If you’re thinking of visiting Barbados or just want to get a feel for the island then read on…I’ve written top 5 things to do in Barbados, as well as beaches to visit, where to eat and shop and a few helpful tips along the way!
It was my first time holidaying in Barbados in September and it was an unforgettable experience! The weather stays a constant 30-33C and only drops a few degrees in the evening. A great place to holiday when the months are cold and grim in the UK. We stayed in a villa in Holetown which is where the famous Sandy Lane Hotel is located as well as an array of celeb’s holiday homes, unfortunately, we couldn’t visit them!
We also hired a car given cars are driven on the same side of the road in the UK which I highly recommend. Road signs are in English as are the roundabouts! Ensure you have a good map or buy a SatNav app on your phone as there are no road signs on the smaller roads. We found our way through signs of landmarks so it wasn’t too bad.
One of the top 5 things to do in Barbados is no doubt the sunbathe on the beach! Get your sunblock on and head straight for the beach! With long stretches of sandy beaches and warm waters, I think Barbados has one of the best beaches in the world! They’re free to access as long as you can get to them as all beaches in Barbados are open to the public. We rarely saw any litter and unlike beaches in Europe, we were not constantly harassed by beach sellers.
If you are staying in a villa and need a beach to get to, Reed’s Bay has a few things to offer: parking, shade, sun loungers (paid), a little shack offering drinks (even a slush puppie!), fairly longish beach and of course the gorgeous water!
We sunbathed here twice and on the second occasion had the entire beach to ourselves! It is also worth getting out early not because the sun loungers might get nicked! Moreso to enjoy the quiet beach and morning sun.
If you do decide to drive, you will see the signs for Hunte’s Garden all over the island. There were so many it became a running joke! You might be wondering why visit a garden? But it really is like no other and was featured on BBC television program Gardener’s World a couple of years ago. It’s one of the top 5 things to do in Barbados because of how vast and compact this garden is.
Built within a cave that literally caved in Anthony Hunte created this garden 40 odd years ago. It is known as the World’s Most Enchanting place. The garden starts with steps taking you down into the garden into a tropical colourful garden where you will see why it is so enchanting. sort of reminded me of a secret garden there is so much greenery it is easy to hide! The acoustics of the cave make the birds sound crystal clear if you’re lucky you might see a hummingbird.
It was really quiet when we were there as there were only two other couples around. If you decide to go during the peak season I suggest you go early and take bug spray.
There are a few more gardens to visit if that’s your thing, we also visited the Flower Forest and the Andromeda Gardens, though Hunte’s Garden was my favourite.
Sandy Lane Hotel
You don’t need to be a millionaire to experience this world-class hotel! The hubby booked us in for afternoon tea and it was one of the best experiences of the trip. Which is why I recommend it as one of the top 5 things to do in Barbados. Hospitality was next to none and the food just as good. We were properly looked after from the moment we entered the reception to the moment we left.
On arrival, we were confused as we couldn’t find the car park only to find out there was valet parking doh! We were greeted by a lovely member of staff who took us to our picturesque table whilst explaining the features of the hotel. We were given 5* star treatment when we had our afternoon tea. Later we explored other parts of the hotel and attempted to buy from the gift shop (we won’t go there!).
Rates start at £1000.00 per night or more so if you can afford it, totally go for it. You never know, you might bump into Simon Cowell or Rihanna, who actually live in One Sandy Lane. A separate apartment building and heavily gated so there’s no getting in I’m afraid!
If you are staying in a villa and need food, head to the Massy supermarket which is on the main road in Holetown there are others in the country. The best thing about this particular branch is WAITROSE food is stocked here! Yup, that’s right, we found tonnes of Waitrose branded products in every aisle, home away from home!
If you fancy a cheap lunch (eating out is not cheap) the store sells warm wraps called Roti – curried potatoes in a wrap which we had several times! Buying from the store will cost around £6-7 whereas buying a Roti from the Chattel Village Cafe will cost twice as much at £15.00! So it is worth checking out the supermarket.
Fancy a posh dinner in one of Rihanna’s favourite Italian? Then make sure you book a table at Daphne’s. We had a really memorable experience as we celebrated our wedding anniversary and yet again the customer service was on point. And were even given a free cake to celebrate!
The hubby booked a table with an ocean view which was exactly that. The restaurant is very popular with tourists and local ex-pats so be sure to book in advance. There were enough veggie options to choose from. Obviously like everything else on the island eating here was not cheap however the experience was amazing which is why I rate it as one of the top 5 things to do in Barbados.
St. Lawrence Gap
Last but not least of the top 5 things to do in Barbados especially if you are looking for a bit more buzz on the island is St. Lawrence Gap. South of the island this little port has a lot more going on than Holetown in terms of bars and restaurants. Though I would add it is also less upmarket than Holetown! Sandals resort is also located here as are many other resorts.
A few facts you might like to know:
– Almost everything in Barbados is expensive, lunch, dinner, souvenirs etc.
– It gets really freaking hot 30-33C every day so pack, shorts, lots of breathable cotton t-shirts, short or knee-length dresses. Leave the long dresses for the evenings. Pack mosquito repellent spray as this is expensive in Barbados.
– ‘The Season’ as they call it, is when the weather gets cold in Europe and all the cruises run which is October through to March. Out of this time is the quiet season.
– Locals are really nice, helpful and so happy (I need to learn from them!)
– If you are veggie or vegan, research and book restaurants in advance. See the list of recommended restaurants below. We ate in a few nights and that really helped.
Want to do Barbados on a budget?
– Book your holiday during the quiet season, flights, hotels and villas will be substantially cheaper. The only downside is that some restaurants may not be open. Remember Barbados stays a constant 30c odd throughout the year.
– Hire a villa instead of booking a beachfront hotel. We hired a villa in the Sunset area, walking distance from the beach. A hotel located on the beach will set you back quite a few thousand pounds if not more.
– Eat-in a few nights and buy lunches from the supermarket
– Hire a car to get around the island rather than using taxis
Asian spice (closed during the quiet season so double-check opening times before you turn up)
Tides Restaurant (closed during the quiet season so double-check opening times before you turn up)
Places to shop
- Limegrove shopping centre (from luxury brands like Ralph Lauren, Gucci to independent boutiques)
- Chattel Village, Holetown (great for souvenirs, lots of ex-pats run these stores)
- Bridgetown (one large department store with souvenirs, lots of jewellery stores and basics shops for locals)
Hope you enjoyed this post! Check out more blog posts here
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