According to statistics, there are over 680,000 tourists that visit Barbados every single year? Between flights and cruise ship arrivals, the country of Barbados welcomes visitors from across the world to explore, relax, and soak up the sunshine.
No matter your interests or abilities, there are many things to do in Barbados for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are celebrating a honeymoon, creating a memorable family vacation, or escaping work, you will enjoy the iconic turquoise waters and white, sandy beaches.
But did you know that Barbados offers much more than just hanging out on the beach? From mouth-watering barbeques to cultural experiences, many surprises are waiting for you to explore on this idyllic Caribbean island.
So the question is, what are the best things to do in Barbados? If you are there for a short vacation, you want to ensure you experience all that the country has to offer.
Keep on reading this extensive guide on all the places to go in Barbados to find out more!
1. Swim With the Turtles
Have you ever experienced swimming with turtles before? Swimming with sea turtles is something that everyone must experience at least once in their lives and is one of the best things to do in Barbados with kids.
Join on a boating day tour, where the captain will take you to the best places to find these gentle and friendly sea creatures. Then put on your life jacket and snorkel and get swimming! Barbados is home to the Leatherback and Hawksbill turtles, which are among the largest turtles in the world and can grow up to 2,000 pounds.
2. Join in on a Fish Fry With the Locals
A fish fry, also known as a barbeque, is one of the most favorite events for the locals. So there is nothing more cultural than joining in with the locals on a fun fish fry weekend party!
In Oistins, which is a small village on the south coast, there is a famous fish fry every Friday and Saturday evening. Here you will find multiple open-air stalls of BBQs grilling up a storm with freshly caught fish and local BBQ’d chicken.
That’s not all you will experience, you can then add in one of their popular side dishes such as baked potatoes, macaroni, and cheese, coleslaw, rice and peas, yams, or fries. At the end of the night, you will have a full belly, and a warm heart after supporting the locals and joining in on their festivities.
Try the flying fish sandwich, it is a local’s favorite!
3. Dance to Islander Music
After filling your belly at the fish fry, there is nothing more enjoyable than dancing it off to some vibrant islander music. Head to the West coast to Holetown where many bars are waiting for you to dance the night away.
Islander music is fun, upbeat, and very easy to dance to, so get your dancing shoes ready and go dance and mingle with the locals!
4. Go For a Hike
Barbados’ landscape has much more to offer than just stunning beaches, it also has a lush jungle with many diverse plants. This creates a perfect place for nature walking, hiking, exploring, and even camping.
Hire a guide or join in on the weekly Sunday hike sponsored by the Barbados National Trust. This is a casual 3-hour loop hike that will educate you on the diverse local landscape. If you are more active, there are intermediate hikes that cover 8-10 miles, and advanced hikes covering 12-14 miles at a faster pace.
5. Play Some Golf
If golfing is more your type of activity, try for a round of golf at one or all four of the golf clubs in Barbados. You can partake in either a 9 or 18 hole course at the Barbados Golf Club, Country Club at Sandy Lane, Almond Beach, or Royal Westmorland Golf Club.
Make sure you pack extra water and apply lots of sunscreens as it can be very hot midday in Barbados on the course.
6. Go Caving
Have you ever been underground in a cave before? If not, Barbados offers you a chance to experience the underground world of caving in Harrison’s Cave. This is one of the coolest Barbados destinations to discover, with stalagmites and stalactites galore!
You do not have to have any caving experience as you will be taken through on an electric tram as you tour over 2.5 kilometers of the limestone cavern. Prepare to be amazed at the size of this cave, and the unique shapes of the formations within it.
7. Explore Bridgetown
If you are ready to experience some culture, head over to the capital city of Bridgetown for a day of exploring the heart of Barbados. As you meander the streets, you will notice the history of when Barbados was an English Colony, with incredible colonial-style architecture.
Make sure you head over to the Parliament buildings to take photos of the magnificent Victorian neo-Gothic style architecture with statues of historical figures basking in the sun. Afterward, you can head to Broad st and get your shopping desires fulfilled with all the local vendors.
8. Go On a Rum Tour
If you are the legal drinking age, you cannot say you fully experienced Barbados unless you go on a rum drinking tour! Rum is the main alcohol in Barbados, and it is also home to Mount Gay which is the oldest distillery in the world, since 1703.
You will begin your tour at the visitor’s center of the Mount Gay headquarters, where you will learn about the history and process of rum manufacturing. Then you get to try different rum from various barrels in their distillery.
9. Go On a Sunset Cruise
One of the best things to do in Barbados is to climb aboard a luxury yacht and go on a sunset or day cruise. The day boats depart mid-day to allow you to go snorkeling, soak up the sunshine, and relax. These cruises include a full lunch, an open bar, and fun island music to enjoy.
If you are attending a sunset cruise, you will depart in the later afternoon as you sip on fine wine and enjoy the breathtaking sunsets that Barbados has to offer.
Traveling with your whole family? There is a cruise for that too! Climb aboard the pirate sunset cruise where you and your family can partake in pirate activities such as walking the plank and pretending to be pirates.
