Barbados is perhaps the most popular island in the whole of the Caribbean, located in the southeastern region of the Lesser Antilles; read this Barbados travel guide to discover my favorite sights and activities . The island’s west coast is extremely popular with tourists thanks to its white sandy beaches, luscious green palm trees, crystal clear waters, perfectly presented resorts, and pristine golf courses. The west coast of the island is often referred to as the Platinum Coast, due to its gorgeous coastline and the high level of spending that takes place. When you see Barbados in travel guides and vacation advertisements, it’s the Platinum Coast that they’re referring to. However, there’s a lot more to Barbados than just the Platinum Coast.
Barbados became an independent nation in 1966 after being under British rule since 1627. During British rule, slaves from Africa were used to produce sugar cane, which proved to be a very lucrative business. It was so profitable, in fact, that it made Barbados one of Britain’s richest colonies. In 1834 the slaves were given their freedom, and their descendants have, throughout the generations, taken up positions of power within the island’s institutions and government.
Britain certainly left its mark on Barbados, and to this day, you’ll still find British influence on the island. For example, cars drive on the left side of the road, the national sport is cricket, politics is a deadly serious business, and the language spoken on the island is English (a thick, rolling form of English!) . Barbadians speak English with a thick accent, which was adopted and altered over time from the white settlers, who predominantly hailed from the English Midlands. Local idioms have found a place within the language, making Barbadian English very distinct.
Barbados is an ideal place for tourists to visit. Sunshine, check. Pristine beaches, check. Clear starry skies, check. Barbados travel guide , check .The one thing that makes Barbados unique compared to other Caribbean nations is the relatively large population on the island.
To the east of Barbados is Bathsheba, the main town in the area.
Legend has it that King David’s wife, Bathsheba, bathed in milk to keep her skin beautiful and soft. The area’s warm, bubbling pools of water, found in the rocks on the east side of the island, conjure up a similar image. It’s claimed that these waters have high concentrations of minerals that possess both medicinal and cosmetic benefits. For that reason, the small village located in Saint Joseph Parish was named Bathsheba, after the queen.
Compared to the west coast of Barbados, the east coast is a completely different world. Away from the upmarket resorts and hotels, the east coast is covered in sugar cane fields, thick forests, and trees inhabited by wild monkeys. It’s certainly the raw and more realistic side of Barbados. If you’ve only experienced the west coast, you’d think the east coast was a completely different island.
The East Coast of Barbados
Tourists don’t dominate the east coast; local people predominantly make up the population. Bathsheba itself has a mystical vibe as if it were once where mythical creatures roamed, due to the scattering of massive limestone boulders. The strong Atlantic winds have relentlessly whipped the hillsides and beaches, with mountains hollowed out from the warm blasts of air, and palm trees bent backward from the sheer force of the wind. The coastline’s shape has been formed by hundreds of years of strong winds battering the area, attacking the landscape with rough, salt-filled air.
Swimming with Turtles
The must do for everyone traveling to Barbados
Catamaran cruises are the most popular choice for tourists who want to swim with turtles. There’s a lot of choice when it comes to catamarans, and each one will stop in a specific location, allowing you to swim with the gentle creatures.
Due to the beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters in Barbados, you’ll often find different types of sea turtle, including Leatherback turtles, Hawksbill turtles, and of course, the very popular green turtle. You can still swim with the turtles even if you don’t want to book a catamaran cruise. This is ideal for people on a tight budget, and most of the west coast’s beaches are home to turtles.
If you want to, you can visit these beaches and swim out to sea, where you’ll come into direct contact with the turtles. You’ll typically find sea turtles on most beaches, however below are some of the more popular beaches where you can commonly find them.
Where to find them
Carlisle Bay & Pebbles Beach
Pebbles Beach is an amazing place to spend some time, so why not go swimming with sea turtles if you’re in the area? If you carry on walking along the beach toward the north, you’ll come across the pier, which is just past the Barbados Yacht Club. If you do decide to swim here, be cautious, as there’s a lot of boat traffic in the area. Several shipwrecks lay on the ocean floor the further out you go, however, we’d recommend only visiting them in a group as it can get very busy.
