Barbados is renowned for its picture-perfect beaches, tropical climate, and crystal-clear waters. You would be forgiven for spending most of your vacation time lounging on the pure white sands, pausing only to dip your toes in the azure waters or to take a refreshing sip of a rum drink.
But if you can pull yourself from your sun-lounger for long enough, you will discover a wealth of things to do in Barbados.
Admire the rolling hills and tropical vegetation, explore historical buildings, and voyage into deep caves and vast underground lagoons. The ocean also offers a whole other world of possibilities and things to do in Barbados. Swim, cruise, surf, snorkel and dive your way around the coast. There’s marine life galore – from tropical fish to turtles – and don’t forget to check out the many shipwrecks.
Here a list of our favorite attractions in Barbados to help you plan your next trip!
Best things to do in Barbados
Barbados’ unique position in the Caribbean gives the island a varied landscape filled with adventures for every traveler. We’ve visited this beautiful island multiple times and compiled this list of activities and sights from our favorites. Here are a few of the “must-sees” along with a few of the lesser-known of the beaten path things to do in Barbados!
1. Drive Around The Entire Island of Barbados
One of the best ways to see as much of the island is by renting a car and driving yourself. We’ve done both tours and rented a car in Barbados – hands down, driving yourself is the way to go. Rent a car online here for the best prices. Prices are much higher on the island.
Renting a car brings so much freedom, and you can explore as much or as little as you’d like. For some reason, rental cars aren’t cheap. They average around $90-100 a day, but if you compare that to what tours cost, it’s a much better deal.
To get the best price, book online here on Discovercars.com. Renting a car in Barbados is really easy, and driving is relatively easy as well. Barbados drive on the left, which may sound intimidating, but we have always got the hang of it really quickly. Just always look both ways. Right-hand turns can be tricky.
Don’t forget your insurance! You never know when you’ll need it. We suggest getting travel insurance with Safety Wing. Which coverage includes medical, trip interruption, lost luggage, and more. Often rates are as low as $12 a week.
2. Immerse Yourself in History at Bathsheba Village
The East Coast plays host to the fishing village of Bathsheba. The village takes its name from the wife of King David – Bathsheba – a rather vain lady who enjoyed bathing in milk to keep her skin feeling silky smooth. It’s said that the foaming sea at Bathsheba looks a lot like her milky bath and does the same wonderous things for the skin.
Bathsheba is dotted with restaurants, guest houses, and a few rum shops – when in Barbados, do as the Bajans! You will find also holiday cottages frequented by locals -a sure-fire sign that a place is worth a visit.
Find a secluded spot and enjoy the fresh air in Bathsheba Park; take a refreshing dip in the Bathsheba Pools, or stroll along the sweeping sandy beaches and marvel at the rock formations (which once formed part of the coral reef). If history floats your boat, Bathsheba is worth a look.
*When looking for the best price and biggest selection of hotels in the Caribbean, check prices on Booking.com. We’ve found they are the best option and have a great cancelation policy.*
3. Soak Up the Sun as You Relax on Crane Beach
Situated in the parish of St Phillip, on the South East coast of Barbados, Crane Beach is stunning. If you ask us, it’s one of the best beaches in Barbados. The sapphire seas partner the perfectly pinkish sands, which are framed by lush vegetation, and the whole scene is set against the backdrop of striking cliffs clinging to the skyline.
If you like to swim, head out into the water and take an up-close and personal look at the natural coral reef. Note the sea is much rougher on this side of Barbados. The waves can be fun but not best for small children.
Recommended Hotel on Crane Beach: The Crane Resort
4. Check Out the Vistas from Cherry Tree Hill
Part of the St Nicholas Abbey plantation, Cherry Tree Hill comprises a Jacobian mansion that’s rich in history and manicured gardens. It also boasts its very own distillery, complete with a boiling house. Do make sure you sample the St Nicholas Abbey Rum that is made on the premises.
Once upon a time, cherry trees lined the road, but nowadays, the cherry trees are gone and in their place stand mahogany trees. Sugar canes occupy the space lower down the hill. Head towards the top of the hill, and you will find yourself almost 900 feet up, looking out over the parish of St Andrew.
5. Fill Your Face with Tasty Fish at Oistins Fish Market
If you happen to find yourself on the South Coast of Barbados on a Friday evening, then there really is only one place to go – and that’s the fish fry at Oistins Bay Gardens. This fishing town has its own fish market, which is a hive of activity on weekend evenings (especially Fridays).
