What are the five best things to see and do in Barbados?

Bridget Bland

To truly get a feel for all Barbados has to offer, you have to break from the confines of your hotel or resort and hit the pavement. Here are a few of the island’s top sights:
 
1.  Oistins Fish Market. Talk to any in-the-know local and you’ll be told the best place to spend your Friday night won’t be at a fancy restaurant, but at the famed Oistins Fish Market. Here, Bajans and tourists sit side-by-side outside the dozen or so cottages selling freshly caught catch of the day. The specialty is the Flying Fish — a fried fish similar to whiting. While filling up on fresh-from-the-ocean seafood, you’ll also be treated to music selections, teenagers dancing and if you’re a lucky, a live performance or two.
 
2.  Mount Gay Rum Tour. Rum is said to have been produced first in Barbados. At the Bridgetown Mount Gay Rum tour, visitors get an inside look at how it is bottled, as well as a brief video presentation on the history of the liquor. The tour culminates with a rum tasting. Shell out the $25 for a shot of the top-shelf 1703 at the bar. You won’t be disappointed. 
 
3.  Swim with turtles. Hawksbill and leatherback turtles, once endangered by over-fishing, are protected and monitored all over Barbados. Swim with these sociable and huge creatures for an up close look at one of the local waters’ greatest treasures. Several local tour operators run cruises, snorkel trips or beach walks that will take you close to the turtles’ local haunts.
 
4.  The gorgeous beaches. What’s a trip to the Caribbean’s easternmost island without taking in the powdery sand and breezy waters? Pull up a beach chair, umbrella and grab a book and let the waves crashing relax you. If you’re looking for a little more action, head to Silver Sands beach, which is internationally recognized as one of the top windsurfing beaches in the world. Every February, the Waterman Festival is held at Silver Sands where people compete in surfing, kite surfing and windsurfing competitions.
 
5.  Explore Harrison’s Cave. See what natural beauty lies in this grotto, which was formed by water erosion through the limestone rock. Travel by tram and get to the cavern — just don’t be afraid to get a little wet. It is Barbados’ top travel attraction for a reason.

  • On September 6, 2012
    Bridget Bland answered the question: Bridget Bland

    What is the best time of year to visit Barbados?

    Any local will tell you hands down the best time of year to head to Barbados would be July to attend the Crop Over Festival. This is the Bajan version of Carnival and is named for commemorating a time when slaves working on Barbados’ sugar plantations would celebrate the end of the harvest with singing and dancing. The event is actually two months long, but culminates in July when residents and visitors pack the streets of Bridgetown and head to Queens Park. The party goes through the night with lots of tasty Caribbean food, calypso bands, dancing and a very colorful street parade called Grand Kandooment.
  • On September 6, 2012
    Bridget Bland answered the question: Bridget Bland

    What is the best thing to bring home from Barbados?

    If you only can bring one thing home from Barbados, we suggest you grab a bottle of Bajan Pepper Sauce. The mustard and vinegar-base hot pepper sauce is used as a condiment in several local dishes including meat, fish and chicken. Forbes Travel Guide’s editors found it’s not too spicy, and packed with flavor. Aunt May’s Bajan Pepper Sauce is one of the best versions, but head into any local grocery store or souvenir shop and you’re certain to find a bottle or two.
     
    If spicy condiments aren’t your thing, a good back-up souvenir is a bottle of the famous Barbados Mount Gay Rum. The first rum ever produced comes in several varieties, and if purchased duty free is much cheaper than any bottle you’ll buy elsewhere.
  • On September 6, 2012
    Bridget Bland answered the question: Bridget Bland

    What are the five best Barbados food experiences?

    The top cuisine in Barbados is dominated by Caribbean or Creole food, but there are a few surprising appetizers and main courses that are worth checking out. It’s not often that you’ll find a bad meal on this island, but here are Forbes Travel Guide’s top five picks for Barbados’s best food experiences.
     
    1.  Smoked Fish Trio at Champers. You might fill up on the flavored olive oils with fresh bread or the caramelized sea scallops, but our favorite starter is the trio of smoked fish. It includes healthy samples of smoked salmon, tuna and grouper and comes with a petit salad and a caper remoulade.
     
    2.  Barbadian Hots at Brown Sugar. Try something you cannot get at many Caribbean restaurants outside of Barbados — Barbadian Hots. At this popular eatery, strips of seasonal fish are marinated in hot regional spices then fried to a crisp and served with a special cocktail sauce. We’d suggest topping them with a little Bajan Pepper Sauce.
     
    3.  Traditional Bajan Flying Fish Cutter at L’Azure. Most folks will suggest waiting until you stop by the Oistins Friday Night Fish Fry to try the signature Barbados dish of flying fish. But an upscale version worth checking out is served at L’Azure, and comes on salt bread and with a dried raisin slaw on the side.
     
    4.  Thai Green Curry Shrimp at The Cliff. Any excuse will do to bask in the beautiful atmosphere at The Cliff restaurant. While sitting atop the ocean and feeling the breeze, you can indulge in the Thai green curry shrimp in coconut sauce, which comes with coriander rice and fried basil.
     
    5.  Fresh Catch of the Day at Fish Pot. The restaurant is called The Fish Pot for a reason. Order the fresh fish of the day, which you can have pan-fried or grilled and covered with a lovely caper beurre-blanc sauce and cilantro oil.
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  • On September 6, 2012
    Bridget Bland answered the question: Bridget Bland

    Where is the best nightlife in Barbados?

    Like most Caribbean islands, most of the nightlife action in Barbados takes place downtown. In the capital of Bridgetown, Baxters Road is usually filled with party-goers on weekend nights who visit the many bars that line the downtown’s streets. Pull up a stool and order up a local Banks beer and you might stumble on a bartender doing karaoke or a packed danced floor. One of the most popular haunts is Boatyard Bar and South Deck Grill on Bay Street, where the food is as tasty as the drinks are potent, and you can stay until the wee hours of the night.
  • On September 6, 2012
    Bridget Bland answered the question: Bridget Bland

    What is the best way to see Barbados in one day?

    If you want to check out the best the Barbados has to offer, hire a driver to take you to visit the petite island’s attractions. It’s a cost-effective way to see the top sights in Barbados and also provides you with the opportunity to come and go quickly. Head to Bridgetown and peruse the shops for local sauces and spices and jewelry and pottery. Pick up the local specialties, flying fish and macaroni pie, for lunch. Or, head to the Mount Gay Rum Factory to see the bottling process of the famed rum and partake in a tasting of several varieties.
     
    Still, a day in the Caribbean paradise of Barbados is not complete without a trip to the beach. Whether you settle on exploring Harrison’s Cave, surfing or sitting under an umbrella and reading a book, sometimes, getting the most out of this island is all about the relaxation.
  • On September 6, 2012
    Bridget Bland answered the question: Bridget Bland

    Where is the best shopping in Barbados?

    Aside from rum and spices, Barbados is best known for its clay pottery. Although many shops in the capital of Bridgetown sell different artisan products, Forbes Travel Guide’s editors think the best pottery on island remains Highland Pottery, Inc. Located on the east coast just north of Bathsheba, shoppers must travel up Chalky Mount, where they will be pleasantly greeted with breathtaking views. We found the prices here are cheaper than run-of-the-mill gift shops and the quality is fantastic. The variety includes stoneware, dishes and festive pottery. Also worth picking up is black-coral jewelry. You can find it beachside or in local craft stores all over Barbados.
  • On September 6, 2012
    Bridget Bland answered the question: Bridget Bland

    What are the five best things to do with kids in Barbados?

    Barbados is a destination full of family-friendly attractions to keep kids and parents happy — together. Here are five options for activities that will satisfy the whole family:
     
    1.  Submarine Trip. Take a trip under the sea with a submarine tour. The little ones will be excited to be fully submerged under water and to have the ability to see fish, coral and even an old shipwreck.
     
    2.  Horseback Riding. Barbados allows kids to try horseback riding along the beach. Or, head to the east coast for rides on nature trails that are a bit more hilly.
     
    3.  Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. What kid doesn’t like an opportunity to see animals and birds. We found the 35-acre habitat at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary full hundreds of wildlife. It is after all Barbados’s largest inland lake. We recommend making sure you catch the monkey feeding.
     
    4.  Meet More Kids At A Kid Club. Most top-notch resorts in Barbados, like The Crane and Sandy Lane, have kid clubs, where parents can drop off their kids for the day. They are able to play with other kids and enjoy poolside activities and games. If you visit Barbados, during Easter weekend many resorts also offer Easter Egg Hunts and other fun-filled activities.
     
    5.  Check Out A Cricket Match. Enlighten your child to the island’s favorite pastime – cricket. A state-of-the-art stadium in St. Michael was built for the national team, which consistently is the best in the Caribbean.
  • On September 6, 2012
    Bridget Bland answered the question: Bridget Bland

    What are the five best things to see and do in Barbados?

    To truly get a feel for all Barbados has to offer, you have to break from the confines of your hotel or resort and hit the pavement. Here are a few of the island’s top sights:
     
    1.  Oistins Fish Market. Talk to any in-the-know local and you’ll be told the best place to spend your Friday night won’t be at a fancy restaurant, but at the famed Oistins Fish Market. Here, Bajans and tourists sit side-by-side outside the dozen or so cottages selling freshly caught catch of the day. The specialty is the Flying Fish — a fried fish similar to whiting. While filling up on fresh-from-the-ocean seafood, you’ll also be treated to music selections, teenagers dancing and if you’re a lucky, a live performance or two.
     
    2.  Mount Gay Rum Tour. Rum is said to have been produced first in Barbados. At the Bridgetown Mount Gay Rum tour, visitors get an inside look at how it is bottled, as well as a brief video presentation on the history of the liquor. The tour culminates with a rum tasting. Shell out the $25 for a shot of the top-shelf 1703 at the bar. You won’t be disappointed. 
     
    3.  Swim with turtles. Hawksbill and leatherback turtles, once endangered by over-fishing, are protected and monitored all over Barbados. Swim with these sociable and huge creatures for an up close look at one of the local waters’ greatest treasures. Several local tour operators run cruises, snorkel trips or beach walks that will take you close to the turtles’ local haunts.
     
