This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking and making a purchase through the links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my disclaimer for more information. This and display ads allow me to keep the site up to date and give back.
Here are 41 adventurous and fun things to put on your Barbados bucket list!
Barbados is a dream destination for adventure seekers, with underground caves, shipwrecks, marine life, and endless beaches to explore.
Given the access to the calm Caribbean sea on one side and the rugged Atlantic ocean on the other, the best things to do in Barbados revolve around the water.
The ultimate bucket list of things to do in Barbados
#1 Hit the beach
That’s why we’re here, right? Barbados is home to some stunning beaches on all sides of the island. For soft, white sand with calm turquoise water, the best place to go is on the south and west coast where the Caribbean sea is. For rugged beaches with big waves, head to the east coast.
Here are some of the best beaches in Barbados.
- Pebbles – This popular beach near Bridgetown has soft-white sand and calm water that’s great for snorkeling and sup. You can rent boards here, as well as beach chairs. It also has beachfront restaurants.
- Miami beach – gorgeous beach in Oistins with soft white sand and calm turquoise water for swimming.
- Dover beach – beautiful beach near St. Lawrence Gap with calm water for swimming.
- Bathsheba beach – While this isn’t a great place for swimming, it’s a good place for surfing and soaking in the east coast’s dramatic landscapes.
#2 Go swimming in Animal Flower Cave
One of the most unique things to do in Barbados is to explore the complex cave systems! One of the most popular caves to see is Animal Flower Cave on the northernmost tip of the island in the St. Lucy Parish of Barbados.
You can book a tour of the cave once you arrive there.
It takes about an hour and includes a swim in a turquoise pool inside the cave.
#3 Go Surfing
Barbados is hands down the best Caribbean island to go surfing. It has waves for all levels, whether you’ve never surfer before or are a pro.
There are so many great surf spots in Barbados. If you’re a beginner, head to Freights Bay. This gentle surf area has small, consistent waves making it a perfect place to learn. It’s also full of sea turtles!
If you’re a more experienced surfer, then head to Bathsheba on the island’s east coast. It’s home to Soup Bowl, a world-class surf spot famous for its heavy barrels. Even if you’re not a surfer, it’s worth going there to check out others surfing. They also host a yearly surf competition in November!
#4 SUP at sunset
One of the best things to do in Barbados is rent a SUP board and paddle out on the turquoise waters. Many hotels and resorts have these on hand for guests to use, but if not, you can also head to Pebble beach and rent them from there for 10 USD. Go at sunset for an even better view!
#5 Take a clear kayak tour
Kayaking is another great way to explore the waters of Barbados. You can even join a guided clear kayak tour that will take you to Folkestone Marine Park – one of the island’s best snorkeling spots. You’ll discover the incredible hidden world below the surface as you paddle in a crystal clear kayak over a coral reef.
#6 Go snorkeling with shipwrecks
Barbados is a dream destination for snorkeling. Its coral reefs close to shore make it a great place to see marine life including sea turtles!
But what makes snorkeling in Barbados so special is the number of shipwrecks you can explore. In Carlisle Bay alone there are approximately 200 shipwrecks since the 17th century due to storms or pirating!
#7 Learn to dive
The water surrounding Barbados is home to a variety of marine life, including tropical fish and turtles, stingrays, manta rays, and barracudas – as well as colorful coral formations as the backdrop. It’s one of the best places to go diving in the Caribbean.
If you aren’t certified to dive yet, there are plenty of schools around to get your certification. Barbados Blue and Rogers Scuba Shack are two popular dive shops. If you’re staying for a while, you can even join a dive club after to explore the various sites on the island.
#8 Go on an island-wide tour
Barbados is a relatively small island – it only takes about 3 hours to drive the entire thing. If you want to get a taste of the whole island, one of the best things to do in Barbados is to join an island safari tour.
They will take you around to the best attractions and viewpoints including St. Nicholas Abby and Cherry Hill viewpoint. Plus, they supply you with rum so it’s guaranteed to be a fun day. You could also rent a car or jeep and DIY your own island tour, but then you can’t drink as much rum so what’s the fun in that?
#9 Mountain bike tour
If you’re looking for a fun adventure, check out this hike and bike tour along the Atlantic coast. You’ll hike along the rugged east coast, which has some of the island’s prettiest views, then bike along the former Atlantic Coast train line. All while learning about the history and heritage of the island from the expert guides!
