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There are plenty of Bridgetown, Barbados activities, whether you are a tourist or a native to the island. The island is well-known for its many activities, and its capital is no exception.
This lively city of approximately 100,000 people is always bustling with activity. When I was growing up hucksters would travel from one district to another, baskets of edibles precariously balanced on their head (and one on each arm), all without missing a step. This is how consumers did their market shopping in those days, and many found it unnecessary to make the trek to the capital.
Enough background info.. take me to the action!
Bridgetown has evolved since then. Now you can find the vendors at Cheapside Market, an area that includes an indoor market located near the General Post Office at the lower end of Broad Street, Bridgetown’s main street, and an outdoor market where several street vendors have set up shop.
The fresh fruits and vegetables are everywhere it seems, and the vendors don’t mind vying for your attention if it means getting the sale. Prices here are very competitive and stay one step ahead of the local supermarket prices by cutting out the middle man. This means that you, the customer, get a really good deal!
In other parts of Bridgetown you will find duty free shops where you can buy jewelry, alcohol, and small souvenirs. Local health food stores provide you with natural products for healing and general wellness. A trip to Barbados would not be complete without the taste of Bajan food, but if you are the burgers-and-fries type, fast food is always around the corner.
There are banks, pharmacies, and places of interest in and around the city center. You can explore the nooks and crannies of Bridgetown by visiting the small side streets like Swan Street (formerly known as Jew Street), and the area known as the Wharf, which sits adjacent to the Constitution Bridge. This is in the heart of Bridgetown, so you can’t miss it.
Let’s get started.
No matter where you go on a tropical island, you always want to know how far away the beaches are. Am I right? Good news.. not only are there some great beaches in or near Bridgetown and the cruise port, but there are super close to each other and very accessible.
Each one delivers its own “look and feel” depending on what your interests are. Maybe you’d like a semi-quiet beach where you can lounge away the day (Pebbles Beach or Needham's Point) or, on the flip side, maybe you just want to let loose the Bajan way... sun, sea, heady cocktails, and hypnotic music (then head on over to Browne's Beach)!
Click on the links below for detailed information on these fun beaches near the Barbados cruise port.
Water Sports Rentals
The Dive Shop at Pebbles Beach
Snorkeling, PADI-NAVI-ACUC Courses, reef and wreck dives
Dive Barbados Blue at the Barbados Hilton
Padi 5-star scuba and wreck diving, PADI training, private boat charters, turtle and shipwreck snorkeling (US $40), rum punch and brunch tour (US $80) includes 2 stops in ship wreck area, chance to swim with turtles and light lunch and refreshments
Standup paddling, snorkeling, boogie boarding, kayak
Roger’s Scuba Shack
Seascape Customized Cruises
Deep sea fishing (private charters), snorkeling, sunset cruises, turtle tours
Phone: 246-236-5011 | 246-237-7043 | Ryan & Barbara Trotman
Ok... enough beach lounging. Let’s get you up in the air!
Hydro sports is fast becoming one of the top things to do in Barbados in Bridgetown You know that look on your teenager’s face when they realize they’re going to be hanging out with you at the beach? You can kiss that goodbye!
This is the one activity I am sure they’ll want to do with you. It’s fun for the entire family and they get a thrill ride at one of the best beaches in the Bridgetown area. Is that a win-win? I think so.
Image Credit: Jetblade Barbados
The Boatyard Beach Club - One of the Top Bridgetown, Barbados Activities
This is an active beach bar and restaurant located just 3 minutes away by car (or 7-10 minutes walking distance) from the heart of Bridgetown. Great atmosphere with lots of activities.
The Boatyard offers two packages to visitors:
1. The Adventure Beach Package - includes chair and shared umbrella rental, use of the changing room, and non-motorized beach activities. Cost is US $20 per person, per day and is redeemable at the bar or restaurant.
2. The Cruise Ship Package – this day package includes free transfer back to the cruise terminal, free cocktail, select water activities, changing facilities, wifi. Cost is US $15 per person, per day.
Open daily from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Black Pearl Jolly Roger Cruises
Local cruising - one of many top things to do in Barbados in Bridgetown.
The Black Pearl Jolly Roger includes a 4-hour lunch or dinner cruise and sails from Bridgetown to the West Coast. Your local pirates are busy at work during the lunch cruise as they dare you to walk the plank. Lunch Cruise Includes plank walking, rope swinging, snorkeling, Bajan buffet lunch, and hot soca music.
Dinner cruise and show includes entertainment like limbo dancing, fire eating, costumed dancers (Thursdays only 7-10).
Both lunch and dinner cruises include round trip transfers and unlimited drinks.
Looks like fun... book my Lunch Cruise
A Caribbean night cruise sounds interesting... book my Dinner Cruise
This is one of the best catamaran cruises on the island for all ages and one more to add to the list of top things to do in Barbados in Bridgetown, especially if you are traveling with kids.
Relax as you sail down to the West Coast from the capital. Swim with the turtles and follow through with a great lunch. Friendly and accommodating crew members will ensure that your cruise is super fun.
Choose from the 5-hour Sun Blast Cruise (9:00 am - 2:30 pm), the 4-hour Twilight Cruise (3:00 pm - 7:00 pm), or private cruises.
Here's something you might want to check out -- cruising on a major cruise ship. Bridgetown is a port of call for many major cruise lines on a weekly basis and the number of visiting cruise ship passengers is growing annually.
This list ranges from family-friendly ships like Carnival and Royal Caribbean to luxury vessels like Princess Cruises and Cunard. If you have the time, you might want to consider a Southern Caribbean cruise.
Got a bit of free time? Cruising is a great way to get a taste of other neighboring Caribbean islands while you are in Barbados. Too much information to share on this page. Check out the links below.
Check out the beautiful coral reefs of Barbados aboard the Atlantis Submarine, which can reach a depth of 150 feet. The tour is suitable for all ages. Day, evening and night dives are available.
Mount Gay Rum Tour - One of the Fun Things to do in Barbados in Bridgetown
There is one well-known fact about Barbadians... we are passionate about our rum. There are as many rum shops in Barbados as there are churches, and almost every carnival song is about our liquid gold. All others are about Bajan men’s fascination with the booty, or “bumpers”, as we call them… it’s a cultural thing.
We take our rum very seriously, and rightfully so. With many awards and accolades under its belt, the Barbados rum has crossed many international waters and has won the hearts of travelers worldwide. Take a tour of the facility, delve into its history, and sample our prized possession at the Mount Gay Visitors Centre in Bridgetown.
Agapey Chocolate Factory Tour* – Another Fun Thing to do in Barbados
Over the years, chocolate has been demonized. But studies have shown that dark chocolate, in particular, carries a load of health benefits.
The cocoa beans contain polyphenols, the same powerful antioxidant found in red wine and green tea. This antioxidant is believed to improve everything from depression to cardio health.
Image Credit: Agapey Chocolate Factory
That being said, here is your chance to tour (and sample goodies, yes!) the Agapey, the chocolate factory located near the waterfront in Bridgetown. Guided tours are available but do make sure you visit their website for availability and requirements.
If you miss the opportunity to tour the chocolate factory, you can find Agapey at many retail shops on the island including the Best of Barbados Gift Shop and Tamarind Seed Gift Shop (airport), Mount Gay Rum Visitors Centre and the Atlantis Submarine in Bridgetown, The Gourmet Shop at the Chattel Village in Holetown, St. Nicholas Abbey, and local Massy supermarkets.
DIY Walking Tour
Barbados’ capital, Bridgetown, is quite small and can easily be explored on foot. The locations mentioned below cover a 2-mile radius, if you choose to go it alone. If you would prefer a group setting, guided walking tours are also available.
This church is believed to be one of the oldest consecrated grounds in Barbados. It was built in 1825 on what was formerly occupied by St. Michael Cathedral. It and was later relocated after its wooden structure fell into disrepair. It is also believed that slaves used the space to bury their dead before the new church was erected.
Nidhe Israel Synogogue
This is the oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere and the only active Jewish synagogue in Barbados. Dutch-Brazilian Jews refugees fleeing the Portuguese Inquisition arrived in Barbados in 1654, but they didn’t leave “empty handed”. They brought along their expertise in sugar production.
This introduction resulted in Barbados becoming one of the major producers of sugar and rum in the Caribbean and one of the wealthiest Caribbean colonies for close to 100 years until sugar cane expanded into other neighboring territories. 246-436-6869 | 246-822-5421
National Heroes Square –Formerly known as Travalgar Square
This square and monument are dedicated to ten Barbadians who have made an invaluable contribution the island’s development.
