This small island, famous for its gorgeous beaches, its calypso beats, and kind Barbadians (Bajans) is more than just the typical Caribbean island. Barbados is the most “British” island in the Caribbean, and once you set foot there you will notice this in their culture: afternoon tea, British Colonial architecture, and its national sport – cricket.
While Barbados might look small on a map, it is packed with tons of sights and activities that include white sand beaches, stunning caves, historical walks, diving, and much more. There’s way too much I could recommend doing there, but here are five sights you must not miss on your visit to Barbados.
With its dramatic rock formations and abandoned homes, Bathsheba Beach is considered one of the most photogenic beaches in Barbados. This beach, though, is not for leisure swimming as the region’s rough waters and rock formations make it unsafe for swimmers. Surfers, on the other hand, may find this beach the perfect spot to surf on the island.
If surfing is your sport of choice, head to Bathsheba’s Soup Bowl, a part of the beach famous for its top-notch waves. In fact, these waves are so good that international surfing competitions are regularly held here.
Still, you can do family-friendly activities at Bathsheba Beach, like flying kites, enjoying a picnic, and dipping your toes in several tide pools by the shore. It is recommended to rent a car to reach the beach and to bring your own food as there are no restaurants nearby. There are, though, two rum shacks.
Located in Oistins, just 10 minutes from Bridgetown, Dover Beach is much more accessible than Bathsheba. While not as rough as Bathsheba, Dover beach also counts with waves good enough to surf and body surf, but there’s also a safe swimming area that is safe from the ocean’s rip tides.
Watersports like Hobie Cat sailing, windsurfing, and jet skiing are also available here, as well as happy hour in many of its bars. And even though Dover Beach sounds like a busy beach, the truth is that this is one of the most relaxed and least crowded beaches close to the capital city of Bridgetown.
This limestone cavern is one of Barbados’ most popular attractions. It features several streams, stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and other forms of calcite deposits. There are tram and walk-in tours daily that last about an hour and cost around $30, which is a bit pricey, but the tour is widely recommended by visitors thanks to their knowledgeable tour guides and the beautiful formations inside the cave.
While you can reach the caves by bus (Route #4), it is recommended to drive there so you can pair Harrison’s Cave with Bathsheba Beach as it is just five miles away from the caves.
Located on the North Point cliffs in St. Lucy Parish, Animal Flower Cave is Barbados’ only accessible sea cave. At first, its name will make no sense, until you realize that the cave is named for its sea anemones.
Getting to this impressive cave might be a bit of a challenge since it is quite remote and away from everything else, the stairs are steep, and the rocks quite slippery.
Even though the cave is open all day, tours only run from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm and cost about $10. You can reach the caves by car or by limited bus service via the Speightstown to Bridgetown line.
As the capital city of Barbados, Bridgetown offers a good concentration of historical buildings and activities. In fact, Downtown Bridgetown was named a UNESCO Heritage site in 2011 thanks to its British Colonial architecture, its 17th century Garrison and horseracing track.
The city is small enough to walk on your own or move around with short taxi rides. Don’t miss visiting the Nidhe Israel Synagogue and its museum to learn about the island’s Jewish history. Visit the Cathedral Church of St. Michael and All Angels, which was originally built in the 1660 and is a testament of the wealth, opulence, and status of the early Bridgetown merchants and their families. Not too far away is St. Mary’s Church, which is located on the oldest consecrated land in the city.
Also be sure to walk along the pier to see the Old Spirit Bond and along Swan Street, a pedestrian commercial street right in the heart of the city.
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Norbert Figueroa is an architect who hit the pause button on his career in 2011 to do a round the world trip. He's been blogging for over three years at globotreks.com, where he shares his travel experiences, budget travel tips, and a good dose of world architecture. From hiking Mount Kilimanjaro to diving with great white sharks, he is always on the search of adrenaline and adventure. Norbert is originally from Puerto Rico and he is currently based in Milan, Italy... when not roaming around the world, that is. He has traveled to more than 80 countries in 5 continents and his goal is to travel to all 193 U.N. recognized countries. Follow Norbert on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus.
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