Welcome to our guide on the best things to do in Barbados! We are Laurelle and Martin – a couple that met in Split, Croatia in 2019 while both traveling on our own. Laurelle was meeting a friend in Croatia a few days later but was on her own at first and Martin decided to take a four day trip.
We met in a hostel bar in Split and were pretty much inseparable after that encounter. Martin is from Malmo, Sweden and Laurelle is originally from San Diego, California but has been living in various countries around Europe for a few years. She was living in Scotland at the time that we met.
Laurelle has been traveling since she was a baby pretty much. Her parents were big travelers and the family was always off on an adventure when she was young. Her family settled down more once she was a teenager. Then in college Laurelle got the spark for adventure again after studying abroad in England and traveling across Europe with her best friend at age 19.
Once graduating college in San Diego, Laurelle moved to Ireland and has been living in Europe for almost five years now. Martin formed his love for travel a bit later. After exploring Australia and South Korea with his brother, he developed a love for traveling and exploring new places, and began solo traveling. He traveled to places like the Cook Islands, Colombia and Japan.
Martin works in Sweden but gets a generous amount of time off each year to travel and explore new places. We both just love to see new places, meet people in bars or hostels in countries, meet locals, try exotic foods, and see the sights of what the most amazing countries on earth have to offer!
Our Journey with “Two2one Travel”
We have been running Two2one Travel since September, 2019 when we set off on our first trip. The blog has changed a few times since then, with a few redesigns, but our Instagram has been consistent since mid-2019.
Our goal with our blog and Instagram is to show our followers and readers that you can still have a travel-minded lifestyle without selling everything you own and totally uprooting your life. We have full time jobs in Sweden but we also consider ourselves backpackers for a good portion of the year.
We also want to show the more realistic side of travel. We love the content other bloggers produce, and some photoshopped content is beautiful, but it’s just not our style. We want to show the reality of the places we explore – the good, bad, beautiful and intense moments. That is what travel is all about. We both found ourselves through travel and hope others do too.
Inspiration to Visit Barbados
Since the pandemic hit Europe around March of 2020, we were always dreaming of being someplace warmer for our self-isolation. We listened to a lot of tropical house music and had the tropics in our head for a while.
Towards the end of summer Laurelle wanted to go back to visit her family in California after not seeing them for almost a year. But with the travel ban, Martin wouldn’t be allowed in the US (as a non US citizen) if he had been in Europe in the past 14 days. Our solution was to get outside of Europe for two weeks before heading back. The Caribbean was ideal.
In our minds, Barbados was always a country rich in culture, not in the path of hurricanes and a bit untouched by tourism. So we packed our bags and headed to this slice of Caribbean paradise. And what a trip it was!
Top 10 Things To Do in Barbados
We had an amazing time in Barbados and loved every minute of our trip. Our favorite place was the restaurant and bar, La Cabane. We spent a lot of time here and became good friends with the staff, as well as participating in their watersports and activities such as yoga, massages and live music.
But our time wasn’t just limited to one restaurant and bar! We enjoyed exploring the island, snorkeling in the sea, swimming with sea turtles, eating fresh seafood and meeting the locals. There is so much to do in Barbados and the island is bursting with many authentic experiences. Below are our top 10 recommendations for your visit to Barbados:
1. Book a Tour with Seaduced Luxury Charters
This tour with Seaduced Luxury Charters gives you the opportunity to swim with sea turtles! The turtles are friendly and it’s incredible to be up close and personal with these creatures. Not only is the experience with turtles awesome but the staff and boats of Seaduced are top quality too.
2. Head to the Oistins Friday Night Fish Fry
One of the best things to do on a Friday night is to head to Oistins for their fish fry. Oistins is a bustling fishing town located on the south coast of Barbados. Friday is a popular and busy time to visit but the food is amazing any day of the week! Try their different varieties of fish – grilled or fried.
3. Go on a Bar Crawl in Saint Lawrence Gap
Saint Lawrence Gap, otherwise referred to as “The Gap”, is a popular neighborhood in Barbados. There are plenty of amazing options for food and drink, and for sure you will meet other tourists here on a bar crawl.
4. Take a Tour of Mount Gay Rum Distilleries
Venture up north to the distillery in the parish of Saint Lucy and take an informative and historic tour of Mount Gay Rum Distilleries. This tour transports you to the original landscape and buildings where it all began back in 1703. Learn about the history and, of course, enjoy a couple of rums.
5. See the Caves and Pools at Animal Flower Cave
Animal Flower Cave is situated at the northernmost point of the island and offers spectacular caves and natural pools. Tour guides here lead you to incredible caves where you can swim and learn about the sealife.
