A friendly Caribbean island with plenty of surf spots for all weather conditions, this is a place I can't wait to go back to.
Date/Duration of Travel
No Visa needed for stays under 6 months (for Americans or English nationals at least)
Valid Passport (not entirely sure of how long it needs to be valid, but go with 6 months to be safe!)
No Vaccines Necessary
No currency Restrictions
Check travel advisory for safety
We stayed at an Airbnb in Bottom Bay. It was a nice location away from the tourist areas and a walk from the beach. It was also nicely located for travel to the north or west part of the island. Check out the airbnb here.
We rented a car from our airbnb host, which was amazing! BUT we had initially planned on renting a car from the airport. It is definitely necessary to rent a car. There is so much you will want to explore on the island by yourself.
They speak english in Barbados, but there is a local dialect known as Bajan. Just like anywhere, different people will have thicker accents making it more of a challenge to understand sometimes, but we had no trouble communicating here!
We walked around at night, and there are plenty of people doing the same thing. There are sketchier characters that you see lurking on some of the bar strips late at night, but that's just like anywhere and something you should always be aware of.
Things to Do
February weather was great. I had just flown from Idaho to Florida (where it was even cold) and then Barbados, and the weather was just as expected: BEAUTIFUL.
Surf. Obviously. We went EVERY SINGLE DAY. It was amazing, and you really don't need to anything else... but you'll probably get tired so I'll continue the list. The surf rental company should recommend the best spots for you if you don't know, but here is another helpful link if you want to get to know the area.
Obviously, go to the beach! Here are some beach recommendations:
Snorkel at Batts Rock. We came here twice; we loved it so much!
Go for a hike: like the Bathsheba to Martin’s Bay via Bath. You'll need GPS coordinates, and you can find that plus more information here.
Tour a Rum Distillery like St. Nicholas Abbey. Unlike other Bajan distilleries, St. Nicholas Abbey distills its rum in traditional small batches. In addition to its rum, the attraction also features a 350-year-old plantation home, which houses a museum with various antiques. Multiple gardens and orchards are also located throughout the property.
Explore Animal Flower Cave. (more info below) There are no animals in the cave... unless by some bizzarre chance a wave splashed something in, but there are goats around that you can see. Bring your swimming suit to swim in the cave, and save time to walk around the property afterwards.
There are a few other tourist activities that we just didn't have interest in as they seemed more "touristy", and we were more into the "natural" activities that Barbados offers.
Where to Eat
As a vegan, people probably won't understand you very much, but they don't judge and are SUPER accommodating. We ate breakfast and sometimes packed lunch at our airbnb before going out to explore for the day--the groceries here have everything no matter your dietary needs.
Ocean Two Resort & Residences
Dover Road, St. Lawrence Gap, Christ Church
On Friday's they have a special "breadfruit bowl Fridays", and the unique dining experience was what attracted us. This was my favorite meal in Barbados. We went to the resort, which didn't seem like it would provide a very local experience, but it absolutely was... happy we took the chance! We were the only people for most of the evening. They had a tent set up, a fire pit, and this amazing breadfruit which they would place on the fire and then prepare in front of you. You sit at a table right on the beach, and it is a wonderfully romantic experience. They had vegetable stew that was vegan, which you pour on top of your amazing breadfruit!
***An even better option would be getting invited to one of their own BBQs where they make breadfruit... usually on Sundays!
Chatters Tea Room
Bagatelle Great House, Bagatelle | Hwy 2 .A Warrens on Ronald Mapp Hwy. North of Warrens, Bridgetown
You must call ahead of time to make reservations here ESPECIALLY with dietary restrictions as they have a lot of food to prep ahead of time. I let my veganism slide to vegetarian for cream teas, and we did not call with time in advance for food prep. So give it a try and let me know how it goes! If you are a regular eater, they are often able to accommodate small parties with little notice! It was a nice property with a view. Very english although it was more of a Caribbean take on cream tea than a proper cream tea.
Surfer's Cafe, Oistins, Christ Church
This place is definitely worth the trip. It is somewhat outside of town, and we had a little bit of difficulty finding it. I am so happy we did not give up! It is a charming surfers bar with live music and on some nights (though it is still unclear to us when-- a bonfire!). They didn't have many vegan options-- the menu for the night is written on a chalkboard, but the atmosphere itself is a reason to come here. Full of local surfers, this place has all the feels.
Animal Flower Cave
Northpoint, Conneltown BB27003, Barbados
The views from here are absolutely breathtaking. We spent hours here. We came and ate. They had a perfect quinoa salad that I asked for no cheese with. Then we took the tour of the cave (bring your swimming suit as you can swim inside!), and after we walked around the cliffside and enjoyed wonderful water spout displays. If you are lucky, you will also be able to see whales from here!
Enterprise Beach Rd, Oistins, Barbados
Oh you must eat here. I encourage you to make reservations, although we did not and luckily they had space for two. The menu was excellent--modern, dietarily aware with Bajan inspiration. It is beautiful and along the coast. Try to enjoy the sunset here with some of their craft cocktails!
There are multiple locations so just google which one is closet to you.
Kind of a fast food restaurant, this was a great stop for a quick lunch. I took someone's recommendation for the “all vegetable” roti with pumpkin, plantain, curried sweet, potatoes, chana, and mango chutney. It was HUGE and could easily feed me for two meals, but if you are super active, then this is perfect.
Where to Shop
I did not shop in Barbados. I did rent a surfboard, and I will definitely give you my recommendations there, but as far as shopping goes, nothing struck me and most things would be quite difficult to track for sustainability purposes.
HOWEVER, if you want to shop, this is the one place that I would recommend:
Hastings Farmers Market
Art Splash Centre, Hastings, Christ Church
Open 8AM to 2PM Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday
This is an arts and food market packed with local vendors. Advertised like this: "Home Made! Home Grown! Home Created! Veg, fruit, cakes and coffee, paintings and pottery, sausages, music and books, milk and eggs, pizzas and pastries."
Animal Flower Cave
Northpoint, Conneltown BB27003, Barbados
I've recommended this place for things to do and where to eat, but you really must visit if you go to Barbados. They have some shops out front. One of the huts features a really cute local designer. I actually would have shopped here if I needed something! It has boho chic feels. I don't know where she sources her supplies, but at the very least you're shopping somewhat local.
The surf shop we went to was:
Barrys Surf Barbados Surf School
Dover beach, Salt Ash Apt, Barbados
They were extremely knowledgeable and kind. I was a little intimidated when I went to rent at first because I have gone surfing a few times before, but I am by no means a "good surfer". When I explained to them my experience, they gave me a term called "Begintermediate". Perfect. They recommended a surf board. And had plenty of options for people of all skill levels. They even had a roof rack for us to use on our rental car. They recommended the best spots for surfing given the weather when we were there and were super accommodating with our late return.
Make your booking here.
Things to buy in Barbados
The exchange rate from Bajan Dollar to the US Dollar was 1 BBD to .50 USD. Though prices here were not really cheap. I recommend buying some rum here as that is a fun unique thing and trying out some of their unique baked treats. There is also some neat local art that may inspire you.
See how your currency converts here.
Like most islands, there is much to be desired in terms of recycling abilities and single-use plastic. We traveled here with this water filter. I also suggest packing your reusable utensils and some collapsable cups as many bars just use plastic.
Have you traveled to Barbados recently? We would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations.