This gorgeous Caribbean island is well known for its pristine sands perfect for topping up your tan. If you get bored of sunbathing (or have a boyfriend who is pasty white and therefore has to shadebathe) here are some interesting activities in Barbados I would suggest, all tested and tried by yours truly.
1. Take a catamaran cruise to feel the wind in your hair
There’s a staggering selection of boat cruises you can enjoy whilst in Barbados. When deciding which one you would like to join, firstly consider the type of boat you want to spend the day on. I would recommend opting for a catamaran as they tend to offer more space and a gentler ride for the best experience. Secondly consider the vibe you want for the day, you can either go for a low key, chilled vibe or for more of a party boat. Thirdly once you’ve got an idea of the type of cruise you’re looking for, do you research! As I visited Barbados with my boyfriend for a Winter break from work we were yearning for a relaxing day, with a luxurious vibe and chose Silver Moon (it was definitely the correct choice!). It is worth checking the number of passengers on your cruise as we glided past some rather packed boats, certainly no sunbathing room there!
Our cruise took us to two snorkelling spots (one where we saw an adorable turtle with a barnacle attached to his shell – highlight of the trip!) and another to free dive the wrecks in Carlisle Bay; and then we rode the wind up the West coast of the island to our lunch spot. Unfortunately for our last swimming stop there was a spot of Caribbean rain, we were the only two brave souls who still went for a dip! Drinks (soft and hot drinks, beer, wine and even frozen pina coladas!) and a tasty buffet lunch are included in the price, as are transfers to and from the catamaran (so you can make the most of the bottomless booze!).
2. Scuba dive the Stav
Barbados has been created as a scuba divers haven with numerous reefs and purpose sunk wrecks. Carlisle Bay creates the ideal environment for beginner divers with 6 shallow wrecks to explore. There is abundant fish life and if you’re lucky you may spot a turtle carrying about his business. My favourite dive of our two days with Barbados Blue (a reputable dive company within the Hilton complex) has to be the Stav, unfortunately not one for the inexperienced diver as the shipwreck sits 35m down. A Greek freighter measuring over 350 feet long sunk deliberately in the 1970s the Stav provides multiple relatively easy penetrations and is teaming with fish and corals. Divers wising to explore the wreck should liaise with a dive company prior to arriving as most will visit the Stav once a week on a set day (and it’s one day you shouldn’t miss!)
3. Horse ride through plantations and get your hooves wet in the sea
Away from the sandy beaches Barbados is full of lush green fields and forests home to old sugar plantations. The best way to explore the area is on horseback with Ocean Echo stables who will take you through green fields and forests down onto the beach. We even took our horses in to enjoy the sea with the aim of staying in the shallows, although we accidentally led them off the plateau giving ourselves nice soggy shoes for the journey back! The guides for our ride were lots of fun taking some funny photos and giving us some background on the area. During our ride we got the added experience of a tropical rain shower, quite cooling in the tropical sun but the wet leaves slapping me in the face after were less enjoyable – it would appear my horse was a fan of vegetation.
4. Pack your own picnic and head for Welchman Hall gully
For an adventurous lunch stop by a corner shop and stock up on some goodies as you drive up to Welchman Hall gully. Before you venture deep into the rainforest, where barely any sunlight reaches the ground, walk up to the viewpoint where you can see across the fields all the way to the beach. The gully hosts an abundance of flora and fauna, including mischievous monkeys so there’s plenty to explore. Our visit coincided with a tropical storm making it more of an adventure that we’d bargained for! After the rain had passed we had to mind our step as hundreds of giant millipedes and snails had appeared. Sadly we didn’t see any monkeys as we went late afternoon, check prior to your visit and aim to coincide with one of their feedings if you want to catch them at the platform.
5. Test your balance and co-ordination with some Stand Up Paddleboarding
For a different way to explore the ocean (and get a hell of a work out) try a spot of Stand Up Paddleboarding with What’SUP Barbados. With previously zero experience on a paddleboard we first got a crash course on the safety of the beach and then set off into the sea. As easy as SUP looks it really works your core and arms as you try to balance and paddle whilst staying dry (I’m proud to say I only took one fall from grace, and my sunglasses somehow remained in place!) We took a much needed break in Carlisle Bay and a friendly turtle came to say hello to us before we regained our stance and paddled back watching the beautiful sunset. We loved it so much we decided to put our new found skills to the test a few days later renting boards and paddling up and down the coast – we certainly noticed the difference between the beginner boards we had previously and the intermediate ones we rented though so be aware!
6. Join the locals at Oistins fish fry on Friday night
One of the most popular places to be on a Friday evening and for good reason, you cannot miss out on Oistins Fish Fry during your trip. A maze of stalls selling beers and cocktails, small souvenirs and of course a wide range of freshly cooked fish it’s easy to get lost but that’s part of the fun! Music is pumped out of every corner and you’ll soon find yourself dancing alongside locals well into the evening. Feeling rather lazy after a day of diving and paddleboarding we arrived quite late to Oistins and a few of the stalls had only limited fish left so I would recommend getting there a bit earlier to ensure you have your pick.
7. Tickle your tastebuds rum sampling at St Nicholas Abbey
As Barbados is renowned as the birthplace of rum it would be a crime (even for a non-rum drinker like myself) not to try some whilst you’re there. One of four plantations still operational, St Nicholas Abbey produces rum all the way from sugar cane to bottle on site using traditional methods, all of which you can see in action during a self-guided tour. With a gully, gardens (complete with a very flirty cockatoo!) and house to also explore, all restored to reflect its 17th century roots, you’ll soon be thirsty for some rum. You can even take some home in a personalised etched glass bottle, a very lavish souvenir!
Find Out More…
Silver Moon Cruises – https://silvermoonbarbados.com/
Dive Barbados Blue – https://www.divebarbadosblue.com/
Ocean Echo Stables – http://www.barbados-horse-riding.com/
Welchman Hall Gully – http://www.welchmanhallgullybarbados.com/
What’SUP Barbados – http://www.surfsupbarbados.com/
St Nicholas Abbey – https://www.stnicholasabbey.com/
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