So you want a Caribbean vacation, and you picked Barbados! Let’s get you started on what you need to should see on your trip.
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Barbados has a TON to offer on any trip. Whether you’re into history, beaches, adventure or just here for the rum, you can find something to suit! Here are a few essentials of what to see in Barbados.
Rum Tasting at Mount Gay Visitor Centre
The obvious: do a rum tasting. Barbados claims to have been the first to discover rum, so why not start with where it all began? I say
Mount Gay is the oldest distillery in production, and they’ve got a line of products to back it up. I loved the old bottle designs on display and our guide was funny and quirky, exactly what you want in someone teaching you about rum. We got to taste four different versions, from the standard mixing rum to a sipping rum that has a similar feel to whiskey. The tasting included a discount on cocktails in their downstairs bar, and I’m already trying to recreate their drinks!
Catamaran Snorkel Trip
It should be no surprise to you that I love boats. I love sailing over turquoise water and jumping off the side to snorkel and sitting in the sun with the wind whipping your hair. So a catamaran snorkel adventure had to be on the agenda.
My own opinions aside, it’s a great way to get a different perspective on the island. You see miles of coastline and get to snorkel in different reefs with a guide to make sure you see the best spots. On our
Our boat trip was part of the wedding festivities: in lieu of a Friday night rehearsal dinner, we jumped on a catamaran! We ate a delicious dinner full of local delicacies watching the
The trip was through Tiami Catamaran Cruises, and they did a fantastic job – fun staff, great cruise, excellent food
Explore the Island by Jeep
I shared about this last week, but Barbados is small enough to really explore. Take a day trip to see more of the island than the touristy areas! This was the thing I’m most glad we pre-booked, and they even picked us up from where we stayed, so
Stay like the locals
Rather than stay in an expensive resort, we opted for an Airbnb. We rented an adorable house off the main road. It had the advantage of being walkable to the most beautiful beach on the island and near a road packed with taxis to get us around, but walking through our neighborhood multiple times a day meant we got a bit of a feel of local Barbados. We even had green monkeys living in our backyard and saw them almost every day!
Get in some beach t
No trip to Barbados is complete without heading to the beach. We stayed just across from Carlisle Bay, one of the best beaches on the island. The waters were calm, perfect for swimming! In the mornings it was full of locals, always a vote of confidence for me that we found the right place to be. Kids learned to swim or ran soccer drills on the sand while adults stood chest deep in the light blue water catching up on their week. Bring cash to rent umbrellas and lounge chairs.
Right near the cruise harbor sits a market called Pelican Village. Sitting that close to the cruise ships, I assumed it would be a tourist trap. But the shops are almost entirely local artisans selling their creations and a must see in Barbados! From brightly colored textiles to carved mahogany driftwood to gorgeous pottery, each shop is slightly different. It’s almost always staffed by the artist themselves, so we heard the stories behind each creation we bought.
Didn’t get to Pelican Village? Best of Barbados sells more locally-made crafts and souvenirs. And if you run out of time, they’ve got a location at the airport too. Their profits go back into the local economy, which is so important when traveling!
For next time
Of course, we didn’t manage to squeeze in everything. Next trip, here’s what we want to see in Barbados:
Harrison’s Cave is one of the main attractions of the island and big enough to ride a tram throughout. There are several caves and accesses throughout the island, but the best way to see them is this entrance.
A few of the historic houses are open to touring. The most notable is St. Nicholas Abbey, a Jacobean style sugar plantation home. They also offer a rum tasting, which I’ve heard is good but more expensive than the Mount Gay version.
Another way to get the history of the island is to spend a bit of time exploring Bridgetown. The Parliament buildings (third oldest parliament in the world!), St-Michael’s Cathedral, the Careenage all have a ton of history easy to see today. There’s also a Garrison tour that gives access to several historical military installations that date back to early colonial days.
There is so much to see in Barbados that you can’t possibly squeeze it all in one trip – that’s why I always try to include what I want but didn’t get to see this round!