#10 Hiking in Barbados
Barbados has some great hiking trails, but most of them aren’t well marked. Luckily, you can join a few free hiking groups to go with guides who know the trails! This is also a great way to meet locals and other travelers.
I loved joining hikes with Pineapple Hikes Barbados, which are run by a local Bajan woman. She’ll often partner with local restaurants, so you pay a set price which includes the hike and a meal at the restaurant afterward.
The Barbados Hiking Association is another group you can join for group hikes.
#11 Take a rum tour
Did you know Barbados is the birthplace of rum? If you’re interested in learning about the history of rum on the island, take a tour at Mount Gay Distillery.
It’s the oldest, continuously running rum distillery in the world, dating back to 1703. Head there to take a Historic Distillery Tour that will take you through the rum-making headquarters – rum tasting included, of course.
You can also tour the Foursquare Rum Distillery, which was once a working sugar factory in the 15th century.
#12 St. Nicholas Abby
Another great historical tour to go on in Barbados is St. Nicholas Abby. This historical plantation property has been operating since the 17th century – one of the few remaining plantations on the island from this period.
When you arrive at St. Nicholas Abbey, you’ll purchase a ticket that includes admission to all the attractions there, including the Great House, the rum distillery, and the plantation grounds. There’s also a fun small train ride you can go on, as well as an on-site cafe.
St. Nicholas Abby is in Northeastern Barbados, so if you’re already planning a trip to Animal Flower Cave, this makes a great addition to a day trip itinerary. You can also join this guided tour which takes you there, Animal Flower Cave, Speightstown, and Cherry Hill.
#13 Oistins Friday night fish fry
One experience not to be missed while visiting Barbados is eating at the Friday night fish fry.
The Oistins fish fry is actually open every day of the week, but Friday is the most popular day, so this is when you’ll find the most vendors open, as well as live music which adds to the atmosphere.
For 15-20 USD, you can get a huge plate of food which typically includes a piece of freshly caught fish and two sides. Get the macaroni pie.
#14 Swim with sea turtles
One of my favorite parts about living in Barbados was being able to go swimming with sea turtles every day. It’s home to three different sea turtle species, which you can easily spot while swimming or snorkeling. Carlise Bay and Freights Bay are two of the best places to see turtles.
#15 Eat at a seaside restaurant
Barbados is home to some fantastic restaurants, many of which are right along the coastline, offering breathtaking views of the ocean with your meal.
If you’re feeling fancy and want to splurge, head to The Cliff or La Cabane. These high-end restaurants offer fine dining experiences right next to the beach.
For something more affordable, check out Baby Doll on the south coast. This brightly decorated restaurant has delicious pizzas and often hosts live music. This is also one of my favorite places to work in Barbados.
#16 Explore Hunt’s Garden
If you’re seeking out some tranquility on your trip to Barbados, plan a visit to Hunt’s Garden. There, you can take a leisurely stroll along the walking paths through tall palm trees and exotic flowers.
#17 Barbados wildlife sanctuary
If you love wildlife, then you’ll definitely want to check out the Barbados Wildlife Reserve. This is one of the best places on the island to see the playful green monkeys!
It’s only 15 USD to tour the reserve and makes for a fun afternoon or morning. Aside from the monkeys, you can see deer, tortoises, snakes, exotic birds, and peacocks. One followed me around the entire time whom we named Roger. He’s a great tour guide.
#18 Take in the views at cherry hill
One of the prettiest viewpoints in Barbados is Cherry Hill Tree Reserve. It’s 850 feet above sea-level, offering gorgeous views of the “Scotland District,” named after the Patron Saint of Scotland. It’s close to St. Nicholas Abby so this is a great place to stop in afterward!
#19 Spend the day at a beach club
One of my favorite ways to spend a day in Barbados is at Boatyard beach club. For a 22.50 USD entrance fee, you can use the club’s beach chairs and umbrellas all day and get a boat ride out to snorkel with turtles and shipwrecks. And you get the fee back in credit to use at the bar!
#20 Sam Lord’s Castle
One of the most unique places to go in Barbados is Sam Lorde’s castle. It’s a mansion estate that used to belong to a famous Bajan buccaneer named Sam Lord.
It was later turned into a hotel which sadly burned down in 2010, but you can go and tour around the grounds of the castle on your own and see what remains! It’s close by to Bottom Bay, so the two together make for a fun day trip in Barbados.
