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Barbados Travel Guide – Barbados Travel Blog Filled With Ideas

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Beautiful views at Cherry Tree Hill, Barbados
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This detailed Barbados travel guide has all the information you need to plan a great holiday on the island, including top things to do, restaurants, hotels and more. 

 Just a few weeks ago I returned from Barbados in the Caribbean. It was my first time on the island, and while I’ve been to a few of the Caribbean islands, I just love how varied they are. They have their own characters, landscapes and traditions.

Is Barbados Worth Visiting?

Barbados is relatively flat compared to others, as its one of the few without a volcanic origin. It’s also famed for its bright turquoise water, paradise beaches and killer rum punch! I mean, just take a look at this gorgeous view over Crane Beach – isn’t it stunning?

If you want to plan a little trip there you can find out more in my review of Crane Beach for Virgin Holidays’ Trending Travel Guide. 

Crane Beach, Barbados

Wondering where to go in Barbados? You can’t miss Crane Beach!

A few weeks before visiting, I learned that more Brits travel to the island, than any other nationality. Most visit for the (almost) guaranteed warm weather and fantastic beaches.

If you’re reading through Barbados reviews online, you might find a slightly divided opinion. Some love it so much they go back year after year, while others prefer the less developed / touristy Caribbean islands

Being an adventurer and foodie at heart, I wanted to get beyond the beaches and find out what else this island offers. I wanted to taste the food, see the landscapes and feel the heart beat of this independent nation. From the south coast to the north, Saint Lawrence Gap to Crane Beach, the fun of Crop Over Festival to the rich history of the island, I couldn’t wait to explore in detail. 

Bridgetown in Barbados, Caribbean

Find out more about Bridgetown in my Barbados travel guide

Coastline in Barbados, Caribbean

Coastline in Barbados, Caribbean

Fittingly, our trip was designed to appeal to the five senses. So from tasting the local rum, to seeing the incredible underground caves and even hearing Rihanna herself (yes really!) – it’s time for sensory overload in Barbados! So whether you’re looking for adventure, food, culture or relaxation, I’ve got you covered with lots great ideas packed into my Barbados travel blog. 

Sunset in Barbados, Caribbean

Sunset in Barbados, Caribbean

Best Time To Visit Barbados

If you’re wondering when to visit Barbados, there are a few things to think about. It’s warm all year round in Barbados with temperatures between 23 – 30 Celsius. There’s a wet and dry season across the Caribbean, with December to March being a good time to visit for rain-free sunshine-filled days.

It tends to get busy around Christmas though, so if you can time your visit for out of the key holiday periods, you’ll have a more relaxing experience.

May to October is when rainy season hits the Caribbean, which brings with it heightened humidity too. It’s also important to be aware of hurricane season, from June to November, although tropical storms are more likely to be an issue.

Lots of people rate March to May as a great time to visit. It’s a shoulder season, so crowds are lower, but it’s still lovely and warm.

Wondering when to go to Barbados? How about shoulder season

Wondering when to go to Barbados? How about shoulder season

Things To Do In Barbados For Adventure Lovers

Prepare yourself for some serious fun on this island! You’re about to engage all five senses with these adventures in Barbados…

Snorkelling in Barbados

When we were planning a trip to Barbados, I’d heard the snorkelling was incredible, with numerous opportunities to spot turtles around the south and west of the island. I love that you don’t need to book onto a tour to spot them.

Snorkelling in Antigua, Caribbean

Snorkelling in Barbados – one of many Barbados adventures on this trip!

You can just wander out from beaches such as Paynes Bay, Sandy Lane or Folkstone Marine Park and you’re likely to spot a few. For an extra special experience, book onto a catamaran trip and be shown some of the best spots on the island! 

Check prices for snorkelling tours in Barbados.

Turtle

If you’re visiting Barbados, you HAVE to go snorkelling! You might see turtles!

 

Diving in Barbados

My partner plunged deep into the ocean to dive amongst some impressive wrecks. His favourite was the sunken submarine, not far from St Peter’s Bay. Along with plenty of colourful exotic fish (including lion fish), there were a few turtles down there too. Adventure holidays in Barbados are popular, and this is the perfect activity to include in your itinerary!

Check prices for diving in Barbados.

Diving in Barbados (Photo: Macca Sherifi)

Diving in Barbados (Photo: Macca Sherifi)

Lion fish - Diving in Barbados (Photo: Macca Sherifi)

Lion fish snapped while diving in Barbados

Animal Flower Cave

I had no clue what animal flowers were (what comes to your mind?!) but they’re a type of small sea anemone which live in the waters of these caves. Right on the northernmost tip of Barbados, this is the rugged Barbados.

