Barbados is a beautiful Caribbean island country with a warm climate throughout the year. With festivals and sights to see across the island, it's a fantastic destination no matter what type of traveler you are. From the moment you arrive, expect hospitality from locals and gourmet foods for every meal at your hotel. You and your family will walk away with long-lasting memories and souvenirs for your collection from your trip to Barbados. The best things to do in Barbados range from amazing beaches to historic museums.
Animal Flower Cave is named for the lingering sea anemones you might see, but they're not the only attraction here. The cliffside scenery is fantastic, and there are saltwater pools for swimming, so carry your aqua socks and take a refreshing dip inside the cave. If it's filled with water, you can look forward to paying half-price and possibly seeing the blowhole shoot water like a breathing whale. Once you've worked up an appetite, you'll appreciate the restaurant's tasty food, including buljol, fish cakes, jerk chicken, and flavorsome breadfruit tacos.
Whether you're a grapefruit fan interested in its provenance, or someone who loves nature, you must check out Welchman Gully. The ravine formed after a cave collapsed, and it contains native plants that weren't cut down during sugarcane-related deforestation. You can go for a lovely shaded walk, watch the resident troop of wild monkeys feeding or grooming, or have a picnic in the tropical valley. There's a children's adventure park toddlers can visit for free, and there are accommodations for those with mobility issues.
The Mount Gay Visitors' Center doesn't offer a rum distillery tour. Instead, there's a museum with an engaging hands-on class, and you can opt for a Bajan lunch. Learn about the history of rum-making in Barbados, sample the goods, and make cocktails with fellow alcohol enthusiasts. The mood is understandably light, and you'll walk away with more insight into Captain Jack Sparrow's drink of choice.
The pottery at Earthworks in White Hill will dazzle you with a vibrant palette that echoes the ocean and earth. You can purchase dishwasher and microwave-safe bowls, pizza platters, mugs, decanters, and interior decor pieces. Watch local artisans make ceramic and clay items that are functional souvenirs, sure to bring life to your festive tables. Grab a bite at the Arthouse Cafe, and check out the Ins and Outs Gift Emporium for more present ideas.
Harrison's Cave first appeared in 18th-century documents and was rediscovered in the 1970s. It's an underground wonder, and visitors hop on a tram to get up close and personal with the stalactites, stalagmites, and various impressive formations forged over the centuries. You might imagine the cave to be rather cold, but it's a toasty 80°F. This tourist attraction close to Welchman Hall Gully also has ziplining for the whole family and an aviary and nature walk, so you'll be able to see island birds in all their glory.
While you're in the uplands, drop by Hunte's Gardens. This lush botanical garden is a little slice of paradise with all the floral colors you'd hope for from an exotic island. Relax with cake and tea after strolling through the well-maintained landscaped areas, and keep your ears open for the calming music the friendly owner, Mr. Anthony Hunte likes to play. The experience will lift your spirits, prompt you to flex your green fingers or inspire other kinds of creativity.
If you're in Barbados on the weekend, you have to attend the Friday night Oistins Fish Fry to feast on fish that's so fresh it could almost swim away. Vendors can cook your protein to your liking, and you can sit down to the sounds of reggae and ska wafting through the air. Dance to the live musicians, feed the turtles fish scraps, buy handmade goods from makers, and soak up the bustling atmosphere. Go early, and you'll be rewarded with some excellent sunset views.
Bridgetown's only synagogue, part of the Synagogue Historic District, has a rich history that dates back to the 17th century when Sephardic Jews arrived via Brazil. It survived natural disasters, was sold in 1929, and found new life in 1989 when it was renovated after a period of neglect. The pastel pink property has UNESCO-protected status and is well worth a visit for a service or a look at the fascinating heritage buildings.
Horse riding on Barbados' east coast beaches is a thing, and when you see photos, it's not hard to see why this is one of the most popular traveler activities in the country. Picture yourself astride your steed while the turquoise seawater ebbs and flows beneath you, a gentle breeze washes over you, and everywhere you look, there's white powdery sand and palm trees. You could even catch glimpses of mongoose and green monkeys when you cut through the rugged forest. Book a ride that fits your skill level or time constraints for ultimate enjoyment and peace of mind.
The island's east coast isn't just good for horseback riding. Surfers make pilgrimages to Bathsheba for Soup Bowl, the island's biggest wave. It will give you all the feels—Kelly Slater called Soup Bowl one of his top 3 waves in the world. Sea urchins aside, it's magic; you can take it all in on a board or from the shore. The waves here are beginner-friendly during low tide.
Carlisle Bay is known for calm waters and aquatic activities such as scuba diving and swimming. When the tide is low, the water becomes crystal clear, and scuba divers can take a look at beautiful reefs and fish. At night, Carlisle Bay is flooded with natural light, making it a spectacular location for stargazing.
As a slightly smaller, lesser-known destination, Browne's beach is a perfect getaway for the whole family. The soft sand is excellent for picnic spreads and beach towels, and children can create sand sculptures as long as it's low tide. Browne's beach is just a short drive from the town center.
The Parliament building is one of Barbados' oldest buildings and a historic monument in the middle of the city. Guests can take tours of the site and visit a gift shop for long-lasting souvenirs. The Parliament building is open on both weekdays and weekends, and it's a great opportunity to learn more about the island's history.
Touring the crystal clear waters of Barbados via submarine is the best way to get around. Not only can you see fish and other aquatic life underneath the ocean, but you can access small alcoves and bays otherwise inaccessible by foot. On the tour, a guide will tell you all about the shores and tides of the island. The inside of the submarine is lined with glass windows, allowing you to take high-quality photos of the reef and guppies.
Chattel houses symbolize the idyllic atmosphere of present and old Barbados. While there's not much to see inside, neighborhoods of these houses form welcoming communities for you and your loved ones. Each house has its unique ambiance, and you can travel from house to house to determine which one matches your ideal lifestyle. Some chattel houses are furnished inside, while others have been left in their natural state from decades ago.
Lonely beach is a hidden treasure of Barbados. Isolated from the main road and other forms of civilization, it's a terrific place to watch the sunrise or sunset by yourself. Get there by a short hike, set up a chair, and take in the fresh saltwater breeze and colorful streaks across the sky. At Lonely beach, there's no shortage of trees for shade in the midday heat.
Bridgetown is located at the heart of Barbados and is one of the most important stops on your trip. Before heading to the outskirts of the island, you'll want to stock up on food and water here at Bridgetown. Look for grocery stores and trading posts that sell local favorites and delicacies.
The Morgan Lewis sugar mill is an iconic sugar mill in Barbados. Spanning over 50 feet tall, the blades of this sugar mill are visible from nearly a mile away. It's a fantastic destination for a short day trip, and there are picnic tables and benches around the sugar mill for your comfort.
St. John Parish Church is one of Barbados' oldest religious residences. Surrounded by a miniature forest of vines and trees, this church is home to many weddings and receptions in the summertime. You can hear church bells ringing from a short distance away, and the location is welcoming to visitors of all beliefs. St. John Paris Church does not require any fees, and it is open to reception as long as there are no ongoing services.
The north point of Barbados stands out from all the other shores of the island. With waves crashing into the rock wall, you can feel gusts of seawater if you stand near to the edge. There are many walking trails along the north point, and like many other destinations, it's a quiet place of isolation and retreat.