Alleynes Bay – Lonestar Restaurant
Make your way toward the Lonestar Restaurant and the sea turtles will be close by! You’ll know you’re in the right spot when you see all of the glass-bottom boats and catamarans bobbing about. You’ll often see boat crews throwing food into the water to entice the sea turtles to appear.
The Famous Rum Tours
Despite Barbados being only 21 miles long by 14 miles wide, it’s home to a huge number of rum shops. The exact number is often contested, as not everybody can agree on what counts as a rum shop. However, the number is somewhere in the region of 800 to 1,600 shops.
The Historical Importance of Rum in the Caribbean
Barbados rum tours take you back in time, by about 350 years, to the mid-1600s. To get the full experience of Barbados, you must try out the magical rum tours! The tours kick off at the Mount Gay Rum Factory, which is officially the world’s oldest commercial rum distillery. Sugarcane juice is used to produce Barbados rum, and many fans of the drink will tell you that there’s nothing better to sip on while basking in the beautiful Caribbean sunshine.
To the north of the island you’ll come across St. Nicholas Abbey, where you can take a tour of a stunning Jacobean mansion, which was built by Colonel Benjamin Berringer in 1658. It’s one of just three genuine Jacobean mansions left in the Western Hemisphere, making it a rare place to visit. You’ll get to see the sugar plantation and rum distillery, and you can, of course, participate in some rum tasting!
St. Nicholas Abbey was purchased by Larry and Anna Warren in 2006. Their desire to preserve the plantation house as a part of the island’s rich heritage is what drove them to make the purchase. The tour involves sampling some fine spirits, including the distillery’s highly regarded white rum. You can also try the 5-year-old rum, which is simply white rum that has been left to age in old bourbon barrels, giving it a very distinctive taste.
This pear-shaped island is just 21 miles long by 14 miles wide, but has about 1,200 rum shops. Or 800 shops — or 1,600. It all depends on whom you ask, since few agree about what constitutes a rum shop.
Rum has historically been the lifeblood of the Caribbean.
Cherry Tree Hill’s Magnificent Views of Barbados
Cherry Tree Hill is situated approximately 850 feet above sea level, making it perfectly positioned to offer stunning views of the parish of St. Andrew. The hill itself is part of St. Nicholas Abbey, the famous plantation and rum distillery. Cherry trees once covered the hill, which is where the name is thought to have originated from. These days there are no cherry trees. However, in their place, you’ll find plenty of mahogany trees, which originally came to Barbados in 1763. Cherry Tree Hill is a popular place for tours to stop at, so it can sometimes get very busy. However, if you time it right and visit on weekdays in the middle of the afternoon, you may get the stunning views all to yourself.
Bridgetown City & Museum
The city center is home to some amazing neo-Gothic style architecture, most notably the iconic Parliament Buildings and the National Heroes Square. The Chamberlain Bridge is located just opposite the Parliament Buildings, offering a magnificent view over the Constitution River. Along the waterside walkway, you’ll see brightly colored buildings and docked yachts dotted about.
The first place to visit is the Bridgetown (Barbados) Museum, as it’ll provide some background information on the island, which is pretty handy to know. Built over 160 years ago in a former prison, the museum offers the chance to explore toys, furniture, pottery, maps, and art related to the island’s colonial past.
The main shopping avenue in Bridgetown is called Broad Street, where you’ll find lots of outlets dedicated to cruise passengers.
The Wonder of Andromeda Gardens
At the end of my Barbados travel guide , I couldn’t leave out Andromeda Gardens provides a completely different experience to many of the other things you can do in Barbados. Go deep into nature, where you’ll encounter a maze of paths that cut through stunning landscapes, lined with many exotic plants from all over the globe. There’s everything from colorful orchids, canary bush, ylang-ylang, ixora
from Thailand, and even eucalyptus from Australia.
The gardens have a unique style, which is what gives it such an amazing aura. There are hidden pools filled with blue and pink waterlilies, strong stone archways, and dashes of greenery suspended in pots. The garden’s owner, Iris Bannochie, tended to the plants for over 30 years, which explains why it feels like you’re walking through somebody’s private garden.
I hope this Barbados travel guide with my favorite places was helpful , you can find details on each and every sight mentioned in this blog here .