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10 essential activities for a week in jaw-dropping Barbados

10 essential activities for a week in jaw dropping Barbados

I’m going to make the claim that Barbados is my favourite tropical island destination yet.

“Whoa, slow down Ashlea,” I hear you say, “Your favourite? Out of all the tropical islands!?”

Well ok, I haven’t been to all of Earth’s tropical islands, but I have been to a fair few – and once you see the following Instagram photos, you might just see why I make that claim.

A few weeks ago I told you the long and inconvenient story of why I’m in Barbados. The reason we’re here is not necessarily a pleasant one, but nevertheless, who could say no to crossing another country off the list?

We’ve been making the most of this tropical island destination, so as my time here comes to a close, I’m going share all of the fabulous Barbados activities we’ve done to help you plan your own trip to this tropical utopia.


Catamaran cruise, Barbados activities

1. kick back on a catamaran cruise

A catamaran cruise was recommended to us by a number of people who had previously visited Barbados, so we decided to fork out a little more than we’d normally spend on sightseeing and give it a go. A quick online search told us that Cool Runnings were one of the best companies to go with.

The cruise included swimming with sea turtles and snorkelling around a ship wreck along with some other brightly coloured fish. To top it off, we were treated to a tasty buffet lunch and an open bar, as well as hotel pick up and drop off. Worth the $90? Absolutely.

North Point, Barbados

2. Drive up to North Point

As you might have guessed, North Point is at the northernmost tip of the island. Here you’ll find Animal Flower Cave and a highly regarded clifftop restaurant, both of which were unfortunately closed for us as the owner had a family emergency.

Even still, North Point provided some spectacular viewing spots for us to gaze out at the Atlantic Ocean, feeling insignificant and admiring the ferocity of the waves crashing heavily against cliffs.

Lone Star, Barbados

3. Eat at an oceanside restaurant

Yep, in Barbados you can dine in places like this, where you have literally the most perfect beach right in front of you.

The Lone Star (pictured above), The Roundhouse, The Cliff Restaurant… there are so many to choose from. Be aware that some of them are a little high-end, but it’s worth treating yourself at least once for the experience of consuming some fabulously fancy food in such an insanely pretty location.

Barbados

4. Walk along the perfect beaches

Did I mention perfect beaches? Pretty sure I mentioned perfect beaches…. and palm trees that look like they’ve been pulled straight out of a postcard.

The west coast is more protected from the ocean than the east, so head there to find crystal clear and calm turquoise waters along with those dreamy white sand beaches. You’ll be kicking yourself for not having discovered this place earlier.

Green Monkeys, Barbados

5. spot green monkeys at Barbados Wildlife Reserve

The Barbados Wildlife Reserve has cute monkeys, and any destination with cute monkeys is a good one in my books… but not only are there monkeys, there are baby monkeys. Cuddling. Have you ever seen anything more adorable in your life? No? I didn’t think so.

You’ll also find a rather large population of ridiculous looking tortoises which will have you in fits of laughter when you hear the noises they make when they are uhh… playing jump the tortoise.

Bottom Bay, Barbados

6. Check out the stunning east coast

While the west coast holds the award for beaches-that-don’t-even-look-real, the east coast has some pretty neat ones too.

Bathsheba has some sweet surf spots, and Bottom Bay and Crane Beach both feature some spectacular scenery. If you’re looking to escape the holidaying families and don’t mind a few extra waves, this side of the island is a great place to be.

Hastings, Barbados

7. Watch the sun set over the ocean

If you think you’ve already seen the most perfect sunset… well maybe you have, but the ones in Barbados are equally as good!

Head to the Rockley Beach Boardwalk to see the sun set as you stroll, or take your pick of any beach on the west coast and watch the colours of the sky change as the sun sinks below the horizon.

Oistins Fish Fry 1

8. Head to Oistins Fish Fry on a friday night

Every Friday night, this cluster of seafood vendors cooks up a storm of barbecued fish. Even as a vegetarian this was fun to visit (the sides of macaroni pie and potato salad were damn tasty).

Soak up the atmosphere while sipping on Banks, the local brew, and bop along to the dancehall music (a kind of reggae-pop) being played by a local DJ on the raised stage. The Barbadians love to celebrate, and here’s where you can get right into the spirit of it.

Mount Gay Rum Distillery

9. sample some local rum

One thing I’ve noticed here in Barbados is that much of the music here is not about sex, as the majority of pop songs in America are, but about rum. The locals love their rum. It’s inexpensive, tasty, and readily available.

Try it in the form of coconut punch from a vendor at many of the beaches, in a cocktail at a bar, or do a tour at the Mount Gay Distillery for a real look at the history of Barbadian rum.

Welchman Hall Gulley, Barbados

10. get lost in nature

Did you know there’s more to Barbados than just pretty beaches? A quick drive into the hills will take you to some specky gardens including the Flower Forest and Hunte’s Garden – a place where you can get lost in the gigantic backyard of a local horticulturist, built in the valley of a collapsed cave.

