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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.