#21 Take a walking tour of Bridgetown
There are many things to do in Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados and a UNESCO world heritage site.
One of the best ways to explore it is on this walking tour of Bridgetown to learn about its fascinating history.
#22 Visit the Garrison Museum
If you’re interested in learning about Barbados history, visit the historic Garrison and its museum to learn about the life and times of British military occupation in Barbados.
#23 Experience the nightlife
Barbados is a party island. There’s always a place to go out here into the wee hours of the morning. St. Lawrence Gap is one of the most popular areas for nightlife.
Other popular bars are Mojo’s on Wednesdays (reggae nights), Blakeys on the weekend, Surfers Bay Bar on Sundays, and Harbour Lights in Bridgetown. On Sunday nights in Holetown, they do karaoke on the street which is SO much fun! It attracts a huge crowd of locals and tourists.
#24 See the landscapes of Bathsheba
Bathsheba is easily one of my favorite places in Barbados. This is easily one of the most beautiful places on the island, with gorgeous rock formations sticking out from the ocean floor. It’s also where pro surfers catch waves, which is a source of entertainment on its own!
#25 Watch the sunset
With so much beachfront, Barbados often puts on some incredible sunsets. The best places to watch the sunset in Barbados is on the south or west coast of the island.
Head to any of the beaches or beachfront restaurants/bars there to watch it go down. Many restaurants also put on happy hour specials during the sunset, so grab a rum punch to enjoy with the show.
#26 Abandoned surfers resort
If you’re into creepy things, then you’ll want to check out the abandoned surfer’s resort. This is precisely what it says – a surf resort that was abandoned years ago. It actually gave me chills! Right beside it is a lovely coastal area you can walk around, where you can see giant waves hitting the cliffs and splashing up.
It’s on the northeast of the island, in-between Animal Flower Cave and St. Nicholas Abby. You can search it on Google Maps by ‘north point surf resort’.
#27 Catch a live show
One of my favorite parts about Barbados is that there is always free live music happening! Mojos has Reggae nights every Wednesday, and Blakeys has live music most Fridays and Saturdays. Surfers Bay Bar has a jam session on Sunday.
#28 Take a catamaran trip
One of the most fun things to do in Barbados is head out on a catamaran tour with a group of friends. They’ll feed you booze and food all day while you sail along the west coast of Barbados, stopping for snorkeling trips along the way. It’s so much fun.
#29 Eat a flying fish sandwich
One local dish you must try while visiting Barbados is a flying fish sandwich. Cuz’s Fish shack at Pebbles beach is easily the most famous place to try this delicious cuisine.
#30 Walk along the Barbados boardwalk
The Barbados boardwalk is a mile-long stretch of boardwalk that connects Accra and Camelot beaches. Along the way, there are beaches and restaurants, so it’s a great way to get between places on the south coast. Many people use it to go running or to simply stop and take in the stunning sunsets.
#31 Play a round of golf
Barbados has several different golf courses you can play on. Some of the most popular ones are the Barbados Golf Club in Christ Church and the 18-hole Apes Hill Golf Course in St.
#32 See the only working windmill in the Caribbean
The Morgan Lewis windmill is a 1727 windmill used in sugar cane production in the 18th and 19th centuries. What makes it unique is that it is one of the only fully functional windmills in the Caribbean due to significant restorative efforts undertaken in 1999.
The windmill is just a 5-minute drive from Cherry Hill Tree Reserve, so the two combined make for a fun excursion along with nearby St. Nicholas Abby and the Barbados Wildlife Reserve.
#33 Atlantis Submarine
If you’re looking for a unique thing to do in Barbados, check out the Atlantic Submarine. This award-winning tour takes you 150 feet underwater. You’ll be in air-conditioned comfort while looking out the submarine windows at the exotic fish and coral reefs.
#34 Try windsurfing
One of the best sports to try in Barbados is windsurfing. Silver Rock Beach on the south coast of Barbados is one of the most popular spots to try this for beginners due to the trade winds here that create perfect windsurfing conditions.
#35 Walk around Speightstown
Speightstown, on the west coast of Barbados, is the second largest town on the island. It’s a cute community with old – old architecture and townhouses you can walk around. To learn more about this area’s history, join this Speightstown Heritage Walking Tour, which also includes dinner during sunset.