Lord Nelson Statue
Lord Horatio Nelson was a British naval admiral who was regarded as a hero after his victorious win at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Lord Nelson defeated the French who controlled some of the other Caribbean islands, but subsequently died. The Barbados government erected a statue in his honor to commemorates his death and celebrate his victory.
The Barbados Parliament was established in 1639 and is the 3rd oldest in the Commonwealth, preceded by Britain and Bermuda. The Parliament Buildings, two imposing Gothic-style structures, sit in the heart of Bridgetown and consist of the East Wing and the West Wing. In 2011, the Parliament buildings were added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Historic Bridgetown and Garrison.
The West Wing was built in 1872 and houses the National Heroes Gallery, the Museum of Parliament, and several public offices. The Museum, through an interactive guide, displays historical and political facts of Barbados.
The East Wing was completed in 1873 and houses the Senate offices and House of Assembly.
Tours of the clock tower, buildings, museum and gallery are available on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Guided group tours are also available. Call 246-310-5400 or 246-310-5401 to book. Admission: US $5.00 per person.
Built in the eighteenth century, Queen’s Park was originally home to the
Commander of the British troops who was stationed in Barbados at the
time. Today it is a national park
(by our standards) and is maintained by the Barbados National Trust.
The park is also home to the Baobab tree which is believed to be about 1,000 years old. Known as the Tree of Life, this tree is about 59 feet in diameter.
The Barbados Museum is located in Bridgetown’s Historic District and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. The museum is housed in historic buildings that were originally used as a British military prison headquarters for the British military in the Windward and Leeward islands.
The buildings were later handed over to the Barbados Government after the British regiment left the island around 1906. St. Ann’s Fort was built in 1705 as a command station for the British military.
Less than a quarter mile away is the George Washington House where the American president stayed during his six-week convalescence. The tour starts with an insightful 20-minute video followed by a tour of the house.
The George Washington House also features a night tour with vivid reenactments provided by historical figures. This is a must-see tour if you are interested in Barbados’ history. The admission is unbeatable at US $10.
During the day the area is as quiet as can be, but every
other Friday night the Garrison historic area comes alive with tales of murders
and executions as you tour the dark tunnels under the historic site. Tour
begins and ends at the George Washington House.
Don’t forget your flashlight.
The George Washington House also conducts night tours of the underground tunnels every other Friday. Call ahead for schedule.
Dinner with George is a delightful dinner theater production set in 1871 and comes complete with period dress. Enjoy a candle light 5-course meal with fine wines while you listen to the soothing sounds of the violin and cello. Production is seasonal: December through March.
Bajan Walking Food Tour
One of the most interesting aspects of traveling to a foreign land is immersing oneself in the culture, and the Bajan Walking Food Tour is the perfect place to do just that. Sample our delicious Bajan food and co-mingle with our residents during this informative tour. Check it out here.
One of the most popular visitor things to do in Barbados in Bridgetown is duty free shopping. You can pick up great buys on perfume, jewelry, handcrafted local art, small souvenirs, t-shirts, linens, and cigars. The main shopping street, Broad Street, is a great place to start.
To take advantage of duty free shopping, do remember to grab your passport before you leave your hotel. You will need it. You will also need to provide your flight details along with a local address in order to be eligible for the savings.
You will need to
submit your duty-free customs form at the Customs kiosk in the departure area
in order to pick up your duty-free items. That's it.. you're ready to roll!
Take a look below at retail stores in Bridgetown where you can find duty free shopping:
Locations: #8 Broad Street, Bridgetown | the cruise terminal at the Bridgetown Port
Tel: 246-430-2400 | 800-51-jewel | Website: www.diamondsinternational.com
Loose diamonds, set diamonds, watches, and other fine jewelry.
Brands include: Breitling and John Hardy.
Columbia Emeralds International – 800-6-noduty
Locations: #24 Broad Street, Bridgetown | Cruise terminal |airport | Crane Resort, Vista Mall
Brands include: Tag Heuer, Swarofski, Dior, Longines, Gucci
Milano Diamond Gallery
Location: 29-39 Broad Street, Bridgetown
Location: #32 Broad Street, Bridgetown | Cruise Terminal
Brands include: Weil, Chopard, Marco Bicego, Longines,
Little Switzerland - Dacosta Mall
Location: Broad Street, Bridgetown
Brands include: Chanel, Tissot, Tiffany
House of Cuban Cigars
Location: Cavans Lane (next to Waterfront Café)
Tel: 246-436-8834 | email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wide ranges including Cohibas and Montecristo
Alcohol / Souvenirs / Arts and Crafts
Cave Shepherd Department Store (Main Store)
Location: Broad Street, Bridgetown
This local department store offers duty free items, but not all items are duty free. Price tag will display local price, price in US dollars, and duty free price, if available. Not all items are duty free. Look for the "DF" tags. Several island-wide locations .
