Barbados Travel Guide

Best Beach Barbados Island Caribbean

Table of Contents

Barbados is the wealthiest country in The Caribbean and is considered to be one of the most family-friendly travel destinations around the world, as most of it is very safe to visit. A hotspot for partying on the beach, arts, and culture, this island of the West Indies is waiting to surprise and entertain every tourist that comes its way.

BarbadosQuick facts
Official languageEnglish
Regional languageBajan Creole
Religion75.6% Christianity, 20.6% no religion, 4% Others
MonarchElizabeth II
Total area439 km2 (169 sq mi)
Population287,375 (2020 data)
Density660/km2 (1,709.4/sq mi)
CurrencyBarbadian dollar ($) (BBD)
Time zoneUTC−4 (AST)
Calling code+1 -246

Where is Barbados located on the map?

Barbados Sign on the street

Barbados is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, in the Eastern Caribbean, close to the Lesser Antilles, but not part of them as some believe. It’s an independent territory part of the British Commonwealth that is sometimes nicknamed Little England. It neighbors Saint Lucia, Martinique, Trinidad and Tobago.

Barbados is not a big island, measuring around 20 miles in length and 15 miles across. Mount Hillaby is the highest point on the island (1115 ft), and even though it’s not a volcano it is part of the volcanic system in the area. The rest of the geography of Barbados consists of plains and slopes. The weather is warm year-round, but this part of the world has a hurricane season between June and October.

Barbados Harbour

Most of the population in Barbados is of African descent and leads a rural life. Most of the urban population live in Bridgetown, the capital. Other notable towns are Oistins, Holetown, and Speightstown. After gaining its independence from Great Britain in 1966, Barbados became a democratic country, but is still greatly influenced by the ties with the UK. The official language is English, but most locals also speak Bajan, which is an English dialect with African influences.

The country is a highly popular tourist destination in the Caribbean with some of the most beautiful and diverse beaches. Its location on the map puts it at a great advantage for water sports, ocean wildlife explorations, and beautiful nature reserves with many species to observe.

Barbados Beach Mountain Landscape

Best time to visit Barbados

Americans don’t need a visa when traveling to Barbados, but they need a passport that is valid for the duration of their stay. The flight duration is around 8h and can be boarded from Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, Houston, and other big cities.

The prices vary based on the time of the week and the month on which you’re planning to travel, the cheapest month Being January, with flights starting from $120.

Local transport

Once on the island, you’ll be able to get around by using the public buses made available by the Government, private minibuses, or taxis. The public buses usually run from 5 AM to 12 PM every day, have a fixed schedule, and a fare of $2 for adults and $1 for children. When it comes to fares, you should know that the taxis in Barbados don’t use a meter. They have a fixed fare depending on the distance traveled, that was set by the Government. In some cases, you can haggle, or you can share the ride. If you want to use apps, there’s no Uber on the island, however, there is a service called BeepCab, that always you to use cash or card.

Colorful Fishing Boats on White Sand Beach in the Caribbean

If you want to use a taxi and save money overall, you can hire one for a few hours or by the day. In this way, you can get a personalized tour and if you get an experienced driver, he could suggest places of interest and take you there as well.

If you want to drive, you can rent a car for as long as you need it. People who would like to get more in touch with the surrounding places can choose a bike. These can be rented as well for a day, even for a week

History of Barbados

Because of its tumultuous history involving British occupation and being one of the most important plantation settlements in the 18th century, Barbados became a diverse mix of cultural influences. However, it managed to preserve its unique Barbadian traditions that existed before the colonization.

Bridgetown, Barbados Boats Harbour

Culture music

Today tourists can enjoy a colorful cultural heritage even thought the island is small, through a variety of festivals and events, celebrated with food, music, festivities, parades, and much more. Here are some of the most popular festivals where tourists flock to attend:

  • The Holetown Festival (February)
  • The Reggae Festival (April)
  • Barbados Celtic Festival (May)
  • Crop-Over Festival (June-August)
  • Food & Rum Festival (October)

Culture history

For those who want to embark on a historical trip they can either visit the locations by themselves or choose a private/ group tour, with an expert guide. Visiting the historical landmarks of Bridgetown takes up to two hours, and the places you shouldn’t miss are the docks, the Independence Square, Nidhe Israel Synagogue and Museum, and the Barbados Museum.

Caribbean city - Bridgetown, Barbados

Historical heritages can be found all over Barbados, not just in Bridgetown:

  • Holetown, the first settlement in Barbados
  • Sam Lord’s Castle (St. Philip)
  • St. Nicholas Abbey built in 1660 (St. Peter)
  • Cherry Tree Hill (St. Andrew)
  • Fisherpond House
  • Francia Plantation
  • George Washington House


Nightlife in the Caribbean never settles down. From evening to sunrise tourists with a taste for partying can enjoy never-ending parties on yachts, in pubs, clubs, or right on the beach. And there can’t be any party without rum, as Barbados is the birthplace of rum. 

