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Things to do in Barbados

Things to do in  Barbados

Welcome to Barbados

This small island (just 21 by 14 miles / 34 by 23 km) in the Lesser Antilles has beach-worthy weather all year around and sits outside the so-called “Hurricane Alley.” The bustling capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bridgetown boasts many multicolored historical buildings as well as some pedestrian shopping streets. The fine sand beaches and azure waters in the south draw travelers from all over the globe while the wild and rugged coast of the island’s north offers natural wonders. In between lies the famous Harrison’s Cave, a limestone formation that contains stalagmites, stalactites, and underground water features. To cover all of that—and the mix of colonial, native, and immigrant cultures in between—tours by car, catamaran, and 4x4 help speed transport and shed light on Barbados’ food and customs. Visitors join local and international surfers at a beach called the “Soup Bowl,” in the quaint fishing village of Bathsheba, peek at the local green monkeys at Welchman Hall Gully, and stop at Saint Nicholas Abbey, which opens a window into what life on the island may have looked like in the 17th century. For more relaxed—but no less impressive—sights, Hunte’s Garden showcases the lush, tropical flora and fauna found in Barbados, and nobody can resist a stop at the famous Mount Gay Rum Distillery, where travelers visit the Heritage Museum and even take a course in mixing the perfect rum cocktail.

Top 15 attractions in Barbados

St. Nicholas Abbey

Built in 1660, the beautifully restored St. Nicholas Abbey, with its distinctive Dutch gables and red roof, is one of only three authentic Jacobean buildings in the western hemisphere. On this old sugarcane estate, you’ll find a working rum distillery and a museum depicting 18th-century plantation life on the island.More

Carlisle Bay

The shipwrecks in Carlisle Bay, on Barbados’ west coast, make the protected natural harbor one of the island’s most popular snorkeling and scuba diving spots. Six sunken vessels dot the ocean floor and are home to hundreds of varieties of tropical fish, stingrays, and turtles that draw visitors from all over the world.More

Barbados Wildlife Reserve

The Barbados Wildlife Reserve, located on the island’s northern coast, is a 4-acre (1.6-hectare) area of mahogany forest that is home to a variety of native species. Visit to see a wide variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles, including deer, armadillos, iguanas, flamingos, peacocks, green monkeys, and agouti.More

Harrison's Cave

Harrison’s Cave, an underground cavern located in the central uplands of Barbados, is a 1.4-mile (2.3-kilometer) natural wonder chock-full of stalactites, stalagmites, cascading waterfalls, and natural passages. It’s one of the island’s top attractions, and rightly so—it’s an unparalleled underground experience.More

Bathsheba Beach

According to legend, Bathsheba (wife of King David bathed in milk to keep her skin smooth and soft. Barbados locals say the white, frothy waters of Bathsheba Beach, named in her honor, have similar healing powers, making it a popular spot for tourists. The coast is also dotted with huge boulders broken off from the nearby coral reef.More

Bottom Bay

Barbados’ Bottom Bay—known for its coral cliffs and scenic views—is a much-loved nature spot for locals and travelers alike. From the bay’s rustic coconut tree-lined shore, you can spot sea turtles, whales, and wealthy locals who have built homes overlooking the ocean. Its rolling waves, while less than ideal for swimmers and surfers, make for a peaceful retreat.More

Mount Gay Rum Visitor Center

Barbados is considered the birthplace of rum, and Mount Gay Distillery—founded in 1703—is the world’s oldest commercial rum distillery. For three centuries, residents and visiting sailors have sipped its sweet golden nectar. Learn how rum is made at Mount Gay Visitor Centre, and taste the drink that shaped Barbados.More

Cherry Tree Hill

As you take an island tour of Barbados, make sure to stop at Cherry Tree Hill, an 850-foot tall overlook on the grounds of St. Nicholas Abbey. Here you can enjoy an expansive view of the island’s Scotland District and the wild, windswept eastern shore of the island. The road up the hill is said to have been literally lined with cherry trees, however today it’s long been replanted with towering groves of mahogany. The hill is a popular stop among guided tours, so if you’ve planned to take one on your trip, you’ll likely end up here. However, you can also make the drive yourself—it’s only about 30 minutes from Bridgetown.More

Barbados Museum & Historical Society

Founded in 1933, the Barbados Museum highlights the island’s rich history and culture. Travel through time as the museum presents the history of Barbados’ inhabitants through a thorough collection of artifacts, maps, and photographs.More

