Barbados Travel Guide
Updated: Dec 15, 2019
I love Barbados. Since my first visit a few years ago, I’ve been hooked and have been visiting quite regularly ever since. When I saw Divali was granting us a long weekend this year, I figured I could squeeze in a quick weekend trip. It was the perfect escape and just what I needed after a hectic few weeks. This visit also happened to coincide with the last few days of Barbados Food and Rum Festival which was also a plus.
Since this vacation is still (somewhat) fresh, I decided to put together a little guide that I hope you may find helpful if you ever visit!
It should be noted that September through early November is low season in Barbados so while accommodations may be cheaper, some restaurants and other establishments are closed during this period or have a change in operating hours, so keep that in mind. I always suggest calling ahead to the places you want to visit just to be sure.
One of my favorite things about visiting the island is the dining. Barbados has a great mixture of fine dining and more affordable local fare.
Here are my recommendations:
Oistins Fish Fry - An open air market in Oistin Bay Gardens where vendors prepare the best seafood right in front of you. Friday nights are the most lively, with locals and tourists alike flocking here for the grilled or fried seafood options from their favorite vendors which of course you can wash down with a few Banks Beers. My favorite is grilled mahi mahi with fresh salad and grilled potatoes from vendor Uncle George. Other options include dolphin, lobster, tuna fillet and marlin to name a few. There’s also live karaoke (which Bajans take very seriously) which never fails to entertain.
Mojo Barbados - Perhaps my favorite bar in Barbados. It’s a pretty casual space with really good music, great burgers (my favorite is the seafood burger) and an impressive cocktail list, I’ve never left disappointed.
Relish - Located at Limegrove Lifestyle Centre (an upscale shopping mall). Have breakfast or lunch here if you’re on the island’s West Coast and then do some fabulous duty free shopping.
Fusion Rooftop - Also located at Limegrove, it’s a trendy space which offers both indoor and outdoor dining with a layout that’s a chic combination of lounge and restaurant.
The Lonestar Restaurant - We dined here on this trip and I was looking forward to it as the reviews were stellar. It was amazing - for the first time in forever, my dinner was so great that I was sufficiently satisfied and didn’t even attempt dessert. You can dine directly on the beach or in the restaurant. I had the grilled yellow fin tuna with warm crab and potato salad and grilled shrimp as my main and I can’t stress how great it was.
Tides Restaurant -Such a beautiful restaurant! The property is so elegantly designed, there’s also an art gallery on site with pieces from Caribbean artists that you can browse.
Have some drinks at the bar if you get to your reservation early, their mixologists are really impressive and the cocktail menu is superb. My favorites are the Coconut Mojito and Lychee Bellini.
Champers - One of the first restaurants I ever dined at in Barbados, it’s one of the island’s most popular for a reason. You get stunning seaside views, amazing food, even more special ambience and the service is always great.
Tip - when making a reservation, if you mention you’re celebrating a special occasion, they prepare a personalized mini menu (with your name and the occasion) and place it on the table with other decorative items. It’s a really nice touch.
Hugos - A newer restaurant, I had dinner here for my birthday last year. The upstairs dining space is beautifully designed while downstairs boasts a chic bar space and is closer to the sea.
Cin Cin by the Sea - Airy, elegant dining on the West Coast. You get sweeping views of the ocean and a choice between indoor dining or outdoor on the balcony. There’s a 3 course lunch special that doesn’t disappoint.
Nishi - Known for serving the best sushi, it’s located a stone’s throw away from Limegrove. For the non sushi lovers, the catch of the day is a solid pick as well as the coconut and ginger chicken.
The Cliff - Barbados’ #1 restaurant for fine dining. As its name suggests, its located on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. The views are to die for, especially at night where the restaurant is lit up via tiki lights which add to the already amazing ambience.
Sandy Lane Hotel for Breakfast - Sandy Lane Resort is an upscale property that is known to host many celebrities and its pretty easy to see why. It’s also one of the most popular locations for weddings and special functions. If you’re not staying here, popping in for their Sunday breakfast is a great option. There’s so many options to choose from - Caribbean favorites like buljol and accra, continental and english breakfast and even a juice/smoothie bar.
TO THE BEACH!
