Planning how to travel to Barbados? Have you considered the best places you visit? The things you plan on doing in order to have a wonderful time? We have provided the top attractions in Barbados, amazing things you can do there and how to get around once you are in Barbados.
Barbados is a small island country in the south-eastern Caribbean Sea. It is surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. A lot of adventures awaits anyone who plans on visiting the Island. From those who want to relax and explore, to those who crave to taste the delicious foods of the island, the adventurous ones, and those who want to have a feel of history. Barbados is filled with history, the arts, nightlife, fine dining, things to do and even luxury living.
Barbados can easily be described as one of the most beautiful and unspoilt islands of the Lesser Antilles. It is surrounded by unblemished sandy beaches, crystal-clear water and inhabited with an endless amount of friendly people, the island continues to boast of a rich culture. It has earned a huge reputation for being an ultimate tourist destination as tourism is one of the largest sources of revenue for the country.
The main language of Barbados is English but bajan dialect (broken English) is widely spoken as it is almost a natural way of life. Barbadians are for the most part friendly and quick to assist visitors to the island. One of the often stated reasons why Barbados is so popular is because of its happy people.
While Barbados is encircled by many gorgeous beaches, it’s also known for much more. From fantastic snorkeling and delicious cuisine to world-class rum and rich culture, there’s something that appeals to every type of traveler while spending time on this gem of an island.
The weather and beautiful beaches are amongst the many wonderful things Barbados has to offer. However, visitors to the island will tell you that it’s the food and rum that keeps them coming back for more. Barbados does indeed have wonderful culinary offerings. Rum never tastes better than it does in Barbados.
Regarded as the culinary island of the Caribbean, excellent food and rum are the essence of Barbados culture. They are celebrated annually through the Barbados Food and Rum Festival. Visitors flock to the island year after year to participate.
Lounge on the idyllic island shores, taste the vibrant flavors of the Caribbean, and enjoy a thrilling aquatic adventure while spending time in Barbados. Here are some of the aspects of Barbados that make this such an exciting Caribbean destination.
Places to Visit in Barbados
Bridgetown is the capital and largest city in Barbados. It is known for its British colonial architecture, 17th-century garrison and horse race track. Bridgetown serves as a principal center of commercial activity in Barbados, as well as a central hub for the island’s public transport system. The city reflects a mix of the old and the new, with historic sites and buildings sitting amongst modern structures. Many of the ministries and departments of the island’s government are located within the Greater Bridgetown area.
The city has access to daily flights via the island’s Airport the Sir Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) and the Bridgetown Port (or “Deep Water Harbour” as it is also known) is the major port of entry for cruise and cargo ships docking in Barbados. It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From all-inclusive five-star resorts to stylish apartments and cozy guesthouses, there’s no shortage of great places to stay near Bridgetown. Staying close to the city means the activities, shopping and historical highlights are all on your doorstep, not to mention the mouth-watering restaurants and buzzing nightlife, with the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea just moments away.
Some of the glorious beaches of Bridgetown are Browne’s Beach, Pebbles Beach and the famous Carlisle Bay, which are perfect for soaking up the sun. Sightseeing highlights include Garrison Savannah and the Careenage, and sports fans will love the Kensington Oval for some world class cricket. Enjoy the buzz and bustle of St Lawrence Gap, explore the Barbados Museum, and shop till you drop at Pelican Craft Centre or Sheraton Mall, before tucking into some fine-dining, Barbados style. And why not book a Rum Factory tour at the Mount Gay Visitors Centre? This is the birthplace of rum after all!
The village of Bathsheba, on the east coastline of Barbados, is home to a small community of fishing folk and their families. It is a hideaway for tourists where they can breathe in the fresh air, soak in the invigorating Bathsheba Pools and feel alive. The village is strikingly beautiful with wide white sand beaches that stretch across the coastline. Along the coasts are guest houses, local rum shops and restaurants.
The dramatic east coast scenery, low-key atmosphere and windswept beaches make it quite the contrast to more popular regions of Barbados, but a great place to relax and unwind, surf, take long beach walks and enjoy the local lifestyle. There are several small churches to visit, botanical gardens, rainforest nature trails and look out points that offer views across the island.
Although swimming might not be an option, the ‘Soup Bowl’ at Bathsheba is a surfing hotspot and the site of many local and international surfing competitions. It’s named after the foamy surf that predominates here and is generally accepted as the best surfing site in the Caribbean. This is a great place to surf, with steady big rollers coasting in across the Atlantic Ocean.