10. Relax In the Botanical Gardens
Both the Andromeda and Hunte’s botanical gardens in Barbados are truly a magical experience. These gardens were designed specifically to offer you a sensory experience with vibrant orchids, yellow-tipped craboo trees, and other rare and exotic plants.
Stroll along the marked pathways as you admire the trees soaring above your head, the scents of the flowers satisfying your nose, and the vibrancy of the colors along your way. Stop on one of the many benches to rest as you listen to the tropical birds singing their favorite songs to you.
11. Visit George Washington’s House
George Washington, the first-ever president of the United States, used to visit the country of Barbados in 1751 to see his half-brother who was suffering from tuberculosis.
Their beautiful two-leveled house is now a museum that displayed artifacts from the 18th century such as chamber pots, mosquito netting, and other medical devices from those times.
12. Take a Cruise Into Barbados
If you do not want to deal with the hassle of looking for flights, finding hotel rooms, and searching for restaurants, you can take a cruise into Barbados instead!
The cruise lines dock at Deep Water Harbour, right by the city of Bridgetown so you get to stay close to where all the action happens. Once you get off the cruise, numerous shuttles are waiting to take you to the action, or you can walk for one mile instead.
The cruise ports have many amenities such as a visitor information booth, tour guides, duty-free shops, Wi-Fi, bathrooms, and a post office to purchase some unique Barbadian stamps.
If this is your first cruise, make sure you do your research before you pack for your trip. Once forgotten cruise accessory can affect your enjoyment of your cruise.
13. Go On a Submarine Ride
If you have never been in a submarine before, you now have a chance while visiting Barbados! This is especially great for those who are not deep-water divers but who want to experience the secret world of our ocean.
Atlantis Submarine tours offer both a daytime dive tour and a nighttime dive tour, both are 45-minute voyages to 150 feet below the surface of the ocean.
You, along with 47 other passengers, will get the rare opportunity to explore the depths of the ocean without needing to get wet. Both the day and the nighttime tours are incredible, and we recommend trying both!
14. Go Fishing
One of the most popular things to do in Barbados is to go fishing for the abundant sea life of the Caribbean. Here you have the opportunity to catch Mahi-Mahi, Swordfish, Tuna, Marlin, Barracuda, and many more.
You do not have to be an experienced fisherman or woman to catch a fish here, as the guides will teach you the tricks of the trade and ensure you get a good catch. Afterward, you can send your catches back home to your home when you arrive after your vacation.
15. Go To the Beach
All the exploring can get a little tiring, so pick a beach day to relax and soak up the golden sun while you play in the waves of the turquoise sea.
Head to the South coast where there are stretches of white sandy beaches for you to lay down, relax, and be as still as a palm tree. Carlisle Bay as seen below is also a good choice as it’s near downtown and the cruise port.
16. Learn About the Sugarcane Plantations
The English came to Barbados back in the 1700s because it was full of sugarcane fields, this is also why they stayed for over 300 years. Every plantation included a beautiful colonial house, which is surrounded by palm trees to help the planter find his way home once the plantation grows tall.
There are a few of these adorable houses left on Barbados which have been converted into a museum to teach about the history of the plantation life. These museums have furniture and decor from the 18th and 19th centuries, while one in particular, St. Nicolas Abbey, includes a rum distillery.
17. Try Some Water Adventures
If you are feeling like some activity and adventuring, Barbados has many water adventures which are fun for the entire family! You can try out paddle boarding, windsurfing, boogie boarding, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, and more.
If you have never tried any of these sports before, do not worry, experienced guides are waiting to teach you and your family how to safely partake in any of them.
18. Try Diving
If you are an experienced diver, you are now in diver’s heaven with over two dozen diving sites. Barbados is home to over 50 species of tropical fish, colorful reefs, and other marine life just waiting for you to explore.
Head to Carlisle Bay on the South coast where you can explore over six shipwrecks that are now home to an abundance of sea life. If you are not experienced, you can head to one of the many dive shops and sign up for a beginners course where you become certified with your open water PADI license.
The traveling world is changing rapidly due to the pandemic, and we have been getting a lot of questions regarding traveling to Barbados. Check out these FAQs for more information.
Absolutely it is safe to travel to Barbados right now, as they have strict COVID-19 guidelines in effect. You must test three days prior and enter into quarantine upon arrival.
The cruise port is located in Deep Water Harbour, which is a short 1 mile away from the main hustle and bustle of Barbados. You can either walk, take a shuttle (if your cruise line offers one), a bus for $2, or even a taxi.
The best time to travel to Barbados is between mid-December to mid-April. This way, you will miss the hurricane season, and enjoy the hot heat of the summer. However, Barbados is one of those rare places that you can enjoy all year round!
Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Barbados
When you arrive in Barbados, come with an open heart and be ready to experience some fun and exciting culture you may never have seen before.
Remember that other cultures do things differently, so keep your mind open to learning about their culture rather than seeing it as “right” or “wrong”.
Barbadians are among the nicest people in the world and are willing to teach you about their ways of life if you are open to learning.
There are many fun and exciting things to do in Barbados, and this guide only scratches the surface!
Main Photo Credit: byvalet / Shutterstock.com