No need to dress up for dinner here. It’s all about casual dining here. What do you fancy? There’s an array of fresh fish on offer, including kingfish, swordfish, marlin, tuna, and mahi-mahi. If you prefer, go for lobster. The best part? It’s all freshly caught and cooked in front of your eyes. Make sure to come hungry and bring cash. Our go-to is always is the kingfish or tuna steak!
On our last trip, we stayed at Sandals Barbados, which has some amazing food and drinks all included in our stay, BUT it is a must to get off the resort and try some local food. Oistins is a quick taxi ride away from Sandals Barbados. Barbados has one of the best Sandals Resorts ever. We’ve been to 7 of their properties, and Sandals Royal Barbados is at the top!
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6. Take A Dip with The Sea Anemones at Animal Flower Cave
Head North as far as you can, and you will discover the Parish of St Lucy, home of the Animal Flower Cave. There are deep pools you can take a dip in – some of which contain sea anemones (hence the name “animal flower cave”).
The cave walls are made up of fascinating formations, shaded brown and green due to corrosion. Look carefully, and you will see a turtle and lizard chilling on the rock face. Take a sneak peek out of one of the several gaps to get a breathtaking view over the sea.
Exploring can be thirsty work, so take time out to visit the clifftop bar for a refreshing beverage. Hungry? This place serves tasty local fare, too – tuck in!
7. See the Enormous Baobab Tree
There are some very obvious things to do in Barbados, such as swim or sunbathing, but how about something a little more offbeat? Make your way to Queens Park in Bridgetown and marvel at the enormous Baobab Tree.
Apparently, it takes 15 adults with their arms stretched wide to encircle the trunk of the tree. Rumor has it that the tree is over 1000 years old and grew from a seed that drifted across the ocean from West Africa to the island of Barbados. If one isn’t enough to gawp at, you can see another Baobab Tree in the parish of St Michael, which is thought to be around 300 years old.
Address: Constitution Rd, Bridgetown, Barbados
8. Sample A Rum (Or Four) On the Mount Gay Rum Tour
Of all the things to do in Barbados, drinking rum has to be somewhere near the top of the list! For such a small island, Barbados manages to produce a huge amount of the stuff! Sailors have long enjoyed knocking back a few rums after long sea voyages, and you really can’t visit Barbados without savoring some for yourself.
Visit the Mount Gay Distillery, which was founded back in 1703 and produced the first ever batch of rum. Learn about the history and culture associated with rum and the distillery, discover how rum is produced, and – the best bit – you get to sample some for free!
No doubt you will want to take home the taste of Barbados. You’re in luck! There’s a well-stocked store on-site, so you can take home a souvenir of your trip and let friends sample the nectar too (or just keep it for yourself.)
Mount Gay Rum Tours
- Signature rum tasting tours: Monday-Friday 9:30n am- 2:30 pm and Saturdays (Nov-Apr) 10:30 am- 2:30 pm for $20 USD, and children 1-5 are free, and children 6-17 are $8.
- Full Signature rum tasting with transportation: Mondays only at 11 am $50
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9. Take the Underground Tram Through Harrisons Cave
Located in the central uplands, Harrisons Cave is a wondrous place to visit. Enter the crystallized limestone cavern and look down into the deep translucent pools or look up to witness the soaring columns.
White flowstones and speleothems (intricate formations made of mineral deposits) litter the underground kingdom, along with tumbling waterfalls. You can choose from a number of tours; let the tram take the strain and sit back as a knowledgeable guide tells you everything you need to know about the sights before your eyes.
Or, for the explorers amongst you, choose to embark on a walking cave tour or an eco-adventure tour. These tours aren’t for the meek; you will travel to the depths of the cave, and don’t be surprised if you end up scrambling through tunnels on your hands and knees!
10. Witness The Amazing Flying Fish (And Eat A Couple Too)!
Barbados is known as the land of the Flying Fish; thirteen species exist, but Barbados is home to one in particular – Hirundichthys Affinis.
We’ll let you in on a secret – flying fish don’t really fly, but they do leap from the sea (usually in a bid to find food or to evade swordfish and tuna that tend to enjoy munching on flying fish for their lunch and dinner!)
If you are visiting between December and July, you will be able to witness this remarkable creature for yourself and taste it! Flying fish is a Bajan delicacy – best served pickled, baked, or fried – and boning and descaling the fish is considered to be an art in itself. The best place to try flying fish is at the Oistin’s fish market.