    4.  The gorgeous beaches. What’s a trip to the Caribbean’s easternmost island without taking in the powdery sand and breezy waters? Pull up a beach chair, umbrella and grab a book and let the waves crashing relax you. If you’re looking for a little more action, head to Silver Sands beach, which is internationally recognized as one of the top windsurfing beaches in the world. Every February, the Waterman Festival is held at Silver Sands where people compete in surfing, kite surfing and windsurfing competitions.
     
    5.  Explore Harrison’s Cave. See what natural beauty lies in this grotto, which was formed by water erosion through the limestone rock. Travel by tram and get to the cavern — just don’t be afraid to get a little wet. It is Barbados’ top travel attraction for a reason.
  • On May 28, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best places to eat in Barbados?

    Barbados is the only Caribbean island that’s been rated by populist restaurant ratings service Zagat. From upscale beachfront restaurants to intimate local spots that offer the comfort of a family member’s home, there are more options on this upscale island than most others in the Caribbean. Here are our picks for the best restaurants to try in Barbados.
     
    1.  Champers Wine Bar and Restaurant. For charming ambiance and upscale seafood with a French flair to match, Champers is a top Barbados option. The restaurant is located on the South Coast and sits atop a cliff overlooking the popular Accra Beach. Ask for a seat inside the waterfront dining gazebo, and be sure to stop by the art gallery upstairs and check out the local paintings before you leave.
     
    2.  Zen. One of the last type of cuisines you’d expect to indulge in when you’re in the islands is Asian, but Zen, located inside the Crane resort, is one of the island’s most popular for a reason. The picturesque dining room overlooks the sea and there’s even a private room in the traditional tatami style that can accommodate up to 14 people. Try the Thai or the Japanese tasting menus, both of which offer a variety of authentic, expertly prepared dishes.
     
    3.  Fisher Pond Great House. Looking for a blast-from-the-past experience? On Sunday afternoons at this 17th century plantation house, you can indulge in a five-course buffet of traditional West Indian dishes. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have famously hosted formal dinners here. Each seating only accommodates up to 80 guests, so we recommend calling ahead and making reservations.
     
    4.  Brown Sugar. No trip to Barbados is complete without taking a trip to the West Coast for local fare. Our favorite spot, Brown Sugar, is the kind of intimate and welcoming spot that feels like visiting the home of a relative. As for the food, the lunch buffet is popular with locals and dinner is popular with tourists, who come to dig into plates of herb-crusted red snapper and curried coconut shrimp.
     
    5.  The Cliff. For foie gras and beef carpaccio, escargot and mahi mahi, the best upscale restaurant for discerning palettes is The Cliff. Just like Champers, The Cliff provides diners with a beautiful cliff-top ocean front view (but from this closer-to-the-water location, you just might spy a stingray or two if you’re lucky).
  • On May 28, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best places to stay in Barbados?

    Barbados offers a wide range of accommodations from the strip of hotels along West Coast’s St. James beach to the more upscale resorts clustered north of Bridgetown. Here are our picks for some of the best places to stay on Barbados.
     
    1.  The Crane. Sometimes the oldest really is arguably the best. The Crane opened in 1887 and is said to have been the Caribbean’s first resort hotel. Crane Beach has been called one of the most beautiful in the world. Many villa rooms at the resort offer full kitchens, pools and modern amenities such as washers and dryers and satellite cable television. There are several pools that suit different moods, and two fine dining restaurants that allow you ocean views while you eat.
     
    2.  Sandy Lane. This haven for the rich and famous is a luxury resort located in the St. James area of Barbados. The former sugar cane plantation has hosted a long list of celebrities, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Queen Elizabeth II, Sidney Poitier and native pop princess Rihanna, to name a few. Tiger Woods held his wedding on one of the two Tom Fazio-designed gold courses. Sandy Lane features 112 guestrooms and suites and a massive 47,000 square foot spa.
     
    3.  The House. You will no doubt feel transported to another world when you arrive at this upscale adults-only resort. Situated on the West Coast of the island, the hotel strives to leave its guests with a feeling of tranquility, starting with the complimentary jet lag revival massage that’s delivered in a beachside cabana. The resort offers daily tea and even a free champagne breakfast. We found that this all-suites resort excels at customer service, and is worth booking if you’re looking for some serious pampering from the moment you arrive.
     
    4.  Cobblers Cove Hotel. Those heading to Barbados for a romantic getaway should book at this classic hotel. Once a British fort, this former mansion includes several villas with suites situated within the villas. We suggest asking for the Colleton or the Camelot suite, which are both housed on the rooftop of the old mansion, include pools and showcase panoramic views of the beach and garden.
     
    5.  Hilton Barbados. This American hotel chain remains one of the most popular hotels on island. Centrally located on the southern edge of Barbados, the Hilton also sits beside the 1950 British fort, Fort Charles. In addition to the hotel’s three restaurants, two bars and three tennis courts, there are children’s programs, as well as a health club and spa.