One of the locations loved by tourists is Harbour Lights, a beach club in St Michael that entertains its patrons with a dinner show every Monday and Wednesday evening. St Lawrence Gap (known as simply “The Gap”) is another popular place among tourists, which is a one-mile street full of clubs, bars, and stores. Nighttime here can be quite loud, so it’s not the best place to look for family accommodations. Bay Street and Holetown are great places for people who enjoy live music and entertainment. 

Best beaches in Barbados

Barbados doesn’t lack beaches for every type of tourist, no matter if you enjoy sunbathing on a popular luxurious beach, you want tall waves for surfing, or if you prefer a more wild and quiet beach to relax away from crowds.

A thing to keep in mind is that you have to follow the warnings posted by lifeguards, as some beaches are more dangerous than others because of strong currents. Yellow flags mean “caution”, while red flags mean getting in the water is dangerous and should be completely avoided. The strongest currents are normally found on the north coast and the east coast of the island. The calmest waves are on the west coast, which makes it the perfect spot for families with small children, and the south coast is preferred by surfers.

Barbados Empty Beach

Beaches for swimming: Accra, Pebbles, Brownes, Dover, Gibbs, Crane, Folkestone, Miami and Silver Sands.

Wild beaches: Bathsheba, Bath Beach, Archers Bay

Beaches for sunbathing only: Mullins Bay and Bottom Bay 

Visit Barbados island

Aside from swimming, sunbathing, and visiting historical heritages, there are many types of activities you can try while visiting Barbados. Tourists who enjoy spending time in nature can visit Harrison’s Cave in St Tomas, take a hike on the East Coast of the island, or join a Safari tour. Children will have a rare opportunity to spend time with various species of animals if they visit the Wildlife Reserve. Here most of the animals walk freely, except more dangerous species such as pythons.

Adrenaline junkies can enjoy their time engaging in all sorts of sports. Aside from surfing, there are plenty of areas where you can try bungee jumping, skydiving, parasailing, paragliding, kiting, and much more. If you’re in the mood for some classic scuba diving or snorkeling, Barbados has some great places where you can swim with turtles, see the coral reef, and explore the shipwrecks in Carlisle Bay.

Local food

Because Barbados is an island, it’s natural that much of their cuisine revolves around fish and seafood, with a preference for flying fish. Cou Cou with flying fish is the national and most popular food of Barbados, and every tourist must try it. However, the tourists’ favorites have to be the traditional fish cakes that can be found everywhere, from high-class restaurants to street foods. Other dishes that you should definitely try when traveling to Barbados are conkies, pudding and souse, and pepperpot.

It would be wonderful if you got the chance to dine with the locals and try the traditional cuisine of Barbados, if not, the island overflows with restaurants. Eating out every day can get quite pricey here, but if you choose locations that are not high end, the meal prices are comparable to the USA. You can save money by cooking your own meals if you have a kitchen available, or if you choose to stay at an all-inclusive resort.

Alcohol is sold everywhere, and rum is quite cheap. You might want to keep your teenagers close, as the legal drinking age in Barbados is only 16, and this is the Rum Island after all. 

Best places to stay in Barbados

Barbados local house

Even if the prices are higher, most of the recommendations point towards the West Coast of Barbados, but there are good places to stay all over the island. There are many family-friendly resorts and villas, that are smaller than others to give a sense of privacy. There are many options that range from budget hotels and small family-operated inns to luxury villas and 5-star hotels. Barbados also offers some exclusive historical locations to accommodate its tourists, including some late 16th-century and 17th-century houses, such as Cobbles Cove, The Crane, and Savannah which used to be a plantation house. Some of these historical places don’t allow families with small children, so tourists interested in staying here should inquire about it in advance.

Is it safe to visit Barbados?

Thankfully for everyone that looks for safe locations to visit, Barbados is one of the safest places in the Caribbean. Even though the crime rate is low, police patrols all the time in most areas, including the beaches. There is a market for drugs, but it’s not extensive, and most of the trade happens in St Lawrence Gap, the area best known for its nightlife. 

According to the US Department of State, the areas that should be avoided are Crab Hill and Nelson and Wellington streets in Bridgetown, as these are the places where tourists can fall victim to thieves.

Another thing to keep in mind when visiting the Caribbean, in general, is to wear insect repellent because mosquitos can carry some diseases. Also, avoid walking underneath palm trees, as falling coconuts are a real hazard. 

When traveling to Barbados look into travel insurance to make sure you’re protected from everything that might happen unexpectedly and have peace of mind while enjoying this beautiful island that has it all.

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