The Caribbean is one of our favorite regions of the world. We haven’t met an island there yet that we haven’t loved and we’ve returned to our favorites like Sint Maarten and Anguilla time and again. We’d love to visit Barbados, and though the island is small – it’s just 166 square miles in size – we’ve found plenty for adventure lovers. Luxury Retreats challenged us to put together this bucket list of adventurous things to do in Barbados:
1. Dive Barbados
We’re relatively new scuba divers, having just completed our open water dive certification not even a year ago. France is known for a lot of things, but diving isn’t one of them and we don’t get to practice our new skills nearly as often as we’d like. Naturally, top of our list of things to do in Barbados is diving some of the reefs like Shark Bank, a reef dive site well-known for turtles hanging out there, and some of the wrecks in Carlisle Bay where seahorses are often seen.
2. Explore Harrison’s Cave
Harrison’s Cave has been dubbed the eighth wonder of the world and it’s a top attraction in Barbados. Though it was discovered in 1795, there really wasn’t much exploration of the caves until the 1970s. These days tourists can take a tram in to see the stalactites, stalagmites and magnificent vaulted chambers.
We’d opt for a little bit more adventurous exploration of the caves on the Eco-Adventure tour where you get down and dirty shimmying your body through narrow passages just like Ole Sorensen did in 1970 when the speleologist took on the task of exploring the caves for the Barbados National Trust.
3. Become a rum cocktail mixologist
We loved our rum tour in Nassau and learning about rum running there, so we wouldn’t hesitate to head to Mount Gay on a rum tour to learn about Barbados rum production.
Rum has been made in Barbados for over 350 years and its recognized as one of the best rums in the world. It would be crazy to go to Barbados and not taste rum!
Mount Gay was established in 1703 and it’s the rum that invented the other rums in Barbados. You can visit Mount Gay, where we hear you get a rum punch to enjoy while you tour the museum to learn about the history of rum production in Barbados. Museums with cocktails are definitely our kind of museums.
After the tour, you learn how to craft your own signature rum cocktail with Mount Gay’s mixologists. There’s even a competition between your tour group to see who came up with the best concoction. This Mount Gay rum tour sounds like an excellent way to spend an afternoon to us!
4. Learn to windsurf
We’ve always wanted to give windsurfing a try, though I’m sure I’ll be terrible at it and Tim will take to it immediately like he does all sports. Supposedly, windsurfing is the easiest of the surfing disciplines and we both did managed to stand up and ride a wave all the way in to shore when we took surfing lessons in Hawaii.
Though I suspect I’ll spend more time lifting the sail out of the water and clambering back up on to the board, it’s something I’ve always really wanted to try. Barbados is also supposed to have some ideal beginning conditions, so we think it’s the place to finally give it a go. Maybe we’ll turn out to be naturals…
5. Eat our way around Bridgetown
One of our favorite ways to discover new places is on a food tour. In fact, we love food tours so much, we’re even opening our own food tour company in Bordeaux! So we definitely wouldn’t miss out on a food tour around Barbados’ capital, Bridgetown.
We don’t know much about Bajan cuisine, but we know it’s a mixture of African, Indian, Irish, Creole and British influences. And we can expect fresh fish, seafood and discovering spots where the locals like to eat on this Original Bajan Walking Food Tour.
Where to Stay in Barbados
Barbados is pretty small. You can drive from one end to the other in just one hour and 30 minutes. Though we usually love hotels, this island is one of those places where we like living it up in our own beachfront house for our holiday.
We’re usually so tired after a full day in the sun or diving, that we truly enjoy just staying in and relaxing. That’s when we really don’t mind having a full kitchen and cooking up some fresh Caribbean lobster that we can enjoy poolside.
Barbados villas on the beach offers a selection of luxury villas perfect for a couple, or a couple of friends. We’ve rented luxury villas just like these with my parents when we visited Antigua, when we stayed on a private island in the Bahamas and even had an luxury beach villa to ourselves in the Bay of Arcachon. We wouldn’t hesitate to rent a luxury serviced villa again.