Top 10 things to do in Barbados

Barbados is the furthest East of the islands of the Caribbean chain. Very British in atmosphere, it is an island of old-fashioned charm and beautiful beaches. There are many adventures to be had but it is also a brilliant place to kick back and enjoy many, many rums.

1. Catamaran cruise
Several operators offer catamaran cruises along the West coast of Barbados. They depart Bridgetown careenage in the morning, and after a usually bumpy five minutes spent getting out of the harbour, head North along the tranquil waters and beautiful picture-postcard beaches of the West coast. The catamarans stop at various points for lunch, a swim and to allow guests to snorkel with the islands turtle population. Rum punch (and fruit punch) is available and gets better and better all day. 

2. Scuba diving
Barbados has some fantastic wrecks for divers. The Stavronikita and the Pamir on the West coast are superb but there is also a little collection all in Carlisle Bay and it is possible to see them all in one dive. There is also lots of underwater wildlife off Barbados, including sharks, rays, lobsters, turtles and fish. We even saw a whale once.
Scuba diving, Barbados

3. Snorkel with turtles
Do you get seasick at the mere sight of a boat? Don't worry, it is not necessary to take a catamaran cruise to meet Barbados’ turtles. It is also possible to snorkel from the shore just north of Holetown.

Turtle, Barbados

4. Animal Flower Cave
The Animal Flower cave is at Barbados’ far Northern tip. It is a rock cave which you descend into via a damp staircase and once inside you have a clear view out over the sea. It gets its name from the anemones which live in the rock pools inside the cave.

View of the sea from inside the Animal Flower Cave, Barbados

5. St Nicholas Abbey
If you are curious as to how living on Barbados long ago might have been why not visit an old plantation house? St Nicholas Abbey is an old Jacobean Mansion deep in the sugar cane centre of the island. It is a magnificent old house set in manicured gardens. There is an amusing flock of Guineafowl who waddle hurriedly around the garden too.

St Nicholas Abbey, Barbados

6. Mount Gay Rum refinery
No visit to Barbados would be complete without a visit to the Rum distillery. Take a tour to learn all about the origins of rum, how the sugar is grown, harvested and then distilled to make rum. The tour includes a free tasting session at the end of the tour. Let's be honest, that's what you're really after, isn't it?

Mount Gay Rum Refinery, Bridgetown, Barbados

7. Oistins Fish fry
Oistins is a district on the South coast of Barbados and has one of the best fish fry gatherings on the island on Friday and Saturday nights. It is a great place to spend an evening enjoying some fresh fish and a drink, soaking up the lively atmosphere. Other nearby options for lively nightlife include the Boat Yard and Harbour Lights, both nearer Bridgetown.

8. Andromeda Botanical Gardens
Anyone with an interest in exotic flowers will love the Andromeda Botanical Gardens. However, even if you're entirely ignorant about flower species like me, it is still a lovely place to enjoy a picnic. 

Andromeda Botanical Gardens

9. Barbados Wildlife  Reserve
You might consider yourself unlucky if you fail to see a Bajan Green Monkey in the wild on the island, but until you've had an angry one chase you, you should reserve judgment on that. Anyway, if you want to see some (and you should!) you are guaranteed to see one at the wildlife reserve. Just try not to offend them...haha! There are also all sorts of other native animals to be seen and admired in the park. The best time to visit is in the afternoon when the animals are fed.

Bajan Green Monkey

10. Harrison’s cave
Harrison’s cave is a massive cave and active, due to its carrying of water. Impressive stalactites and stalagmites grow inside and the tour involves a cart-ride through the caves as well as opportunities to walk around and explore inside.

Photo credit: Reivax