As I stood on the cliff edge listening to the crashing waves, took photos of the epic jagged rocks and explored the rough caves carved over hundreds of years – I couldn’t believe this was the same island known for paradise beaches. It’s such a wonderful contrast!

Macca snapping pics at the Animal Flower Cave, Barbados

Macca snapping pics at the Animal Flower Cave, Barbados

Considering other islands in the Caribbean? Check out these guides to St Kitts, St Martin, Antigua and Cuba. Also, order a copy of the Lonely Planet Barbados guide before you go.

Paddle Boarding in Barbados

One of my favourite adventures of all was hopping on a paddleboard and cruising the shoreline. It was a way to see the coastline and reflect on the beauty of the island. Most hotels on the west coast have a stack of paddle boards and kayaks, and there’s a lovely feeling of liberation as you glide across the turquoise waters. 

Paddle boarding in Barbados

Paddle boarding in Barbados

Island Safari

Woohoo, well wasn’t this a lot of fun…? Until it rained anyway, but let’s forget that part for now!

How long does it take to drive around Barbados? Approximately three hours. Although this island tour doesn’t take you to every spot, it gives you a great overview of what the island is like. 

I’d recommend you book this for one of your first days in Barbados, as it gives you an intro to the island’s geography, history and culture, all while showing you some top places to return to later in the week.

Coastline in Barbados, Caribbean

This Barbados guide is filled with inspiration

The Barbados tour guides are super enthusiastic, love sharing their home with visitors and are happy to answer all the questions you’ve been dying to ask. They’re also keen to get you away from the east coast with its cruise ships and resorts, and to show you the rugged east and less-developed centre of the island. Trips to Barbados often only give you the glossy view of luxury resorts and high end restaurants, but seeing more of the island left us with a better idea of what life is like here.

Oh and they also ply you with rum punch, which makes the off-road parts even more fun! Check availability and latest prices here.

Taking in the views of East Barbados on our island safari

Taking in the views of East Barbados on our island safari

Taking in the views of East Barbados on our island safari

East Barbados on our island safari – a great addition to your Barbados itinerary

Harrison’s Cave

Delve deep into the core of Barbados with this interactive tour of Harrison’s Cave. After swotting up on the history and geology of the island, it’s time to board a cute little train to drive around the cathedral-like chambers.

With underground waterfalls, crystal clear pools, and stalagmites and stalactites formed over thousands of years, it’s somewhere you’re guaranteed to engage all five senses.

Check prices for a tour of Harrison’s Cave.

Harrison's Cave, Barbados

Harrison’s Cave, Barbados – another reason to travel to Barbados

Harrison's Cave, Barbados

Harrison’s Cave, Barbados – often missed in Barbados visitors guides but well worth a trip

Best Tours In Barbados

Things To Do In Barbados For Foodies

Next up, it’s time to smell and taste your way around the island. These Barbados trip ideas are guaranteed to make you hungry! 

Mount Gay Rum Tour

It’s a given that any visit to Barbados is going to involve a fair amount of rum. It’s the drink of the island. At most places, you’ll be welcomed with a rum punch, and you’ll soon that there are good ones, and there are REALLY good ones. People have their own recipes.

THE way to truly get into the spirit (!!) is with a trip to Mount Gay. They run tours every hour, which strike just the right balance between informative and fun. And great news, they start with rum punch and end with tastings of three of the distillery’s top sellers.

Check prices for the Mount Gay Rum Tour.

Mount Gay Rum Tour, Barbados

Mount Gay Rum Tour – a highlight of our trip to Barbados

Mount Gay Rum Tour, Barbados

If you’re going to Barbados, you have to go on a Mount Gay Rum Tour!

Mount Gay Rum Tour, Barbados

No guide to Barbados would be complete without mentioning the Mount Gay Rum Tour

Agapey Chocolate Tour 

Your nose will guide you to Agapey – a cute chocolate shop in Bridgetown! This isn’t Willy Wonka style, but they do have a small chocolate factory on site, and it’s certainly worth booking onto a chocolate tour to find out more about the processes and see the machines up and running.

The chocolates filled with Mount Gay were my favourites, and a box of those would make a great present.

Check prices for a Barbados Chocolate Tour.

Barbados, Caribbean

If you’re traveling to Barbados, you’ll love seeing the colourful houses

Oistins Fish Fry

You guys recommended we add this to our itinerary, and we listened! Every Friday, hundreds of tourists and locals gather in the small fishing village of Oistins for a big old knees up.

The rum punch flows, the seafood stalls serve up mountains of grilled tuna, flying fish, swordfish and more, and as the night wears on, performers take to the stage to throw some shapes to the DJ’s tunes. It was a highlight of our week in Barbados and certainly a way to FEEL the island’s beat!

