As one of the more developed islands in the Caribbean, Barbados offers much more than just sun, sea and sand- although let’s face it, that’s the reason most people visit!
Over half a million people travel to Barbados each year, lured by the promise of crystal clear waters and paradise white sand. The East Coast is fantastic for surfers, while Central Barbados boasts lush scenery and vast sugarcane plantation homes.
Let’s take a look at some of the top things to do here:
1. Visit the Mount Gay Rum Distillery
You can’t visit Barbados without trying the world’s oldest rum. Take a tour of the Mount Gay Rum Distillery and learn all about the distillation, ageing and blending techniques that are involved in producing the world’s finest rum. The Signature Tour lasts 45 minutes but you can also opt for the Cocktail Tour or the Bajan Buffet Lunch Tour if you want the full experience.
2. Eat at Oistin’s Fish Fry
On a Friday night in Barbados, make sure you check out the fish fry at Oistins Bay Gardens. This casual spot is frequented by both tourists and locals and you can choose from a large variety of fish including tuna, swordfish, mahi mahi, lobster and marlin. It’s all cooked on the spot in front of you. Enjoy a delicious dinner in an informal setting listening to the sounds of Bob Marley or the latest Crop Over hits, then hit the dance floor after a rum punch or two!
3. Surf the Soup Bowl
Barbados’s east coast is battered by the waves from the Atlantic Ocean and if you’re into surfing you should definitely check out the Soup Bowl. The Soup Bowl is one of the most famous surf breaks in the world and is located at Bathsheba Beach. You really need to be an experienced surfer to attempt to surf in these big swells, but it’s still worth visiting to see the surfers in action and the Soup bowl in all its glory.
4. Party at the Crop Over Festival
The summer Crop Over Festival is celebrated with all-day and all-night parties and the festival has been likened to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro! Back in the 1600′s the slaves working on the sugar plantations used to celebrate the end of the harvest with singing and dancing, and the celebrations still continue today. The festival starts in July and the festivities continue throughout the month with food fairs, calypso band competitions and partying in the streets. It culminates with a huge street parade called Grand Kandooment.
5. Drive Around the Island
While the bus system is extensive and cheap, there are lots of places that are much easier explored by car. Hire a car for the day and drive to cool spots such as Animal Flower Cave and Harrison’s Cave- a cavern full of stalactites and stalagmites. For beautiful views, head to the northernmost tip of the island for dramatic views over the Caribbean.
Need a place to stay in Barbados? You might consider Barbados Beach Club which is located on the south of the island just a 15-minute drive from the city.
photo by Berit Watkin on flickr