If you’re ready to pack your sandals and sunglasses and get enchanted by a Caribbean vacation, then you’ve come to the right place.
Barbados is the beating heart of the Caribbean and is where the rhythmic beats of calypso music and the tantalizing aromas of Bajan cuisine fill the air, and where unspoiled beaches allure you.
For a small island, 34km in length and 23km in breadth, there are so many things to do in Barbados for visitors of all ages.
If you’re not sure what to do in Barbados, then keep reading to see our favorite activities!
- Is Barbados Worth Visiting?
- Things to Do in Barbados
- 1. Visit Barbados Wildlife Reserve
- 2. Take a night-time dive on a Submarine Tour
- 3. Ride the Harrison’s Cave Tram
- 4. Hit the Beaches!
- 5. Ride Around on An Island Safari in a 4 x 4 Land Cruiser
- 6. Swim in the Animal Flower Cave
- 7. Take a Catamaran Cruise of The Islands
- 8. Take A Walking Food Tour of Bridgetown
- 9. Tour Mount Gay Rum
- 10. Tour Banks Beer Brewery
- 11. Dine on Affordable & Top-Class Food
- 12. Embark on Black Pearl Jolly Roger Pirate Ship
- 13. Feast at Oistins Fish Fry Night
- 14. Visit The Garrison Savannah is a UNESCO World Heritage
- 15. Get A History Lesson at Sunbury Plantation House
- 16. Visit Arlington House Museum
- 17. Attend the Crop Over Festival
- 18. Get Cultured at Barbados Museum & Historical Society
- 19. Relax in Andromeda Botanic Gardens
- 20. See Views from Farley Hill National Park
- 21. Walk the Richard Haynes Boardwalk
- Where To Stay in Barbados
- Tips for Visiting Barbados
- Final Thoughts
- Other Caribbean Destinations you may love
- Pin to share on Pinterest
Is Barbados Worth Visiting?
“Woh, I’m going to visit Barbados, woh backa to the palm trees …”
Just the word Barbados sends us back to 1975 and the hit song “Barbados” by the British Band Typically Tropical.
A trip to Barbados conjures up images of swaying palm trees, turquoise clear seas, long silvery sandy beaches and cocktails at sunset, a tropical paradise in the Caribbean.
In 2016 CN Traveler voted Barbados as the number 2 most beautiful island in the Caribbean, and for good reason.
It boasts pure white sand beaches, a relaxed vibe, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and year-round tropical climate, so for these reasons and more, Barbados is a paradise worth visiting.
For three months we lived like a local enjoying all that Barbados had to offer.
It’s by no means a budget holiday, and most islands in the Carribean are expensive, and a Barbados vacation is one of them. Most goods are imported and even their fruit and vegetables are imported from the small island of St. Vincent nearby.
Things to Do in Barbados
Below are our tips on what to do in Barbados for kids, teens, couples, families and grandparents.
1. Visit Barbados Wildlife Reserve
Time your visit at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve for the 2pm feeding time, and children and adults will be thrilled to see the antics of some of the Green Monkeys.
They have been known to stand on the back of the tortoises at feeding time. These famous cheeky green monkeys and tortoises roam free through the reserve whilst caimans, iguanas and birds are housed in cages.
2. Take a night-time dive on a Submarine Tour
A 50-minute day or night-time dive with Atlantis Submarines takes you 160 feet to the bottom of the ocean just off the waters of Bridgetown the capital.
In our night time dive we saw colourful schools of fish, coral reefs and a shipwreck all under the powerful spotlights that Atlantis use.
Kids will love receiving their Atlantis Submarine Certificates at the end of the tour.
3. Ride the Harrison’s Cave Tram
Harrison’s Cave Tram Tour is a fascinating adventure for all ages and is one of the top Barbados attractions. The electric tram tours the mile long cave for an hour where waterfalls, streams, stalactites and stalagmites can be viewed.
The tram stops at certain spots along the way where you can get off to view the waterfalls and pools.
The fun part is the unexpected ‘cave showers’! There will be plenty of ooo’s and aaa’s along the way.
4. Hit the Beaches!
No trip to Barbados would be complete without basking on the beaches.
The South Coast of Barbados has tranquil beaches suitable for kids, especially our favourite, Worthing Beach.
Whilst the beaches along the rugged East Coast are more suited for surfers especially Bathsheba where International Surf Carnivals are held.
The East Coast has spectacular scenery, there are some great spots for picnics, or walks along the beach, but no swimming as the currents are too strong.
Crane Beach is a popular beach on the southeast coast and is widely considered the most beautiful beach on the island.
5. Ride Around on An Island Safari in a 4 x 4 Land Cruiser
Looking for the best things to do in Barbados for Teenagers?
Teens will enjoy an Island Safari in a 4 x 4 Land Cruiser, a guided tour around Barbados on and off-road with lunch included.
It’s a great day out for visiting hidden out of the way spots on Barbados.
