Barbados is an island in the Caribbean Sea, with a population of over 280,000. Its capital city—Bridgetown—is home to many lively bars and restaurants; its beaches have soft white sand and crystal-clear waters. Perfect for couples or families, there is no shortage of activities to keep you entertained while you are on the island. There are many places to visit in Barbados!
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1. The Barbados Wildlife Reserve
The Barbados Wildlife Reserve in St Peter’s Parish is a popular attraction that draws both locals and tourists. Situated in a natural mahogany wood over 4-acres, all of the animals are free to roam in a more natural environment, as there are very few cages involved.
As you wander through their habitat, you will see a variety of animals along the way, such as Green Monkeys, Brocket Deer, Agouti, Parrots, Macaws, Peacocks and Rabbits. There is a reptile area as well, where you can see Iguanas, Turtles and Snakes (although these do not roam freely!) It is a great day out for families. If you prefer, you can take a half-day tour to learn about the animals’ biology and enjoy a private monkey feeding experience.
2. The Arlington House Museum
Arlington House, located in the second-largest town on the island—Speightstown—was once owned by a rich merchant who built it during the 18th century. It is now home to a museum. Spread over three floors, the museum provides valuable information on the history of life in Barbados, with each floor dedicated to different exhibits.
The ground floor provides an insight into the typical lifestyle of those living in Speightstown, (Speightstown Memories) whilst the second floor provides a glimpse into what life was like living and working on a plantation (Plantation Memories) and finally the third floor gives a view into living life in a coastal town (Wharf Memories). This interactive museum offers an audio-visual representation of Barbados’ heritage.
3. St. Nicholas Abbey
St. Nicholas Abbey’s great mansion house is a Jacobean building, (one of only three that remains in this area) that was originally built in 1658 by Colonel Benjamin Berringer. It is located in the south of Barbados, on a 400-acre estate, that consists of a plantation house, formal and herb gardens, gullies, sugar cane fields and a large working rum distillery. You can take a 3-hour St Nicholas Abbey Tour of the estate, which also includes the old mill and the museum, where you can learn all about the immense history of this plantation and partake in a complimentary tipple of the St. Nicholas Abbey rum that is distilled here.
4. Mount Gay Rum Distillery
Located on the western end of the island, the Mount Gay Rum Distillery visitor centre is a must-stop for rum connoisseurs. The distillery was founded in 1703 and has been producing rum on the island for over 300 years. Their rum is made with a mixture of molasses and water that is filtered through coral. Yeast ferments the mixture, which is then distilled in copper pot stills before being aged in oak barrels.
Tours of the distillery visitor centre allow you to learn about its history, see how the spirits are made, and taste them in their tasting room. The Mount Gay Signature Rum Tasting is a fun experience that allows you to sample a variety of different rums. If you are looking for things to do in Barbados for couples, this is a great activity.
5. Animal Flower Cave
Located in the parish of St. Lucy, in the northern area of Barbados, Animal Flower Cave is a popular tourist attraction for both locals and visitors to the island. This is the only accessible natural sea cave, that opens directly out into the Atlantic Ocean. On calm, quiet days, you can swim in the rock pools inside the cave, where you can see the Atlantic Ocean through the cave openings like they are naturally formed windows.
The name “Animal Flower Cave” is derived from the sea anemones which are found in the cave pools and if you take a moment to look at the cave walls, you can see all the green and brown colours where oxidation from copper and iron have made interesting formations. Above the cave there is a restaurant, offering amazing views and tasty cuisine, so be sure to make a reservation!
6. Turtle & Shipwreck Snorkel
Barbados’s crystal-clear waters are home to an abundance of marine wildlife, including leatherback and hawksbill turtles. Snorkelling is one of the best ways to view this underwater paradise. Carlise Bay is one of the best locations to swim with turtles on the island.
There are six shipwrecks in this area, and the snorkelling or scuba diving opportunities they offer attract visitors from far and wide. Barbados Turtle & Shipwreck Snorkel Adventure is a boat tour in a glass-bottom boat that provides a unique look at Barbados’ rich marine life—your equipment is provided!