Barbados is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the region so it’s every beach lovers dream. Driving across the island you can see the vibrant blue waters from almost every point and it’s a view I will never get tired of. Some of the more popular beaches are Accra Beach, Mullins, Miami Beach and Rockley Beach.
If you want to spend a day lounging with more amenities available, there are a few beach clubs to choose from:
Nikki Beach - a well known international beach club which opened in Barbados a little under 2 years ago. There’s a restaurant, live dj and you can lounge poolside or in the cabanas which you can reserve for the day. There’s almost always some form of entertainment going on; they have a pretty consistent schedule of events. Their Amazing Sundays Brunch is really great and so is the sangria or mojitos by the pitcher .
Nikki Beach is one of the establishments I mentioned re: closing during off season. Usually they close from the end of August and reopen in early November.
Boatyard Beach Club - I love it here. This beach club is a more all inclusive experience as the $60 Bajan gives you access to the lounge chairs and cabanas, $45 food and credit at the bar, a catamaran cruise (my favorite) inclusive of snorkeling gear so you can swim with turtles and see the shipwrecks, an ocean slide, trampoline and of course the beach. It’s also a popular day stop for cruises so certain hours (if there’s a cruise in town) means that there can be a lot of people there but I’ve never felt it to be overly crowded. If you have children in your travelling group, this is an ideal spot to take them for the day.
Copacabana Barbados - Another beach club option for you to spend the day. If you want lounge chairs with an umbrella, you pay $50 Bajan ($25 USD) for your day pass which also entitles you to $40 Bajan in food and drinks at the bar.
Other beach related activities include:
Stand Up Paddle Lessons with Whats Up Barbados
A day or evening cruise with Tiami Cruises or Silver Moon Barbados (I did the morning cruise with Silver Moon and loved it - the lunch was amazing and we stopped at the beach near Sandy Lane for a swim.)
SIGHTSEEING & FUN ACTIVITIES
St Lawrence Gap - A small strip of restaurants, hotels and bars. It’s particularly lively at night and a great choice for those looking for some nightlife action.
Harbor Lights - Beach Club by day with Friday nights being the most popular for the nightclub.
Animal Flower Caves - an ocean cave which opens directly into the Atlantic Ocean, you can do a tour of the caves or just hang out on the site which has stunning views of Barbados' North Coast. There’s also a restaurant on site so you can have lunch and drinks while there.
Harrison Caves - Book a tour of the island’s crystallized cave which includes options for exploration via tram or for the more adventurous - the cave hike. The cave hike also offers an option tailored for children called the “Junior Explorer’s tour.”
Mt Gay Rum Tour- A tour of the distillery (complete with tastings) where Mt Gay Rum is made. It’s roughly 2.5 hours and includes an in depth lesson on the history of Mt Gay.
Atlantis Submarine Tour - A great choice for a family friendly activity, there's both a day and night dive tour option.
WHERE TO STAY
Radisson Aquatica Hotel - Stunning views, beach close by, a great breakfast buffet and if you are up early in the morning, you can see the swimming horses. These are racehorses brought over by their trainers for a quick morning swim (maybe about 20 -30 minutes) to begin their day.
Worthing Court Apartments - Ideally located on the South Coast, (which is also known as the “fun coast” because of its many bars and restaurants) it’s super affordable and comes with an en suite kitchen which is ideal for those who intend to cook while there.
It’s also located within 2 minutes walking distance from Mojos which I mentioned above.
Port St Charles - For a more luxe stay on the West Coast, I opted for here for my birthday and enjoyed every bit of it. Our villa came with a plunge pool and there’s also a main pool which was great for longer, more leisurely swims. You also have access to the beach to the forefront of the property which isn’t as crowded as other beaches so you can easily spend a relaxing day.
Other notable hotels - the Hilton, The Soco Hotel and Cobbler’s Cove.
There’s also quite a few options for villas and apartments via Air b n B and Expedia if you happen to be travelling with a larger group.
Barbados is truly a gem, and while I've covered quite a lot during my visits over the years, I feel like I discover more with each visit. I'm sure there's quite a few places I haven't covered yet but that just means there's more for me to explore on my future visits back! I hope this travel guide was helpful and I'm always open to answering any questions. Thank you for reading!