Barbados: 25 Exciting Spots to Live the Authentic Caribbean Life
Updated On: November 07, 2023
Most of us think of pirates when the word Caribbean pops up in a conversation. Well, if you ever think of tracing the history of pirates, you’ll find their roots starting at Barbados island. And, they’re not just stories that we see in fictional books; they’re real. There may be a lot of intriguing details in the history of pirates, yet Barbados has more than just tales of pirates.
The Caribbean lands are famous for the opulence of coconut trees and magnificent tropical beaches. Thus, Barbados is an excellent destination if you love to spend your days soaking into the waters and sunbathing under the warm sun. Besides looking like a piece from heaven, it’s also a famous spot for surfing!
There is always something for everyone, and Barbados suffers no shortage when it comes to history. It was once under the British Empire for centuries until it claimed its independence back in 1966. This actually leaves room for many historical tales to be told besides those of the pirates, with Sam Lord and Stede Bonnet being the island’s most notorious pirates.
Have you ever seen a flying fish? If you’ve never been to Barbados, then you indeed haven’t. These rare fish species are capable of propelling themselves out of the sea at high speeds, appearing as they’re actually flying. Most of the restaurants also happen to serve them as their country’s national dish. You should definitely give it a try.
Rare wildlife is a common sight on this marvelous island; you’ll be introduced to a world of animals you never knew existed. With being home to the renowned Crop Over Festival and birthplace of rum, Barbados has endless attractions to offer. It should be on your to-do list or, even better, your next destination. Check out this fascinating list of all the things you can do on this superb island.
Step Back in Time at the Sunbury Plantation House
Taking a glimpse into a past life can induce many unusual sentiments. If you are a history buff, you may find interest in this Sunbury Plantation House. It belonged to an Irish/English planter, Matthew Chapman, who also happened to be among the island’s first settlers. This archaic house traces its way back to the 1600s.
Currently, tourists visit the place as a historical museum, where they observe lavishly old furniture pieces and fascinating antiques. The site also offers meals for its visitors to satisfy their cravings while touring the area.
Surf the Waves of Bathsheba Beach
Bathsheba Beach sits on the island’s east coast and is one of the prominent beaches in Barbados. The Soup Bowl is the highlight of this beach as it’s a paradise for surfers. It’s where international surfing competitions take place. The high waves made it a perfect spot for intensive surfing sessions, yet it’s a perfect place for swimming at all.
If surfing isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy the picturesque views. Capture some scenic landscapes and enjoy the breeze of fresh air while watching the surfers enthusiastically do their thing.
Take a Special Tour at the Mount Gay Rum Distilleries
Your Caribbean experience won’t be complete without visiting the Mount Gay Rum Distilleries. Barbados is well-known for being the birthplace of rum, so it only makes sense that you visit the producer of the world’s oldest rum.
On this special tour, you’ll be offered a range of exquisite cocktails that will take your taste buds on a special journey. You’ll also be walked through the history and heritage of this place that goes back around three centuries. Besides, you’ll realize that rum has played a significant role in shaping Caribbean history.
Ride an Electrical Tram into Harrison’s Cave
Harrison’s Cave is a natural phenomenon that attracts thousands of tourists every year. The cave became one of the most famous attractions in Barbados for its spectacular exhibition of natural formations that took thousands of years. Tourists access this cave riding a tram with a tour guide giving interesting information along the way.
At the lowest point of the cave, a streaming waterfall is found, hurling into a deep pool. The tourists can leave the tram at this point and walk around. There is also a Visitors’ Center built inside the cave with a special design to fit into the bedrock. It offers handicraft shops along with Amerindian artifacts.
Attend the Crop Over Festival
Music festivals have an energetic ambiance but imagine attending one on the tropical beaches? How fascinating! The Crop Over is a traditional festival that marks the end of the harvest season and lasts for three months long. It ends in August each year, with several carnival parades taking place throughout.
It’s a magnificent depiction of Barbadian music, culture, arts, and food. This festival is attended by a great number of people each year. Interestingly, pop star Rihanna also tends to go back to her home place, Barbados, to join the carnival spirit. So, make sure you attend this festival when visiting Barbados during the summer months.
Relax at Carlisle Bay
Carlisle Bay is the most prevalent beach in the capital city of Barbados, Bridgetown. Its crystal clear waters and soft sands have attracted people from different places. This spot is perfect for relaxation and enjoying uninterrupted moments of serenity. Swimming and snorkeling are among the popular activities on Carlisle Bay.
Many restaurants and bars line the shore of this beach, offering different food and beverages options. If you’d like to bite on some historic slices, you can take a diving trip where ancient shipwrecks rest. You will also explore a wide array of sea life while delving deeper into the waters.
Go Shopping at the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre
Barbados is not only about beach life; it also possesses modern spots where luxury loudly speaks. Located in the heart of Holetown, the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre is home to some of the world’s leading brands. It features stores of lavish clothing, jewelry, watches, and more. There’s also the Limegrove cinemas if you’re up to watching some of the latest movies on your trip.