7. Green Monkeys
In the parish of St Thomas, you will find Welchman Hall Gully. Here you can observe the wild green monkeys in their natural habitat and watch them being fed on the platform where bananas and other delicious fruits are left for them in the mornings. Or you can catch a glimpse of them as you wander through the amazing flora and fauna in their tropical paradise. You can see ducks, chickens and guinea fowl and these can be fed by hand. There is a cafe and a children’s adventure park, which includes a child-friendly zip line, to keep them busy and entertained. This is great if you are looking for things to do in Barbados with kids.
8. Harrison’s Cave
This limestone cavern, located in the centre of the island, is a unique and spectacular natural phenomenon. You can ride on a special tram to go down into the lit cavern, where you can see and hear all of its natural wonders—the stalagmites, stalactites and pools of blue water. It really is a sight to be seen. This Cave Tour at Harrisons Cave lasts approx 3 hours and will take you down into the depths of the cave, where you can see all of its natural wonders and experience the adventure of a lifetime.
9. Oistins Fish Fry
Oistins, on Barbados’ southwest coast, is a great place to sample local cuisine and learn about the Bajan culture. If you go to Oistins Bay Gardens on Fridays, it is particularly worthwhile because that is when the fish fry takes place. The vendors set up shop right in front of you and cook all sorts of delicious dishes—including mahi-mahi, tuna, flying fish, chicken and lobster! You will find local handmade crafts for sale too, such as jewellery, straw crafts and pottery. There will also be plenty of music—and dancing!
10. Sunbury Plantation House
Dating back to the 1600s, Sunbury Plantation House has been beautifully preserved and is today a museum, where you can learn all about the fascinating history and what it was like to live and work on a plantation. All the rooms are open to the public and are filled with mahogany furniture and antiques, making you feel like you have stepped back in time. There are various Barbados island tours available, which include the visit to Sunbury Plantation House.
11. Garrison Savannah
The Garrison Savannah has been in use as a horse racing venue since the 19th century and is home to the ‘Barbados Turf Club’. There are three seasons spanning the year from January – April, May -September, and November – December, with a total of 185 races and 25 race meets during the season.
The most prestigious event during the racing year is the ‘Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup’, which attracts visitors and competitors from all over the world. The venue also hosts other events to keep people entertained, ranging from concerts to kite flying competitions, football to military parades.
12. Saint Lawrence Gap
This small street in the district of Christ Church is known as ‘The Gap,’ by the locals and is home to a host of hotels, restaurants, shops, bars, and dance clubs, along the beachfront. At night after the sun goes down—the revellers come out to these rum bars and nightclubs to dance the night away!
13. Bajan Walking Food Tour
If you love trying new cuisine but are not sure where the best food spots are, a Bajan Walking Food Tour could be just what you are looking for! You will be led around the bustling streets of Bridgetown by an informative guide who will help you experience the Bajan food culture the right way, taking in the sights, sounds and history of this UNESCO World Heritage site – Bridgetown.
14. Atlantis Submarine
Would you like to see the wonders of the ocean and its coral reefs, beautiful tropical fish—or even shipwrecks? But are afraid of scuba diving/want a less-intense experience? Well, you can, all without even getting wet! Atlantis submarine tours can take you over 100ft down into the ocean, where you will learn all about the varied marine life. Perfect for families, although children do need to be at a height of 3ft or over.
15. Farley Hill National Park
Farley Hill House used to be regarded as being the most outstanding mansion in Barbados and was owned by Sir Graham Briggs, however, in 1965 it was unfortunately destroyed in a fire. Today the ruins of the mansion can still be seen in amongst the beautiful mahogany trees, as Farley Hill then became a national park in 1966. Today, the park is used for weddings, picnics, and several times a year it hosts various events, such as music concerts and theatrical performances, where everyone can join in and dance the night away in this beautiful national park.
16. Barbados Museum & Historical Society
The Barbados Museum and Historical Society, originally a British military prison, opened as a museum in Garrison, St Michael, in 1933. You can learn all about the early inhabitants of the islands, and view the various galleries, exhibits and artefacts on display, along with the collection of historical maps. You can also take a Walking Tour of The Historic Garrison and its Museum.