6. Swim in the Animal Flower Cave
At the Animal Flower Cave, when the waters are calm, you can swim in the natural rock pools. The Animal Flower Cave is located at Barbados’s most northerly point.
Not only are there rock pools for swimming, but dramatic coastal views and a great spot for lunch.
It is not easy to visit the Animal Flower Cave by public transport, we would recommend visiting as part of a tour or hiring a rental car.
For teens that are keen to surf, the South Coast beaches are preferable to the rugged beaches of the East Coast.
7. Take a Catamaran Cruise of The Islands
One of the top things to do in Barbados is to get out on the water and explore its outlying islands.
If you’re traveling alone, this is one of the top activities we recommend.
A catamaran cruise in Barbados is a great way to meet other traveler’s or take one of the many round island tours.
Barbados is a safe destination, where English is spoken everywhere, and the local Bajan people are helpful and friendly, although their local dialect may have you wondering at times what on earth was just said.
One of the highlights of our visit was a 5-hour catamaran cruise which included snorkeling and lunch.
We had the opportunity to snorkel with the turtles and marine life in Carlisle Bay and enjoyed a snorkel around shipwrecks and a reef along the West Coast.
A buffet lunch was enjoyed as we moored off the beach of the luxurious Sandy Lane Hotel.
Beaches in Barbados are not private and everyone can enjoy them. At the Sandy Lane Hotel Beach you might even find yourself sharing the beach with the likes of Rhianna or Simon Cowell.
8. Take A Walking Food Tour of Bridgetown
If you enjoy experiencing local food, walking and history, then a 3-hour tour around Bridgetown should be high on your list with Lickrish Tours.
Our top tip is to have a light breakfast before joining the tour. Lickrish is a Bajan word for ‘to be greedy for food’.
What better way to enjoy Barbados’s national dish – Flying fish and Cou-cou made from cornmeal and okra – than at a local Bajan restaurant at the last stop of the tour.
Make sure you try breadfruit, another delicacy on the island.
Alternatively, try a flying fish sandwich at Flying Fish Cutter made with freshly baked salt bread.
Some other seafood dishes to try are marlin and mahi-mahi.
9. Tour Mount Gay Rum
Those looking for things to do in Barbados as a couple will enjoy a Rum and Food Pairing Tour at one of the world’s oldest Rum Distilleries – Mount Gay Rum.
Mount Gay Rum distillery is reputed to be the oldest in the world and it is said that it ‘is the rum that invented rum’.
The tour starts with a rum punch before learning about the history of rum in Barbados. After a short video and 3 rum tastings the 2nd part of the tour commences – the food and rum pairing.
Our small group became firm friends after more rum was consumed as cocktails were created to compliment the 3 courses that were of course made with rum.
10. Tour Banks Beer Brewery
If beer is more to your liking, the local Banks (Barbados) Brewery runs a tour 3 times a day from their facilities in Newton Road Bridgetown.
Not only do you learn about the history of Banks Beer in Barbados and how it is produced you can taste the popular lager whilst relaxing in the Visitors Centre Bar at the end of the tour.
After you enjoy your ice cold Banks Beer don’t forget to leave a comment on their wall.
11. Dine on Affordable & Top-Class Food
Barbados is well known for its international cuisine with restaurants offering exotic dishes from all over the world in some of the most stunning locations on the island.
Our 3 favourite restaurants are:
- The Tides – located in a stunning oceanfront setting in Holetown in the Parish of St. James, for modern cuisine
- Tapas in Hastings, along the Boardwalk in the Parish of Christ Church, for great Tapas dishes and local cuisine
- Sitar Indian Restaurant in Holetown, St James.
There are many restaurants to choose from to suit all tastes and budgets.
For the best Bajan Fish Cakes on the island a visit to Mr Delicious Snack Bar on Enterprise Beach Road near Oistins is a must. If you see a colourful truck on the beach you have found it, but be prepared to wait a bit.
12. Embark on Black Pearl Jolly Roger Pirate Ship
As well as the other Barbados activities we have mentioned above, a fun family activity is a lunchtime cruise on the Black Pearl Jolly Roger Pirate Ship.
As well as the sumptuous lunch buffet you can snorkel with the sea turtles, learn how to swing from a rope and walk the plank in pirate style – one of the most fun things to do in Barbados!
13. Feast at Oistins Fish Fry Night
Friday night is Fish Fry Night at Oistins, a village on the East side of the island. Head to the open-air Oistins Bay Garden marketplace opposites Oistins Fish Market for this evening activity that’s popular with families, visitors and locals alike.
You will find it as a ‘must do’ on most guides written about Barbados.
We were disappointed though; we thought it was expensive for a piece of fish, salad and macaroni pie thrown on a plastic plate with plastic utensils.
Friday night has entertainment and can be very busy, plan to arrive around 6.30.