One of the highlights of a stay in Bathsheba, however, is its tropical vegetation with a number of gardens showcasing the rich biodiversity of the area. Be sure to make a stop at Bathsheba Park, a great spot for a picnic, picture-taking and just enjoying this amazing place. And as you leave Bathsheba visit the Hillcrest Community Centre for stunning coastline views.
Holetown is located in the parish of Saint James on the sheltered west coast of Barbados. Holetown is known for its understated but exclusive atmosphere, good shopping and restaurants, and white sandy beach lapped by clear, calm waters. With upmarket hotels, a local marine park, and a scenic boardwalk, it makes a good base for a tranquil break relaxing on the beach, dining like a king, or snorkeling, diving or kayaking in azure waters.
Barbados is renowned for being one of the friendliest islands in the Caribbean, and if you’ve ever been to Holetown you’ll understand why. The chic location offers some of the best bars, restaurants, and beaches on the island. While the people provide the good vibes.
Holetown benefits from some of the best white sand beaches on the island. Tranquil sea conditions at Holetown Beach make it the perfect spot for sun bathing. The beach here is safe for swimming and a popular spot for kayaking, waterskiing and jet skiing. You can also take a tour in a glass-bottom boat, snorkel with turtles, or try stand-up paddle boarding.
Holetown really comes to life however, in February during the Holetown Festival, a week-long celebration that includes street fairs and parades, nightly shows, live music, history talks, bus tours and crafts, as well as lots of vibrant costumes, good cheer and Bajan fun.
Oistins is a major fishing community in Barbados with a modern fishing market. At the Oistins fish market you’ll get the freshest fish, caught and brought to the jetty by the fishermen then skillfully skinned, cleaned and portioned by the vendors. Miami Beach is right next door to Oistins fishing village.
You can choose from tuna, swordfish, marlin, mahi-mahi, flying fish, lobster, fish cakes or chicken fried or grilled and served with rice or sweet potato, macaroni pie, breadfruit or cou cou (cornmeal and okra) all of it cooked right in front of you in giant pans. There’s plenty of informal seating, and even tables along the water’s edge where you can dip your toes in the water as you eat.
Held in Oistins usually over the Easter weekend, the Oistins Fish Festival celebrates the contribution made to Barbados by persons in the local fishing industry. The festival is a unique attraction that offers fun and entertainment for both locals and visitors alike.
Located along the north-west coast of Barbados, Speightstown is one of the island’s major towns and boasts a long and intriguing history. The town is home to several beautiful beaches which tend to be less busy than others along this popular coast.
A little more characterful than the surrounding communities, Speightstown is Barbados’ second largest town and a lively west coast hub. It was once a thriving trade port and its streets are lined with colonial-era architecture, its marina full of yachts, and its long, white, sandy beaches dotted with snack stalls and sun worshippers. Street vendors sell fruit and vegetables, fishermen mend nets and unload their catch, and visitors stroll the Esplanade. Although Speightstown is a little grittier than Barbados’ upmarket resort districts, what it lacks in glitz it more than makes up for in local charm.
Much of the character of Speightstown can be found in its architecture – historic buildings dating back to the early settlement of Barbados alongside modern buildings reflecting a developing nation – and in its people – the sidewalk vendors offering fresh fruits and vegetables, the fishermen unloading their catch along the jetty, local characters hanging out at the Esplanade and friendly sales staff in modern shops and restaurants.
Once one of Barbados’s busiest ports, Speightstown has undergone a renaissance of sorts and is once again an active and vibrant town while still maintaining a colonial charm.
Hotel Recommendations for Barbados
Things to do in Barbados
1. Visit the Turquoise Beaches in Barbados
It’s no secret that Barbados is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The serene Caribbean coast on the west is famed for its aquamarine waters and soft sands, while the wilder beaches in Barbados on the east coast are exhilarating to visit, with big rollers and dramatic scenery.
Choose from quiet, secluded stretches of sand to the chic beaches of the Platinum Coast in the west, lined with classy restaurants and cool bars. Near the bustling little capital, Bridgetown, you’ll find Carlisle Bay, a beach with a quieter section as well as a livelier area for watersports and beach bars.
On the southern edge of the island, Crane Beach dazzles with its slightly pink sands, backed by giant cliffs. Wade into the azure water for some exciting snorkeling over the coral reef here, or simply enjoy a cooling dip.
Head to the Atlantic side of the island, where you’ll uncover sweeping natural beauty. Bathsheba Beach’s big waves make it a favorite for surfers but this is also a fantastic spot for a stroll along the shore, capturing photos of the rocky landscape.
2. Have an excellent experience snorkeling
One of the top things that Barbados is known for is its snorkeling. With impressive visibility, warm waters, and a diverse array of marine life, the conditions for snorkeling in Barbados are ideal.