Each level of the centre features a myriad of options of restaurants, ranging from light snacks to fancy dinners. The Fusion Rooftop Restaurant is the most prominent in the building, given its popularity for romantic evenings. Besides the culinary delights, there’s also an art gallery that exhibits the artwork of local and international artists.
Visit George Washington House & Museum
The George Washington House is a historical place where the first U.S. President, George Washington, stayed. His trip to Barbados with his ill brother was a famous tale; he was also 19 years old at that time. Currently, this building is an open museum for tourists where they can access most of it.
There are also secret tunnels that were coincidently discovered in 2011, and it’s accessible to tourists. Each floor of the house displays some basic furniture pieces that date way back in time. There are also interesting insights into how people used to live in the mid-1700s. Besides, there are exciting artifacts that narrate the history of slavery during those ancient times.
Observe the Green Monkeys in Barbados Wildlife Reserve
Zoos are popular for being a great family destination, but Barbados offers something much more interesting, a nature reserve. The Barbados Wildlife Reserve became a hot tourist destination. It features a myriad range of animals, including peacocks, caiman, and brocket deers. Some of them that not even be found anywhere outside this island, like the green monkeys.
You actually read that right; they have slightly green-colored bodies. The monkeys usually come around during afternoons as it’s their feeding time. Since it’s not a zoo, many animals have the freedom to leave and come back later. The reserve is there to offer a close-range observation of these animals while also feeding and interacting with them.
Walk through the Paradise of Hunte’s Gardens
One of the top attractions in Barbados is Hunte’s Gardens. You will walk through exuberant landscapes that will please your eyes with the blend of greenery and colorful flora. The gardens feature a wide array of tropical flowers, foliage, and trees. It presents different species of fauna that beautifully embellish the area. The Hunte’s Garden is an excellent destination for nature lovers.
Visit the On the Wall Art Gallery
For all the art lovers out there, this place is calling you, On the Wall Art Gallery. Lying in the heart of Holetown, this gallery features some nice Caribbean artworks. These works of art are painted by local and international artists. You will also find splendid fine craft that Caribbean artisans gifted to the gallery. Besides the amazing paintings and artworks, there’s a great restaurant on the premises that offers joyful meals to fill your cravings with.
Discover the Animal Flower Cave
Caves are amazing natural wonders that attract tourists and visitors from all over the world. The Animal Flower Cave is a premier attraction in Barbados that’s worth visiting. It sits in the northernmost point of Barbados in St. Lucy’s parish. The cave encompasses pools of waters deep enough for swimmers to soak themselves in.
The best part is the cave’s several openings that overlook the sea, adding to the cave’s tremendous beauty. It’s popular for being home to some turtles and lizards; you may spot one here or there while exploring the cave. The accumulation of natural minerals, like iron and copper, left the walls with colorful formations.
Walk Along the Barbados Boardwalk
This boardwalk stretches along the sea and is one of the most popular destinations in Barbados. Given its strategic location on the sea, it offers panoramic views and picturesque scenes. Its friendly ambiance makes it suitable for everyone of all ages. You can simply rest on the seats by the beach and enjoy the breeze. Walking and jogging are also popular activities to partake in if you wish.
Tour the Flower Forest Botanical Gardens
Lush gardens never end in Barbados, and nothing can compete with the one that lies in the heart of the countryside. The Flower Forest is a popular natural park that stretches over 53 acres of land. Exotic flowers and tropical trees blossom all year long, creating bright scenes thanks to the diversity of colors.
The forest encompasses a restaurant on the premises that offers delicious dishes with tropical flavors. Also, special events and weddings are hosted in the area. The region adds a perfect touch to the photos of this big day.
Escape into Nature at Farley Hills National Park
Farley Hills is one of the best spots in Barbados that many visitors flock to each year. The vast lands of greenery and nature are breathtaking to observe, thanks to the mahogany trees that accentuate the region. Besides the amazing natural landscapes, there’s also the renowned Farley Hill House.
The mansion sits high up on the hill at a point where you can overlook the Atlantic coast. Its location makes for a great spot to observe fantastic sceneries from a high point. Although it’s in ruins right now, it still has its own charm. The area’s ambiance is perfect for morning picnics under the lush trees.
Go Cycling in St. Lawrence Gap
St. Lawrence Gap stretches for a few kilometers, where several restaurants and retail stores line the road. This region is famous for its lively nightlife and its multicultural spots. Cycling happens to be one of the most famous activities in this area.
Barbados is an island meant to be discovered on two wheels. Thus, biking tours are made to explore the Caribbean lands while getting some workouts in your day. Also, the abundance of mountains and cliffs paved the way for this energetic activity.
Tour the St. Nicholas Abbey
One of the most famous destinations that you should add to your Caribbean itinerary is St. Nicholas Abbey, another famous place for rum. It’s one of the finest liquor manufacturers in Barbados that has remained well-maintained since its establishment in the 17th century. You’ll be tasting some delicious samples of liquor and rum while touring around the region.
Besides being a famous distillery, St. Nicholas Abbey is famous for being one of the oldest working plantations. Enormous trees cover the surrounding lands, accentuating the whole area, with St. Nicholas Abbey proudly standing in the middle of all the lush trees. The serene ambiance of this spot makes it hard for you to leave.