#36 Bottom Bay
On the southeast coast of Barbados, near Crane Beach and Sam Lord’s Castle, is Bottom Bay. This secluded beach has some of the most beautiful turquoise waters on the island, though visitors are strongly advised not to go swimming in the waters due to the strong currents. Instead, pack a picnic and soak in the sunshine on the beach!
#37 Watch horse racing at Garrison Savannah
The Garrison Savannah is a former military headquarters that’s still used today as a horse racing site, with regular races taking place from January to April.
#38 Go swimming at shark hole
Shark Hole beach is a gorgeous swimming spot on the southern coast of Barbados. The ocean here is actually pretty rough but at shark hole, there’s a break in the cliffs along with a rocky barrier at the end, which keeps the seas in shark hole relatively calm.
#39 Take the ZR bus
If you’re traveling to Barbados on a budget or simply want to experience local life, then hop on a ZR bus. These are white mini-busses that locals use to get around the island. They are perfectly safe – this was actually my main form of transportation in Barbados.
#40 Go Fishing
Eating fresh fish in Barbados is one amazing experience, but if you want to take it to the next level, you can go on a fishing tour and catch some yourself. Spending a day on the water is so much fun in Barbados, and you’ll get to take home what you catch, which may be mahi-mahi, marlin, tuna, kingfish, or wahoo!
#41 Take the tram through Harisson’s cave
Harrisons Cave is the most extensive cave on the island. It has an underground cave system that visitors can explore by tram, where you can see gorgeous caverns and crystallized formations. Harrison’s Cave is currently closed due to COVID-19, but you can follow their website for the latest updates!
Facts about Barbados
The official language of Barbados is English, making it easy to get around. Most residents also speak ‘Bajan’, which is an English-based Creole.
Visa requirements: Many countries, including the United States and Canada, get a visa on arrival for at least 3 months when entering Barbados.
Canadians can extend this for up to 6. If you plan to stay in Barbados for longer than six months, you can also apply for the welcome stamp. This remote work visa allows you to live and work remotely in Barbados for up to 12 months.
Staying Connected: If you don’t have a good roaming plan with your carrier, it’s easy to get a SIM card and data in Barbados. Digicel and Flow are the two main providers
Currency: Barbados uses the Barbadian Dollar (BBD), which is pegged to the US dollar (1 USD = 0.50 BBD). Many places will accept USD but will give you back BBD in change.
Most restaurants and shops in Barbados accept Mastercard and Visa. Few accept American Express.
Flying: Since Barbados is an island, the easiest way to get there is by flying. It’s relatively easy as there’s an international airport – the Grantley Adams International Airport. The airport code is BGI, and it is located on the south side of the island in Christchurch.
Barbados has many options for direct flights from major hubs, including Toronto, London, and Miami.
By Boat: Unfortunately, there is no passenger ferries between Barbados and other Caribbean islands, but it is a popular cruise ship and sailing destination. Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruises, and Norwegian Cruises all offer cruises to Barbados.
Getting Around Barbados
Barbados is a small island, but you’ll still need a way to get around as attractions are spread out, and some areas do not have good sidewalks for walking.
Busses: The bus system in Barbados is easy to use. There are small white mini-vans (the ZR) that run along the south coast every 5 minutes (number 11), which was my main form of transportation living there.
They cost 1.75 USD per ride and are a fun experience to see local life. The ZR buses actually go around the entire island, but if you are going further than the south coast, you will likely have to transfer. There are also larger buses that go from the south coast to the west coast.
Taxis: There is no ride-sharing service in Barbados, but Taxis are widely available. They aren’t particularly affordable, so I only used them a handful of times. They do not use meters, so be sure to negotiate the price beforehand to avoid any confusion at the end!
Renting a car: You don’t need to rent a car to get around Barbados, but it is one of the most enjoyable ways to explore the island and can be affordable if you’re splitting the costs with friends or family. Some of the popular rental car companies in Barbados are Stoutes Car Rental and Sixt.
Accommodation & Food
Barbados is probably less expensive than you would think. Yeah, it’s still the Caribbean, but if you stay away from all-inclusive resorts you can find some great deals on accommodation (especially if you’re staying longer-term).
There are plenty of ways to visit Barbados on a budget, from taking public transit to indulging in the plethora of free activities.
If you’re visiting Barbados and looking for affordable accomodation that’s close to nightlife, the best place to stay is on the south coast. Some of the best neighborhoods are Oistins, Worthing, Silver Sands, and Hastings.