Selections include: alcohol, art, local pottery, t-shirts, perfumes, souvenirs. This is a great place to find local music as well.
Pelican Craft Center – Pelican Village
Location: Princess Alice Highway (midway between the Barbados port and the heart of Bridgetown).
Local artists at Island Crafts display their artwork in the village shops. Here are just some of the things you can find there: beaded and wooden jewelry, small leather goods, glassware, beautiful pottery, metal ware
Island Crafts: Pelican Village 246-435-0542 | Grantley Adams International Airport (departure shopping concourse) 246-428-0246
There is no doubt about it. Barbadians love to party, and there is no clearer indication of this than during our Crop Over festivities, one of the top Barbados things to do if you love carnivals. This festival celebrates the end of the sugar cane harvest and attracts thousands each year to our shores.
But it doesn’t begin or end there. If you love to party, here are some fun day and night-time things to do in Bridgetown, Barbados.
The Boatyard - Bridgetown
This local spot deserves a second mention (see above) as it is one of the most popular Bridgetown bars with locals and visitors. Open every day from 9:00 am.
Harbour Lights Beach Bar Restaurant and Night club – Marina Bay, Bridgetown
For the night owls, check out Harbour Lights Beach Bar, a popular hot spot with good entertainment.
This is a wonderful little restaurant set in the heart of Bridgetown at the marina. Open for lunch and dinner (see "Good Eats" in next section). Live entertainment every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. VSOB Dixieland Jazz every Thursday night. No cover charge.
Hours: 7:00 pm - 10:30 pm
After all that frolicking, you’re going to be hungry.
As a confessed bonafide foodie, I have to say that I have never had a bad meal in Barbados. There is something to suit even the most discerning palate.
Here are some great places for local food and drinks:
Waterfront café – The Wharf – City center: great local food, waterfront dining (ask for our national dish - cou-cou and flying fish, and fish cakes). Entertainment on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. No cover charge for entertainment
Hours: Open daily for lunch from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm Monday through Saturday. Dinner 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm with live music Thursday through Saturday. CLOSED SUNDAY.
Contact: 246-427-0093 | Reservations required (waterfront dining seats go fast)
Cave Shepherd Ideal Restaurant – Broad Street – City Center (Main Store): buffet style, popular local lunch spot
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday - 8:30 am - 5:30 pm | Thursday 8:30 am - 6:30 pm | Friday 8:30 am - 7:00 pm | Sunday 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Contact: 246-629-4400 | No reservations required
Boat Yard: Fun beach spot for entertainment and local food
Hours: 9:00 am - 8:00 pm | Happy Hour: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm; 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm; 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm.
Fish Fry Fridays - 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm.
Contact: 246-826-4448 | No reservations required
Chefette - Upper and Lower Broad Street (and island-wide): Fast food chain with BBQ Barn (fresh grilled fish, baked chicken etc. with sides) at two of its locations - Warrens and Rockley.
Hours: 10:00 am - 12:00 am. Drive-through at Warrens and Rockley operate until 3:00 am on Friday and Saturday only. No reservations required.
Brown Sugar Restaurant – Aquatic Gap, greater Bridgetown area: local food served buffet style in a tropical atmosphere (try their pudding & souse (pickled pork)
Hours: Lunch - Sunday through Friday from 12:00 noon to 2:30 pm. Dinner - Sunday through Saturday from 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm. Note there is no lunch served on Saturday, only dinner.
Contact: 246-426-7684 (Reservations) | 246-436-7069 | Reservations required
Indian Grill at Bayside Plaza: top notch rotis (burrito style wrapping filled with chicken, meat, or seafood)
Cuz's Fish Shack at Pebbles Beach: As the name implies - this is just a beach shack, but not just any beach shack. Cuz has the best fish sandwiches on the island, and tops my "Things to Do" priority list whenever I land.
Hours: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm | No reservations required
Barbados is a small island of just 166 square miles, but it certainly doesn’t hold back when it comes to providing lots of Barbados things to do. If you are traveling and looking for things to do in Barbados, check out my monthly guide.