Located in the West Indies, southeastern Caribbean, Barbados is a touristic hotspot. Fittingly so, this Bajan jewel sits gorgeously nestled between the calm turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, fed by the Atlantic ocean. With guaranteed warmth all year round and strategic positioning below the Caribbean hurricane belt Barbados is the ultimate dream for the adrenaline-hungry surfer, not to mention all the other sensory overload water sport activities available on the island, from snorkeling to adventurous waterskiing and scenic catamaran island trips. That aside, Barbados is steeped in history, cultural diversity, and many natural wonders; this island sits upon rugged cliffs and stunning rock formations that are well pocketed in lush green forests and palm-frond shorelines. So if you’re a first-time traveler looking to visit the home of rum or a return visitor that can’t seem to get enough of the Barbadian charm, we have just the thing for you- a detailed scoop on traveling to Barbados.
The Five-Step Travel Guide To Barbados.
Barbados is a popular Caribbean island pick, mainly because it has more than endless sunny beaches. While this is the upside to Barbados, the wide variety of choices can potentially turn overwhelming. If you’ve had Barbados on your travel radar, you probably need a low-down on what to pack, how to dress, where to stay, what to eat, et cetera. Don’t fret, though; we’ve got you covered with the tasty local cuisines, top attractions, and the social do’s and don’ts. Read on as we break down all the travel tips and information to make your trip to Barbados island hitch-free.
Where to stay
Before working out your accommodations, it’s essential to know which part of Barbados you’ll be visiting. The 439 square kilometer island is relatively divided into the West and East Coast, with each side maintaining a distinction in character. The West Coast is the more popular choice for most tourists. It sits on the serene Caribbean waters and sandy beaches lined with high-end luxury hotels and resorts, as opposed to the East Coast, which is a considerably rural landscape by the Atlantic ocean. Depending on the activities you have lined up on your itinerary, we’d suggest booking your stay at a hotel, Air BnB, guest dorm, luxury villa, or resort conveniently located in the same vicinity as your attractions interests. Our personal favorite is the beachfront Greensleeves villa, perfect for families and group trips, with facilities like fitness rooms, tennis courts, minibars, paddleboards, and kayaks on-premise.
Getting there and around
How do you plan to get to Barbados? For the most part, the primary transportation means to the island are air and water; this means you could opt for a flight or a cruise to the Caribbean island- it’s a matter of choice and budget. Next up is getting around; with your itinerary all lined up, you must work out your transportation arrangement from one site to the next. Some accommodation facilities offer transfers and commuting services to their guests; however, if that isn’t an option in your case, you could hire a vehicle. Remember that people in Barbados drive on the left, so we recommend taking a cab or using a motorbike or public transportation if this would be a huge adjustment for you.
Tip- Make use of the Red Caps; these baggage porters will offer to do the heavy lifting for you at the airport at a small fee, and they’re well versed in English, which is the official language in Barbados.
Packing for Barbados
Barbados’ temperatures range between 23-30 Celcius, with December to March being the peak of the dry season. For those visiting during this period, it’s best to pack on a pair of sunnies, a sun hat, some good sunscreen, and casual cotton clothing for that tropical weather. But that’s not all; the weather tends to get a bit cooler at sundown in Barbados, so a jumper, jacket, or wrap comes highly recommended. We also advise including some formal wear into your list of items, especially if you plan on dining in a more formal restaurant. Don’t forget your camera, bug-spray adaptors, and transformers as well. Be sure to check whether or not your appliance’s voltage and plugs are compatible with Barbados; bringing along anything that requires a voltage higher than 110V, which is the standard in Barbados, would be a huge disappointment.
Important Tip: Barbados exclusively exempts the use and wear of camouflage prints for their military personnel; packing any items in this description could wind into confiscation or fining by the officials, be very wary!
Things to do
Barbados provides quite the adventure for anyone looking to explore and take in every inch of the gorgeous island; your trip is bound to be filled with wonder, from the wildlife to the natural landscapes and the water activities. Our top attraction picks for anyone visiting this Caribbean paradise are the Catamaran Snorkelling cruise aboard El Tigre schooner for an exceptional view of palm trees and turtle sightings with a snorkel session at the reef. You’ll also love exploring the remains of the six shipwrecks in Carlisle Bay that are now home to tropical fish, sea horses, frogfish, and groupers in a clear bottom Kayak. Finally, spend half a day at Harrison’s Cave in Barbados island central to see the subterranean limestone walls, deep lagoons, and jagged speleothems. You can also opt to take the Atlantis Submarine tours at the shallow draught before heading over to the Barbados Wildlife Reserve for a chance to feed the monkeys.
Take for the tastebuds.
Bajan cuisines are a blended taste of West Africa, a flavorful Creole touch, and a hearty seafood feature- this should do it for you if you’ve got a knack for the homegrown fare. Start your appetite indulgence with the Barbados national dish of Flying fish and Cou Cou, prepped with cornmeal, okra, flying fish, and gravy, before heading on to Oistins Fish Fry for a delicious plate of fresh seafood with some live local music. Wrap it up with a trip to Harbor Lights for an authentic Bayan-style barbecue dinner. Of course, the country still maintains a sophisticated continental restaurant scene with high-end indulgences from Italian to Asian fusion. Still, if you want a laid-back vibe, One Love Bar Hometown is the place to be. Don’t forget to take a food tour through the streets of Barbados for some lip-smacking fish cakes, breadfruit chips, and cutters. We also can’t forget a rum-infused cocktail tasting and sampling at Mount Gay Rum; after all, you are visiting the legendary origin of rum.
Pro tip: It’s customary to tip in discretion in Barbados to show appreciation for the service you received.
Barbados is nothing short of beautiful sites, landscapes, experiences, and people; if you’ve had your eyes on a Caribbean island vacation, this is the place to be. We love that the island is a perfect destination for families, couples, groups, and solo trips as it offers a wide range of activities and interests suited for all ages and dynamics. The rich culture of the Bajan is also one of the many reasons we can’t stop gushing over Barbados; take the trip to experience the Crop Over Festival in the streets of Bridgetown. The Barbados locals are also amiable, warm, and willing to assist visiting tourists. Beyond that, you’ll find Barbados to be relatively affordable than most island destinations, and there’s an endless flow of rum; sign me up!