Tasty food at Oistin's Fish Fry, Barbados

Tasty food at Oistin’s Fish Fry, Barbados – a top pick from my Barbados travel blog

Oistin's Fish Fry, Barbados

One of my top Barbados travel tips – don’t miss Oistin’s Fish Fry

Restaurants In Barbados

There are plenty of top restaurants on the island. For fine dining, book a table at The Cliff, Daphne’s or Cin Cin. For flavoursome cajun shrimp, I loved The Waterfront in Bridgetown.

There was a huge menu, the service was friendly and the location was lovely, overlooking the capital’s marina.

Cajun shrimp and rice at Waterfront Cafe, Barbados

Cajun shrimp and rice at Waterfront Cafe, Barbados

Bridgetown in Barbados, Caribbean

Bridgetown in Barbados, Caribbean

Juma’s in Speightstown is another top choice with a tasty menu (the blackened mahi mahi was delicious!) and a great location overlooking the beach. Décor was eclectic with a beach shack roof and lava lamps dotted around the restaurant – it felt fun with that real holiday vibe!

Blackened fish at Juma's Restaurant, Speightstown, Barbados

Blackened fish at Juma’s Restaurant, Speightstown, Barbados

Juma's Restaurant, Speightstown, Barbados

Juma’s Restaurant, Speightstown, Barbados

Our meal at The Fishpot was one of our favourites, again right on the beach just a little way north of St Peter’s Bay. The seafood was excellent, and we enjoyed big grilled shrimps, and tasty Asian tuna for mains. Any of these would be great at lunch too, especially with those dreamy beach views.

Shrimp at The Fishpot, Barbados

Shrimp at The Fishpot, Barbados

Tuna at The Fishpot, Barbados

Tuna at The Fishpot, Barbados

The Fishpot, Barbados

The Fishpot, Barbados – lots of Americans ate here during their Barbados vacation

If you’re visiting Barbados as a big group or would like the option to self-cater some of your trip, I’d recommend taking a look at Airbnb. Usually the properties are owned by locals so you can enjoy an authentic experience and ask for lots of expert tips for the area. You can claim £35 / $45 off your first trip by clicking here.

 

Things To Do In Barbados For Culture Vultures

Gospel Breakfast At The Crane

Hearing the voices of a group of gospel singers at breakfast time is a special experience. This is how our Sunday morning began at The Crane Resort – the Caribbean’s oldest continually operating hotel and one of the best places to stay in Barbados.

It’s a standard hotel buffet where you pile your plate high with sausages, bacon, eggs and pancakes, but the ambience is anything but standard. During our visit in December, we enjoyed a few festive numbers along with some gospel classics.

Gospel Breakfast at The Crane, Barbados

Gospel Breakfast at The Crane, Barbados

St Nicholas Abbey

Built in 1658, St Nicholas Abbey is a beautifully preserved plantation house. It’s fascinating to see the island’s history through the ages, and walking through the house really is like turning back the clock.

One of my favourite parts of my visit was exploring the forest outside, and even if you don’t fancy adventuring into it, you can enjoy lunch on the terrace overlooking the jungle floor.

Check prices for a tour of St Nicholas Abbey.

Exploring the forest near St Nicholas Abbey, Barbados

Exploring the forest near St Nicholas Abbey, Barbados

Rihanna Drive

When you ay Barbados to many people, they think of Rihanna. She’s an international superstar who well and truly flies the Barbados flag around the world. Our trip to Barbados coincided with the island’s Independence Day which was extra special, as Rihanna’s home street was renamed Rihanna Drive. 

It’s already somewhere tourists love to visit, but now there’s even more reason! It was absolutely amazing to see the community turn up to the event, and to hear Rihanna’s pride for where she grew up. 

Rihanna attending the opening of Rihanna Drive, Barbados

Rihanna attending the opening of Rihanna Drive, Barbados – a bonus of visiting Barbados when we did!

Things To Do In Barbados For Relaxation Seekers

Many people visit the island for a week of R&R. You want to kick back and relax, with a drink in one hand and a book in the other. That’s fine – we all need down time!

Serenity Spa at The Crane

For a treat, book in for a treatment at The Crane, easily one of the most stunning resorts on the island. Located on the south, the cliff top location has incredible views down to Crane Beach with its ferocious waves and soft white sand. The spa is excellent too, and a massage will certainly leave you feeling relaxed.