Sunbury Plantation House

See how the elites of Barbados lived in luxury on their sugar plantations at the Sunbury Plantation House, the only great house on Barbados with all of its rooms open to the public and often visited by coach buses of travelers looking to explore the area.The beautifully restored great house dates from the 1660s, and it changed hands many times over the centuries. Today it serves as a period museum, furnished with elegant antiques, prints and furniture made from Barbadian mahogany, including a 200-year-old banquet table where the museum hosts dinners. There's also a unique collection of horse-drawn carriages behind the house.More

Garrison Historic Area

Explore the historic buildings and grounds of the former British garrison that was once the heart of England’s empire in the Caribbean, and a vital hub for the sugar and slave trades. And it’s still in operation today, as the headquarters for the Barbados Defense Force and others. The Garrison Historic Area, also called St. Ann’s Garrison, is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes downtown Bridgetown. Among the must-see sites is the George Washington House, where the first American president once stayed, before he was president in 1751. The Barbados Museum and Historical Society occupies the former military prison, while the Garrison Savannah is a world-renowned horse track.More

St. John's Parish Church

One of Barbados’s oldest church sites, the St. John’s Parish Church has experienced a tumultuous history, having been damaged by fires and hurricanes and rebuilt multiple times since it was originally established in 1645. The current incarnation was completed in 1836, while the chancel was added some years later. It was constructed in the Gothic style, and its dramatic location offers spectacular views of the rugged, windswept eastern shore of Barbados. Notable attractions include the grave of Ferdinand Paleologus, a descendant of the Emperor Constantine, and a sculpture by British sculptor Richard Westmacott near the front doors, and one of only two sundials on the island.More

Paynes Bay

Leafy trees line the stretch of golden sand along Paynes Bay, a quiet beach in Saint James Parish. Unlike many of the more popular beaches in Barbados, where tides can be strong, the water at Paynes Bay is typically calm, making it one of the best beaches on the island for swimming and snorkeling.More

Andromeda Botanic Gardens

Established almost 60 years ago by one of the island’s best regarded horticulturalists, the elegant six-acre (2.4-hectare) Andromeda Botanic Gardens offer some 600 different species of flowers, shrubs, and trees from around the world. From its elevated location, cool island breezes accompany a bird’s eye view of the coastline.More

Bridgetown Cruise Port (Deep Water Harbour)

The first stop for many visitors to Barbados, Bridgetown Cruise Port (Deep Water Harbour) is located just outside of Bridgetown, the country's capital city. Every cruise ship docking at the island anchors here, and there can be up to eight ships in port at the same time.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Barbados

How to Spend 3 Days in Barbados

How to Spend 2 Days in Barbados

How to Spend 2 Days in Barbados

Top activities in Barbados

Barbados Catamaran Turtle and Shipwreck Snorkeling Cruise
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5-Hour Small-Group Catamaran Cruise from Bridgetown with Lunch
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St.Nicholas Abbey Heritage Railway

St.Nicholas Abbey Heritage Railway

Harbour Lights Beach Extravaganza and Dinner Show
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Mount Gay Tasting And Lunch Experience with Transportation
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Afternoon Luxury Catamaran Sailing and Charter Cruise from Bridgetown
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Original Bajan Walking Food Tour

Original Bajan Walking Food Tour

Mount Gay Rum and Cocktail Workshop with Transportation
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Recent reviews from experiences in Barbados

