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Tips on What To Do in Barbados

Horse races, cricket matches, plantation tours and golf courses will round out an active vacationer's time in Barbados. And of course, there's the beach; travel writers suggest the west coast for swimming and the east or south coast for surfing. When it comes to shopping, many suggest you leave the duty-free souvenirs in the stores -- unless you're picking up a bottle of trademark Mount Gay Rum.

  • Although doing nothing is a most respectable activity in Barbados, there are plenty of options for those looking for a holiday from their holiday. Activities range from the cultural (visiting churches, opera-going) to the debauched (rum-imbibing) to the natural (beach-hopping) to the posh (polo playing)." -- Concierge.com
  • The range of activities here is endless: from fabulous golf courses and beaches, to great windsurfing, surfing, scuba diving, and hiking. There are several amazing caves to explore, and old plantations to visit. ... In Barbados, there's something for everyone." -- Travel Channel
  • Chief among the island's attractions are its old plantation houses, like St. Nicholas Abbey and Francia; superb botanical gardens at Andromeda and the Flower Forest; and the military forts and signal stations at Gun Hill and Grenade Hall." -- Rough Guides
  • Don't Miss Experiencing … Flower Forest … a 50-acre park and botantical garden filled with exotic flowers and spice trees. … Harrison's Cave, spectacular caverns with stunning crystal rooms, waterfalls, underground pools (filled with blind crayfish), and subterranean streams." -- Frommer's

Beaches

Barbados beaches are excellent for tanning, swimming or watersports. Professional travelers and recent visitors recommend the tranquil water of west coast beaches like Brighton Beach, as well as southeast coast beaches like Bottom Bay for swimming. Meanwhile the crashing waves of Sandy Beach in the south or Bathsheba Beach along the east coast appeal to surfers particularly.

  • There are also some exquisite places to stay, and a few that are historic landmarks. The South Coast tends to display moderately rough surf in some places, attracting surfers and accomplished windsurfers. The calmer beaches are along the West Coast near the hotels. The East Coast, while boasting a majestic rocky coastline, is not for swimming." -- Travel Channel
  • Barbados offers some of the best surfing in the Caribbean. Skilled surfers flock to the Soup Bowl off Bathsheba Beach, but there are plenty of smaller breaks elsewhere on the island for beginners." -- New York Times

Shopping

Duty-free shopping is popular on many Caribbean islands, but Barbados' high cost of living means you could still pay a small fortune, even if it is tax free. If you can't resist, travel writers suggest the retailers by the cruise ship harbor or Broad Street in Bridgetown. While you're there, pick up a liter bottle of the Mount Gay Extra Old Rum.  

  • You may find duty-free merchandise here at prices 20% to 40% lower than in the United States and Canada -- but you've got to be a smart shopper to spot bargains, and you should be familiar with prices back in your hometown. Duty-free shops have two prices listed on items of merchandise: the local retail price and the local retail price less the government-imposed tax." -- Frommer's
  • Each island usually has a homegrown product it claims is famous. Barbados, home of the Mount Gay Rum, is actually justified in this regard. Savor a bottle of the Extra Old instead of just dumping it into a piña colada." -- Concierge.com

Nightlife

Clubs are more plentiful than bars in Barbados, so come out ready to dance. According to travel sites, many of the nightlife spots in south coast cities like Bridgetown, St. Lawrence Gap or Oistin Bay even feature live calypso music. Young vacationers frequent the strip of bars and restaurants along St. Lawrence Gap in the evenings, while slightly older tourists tend to prefer the live jazz and steel pan music in Bridgetown spots.

  • When the sun goes down, the people come out to 'lime' (which may be anything from a 'chat-up' to a full-blown 'jump-up'). Performances by world-renowned stars and regional groups are major events, and tickets can be hard to come by -- but give it a try. Most resorts have nightly entertainment in season, and nightclubs often have live bands for listening and dancing." -- Fodor's
  • Bridgetown is known as one of the nightlife capitals of the Caribbean. You'll find everything from big-city sized discos to open-air dance clubs and bars with local bands banging out reggae calypso, soca and more." -- About.com
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