Watch a Horserace at Garrison Savannah Historic Area
Bridgetown city is a lively spot in Barbados and one that attracts tourists to its iconic landmarks. Garrison Savannah is one of the most famous historic areas in the city. It’s always been popular for its racing tracks that host horseraces for so many years.
This place is suitable for those who are looking to try a new experience. Betting on horses doesn’t require being a professional connoisseur analyst. All it takes is for you to bet and chill while waiting for the final results. Meanwhile, you can grab some hot snacks to fill up your stomach while watching the interesting show.
Indulge in a Satiating Meat at Oistins Fish Fry
Oistins is a popular fishing village in Barbados, and its iconic Fish Fry has made it a must-visit spot. This place is always crowded with tourists and locals, where they feast on appetizing meals that include premium fish, lobsters, and more. Not to mention the delicious rum they serve along with the meals.
Besides the great food, the atmosphere of this place is very lively. Great music plays in the playground, where many people weigh in and take the dance floor by storm. Whether you’re a great dancer or not, you can always step onto the dance floor and show off your best moves. The area also includes stalls where you can buy craft items, clothing, paintings, and other souvenir gifts.
See the Historic Morgan Lewis Windmill
The Morgan Lewis Windmill is one of the last two sugar mills remaining intact around the Caribbean lands. Located on the eastern coastline of Barbados, it overlooks amazing landscapes that you can enjoy. The windmill has stopped operating for many years, yet the Barbados National Trust demonstrates cane juice production every now and then.
The landscapes surrounding this historic mill are breathtaking. You can stroll around and observe the great sceneries offered. Exploring the mill from the inside is allowed, whether with a guided tour or on your own. Thus, you may take a look inside and have a glimpse into a bygone era.
Take a Stroll Around Folkestone Marine Park & Museum
Isn’t it really exciting when one spot embraces a variety of things to do and see? Well, Folkestone is here to save you some time while providing some fun activities. It’s located a few minutes away from the northern part of Holetown, so it’s really easy to reach. The area encompasses a marine park as well as a museum.
While Barbados is home to several parks, this one, in particular, is quite unique. It features an artificial coral reef and other underwater exhibits, which adds more fun to your snorkeling experience. There are also other water-sports to engage in, including kayaking and paddle boarding. As for the museum, it’s one of the great features to explore, featuring a great aquarium and rare aqua life species to see.
Stop by Queen’s Park
Bridgetown is home to the renowned Queen’s Park, where the main house, that dates back to 1783, is located. This park is not only a great place to relax at, but it’s also a spot where history happened. The main house on the grounds used to be that of the King. Moreover, it’s where the Commanding Officer of the British Troops resided.
Nowadays, this area serves as a designated park, where people can enjoy the lovely ambiance. It also includes a play park, washroom facilities, and Barbados Solar House. This house is open for guests to explore. It showcases the significance of renewable energy and how Barbados puts it into use.
Visit Andromeda Botanic Gardens
Exotic flower species can be found in different places in Barbados. It’s a land where magnificent forms of nature take place. One of the great places to explore a whole new world of flora and faunas is Andromeda Botanic Gardens. This lush green land is located in the popular village of Bathsheba.
The garden stretches over 6 acres of land, featuring a magnificent array of tropical trees, shrubs, and flora species. Moreover, beautiful cascades of water stream in between the greenery and colorful flowers. It’s one of the best spots to take a walk in nature, enjoying the fresh breeze and wonderful sightseeings of the ocean.
Explore Barbados Museum and Historical Society
Museums are important buildings where many layers of history are hidden within the archaic walls. Barbados Museums is no exception; it’s home to several historical tales that are equally interesting and intimidating. This building was formerly the British Military Prison, where many daunting events took place.
Nowadays, the building is a museum that features a great collection of the country’s history. It holds a variety of artifacts that date back to the Caribbean early settlers. Since Barbados has a profound coral structure, it needs a deep description of how things became what we see today. Thus, a natural history display of that structure is part of the museum’s activities.
Since the museum is highly concerned with the country’s history and heritage, the exciting news doesn’t end here. In fact, it also features an 18th-century plantation that is kept intact to our modern days. You can also find displays of a rare collection of historical maps of the country. If you’re on a family trip, you can accompany your children to Yesterday’s Children’s Gallery on the grounds. It takes them on a quick and exciting journey into history.
Walk through Nature in Welchman Hall Gully
Welchman Hall Gully is a hot destination that lies in the heart of Barbados. This area stretches for several miles, where several tropical trees and plants are scattered over the area. Not only is it a tropical forest, but it’s also home to some unique plants that won’t be found elsewhere around the planet.
The best part is that rare green monkeys freely roam the forest, where you can occasionally spot them. They’re fed during the mornings, and shelters are provided; however, they are free to leave and come back as they wish.
Besides the great wildlife and lush rainforest, signs of collapsed caves fill the region. The remains of stalagmites and stalactites bear a great resemblance to that of the renowned Harrison’s Cave. You can find paved trails and paths to ease the walking process for visitors.