11. Take A Stroll Along the Boardwalk
A simple stroll along the seafront can relax, invigorate and lift your spirits, and what better place to take in the sea air than in Barbados? The Barbados Boardwalk is located on the South coast of the island and is used by tourists and locals alike.
Take a leisurely walk – or an invigorating jog if you’re feeling energetic – then perch yourself on a seat and enjoy the views out across the ocean.
12. Learn About the Island’s Heritage at The Parliament Buildings.
Located in Bridgetown, on the north side of National Heroes Square, you will find the parliament buildings: two neo-gothic constructions built from stone and erected in 1871.
The parliament buildings have played an important role in Barbados. The West building contains public offices and sports a clock tower, while the East building is home to the Senate and House of Assembly. Step into the on-site museum, and you can find out all you need to know about the democratic custom and heritage of the island.
13. Knock Back A Beer on The Banks Brewery Tour
If rum isn’t your thing, perhaps you would prefer a cool beer? If you’re heading to the Caribbean, you will come across the signature lager of Barbados, produced by Banks Brewery in Newtown, Christ Church.
The brewery began life in 1961 and has since gone from strength to strength. Visit on an organized tour and find out about the history and backstory of this amazing place, whilst checking out how the tasty drink is actually produced. You even get to whet your whistle and sample some for yourself! Cheers.
14. Dive Down to Explore the Sunken Ships in Carlisle Bay and Friars Crag
Sculpted coral reefs, fish dancing through the waves, and a graveyard for many a sunken ship – the ocean is full of phenomenal sights that you can only truly experience when you pull on a wetsuit, strap on an oxygen tank, and plunge in.
If you go under the waves in the South West of Barbados, you will discover Carlisle Bay, which is suitable for all divers – from beginners through to the more experienced.
Here, you can explore the multiple shipwrecks that litter the seabed. Play ‘spot the sea creature’ as you watch shy seahorses play peek-a-boo in the decaying portholes and survey the flamboyant fish as they dash in and out of the beaten-up hulls.
Nearby, you will find Friars Bay, which is also the final resting place of a gigantic ship – a 100-foot Dutch freighter, to be exact. This one is from more recent times: 1984, but the sheer size of this wreck and its proximity to the coral reef make this an interesting dive for all.
If you’re staying at Sandals Barbados unlimited diving is included in your stay. Go to the dive shop on the beach and see if there are any sunken ship dives or Friars Crag scheduled during your stay.
15. Snorkel Along the Coast.
Snorkel along the West Coast, South Coast, or at one of the many marine parks. Barbados is a playground for those who like to don a pair of flippers and uncover what lies beneath the surface of the ocean.
The West coast has some great beaches, and there’s easy access for snorkeling. A few of the best include Brighton Beach (St Michael), Holetown Beach (St James), and Mulins Bay (St Peter). If you choose to snorkel at any of these locations, then prepare to be left in awe of the stunning coral reefs. Visibility is terrific here, and the chances are you will get ample opportunity to swim near turtles and tons of fish. It’s worth mentioning that Brighton Beach also has a shipwreck that’s worth a look.
Not to be outdone, the South coast of Barbados also boasts wonderful seas to snorkel in. Visibility is great here too, and you should be able to see plenty of fish bolting through their undersea world. The clear water is also calm and has a lovely temperature (around 79F most of the time). Try Graves End Beach (St Michael), which has a shallow barrier reef – great for novice snorkelers. Palm Beach (Christ Church) is also worth a visit. The reef is manmade, but the waters around the area are extremely serene, and you are likely to come to face to face with a turtle or two.
Another option is to snorkel at one of the two major marine parks on the island. Try out Carlisle Bay Marine Park (St Michael) with its sunken ships, rusty anchors, and abundant marine life. Or explore the more intimate Folkestone Marine Park (St James), which boasts a huge sandy reef complete with coral that’s teeming with fish.
16. Savor This Caribbean Gem.
This Caribbean gem of an island has so much to offer. There are so many things to do in Barbados, so many things to see. Soak up the history and culture, sample the local food and drink, explore above ground and below the sea, and meet some of the most welcoming people on earth.
Bajans are always ready with a warm hello and a friendly smile. We’re not surprised – if we lived in such an idyllic place, we would be smiling too!
Don’t Forget to Pin Me for Later!
Now that we’ve shared with you some of our favorite things to do in Barbados, we hope you’ve put together an awesome Barbados itinerary. We’d love to hear from you about how your time on the island was. Where did you stay, what were you’re favorite beaches, what do you think are the best attractions in Barbados, etc. Leave a comment below!