Discover the enthralling underwater world with opportunities to explore shipwrecks, see schools of exotic tropical fish, squid, and sea stars. Sea turtles are common around the island’s coast, and you’ll often spot one gliding gracefully through the blue.
Take your fins and mask to the west coast’s tranquil Gibbs Beach, a popular destination with white sand and calm, clear, turquoise water, home to rainbow-hued parrotfish and needlefish, among others.
Explore the rich artificial reef at Folkestone Beach, where a shipwreck has become colonized by a wide array of marine life. Here, you could spot trumpet fish, parrotfish, the electric blue tang, and even moray eels. Drift above corals and sponges spanning the entire color spectrum in this designated marine park on the island’s west coast.
Crescent-shaped Carlisle Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is another great spot for wreck diving and snorkeling. No less than six shipwrecks lie at various depths, buoys helping to guide swimmers to the spot.
Glide above coral gardens near the Berwyn wreck, one of the most accessible wreck sites. Stingrays, barracuda, seahorses, squirrelfish, and purple shrimp are just some of the sea creatures you might view. Keep an eye out for green and Hawksbill sea turtles, too.
3. Tour the Historical Landmarks of Barbados
From quaint churches to old sugar mills and UNESCO World Heritage sites, Barbados has a rich architectural heritage.
Visit the 17th century St. John’s Parish Church, holding the title as the oldest church on the island. The Gothic-inspired church was destroyed several times over the years by hurricanes and reconstructed for the last time in the 19th century. Marvel at the rippling color filtering through the stained glass windows, the elegant curved staircase, and intricately carved wooden altar.
Outside, you’ll find one of the oldest sundials on the island, near the graveyard. You can also see the tomb of Ferdinando Paleologus, thought to be a descendant of the brother of Constantine The Great, the last Christian emperor of Constantinople, now Istanbul.
Venture to the George Washington House and Museum, another historical landmark, located in St. Michael’s parish, just south of Bridgetown. Referred to as the “Bush Hill House”, this plantation home was the residence of George Washington and his brother in the early 1750s. The property was sold to the British army after Washington left but is open to the public. You can also explore the tunnels once used as an escape route for the troops housed here.
Tour the grounds of the historic Gun Hill Signal Station, built in 1818 to warn about approaching vessels and threats. Since then, the signal station has served as a means of announcing anything from public information issued by the Council of Barbados to hurricane warnings.
Stroll the manicured grounds, adorned with tropical plants and flowers, to reach the signal station. Not surprisingly, you’ll have sweeping panoramic views from this historic vantage point, so it’s worth lingering a while in the café to enjoy the setting.
4. Explore the Sugar Plantations
Sugar cane is one of the island’s most important industries and historic plantations serve as important cultural landmarks. The first island settlers brought sugar to the island in the 15th century, exporting molasses, sugar, and rum to Britain. At one point, there were over 600 plantations on the island. Many of the restored plantation houses now house businesses, from distilleries to museums.
Explore St. Nicholas Abbey, where you can explore all facets of the island’s history and enjoy a rum tasting in an old plantation house, dating back over 350 years. Located near Speightstown, this property is more than a distillery; a Great House, orchards, and gardens sprawl across the grounds.
You’ll find artifacts and antiques from the 17th century in the Great House Museum, as well as opportunities to taste the estate’s small-batch rum in the distillery.
The Morgan Lewis Windmill in St. Andrew Parish, meanwhile, is the only undamaged and restored sugar mill in Barbados, and one of just two in the entire Caribbean. Historically, sugar cane was ground in the 18th and 19th centuries by this wind-powered mill.
Admire scenic views over the east coast, venture inside the mill and learn about its history and the production process, and relax with a snack at the café.
5. Have a Taste of the Delicious Cuisine
In addition to lush tropical scenery, Barbados is known for its delicious and eclectic culinary scene. Experience authentic culture and island flavor through the food of Barbados, influenced by Creole, Portuguese, and British cuisines, among others.
The national dish of Barbados is a must-try when visiting the island; flying fish is a key part of Bajan cuisine and is found on most menus. You’ll see it paired with cou cou, a cross between grits and polenta. Enjoy the fresh catch steamed, grilled, baked, pickled, or, the most popular method, fried. Order at the traditional Friday night Fish Fry, a lively event with music and food enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
Other culinary highlights that will make your trip to Barbados even more delicious are fish cakes, plantains, roti (flatbread stuffed with seasoned meat), black cake (delicious, rum-infused fruit cake), and macaroni pie, the Bajan equivalent to macaroni and cheese. You’ll find peas ‘n’ rice everywhere, too, which is strictly black-eyed beans and rice, spiced up with smoky chili peppers and served with everything.
Don’t miss out on the island’s superb fruit, either. You’ll find mangoes bigger and sweeter than you’d ever have imagined, as well as bananas, passionfruit, guava, cherries, melon, and soursop.
6. Drink the World Class Rum of the Barbadians
Barbados has produced high-quality rum at the famous Mount Gay Distillery since the early 18th century. Embark on a tour of the distillery where you can learn about the history and production of this delicious liquor, said to be the oldest rum in the world. Taste the varieties, such as the favorite Mount Gay Rum Extra Old and Mount Gay Black Barrel.
There will also be a chance to try the celebrated rum punch, the island’s most famous cocktail. Refreshing, potent, and irresistible at the same time, the local recipe is a mix of rum, lime juice, simple syrup, bitters, and either passion fruit juice or water, served over ice
7. Head to the Barbados Wildlife Reserve
The mahogany forest of the Barbados Wildlife Reserve is home to a large troop of 45 Barbadian Green Monkeys and a reserved natural habitat for a number of other wildlife—Brocket Deer and Mara, Tortoises, Caiman, a variety of South American snakes, an endangered species of Cuban Iguanas, macaws, colorful Peacocks and their hens.
Head to the Barbados Wildlife Reserve in the north of the island to view the cheeky, sweet-faced green monkeys, originally brought to Barbados from West Africa hundreds of years ago. The monkeys have been on the island so long that they have evolved over the generations to present different characteristics from their African ancestors.
Although you might spot green monkeys scampering through the trees around the island, the four-acre wildlife reserve is a fantastic place to watch them up close in their natural environment. Look out for babies, too, clinging to their mothers.
8. Superb Shopping
Barbados produces arts and crafts of high quality, as well as gourmet items that make wonderful gifts and souvenirs. Whether you’re in search of Caribbean rum, spices and alcohol-infused fruit cake, or hand-crafted pottery, there’s a perfect island token for everyone. Ideal souvenirs include sweet tamarind balls, coconut bread, or classic Bajan Pepper Sauce to bring the flavors of the tropics home, as well as rum.
Peruse the stalls at the lively Bridgetown Market on the weekends. Here, you can taste locally grown fruits and vegetables, browse clothing, jewelry, and authentic Caribbean crafts. Head to the south coast, where you’ll find art galleries and craft shops in the popular Crane Village. Every Wednesday, the village is host to a large market selling traditional culinary items, arts and crafts, and jewelry.
Or for designer fashions, jewelry and beauty products, head to Holetown’s Limegrove Lifestyle Center, a one-stop shopping and dining destination.
Watch the YouTube video below by Travelmoji to explore other amazing things to do in Barbados
Getting Around Barbados
Barbados’ bus transportation is a great way to see the island. This is possibly your cheapest mode of transportation as it costs a mere $3.50 every time you get on board one of these buses. All buses on the island have designated routes from which you can choose your destination.
You can take a taxi which may prove to be more of a personalized trip as your well versed taxi driver will responsibly take you where you need to go. Rates on the island vary but for the most part, are reasonable.
For those who want to sit back and relax in the air-conditioned comfort of a tour bus, that is a favorable option as well. Most tour buses on the island are equipped with storage and seating is set at the ideal height which is perfect for you to take in as many sights as possible while scanning these fields and hills we call our own. Bookings can be made through your hotel or by directly contacting the tour company.
The true and full appreciators of nature will certainly embrace renting a bike to get around as the exploration process can easily heighten at this level. Rentals are available as either daily or weekly rentals and can be made through your hotel or by directly contacting bike rental companies on the island.
Speaking of nature, an Island Safari Tour is an excellent way to get around Barbados as well. These 4×4 island tours expose you to the natural side and in some instances, the unreachable areas of Barbados.
Traveling from Nigeria to Barbados
Visa and Passport
If you are travelling on a Nigerian passport, you will not need a visa to enter Barbados.
You may require a transit visa depending on which country your flight takes you through and how long you are in-transit. Be sure to confirm this with your airline.
You will require a valid passport and return ticket to be allowed entry into Barbados.
There are no direct flights between Nigeria and Barbados.
Most flights includes stops in either the UK, US or Canada.
Visit booking.com book your flight before you travel
On Thursday Sept 22nd, the Government of Barbados announced its changes to the travel entry protocols.
Barbados discontinued all COVID-19 related travel protocols. Therefore, there will be no testing requirements for entering Barbados whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated.
In addition, the wearing of masks generally will now be optional.
Visit Caribbean latest travel requirements covid-19 update to get more information on the covid-19 guidelines.
Also, visit our IC Caribbean shop to find all your vacation merchandise
Enjoy your vacation and stay safe!