If you’d like to double up on some awesome nature experiences, nearby you’ll find Harrison’s Cave and Welchman’s Hall Gully. Both great places to see some incredible geological formations (and you might just spot some local wildlife around there, too).


10 essential activities for a week in jaw-dropping Barbados

Some quick travel info on Barbados:

Getting there: There are direct flights into Grantley Adams International Airport from USA, Canada, and UK. Here’s a full list of airlines that fly into Barbados.

Public Transport: Taxis are available at the airport to take you to your destination for a flat fare. You’ll also find taxis available in most major areas.

There are also buses that will take you around pretty much the entire island, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out the system, how it works or where the buses go!

Car Rental: Fairly cheap at around $50-$70 USD per day ($50 for the car plus about $20 for insurance), and gas is inexpensive. Some companies offer drop off at local addresses – definitely worthwhile for at least some of your stay so that you can explore the far corners of the island.

Money: Barbados Dollars (BBD) and US Dollars (USD) are the major forms of currency. Converting the dollar is very easy as 2 BBD = 1 USD. Credit cards are also widely accepted.


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Ashlea Wheeler

This post was written by Ashlea, a colourfully clothed and excitable vegetarian who loves photography and exploring the world. Find out more about me.

27 Responses to “10 essential activities for a week in jaw-dropping Barbados”

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      If you ever get the opportunity, I highly recommend it Tessa! My photos are quite an honest reflection of how pretty this island actually is. It’s stunning!

      Reply
    • Cris

      I love your article but one thing I don’t get: how could you not figure out buses as they are so straight forward: 1us dollar for a journey, 2 main routes, from Oistins up North on the coast and back. For example you can go for that 1 dollar from Oistins to Speightstown, through Bridgetown, in about 35 min.

      Reply
      • Ashlea Wheeler

        Thanks Cris! I guess what was most confusing was the lack of timetables or route maps, so for someone who was unaware of the bus route, it was difficult (or impossible) to figure out.

        Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Totally not shameful, Lauren – I didn’t even know about Rihanna being a local before I arrived in Barbados! Sometimes that’s the best way to see a new country, with absolutely no expectations 😀

      Reply
  1. Katie

    Wow $70USD per day for car hire is expensive! I would definitely be wanting to figure out those buses if I visited the island. It is one of my Mum’s favourite places in the world and an island I definitely want to visit

    Reply
    • Lauren @ a tipsy gypsy life

      Ah it is? My price assumptions are so skewed because I have mostly travelled in US and Europe. Our car was about 40$ USD in Bali and in my head I was prepared to pay up to 100 USD. Wouldve definitely been worth it though 😉

      L

      Reply
      • Ashlea Wheeler

        I know what you mean, Lauren! Back in Australia we would easily pay up to $100 per day for car rental, so anything less seems cheap!

        Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Well, that included the insurance – the actual car hire was only $50ish 🙂 The buses did look fun, I’m sure anyone who wanted to give it a go could figure it out!

      Reply
  2. Stephen

    Car hire can easily be found for less than $50 per day.

    There are also many beach eating establishments that do not cost more than usual; no need for expensive restaurants on a beach to enjoy the view.

    Buses are US$1 per journey and there are loads of them!

    Reply
  3. Ken Griffith

    I am always glad to read what visitors to our lovely island have to say, and I am happy that you’re sharing your fantastic experiences with the rest of the world. Let the good times roll!

    Reply
  4. Wendy

    Love this article! We are booked for June. Hoping to hire a car for a day to take us around by ourselves, this way we can sample cocktails along the way and hopefully swim at a secluded beach! If anyone here knows of cars for hire please let me know! I’m totally excited!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      That’s great, Wendy! Car hire is a great way to get around the island, we used Courtesy Rent-a-Car for our car hire (they even delivered the car to where we were staying!).

      Reply
  5. Gabriella

    I just came back from Barbados and read this, but I’m glad to say i did 9/10 things on your list! It was a fabulous vacation, we saw turtles lay and hatch outside our doorstep! We sampled rum at Mount Gay and St Nicholas Abbey as well as their delicious, yet potent rum punches.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      That’s great, Gabriella! Sounds like you did a fabulous job of seeing Barbados 😉 I’m very jealous of your turtle hatching experience, it sounds amazing!

      Reply
  6. Alan Borwell

    Done them all and lots more during our 10 visits to our favourite holiday destination 😀

    Reply
  7. Wendy H

    Loved it so much in June that we are headed back in March! By far, Barbados, is one of the best islands in our opinion! Beaches and water are so stunning! Best view, words and pictures don’t even give justice to, is Cherry Tree Hill! We hired a car, per my previous post, and spent the whole day seeing the island. Another top day was the trip we did on one of the catamaran tours, they only take 12 people max and we were lucky enough the day we went that there were only 6 of us! Hoping to, some day, own a small place of our own there to split our time between Barbados and the US.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I absolutely agree, Wendy – I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a tropical island as much as I did Barbados! I’m so glad that you went back for a second time 😀

      Reply

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