I’m breaking my normal rule for this island…if you only go to the beach I think it’s okay. Because the beaches here are world-class. Turquoise blue and so ridiculously warm. There are some other things to do on this island, but the beaches are the big draw and it’s no surprise. But if you do drag yourself away, here are a handful of suggestions for Barbados Beaches and Beyond.
The island was uninhabited when first settled by the British in 1627. African slaves worked the sugar plantations established on the island, which initially dominated the Caribbean sugar industry. By 1720, Barbados was no longer a dominant force within the sugar industry, having been surpassed by the Leeward Islands and Jamaica. Slavery was abolished in 1834. The Barbadian economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. The gradual introduction of social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s led to complete independence from the UK in 1966. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance. Barbados became a republic on 30 November 2021, with the former Governor-General Sandra MASON elected as the first president. Source CIA.gov
The best beaches are on the West facing side of the island. From the ritzy Sandy Lane in the northwest to Miami in the SW, the white sand and crystal blue water is amazing. The east side of the island you will find a very different kind of beach, with big waves and fast current. Surfers like it at Bathsheba, but only experts should hit the surf here. We enjoyed Carlisle Beach, Rockley Beach and Worthing Beach.
The capital and largest city on the island, Bridgetown was founded in 1628 by the British. The historic core and garrison are a UNESCO World Heritage site. The once glorious colonial charm is faded and crumbling, but the town is worth a walk-about. Guided tours are available, but we used GPS My City and did a self-guided walk, hitting the highlights of the former colonial town. Don’t miss Savannah Race Track with horseracing on Saturday. Chamberlain Bridge is a perfect photo spot. We found the Screw Dock interesting and the Saint Michael’s Cathedral beautiful. The Parliament Buildings are also well preserved. We walked Swan Street to see the local people going about their daily business of shopping and marketing.
It’s actually hard to rent a car for only one day, but we managed to find a place and spent one entire day touring the island. Our favorite things on this tour day were Hunte’s Garden and Saint Nicholas Abbey Plantation and Distillery. Hunte’s Garden is a beautiful compact botanical garden built in and around an ancient collapsed cave. Years of work has created a fabulous garden paradise. Saint Nicholas Abbey is a 350 year old plantation which is still a private home and operating rum distillery. It was beautiful and interesting. Both I recommend highly. We also enjoyed the views from above the Flower Animal Cave and the upscale neighborhoods in the Saint Charles and Sandy Lane stretch of coast.
Food and Drink
Our week went by quickly and we only ate out a couple of times. We did find two really good restaurants in the Rockley Beach area as well as a Microbrewery near the town of Oistins. If you spend time on the south west coast be sure to check out;
Tapas – We enjoyed a late afternoon lunch here with a beautiful view and delicious food with a Mediterranean twist.
Naru – Our final night we splurged on a really nice dinner here again with a beautiful view, great service and an Asian twist.
Dreadhop Brewery – just outside of Oistins this very American microbrewery had great beer and great prices.
Worthing Square Gardens is a food truck garden, very popular and inexpensive options.
Oistins Bay Garden is a very popular place to eat, where you can walk around and choose from dozens of outdoor fish fry eateries. We did not eat here but it was busy and looked like fun.
Barbados Beaches and Beyond
But if you only want to go to the beach…well, I think that’s okay too. It’s a small island, just sit back, relax and enjoy Barbados Beaches and Beyond. Learn more about this shining island at Visit Barbados.
Read last week’s post A Very Big Bolivian Adventure.
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