Understandably, many have a one-track mindset when planning a visit to the Caribbean. They look through the online listings of beach villas in Barbados or other dreamy islands, and pack a bathing suit. Done.
If you find yourself in this situation, landing in paradise without an idea of what to do, here’s a list of some of the top attractions Barbados has to offer.
1. Visit A Jaw-Dropping Beach
This simply must be first on your to-do list. Barbados is home to some of the most breathtaking beaches in the Caribbean, or anywhere in the world for that matter. Conditions vary wildly across the island, with the west coast offering many of the calmer beaches for those seeking a gentle swim. Paynes Bay and Sandy Lane are favorites here. This is also obviously where you should be to sit and view the sunset out over the water.
The south and east coasts are generally more active, with the east being a particular favorite among surfers. Crane Beach and Bottom Bay are true must-see beaches here.
2. Check Out Harrison’s Cave
One of the island’s most popular tourist destinations, this crystallized limestone cavern is home to fascinating stalactite and stalagmite formations as well as flowing streams and sparkling pools of crystal clear water. There are scenic trails from the cliff top to the valley floor, as well as glass elevators and an immersive underground tram tour.
3. Experience The Crop Over Festival
From June through the first week in August, Barbados celebrates a harvest festival known as Crop Over. It’s a Bajan tradition dating back to sugar plantation slaves who used to celebrate at the end of each harvest season.
Think Carnival: there’s music, dance, food fairs, and all sorts of smiling revelry on display. Colorful calypso bands compete for the Calypso Monarch Award, and the whole thing ends with Grand Kandooment, a massive street parade featuring fireworks and pulsating Bajan rhythms.
4. Take The Mount Gay Rum Factory Tour
One shouldn’t leave the Caribbean without sampling its fine rum, and a tour of one of its best-known distillers will surely enhance the experience. Mount Gay is an iconic rum brand, often considered the world’s oldest.
Visitors can tour the factory and learn about the entire process, from sugarcane harvesting to the final bottling. Best of all, there’s a tasting at the end where one can sample various varieties of this fine liqueur.
5. Visit The Barbados Museum & Historical Society
This expansive museum sits in a 193-year-old colonial building that was once the British Military Prison. For history buffs (or those who are a little bored of the beach), this is a great look into the country’s history and culture. There are displays outlining the island’s geographic structure, as well as original artifacts from its original Amerindian inhabitants. There’s even an educational children’s gallery that kids will certainly enjoy.