17. Orchid World & Tropical Flower Garden
Set in an elevated position of 810ft and spread over six acres, you will be offered a number of vantage spots where you can admire the vista, whilst you amble along the well-maintained path, you will be taken past the coral grotto and an enchanting waterfall and guided through 5 orchid houses. You will see numerous colourful orchids, such as Phalaenopsis and Dendrobiums to name a few.
18. Carlisle Bay
Carlisle Bay is a popular area on the west coast of Barbados. With its calm waters, it is a family-friendly bay, making it suitable for snorkelling and scuba diving to view tropical fish. Although you will find other water sports like kayaking, jet skis and paddle boarding available. If you prefer to relax and soak up the sun, you can hire a sunbed and umbrella and take some time out on Browne’s beach or Pebbles beach, where you can also take a cool dip in the crystal clear water.
19. Adventure Safari Tour
This Adventure Safari Tour is filled with fun and exciting moments, as well as a few bumps along the way. You will travel to the eastern part of the island, marvelling at views from Edgecliff before making your way to Bathsheba Park. Then you will head for Little Bay and finish with lunch at “Sandy’s Chattel Bar at Sugar Cane Club.”
20. Catamaran Cruise
If you are drawn to getting out onto the Caribbean sea, a catamaran cruise may be right up your alley. This 5-hour round trip allows you time to swim with turtles or scuba dive and explore shipwrecks below the surface. There is a bar and buffet on board, so you can enjoy the sunshine, sit back and relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
21. Rockley Beach
Rockley Beach (known locally as Accra Beach) is a great place to spend time with young children, as the southern end of the beach has calm water and rockpools, which kids will love exploring. Sun loungers and umbrellas are available for hire, but there is also plenty of shade under the trees. Why not grab a refreshing drink from one of the beach bars or delicious frozen treats to keep everyone happy?
22. Kensington Oval
The 2007 World Cup was held on the grassy field at Kensington Oval, which sits right on the edge of Bridgetown. This is the island’s premier sports facility, although it mainly hosts cricket matches. It was established in 1882 when 4 acres of ground were leased from the Kensington Plantation to Pickwick Cricket Club. There are cricket matches held here during the months of January–April when teams from the West Indies, England, Australia and other countries come to play.
23. Harbour Lights Extravaganza and Dinner Show
The Harbour Lights Beach Extravaganza and Dinner Show will provide you with an evening of entertainment. The dancers, fire eaters, stilt walkers and even acrobats, will treat your eyes to the sights while Caribbean bands serenade you all night long. Feast on a traditional Bajan barbeque dinner, and sip rum punch as you enjoy the island’s culture.
24. Flying Fish Cutters
Flying fish are small, thin, and prolific, with a tendency to ‘fly’ long distances in the ocean. This simple sandwich delicacy is made using Bajan salt bread, flying fish, lettuce, cucumber and sauce. Simple but delicious! Make sure you try this island delicacy on your travels to Barbados.
25. Bathsheba Beach
The east coast of the island is home to this beautiful beach, which has natural pools and coral rock formations, which look like giant boulders. If you are an experienced surfer, the Soup Bowl is a good place for you to test your skills.
This island has great food, culture and history; it is also beautiful and fun to explore. Whether you are travelling with family or friends or going solo, Barbados offers amazing excursions and activities for all types of travellers. These are just a few of the many wonderful things to do in Barbados. For those who have never visited, this tropical paradise truly is one of the most beautiful places on earth and should not be missed by anyone!
Recommended tours in Barbados
- Barbados Catamaran Turtle and Shipwreck Snorkeling Cruise
- Original Bajan Walking Food Tour
- Barbados Turtle & Shipwreck Snorkel Adventure
- Mount Gay Signature Rum Tasting in Barbados
- eBike Island Adventures: Rural Tracks & Trails
- Barbados Full-day Private Tour
- Afternoon Luxury Catamaran Sailing and Charter Cruise from Bridgetown
- The Real Barbados 6 hour Island Tour
- St. Nicholas Abbey Heritage Great House and Rum Distillery Tour
- Natural Wonders of Barbados Small-Group or Private Tour with Harrison’s Cave
- Chocolate Factory Tour in Barbados
- Beautiful Barbados Tours Cave Tour at Harrisons Cave in Barbados
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