The west coast is another popular area to stay, but has the highest cost of accommodation, and fewer nightlife options. However, it does have stunning beaches and luxury villas in Holetown and Speightstown.
The quiet town of Bathsheba on the east coast attracts hardcore surfers or retirees looking for a slower pace of life. The landscapes and views are stunning, but you’ll need a car.
There aren’t any hostels in Barbados, so your best bet is staying at an Airbnb or guesthouse if you want to avoid hotels and resorts. I’ve compiled this list of beautiful beachfront Airbnbs in Barbados.
The food in Barbados is amazing! Prices vary significantly depending on where you go. The cheapest option is a delicious roti for just 6.50 USD from De Roti Shop.
A basic meal from an inexpensive restaurant by the beach will cost you 10-15 USD. At Oistins fish fry, one of the most popular places to eat out, you can expect to pay 15-20 USD for a huge plate of food.
For a meal at a mid-range restaurant by the beach, you’ll pay 20-25 USD. There are some very high-end restaurants in Barbados, but I generally avoided them.
Barbados imports a lot of its food and has high import taxes, so you have to be very careful and look at the food prices when you’re grocery shopping. For example, imported ice cream might be 20 USD, while a local supermarket brand might be 5 USD!
Water: It is safe to drink the tap water in Barbados. This is one of the best ways to save money in Barbados, as bottled water will cost you between $1-3 per bottle. Plus, it’s a ton of plastic that doesn’t have to be used!
Safety & Solo Travel
Barbados is overall a very safe country to travel to, especially in populated areas. I came here as a solo female traveler and felt safe the entire time. But like anywhere, petty theft and crime do happen, so you should stay vigilant in crowded places, especially if you are drinking. Unfortunately, homosexuality is still illegal in Barbados, so LGBTQ+ travelers may face some hostility (this is currently being challenged).
There is a risk of getting dengue fever while visiting Barbados. I had it! Dengue is a mosquito-borne illness and unfortunately, since there is no vaccine, the best way to avoid getting it is by using mosquito repellant, wearing long sleeves, and avoiding being out at dusk when mosquitos are most active.
Best Time to Go
Barbados has a warm tropical climate that makes it pleasant to visit year-round. It has a wet and dry season, which coincides with the low and high seasons for tourism.
Most visitors book their holidays in the cool, drier months that run from December to May – so this is when prices for accommodation and flights will be highest. That said, this is when you can expect a lot of hot, sunny days perfect for enjoying the gorgeous beaches and waters of Barbados.
July to October are less popular because this is the Caribbean Hurricane Season. But since Barbados is outside of the Caribbean Sea Basin, it’s not that affected by hurricanes – you’ll just have some rainy days.
The shoulder months in between the two seasons can be a good time to visit as they’ll be fewer crowds, cheaper prices, and plenty of hot days. I moved to Barbados in November, and the weather was amazing most days!
Climate and Packing Suggestions
Barbados is a tropical country with warm temperatures day and night. You’ll likely be in the water most of the time, so bring a lot of swimwear, flip-flops, and sun protection. If you plan to do some hiking, bring a pair of shoes, as the ground can be quite rocky.
In general, the style in Barbados is very casual. While there are some nicer restaurants, dressing up is not required. Pack light clothes that you’ll be comfortable wearing in the heat.
If you’re traveling during the rainy season, bring an umbrella or raincoat in case you get caught in the rain.
What is Barbados best known for?
Barbados is best known for being a fantastic beach destination. Across the island, you’ll find gorgeous white-sand beaches next to turquoise waters. Given its proximity to the sea, Barbados is also well known for being an excellent place for water-based sports and, in particular, surfing and windsurfing.
What can you do in Barbados for a week?
Since Barbados is a small island, you can see most of the main attractions in one week. If you want to fill your days, you could even do everything on this list with one week in Barbados, although that would make for a very action-packed trip. One week is enough time to try a new water sport daily while still having time to relax on the beaches.
Is Barbados safe?
Barbados is overall a very safe country to travel to, especially in populated areas. I came here as a solo female traveler and felt safe the entire time. But like anywhere, petty theft and crime do happen, so you should stay vigilant in crowded places, especially if you are drinking. Unfortunately, homosexuality is still illegal in Barbados, so LGBTQ+ travelers may face some hostility.
Enjoyed this post? Pin it for later!