is a must-see and do activity when in Barbados.
The Animal Flower cave, in the St Lucy parish, is so named because of all the sea anemones that are found in its pools. As well as being great to look at, some of the pools are so deep you can even swim in them. Not only that, the views from inside the caves to the outside offer some real Instagrammable photograph opportunities.
In the Know: Don’t miss out on some of the best lemonade on the whole of the island at the beautiful clifftop bar and restaurant here.
6. Go rum tasting
Could you really go on holiday and not have this on your list of top Barbados experiences to do (or drink)?
Many believe Barbados to be the birthplace of rum. Having been founded in 1703, the Mount Gay Rum Distillery is thought to produce the world’s oldest rum recipe. If you don’t have time to take the tour, then a rum punch from your hotel bar is a ‘must’, or a slice of rum cake for non-drinkers.
Founded in 1703, the Mount Gay Rum Distillery is thought to produce the world’s oldest rum recipe.
Another great distillery to visit would be St. Nicholas Abbey. As well as being a rum distillery it is also a plantation house and museum.
If staying at Cobbler’s Cove, the hotel’s own rum punch blend is renowned as one of the best on the island. Imagine a delicious blend of spices and generous measure of the local spirit.
In the Know: If you are going to St. Nicholas Abbey, don’t miss out on stunning views of the Barbados coastline by scaling Cherry Tree Hill.
7. Sip a cocktail at sunset
Speaking of cocktails, they are the perfect accompaniment to the legendary sunsets you’ll have the joy of watching if you spend an evening or two on the Barbados West Coast. As well as the glamour and host of luxury hotels, its sunsets are one of the best Barbados experiences you can enjoy.
From adult-only idylls like The House by Elegant Hotels to classic settings such as that of Harold’s Bar at the Sandpiper, there are dozens of spots to choose from for a quintessentially Bajan ‘sundowner’.
Other Shores’ Natalie Russell Blackburn-Perkins visited The Sandpiper following extensive renovations and reported back:
“The new infinity-edge pool offers a perfect spot for gazing out to sea with a cocktail in hand. Harold’s Bar has now been extended onto a large seafront terrace where guests can enjoy the signature rum punches in style.”
8. Luxury shopping in Lime Grove
If you’re looking to pick up more than a few standard souvenirs while on holiday, the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre in Holetown is perfect for duty-free designer names, such as Ralph Lauren, Burberry and Louis Vuitton… Bond Street eat your heart out.
This exclusive shopping centre is also a great place to enjoy a bite to eat and people watch. Sharon Williams, an Other Shores Travel Specialist who visits Barbados for her own holidays year on year recommends “the Lime Bar at Limegrove Lifestyle Centre for a Bajan lemonade.”
9. Sunday Brunch
Something of an institution at many Barbados hotels, Sunday Brunch is a decadent ‘must do’ experience for any foodie holidaymaker.
The most famous of them all is Sandy Lane’s incredible weekly buffet. With over 55 options available including island chicken curry, Bajan macaroni pie and mahi mahi ceviche you won’t be stuck for choice.
On a family holiday to the island Inspiring Travel Company’s Chairman Jennifer Atkinson went for brunch here and was blown away:
“Such abundance of delicious food, always of the highest quality and accompanied by service that’s second to none. I’d recommend booking brunch here as a special treat even if you’re staying elsewhere on the island.”
10. Dine in style
As well as cook-outs and fish fries, Barbados is notable for its wealth of fine-dining restaurants, many of which are internationally renowned. One place that always stands out is The Cliff, which Other Shores’ Alexis Sharples was lucky enough to dine at on her honeymoon:
“We had cocktails on arrival, an incredible table with sea views and some of the finest food I’ve eaten anywhere in the world.”
In the Know: Demand is high for a table at The Cliff so make sure to book well in advance.
Those are just a few of our favourite things to do in Barbados, though there are plenty more activities to choose from, of course. The island is perfect for honeymoons, grown-up getaways and family holidays alike, so there really is something to keep everyone entertained.
Have we missed one of your favourites? Let us know if there’s something we should add to our itinerary next time we head out to the Caribbean.