14. Visit The Garrison Savannah is a UNESCO World Heritage
A Saturday afternoon at the Garrison Savannah Horse Races could be an enriching experience and a chance to have some down time from the family.
The Garrison Savannah is a UNESCO World Heritage site and was once the home to the British Forces.
The Savannah was originally used as a meeting place for wealthy plantation owners and the regiment where they would race their horses against each other.
Inside the site is The George Washington House, which should not be skipped. It’s said to be the very house where Washington is believed to have stayed during his visit in 1751.
Inside it’s now a museum with exhibits narrating the story of Washington’s journey and his impact on American history.
15. Get A History Lesson at Sunbury Plantation House
Sunbury Plantation House is one of the last remaining colonial Plantation houses on the island.
You can enjoy a tour of their collection of horse drawn carriages and the antique filled rooms of the house. Walk through mahogany lined rooms filled with treasures.
We enjoyed a buffet lunch at Sunbury as part of an Island Tour with Williams Tours.
You could also hire a car for the day to drive there.
16. Visit Arlington House Museum
In the town of Speightstown, you can learn about the history of Barbados at the Arlington House Museum.
This restored eighteenth-century building is packed with interactive exhibits that bring the past to life, allowing you to become a part of Barbados’ fascinating heritage.
Learn stories about the island’s people, their culture, and customs, it’s a place that shouldn’t be skipped if you want to learn more about the local community.
17. Attend the Crop Over Festival
If you happen to be visiting in Spring, be sure to attend the cultural celebration at the Crop Over Festival.
This centuries-old tradition has its roots in the island’s rich history and the resilience of its people.
Experience the infectious energy as you immerse yourself in the rhythmic beats of Calypso and Soca music, marvel at the elaborate costumes adorned by revelers, and indulge in mouthwatering Barbadian cuisine.
18. Get Cultured at Barbados Museum & Historical Society
Another UNESCO World Heritage Property on the island contains the Barbados Museum & Historical Society.
Inside the historic 19th-century military prison buildings, visitors can discover the compelling stories of Barbados and its people through a wide range of exhibits, artwork, and over 500,000 artifacts.
From social history to military conquests, the museum provides a comprehensive understanding of the island’s past.
19. Relax in Andromeda Botanic Gardens
The Andromeda Botanic Gardens is a magnificent eight-acre garden that’s a true paradise for nature enthusiasts.
Wander through lush pathways adorned with vibrant orchids, towering palms, and a plethora of exotic flora.
With its breathtaking vistas, soothing streams, and tranquil ponds, the Andromeda Botanic Gardens is a relaxing experience.
20. See Views from Farley Hill National Park
Perched high on a hill overlooking the rugged Atlantic coast, Farley Hill National Park is an enchanting destination.
Explore the ruins of a grand mansion, once frequented by royalty including King George V, and immerse yourself in the rich history and natural beauty of the park.
Have a picnic under the pagoda and take in the breathtaking vistas, serene ambiance and nature.
21. Walk the Richard Haynes Boardwalk
Take a leisurely stroll along the 1km Richard Haynes Boardwalk, that connects Camelot and Accra Beach on the south coast.
Take in breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea, enjoy the gentle sea breeze caressing your face, and marvel at the vibrant coastline.
Where To Stay in Barbados
Barbados offers a plethora of enticing options for accommodation. Whether you seek a luxurious beachfront resort or a cozy boutique hotel nestled amidst lush tropical gardens, Barbados has it all.
If tranquility is what you desire, consider staying in the serene east coast, where rugged cliffs meet the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
For those seeking vibrant nightlife and entertainment, the bustling west coast is the place to be.
There are a range of hotels to choose from to suit all budgets, here are some recommend accommodation choices:
- All Inclusive Hotels – Mango Bay, Turtle Beach and Sugar Bay
- Family Friendly Hotels – the Bougainvillea Beach Resort, the Tamarind Hotel by Elegant Hotels and the Colony Club
- Couples All Inclusive Hotels – Sandals Barbados, and The Club Barbados
Tips for Visiting Barbados
Before you go, be sure to follow these words of advice…
- High season is from mid December to mid April, it is the busiest time and also the most expensive time to travel.
- Hurricane season is from June through to November, prices are lower but it is the wettest time of the year to visit.
- Driving is on the left in Barbados.
- You can use public transport, the buses are easy to use and a great way to visit the beaches.
- Currency is Barbados Dollar. As of 2023, the exchange rate is BBD$1 = USD$0.50, which helps to keep the math simple!
Barbados is one of those Caribbean destinations that you keep returning too.
We spoke to many traveller’s and most of them where return visitors, they could not explain why, maybe it’s the people or the lure of the tropical island dream.
We hope this guide gave you some inspiration for what to do in Barbados and helped you plan your trip!
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- Reasons to visit Puerto Rico
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Can you share any tips on places to visit in Barbados or what to do in Barbados for first timers? Please share in the comments.