The Best of Barbados: Complete Guide

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Advisor - Maggie Pecorino
Curated By

Maggie Pecorino

  • Barbados

  • Beaches

  • Family Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

  • Entertainment

palm trees near the beach during the daytime.
Curator’s statement

Barbados has long been a bucket list destination of mine and I’m happy to report that it more than lived up to expectations. The most easterly island of the Caribbean — and this guide — has something to offer all types of travelers. Whether you’re looking for a romantic escape, a family adventure, or a place to settle solo and work remotely for a while, Barbados (and I) have your back.

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Where to stay in Barbados

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Things to do in Barbados

A far view of a couple laying on beach bed during daytime.
  • Explore the coast on foot: My favorite part about Barbados is that there are absolutely no private beaches, which means you are free to walk as far and wide as your feet (and the tides) allow. I recommend exploring the west coast as it is the most developed. You’ll likely stay on the west or south coast of the island, so you can choose to walk either north or south depending on location.
    Tip: don’t miss unspoiled Paradise Beach and lunch at nearby La Cabane for a perfect afternoon. (Pack a towel!)

  • Oistins Fish Fry: Every Friday night brings one of the most popular Barbados events for tourists and locals alike. The fry consists of dozens of vendors selling their fresh catches and slinging rum punch specials. What begins as dinner turns into a street party as local steel drum bands and DJs take the stage and the dancing stretches late into the night.
    Tip: if you plan on enjoying dinner, arrive early (5 or 6 p.m.). Otherwise, you’ll be waiting hours for your meal.

  • Learn to Surf: Barbados is the only Caribbean Island with reliable, year-round surf, and there are no shortage of beginner breaks and surf shops to help get started. Nothing better than learning in warm water with beautiful views.

My go-to spot is Freights Bay. Contact my guy Bodie at Bodie’s School of Surf for a great first lesson.

  • Sunday Night Karaoke: Something of an island tradition, keep an eye open and you’ll find karaoke happening at many bars around the island. A great mix of locals and tourists. Everyone is relaxed and having fun. The street party vibes at popular TML One Love Bar in Holetown are a hoot.

  • Indoor activities: Some rain is inevitable in the tropics but have no fear! There are plenty of indoor sites to pop your head into when the clouds roll around. Check out:

  • The Nidhe Israel Synagogue

  • St. Nicholas Abbey

  • Mount Gay Distillery

Day Trips:

Rent a car for at least one day and explore the rugged east coast. Pack a cooler and some towels. Explore remote spots with untouched views of the Atlantic. Don’t miss Soup Bowl in Bathsheba for some wild waves and serious surfers.

Idea: Procure a map, turn off your phone, and disconnect for a while. There’s only one main road so getting lost is… unlikely. You’ll feel like you’re at the edge of the world.

Places to eat & drink in Barbados

A picture of taken inside of Monkey Bar at Sandy Lane.

To Eat:

  • The Tides: Seaside dining for a special occasion. Pricy and worth it. Everything was delicious. Aim for around 6 to catch sunset. (Reservations required.)

  • Sand Dollar Cafe: run by my lovely host, Ann. This spot on the beach in St. Lawrence Gap serves up fresh, homemade bites and is perfect for a sunset snack and a cold Banks, the local beer.

  • Epic Surf Cafe: Small cafe/shop for pre- or post- surf needs — or just to enjoy some delicious açaí. Really tasty bowl and coffee (at US prices, but hey.)

  • Cuzz’s Fish Stand: Housed in a literal shack at the south end of Pebble Beach is what some consider the island’s best fish cutter — the Bajan term for a fish sandwich. Looking for a quick, tasty, no-frills bite? This is your spot. I got a double (with cheese, per the chef’s rec.) and yes, it was very tasty (around 10 USD).

  • Nishi: some of the freshest sushi I’ve ever had up lies up in Holetown. Delicious homemade rolls. Upstairs sushi bar. Sake and craft cocktail selection. Kind staff. Indoor/outdoor seating. Great vibes either way. (Reservations recommended.)

To Drink:

  • Rum, rum, rum: need I say more? Barbados is famous for the spirit and you must enjoy it. Distillery tours (listed above) are great for connoisseurs. For casual drinkers like myself, switch to a rum sour when the punch gets too sweet. (And hydrate — it’s hot out there!)

  • The Monkey Bar at Sandy Lane is straight out of White Lotus. No really, the art on the walls is eerily similar. Enjoy a perfectly crafted cocktail and live music on most nights.
    Tip: you must make a dinner reservation at Sandy Lane to gain access to the bar. I recommend the Bajan Blue buffet — $170/pp and fully worth it.

  • Dreadhop Brewing: Beer lovers! Don’t skip the island’s go-to craft beer homestead. If you’re craving something other than a lager, try the surprisingly solid, light stout.

  • The Dive: Very popular spot in The Gap known for its live music and DJ events. Expect to pay a cover and wait in a small queue on some nights. Good for a night on the town.

  • John Moore Bar: Totally unassuming dive where the former Prime Minister used to come and get smashed (no joke, told to me by a local). Come for the history-plus, it’s cheap and the views are fab.

Need to Know

Thinking about traveling to Barbados? Contact me at any time to schedule a free trip consultation call.

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Portland, ME: The Perfect Weekend Getaway. This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Barbados.

Advisor - Maggie Pecorino

Travel Advisor

Maggie Pecorino

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