The Crane, Barbados

The Crane, Barbados – one of the best hotels in Barbados

Seaduced Catamaran Trip

Seaduced catamaran Barbados

I just had to include this in my Barbados blog – we have lots of happy memories from our Seaduced catamaran trip

This luxury catamaran experience was another highlight. Sailing along the west coast at sunset is stunning enough, but with a cocktail in hand it’s even better! The crew pride themselves in delivering incredible high-end service, from the food and drink to the general ambience – it was all top notch and a wonderful way to see more of the island.

Hunte’s Gardens

Genuinely one of the most relaxing spots in Barbados, Anthony Hunte has created a gorgeous garden up in the lush hills in the middle of the island. Tall palms sit next to colourful orchids while exotic birds fly through the air.

As you explore, you stumble across secret seating areas – places perfect to enjoy the views, the sounds and the scents of nature. When you need a refreshment, head to Mr Hunte’s lodge for a rum tasting or a cold drink, and a chance to chat to the nature-lover responsible for the garden.

Check prices for a tour of Hunte’s Gardens.

Exploring Hunte's Gardens, Barbados

Exploring Hunte’s Gardens, Barbados

Hunte's Gardens, Barbados

This blog is packed with Barbados tips for travellers! Like visiting Hunte’s Gardens, Barbados

Lounge area at Hunte's Gardens, Barbados

Lounge area at Hunte’s Gardens, Barbados

Barbados Beaches

I’ve mentioned them already, but the beaches are as good as you’ve heard! Top marks for Crane Beach for its epic landscape, Mullins Beach for being lively and St Peter’s Bay for being nice and quiet. On a bright sunny day, the water is an insanely bright shade of turquoise that looks photoshopped!

Enjoying the beaches in Barbados

Enjoying the beaches on our Barbados trip

Crane Beach, Barbados

If you’re vacationing in Barbados, definitely include a visit to Crane Beach

Best Tours In Barbados

Where To Stay In Barbados

We stayed at Port Ferdinand in the north west of Barbados. They have a range of 1, 2 and 3-bed apartments, each with stunning terraces, lounges and full kitchens. The enclosed marina has moorings and also offers a water taxi to sister property St Peter’s Bay (perfect as Port Ferdinand isn’t right on the beach).

There’s a restaurant/bar area on the ground floor overlooking the boats, and a great floating pool area with a bar which you reach along a jetty. It’s one of the best places to stay in Barbados if you’re considering self-catering options, and plan to hire a car to get around. It’s also about to be even more desirable with the upcoming opening of Nikki Beach, moments away from the property. 

Port Ferdinand view

Port Ferdinand view, Barbados – reviews are excellent here!

Terrace views at Port Ferdinand, Barbados

I’d consider travelling to Barbados for stuning terrace views like these at Port Ferdinand, Barbados

Port Ferdinand, Barbados

Port Ferdinand, Barbados –

Port Ferdinand, Barbados

Port Ferdinand, Barbados

 


Booking.com


For a different look at Barbados, check out An Adventurous World’s Barbados itinerary blog: The Ultimate One Week Itinerary For Barbados

I hope you’ve found my Barbaods guide helpful. Big thanks to Visit Barbados / Barbados Tourism for inviting us to experience the island through all five senses! We travelled to Barbados with British Airways. British Airways flies from Gatwick to Barbados daily during the summer and 12 times a week during the winter. Return flights start from £571. As always, all opinions are my own.

Enjoyed my Barbados travel blog? Why not pin it…Barbados travel guide

 


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6 comments

Krishna 28th November 2018 - 2:05 am

Great travel guide on Barbados with useful information and gorgeous photos. Thanks for your help with my trip planning!

Reply
Chloe Gunning 6th December 2018 - 10:12 am

Thanks Krishna – so happy you found it helpful. Glad you had a great trip too!

Reply
Sarah 17th June 2019 - 7:09 pm

Barbados is such an amazing destination to spend the vacation.

Thanks for your amazing travel guide and photos are mind-blowing.

Reply
Chloe Gunning 2nd July 2019 - 11:42 am

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! It was wonderful out there.

Reply
Laura Pedlar 12th April 2020 - 5:33 pm

I loved visiting Barbados and can entirely agree with you that Oistin’s Fish Fry is amazing on Fridays. I’m so glad I was able to experience it. I was interested to learn that Barbados is popular with fellow Brits but it has a lot going for it so I guess that’s why. I think I need to return to explore more of the island after reading your post.

Reply
Kate 22nd May 2020 - 7:55 am

Love this guide! We are big Barbados fans too and agree it’s got so much to offer alongside just beaches (although they are beautiful!) We also did the Seaduced trip which we loved. We stayed in Port St Charles (next to Port Ferdinand) in the past so it’s interesting to hear how you found staying there. So many good options in Barbados!

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