Fun way to see the island
Aleksandra_G, Nov 2022
Adventure Safari
Great tour and way of getting to see different parts of the island!
Great variety of experiences.
Stephen_B, Nov 2022
Taste of Barbados Full-Day Sightseeing tour
This tour covers a wide variety of things to do and see on Barbados and every stop is a pleasure to experience.
Jennay_D, Aug 2022
Beautiful Coastal Sightseeing Tour of Barbados
I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone who wants to visit Barbados.
A wonderful experience!
Trudy_A, Jul 2022
Barbados Catamaran Turtle Snorkel with Lunch and Open Bar
They were well prepared and their expert guidance through activities was greatly appreciated.
Very Warm and Helpful
Leslie_R, Jun 2022
Airport Pick-up/Drop-off in Barbados
He also offered some tips on places to visit while in Barbados.
Loved this Tour!
Cassidy_B, Nov 2022
Treasures of Barbados Cave and Plantation Sightseeing Tour
You get the most bang for your buck, and you only have to use 1 vacation day to see and experience so many great places.
great from start to finish, don't think about it just book it x
Elaine_S, Nov 2022
5-Hour Small-Group Catamaran Cruise from Bridgetown with Lunch
drinks flowing all day and the lunch was delicious, we got to see and swim with turtles and rays!
Monkeys and turtles and rays. Oh my!
Nicole_P, Oct 2022
Barbados Island Tour, Monkey feeding & Swimming with the Turtles
The animal preserve was an amazing place to visit.
Experience Beautiful Barbados both Land & Sea
Tineshea_H, Sep 2022
Barbados Island Tour, Monkey feeding & Swimming with the Turtles
They used floatation devices and carried us around to see the fish, shipwreck, and turtles.
Excellent Snorkeling Tour on the Stilleto
rebekennedy, Aug 2022
Barbados Catamaran Turtle Snorkel with Lunch and Open Bar
If you want a fun day on the water doing fabulous snorkeling to see turtles and shipwrecks, you should go with Graham on this tour.
We had a great day with...
Claire_W, Aug 2022
Barbados Full-day Private Tour
Our teenagers 16 and 18 loved both, and it was lovely to see the real Barbados not just the beaches.
Harrison's Cave well worth the visit
John_M, Jul 2022
Treasures of Barbados Cave and Plantation Sightseeing Tour
Bathsheba was nice to see but St.
Amazing Day - Fab staff and great fun- 10/10
Emma_J, Jul 2022
Barbados Harrison's Cave Tram Tour and Boat Cruise Snorkel Adventure
We weren’t sure what activities to do whilst in Barbados so we waited until we were out there to book.
Great Rum Tour
Patrick_D, Jun 2022
Discover Rum Barbados Tour
It was great to get to visit the Four Square facility which included quite a few different tastings.
Less than expected, but still worth it
Bailee_B, Jun 2022
Barbados Small-Group or Private Garden & Wildlife Half-Day Tour
This tour included Hunte’s gardens, the animal wildlife reserve, and a drive across the island to Bathsheba to see mushroom rock.
This tour is amazing!
Aisha_g, Jun 2022
The Real Barbados 6 hour Island Tour
He also gave us loads of recommends for other places to visit, as well as the best times to turn up to things like Oistins Fish Fry Friday – we beat the queues!
Worth every dollar
Caroline_K, Jun 2022
Private Full-Day Barbados Excursion
Takes you round most visitor attractions.
Fantastic Day, Excellent Guide!
James_M, Apr 2022
Day Tour Including Harrison's Cave St. Nicholas Lunch and Monkeys
Would recommend this to anyone looking to see the main attractions in Barbados.
This is a must do excursion in Barbados!!
Gloria_A, Apr 2022
Barbados Full-day Coast to Coast Tour
He also speaks very clear English which was a delight.
Great area and so many stories to tell
Laura_S, Mar 2022
Walking Tour of The Historic Garrison and its Museum - A Military Story
Sad to see some in states of disrepair but hope that Barbados values their stock of heritage buildings.
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People Also Ask

What is Barbados best known for?

The Caribbean island of Barbados is famous for its spectacular beaches. It is also known as the birthplace of rum and the home country of popular singer Rihanna. Visitors travel to Barbados to lounge in the sand, participate in water sports, and visit rum distilleries including the Mount Gay Distillery.

What is there to do in Barbados?

Swim, sunbathe, snorkel, and go fishing in Barbados. In addition to outdoor activities such as surfing and scuba diving, this Caribbean island also offers several popular landmarks including Harrison’s Cave Eco-Adventure Park, St. Nicholas Abbey, and the Andromeda Botanic Gardens. Learn how rum is made at Mount Gay Distillery.

What is banned in Barbados?

To obey local laws in Barbados, don’t disturb turtle nests, wear any form of camouflage clothing, light a fire on the beach, or sunbathe topless (for women). These activities are banned. Also keep in mind that in Barbados, cars drive on the left side of the road.

What should I not miss in Barbados?

Don’t miss the chance to swim, surf, snorkel, and go scuba diving in Barbados. Other fun things to do include exploring the historic capital of Bridgetown, going underground at Harrison’s Cave, tasting rum at the Mount Gay Distillery, and visiting the Barbados Wildlife Reserve.

Is it safe for tourists in Barbados?

Yes. It is safe for tourists in Barbados. This Caribbean island has a very safe reputation, but use the same caution you would at home and avoid isolated areas at night. Use licensed taxis, don’t carry a lot of cash, and use the safe in your hotel room for valuables.

What is the best part of Barbados to stay in?

The most popular places to stay in Barbados are found along the south and west coast. The island’s main airport is found on the southern coast, which makes hotels along this stretch easy to access. Travelers seeking to reconnect with nature are drawn to the quieter eastern side of Barbados.

Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the top things to do in Barbados?
What are the top activities in Barbados?
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What do I need to know before visiting Barbados?