6. Visit La Cabane Restaurant and Bar
Visit our favorite place in Barbados on the weekend for their brunch special and stay all day to enjoy yoga, a beachfront massage, live music and cocktails. Take in a majestic sunset by the beach as night comes around.
7. Snorkel in the Beautiful Waters of Barbados
Snorkeling can be done in many different locations on the island. There are shipwrecks to explore and plenty of sea life to see, including: tropical fish, sea turtles, stingrays, manta rays, barracudas and colorful corals. Head to the calm waters on the west coast and enjoy a snorkeling adventure.
8. Enjoy a Romantic Dinner at Cafe Luna
Cafe Luna is hands down one of the best restaurants in Barbados. They offer incredible rooftop views over the ocean and serve some fantastic steak! A perfect place to take your romantic partner for a special evening.
9. Sing Karaoke at First Street on Sunday
First Street is another popular bar district in Barbados. They even have karaoke on the streets every Sunday! This is a wild experience. But you don’t have to embarrass yourself in the streets if you don’t want to. There are bars where you can go inside and sing until your heart’s content.
10. Watch the Sunset with a Rum Punch
Nothing beats watching a sunset with a rum punch! This can be done anywhere but it was always one of our favorite things to come back to the hotel and watch the sunset with a cocktail after a day of exploring.
Amazing Bajan Culture of Barbados
As well as enjoying the experiences mentioned above, we also enjoyed immersing ourselves in the Bajan culture. This island feels so untouched with its authenticity and friendly natured people. We had strangers come up to us in the street and go out of their way to say we looked good together! They would also be kind and tell us to have a nice day.
Their hospitality and gratitude was endless. We met many locals on our trip, partly because of the pandemic as there weren’t many tourists. We had the chance to make friends with hotel and restaurant staff and we are keeping up those friendships and hope to visit them again in the future.
The local food was another highlight of Barbados and many locals would give us the best recommendations of where to eat. In general, we found the people of this island to be carefree, stress free, happy and authentic.
Where to Stay in Barbados
We stayed in a few different locations in Barbados. The island is quiet and so we recommend staying at the below places in order to see all sides of the island without having to drive too far or get taxis everyday.
- The Crane Resort: We spent our five day quarantine here and wanted to stay longer. An incredible historic luxury resort with every amenity you can imagine from multiple swimming pools, to the spa, several bars and restaurants, private pool suite rooms and more. Great for families and resort-seekers. They also have a timeshare.
- Little Arches Boutique Hotel: A 10-room hotel located in Oistins that offers a familiar and cozy experience. We loved the location. Each room is private and offers unique features. We had a hot tub jacuzzi on our deck and breakfast delivered to our room. They also have private cabanas that are free to use for hotel guests, a large social deck and pool shared by all rooms. Ideal for couples looking to escape the noise.
- Barbados Beach Club: This is an affordable all-inclusive resort located just outside of Saint Lawrence Gap where your food, drinks and water sport activities are included. We met so many lovely people here. The food was fantastic too. We ate until we couldn’t move every night and the drinks were free flowing! We definitely indulged at Barbados Beach Club. The hotel itself is not a huge resort and is ideal for those who are overwhelmed by huge resorts but still want an all-inclusive.
- Sweetfield Manor Boutique Hotel: This old colonial house and grounds has been transformed into a boutique hotel in the hills above Bridgetown but has kept its historic design and characteristics. It’s a tropical oasis with an incredible fine dining restaurant, lush swimming pool, koi pond and curious peacocks running around.
Best Places to Eat in Barbados
It’s hard to have bad food in Barbados. Oistins fish fry was definitely our favorite food experience on the island. It’s a type of fish market with dozens of independent rustic restaurants that all serve seafood in their own style.
Saint Lawrence Gap is the best place for a party atmosphere! Locals and tourists alike gather to be social and order some cocktails. We also loved the bar and restaurant, Cocktail Kitchen. Their head chef is globally renowned and creates fusion style dishes that always have a Bajan base.
Mimosa was a cute spot too. Also located in Saint Lawrence Gap, Mimosa is an Instagrammers dream and has amazing fish cakes and cocktails! If you go a bit further north towards Bridgetown and Holetown, La Cabane Restaurant and Bar is a must, even if you just stop for food and drinks. There’s nothing better than drinking a fresh coco-loco on the beach.
In Speightstown, we recommend Fishermans Pub. A local favorite that serves new food each day in a kind of buffet style atmosphere. Decorated in bright blue and yellow, you won’t miss it! And finally Sea Shed has probably some of the best food we have ever had. Unique pizzas with incredible toppings, poke bowls and rum punch in mason jars – it’s hard to complain!
Looking Back on our Favorite Memory of Barbados
Our favorite memory of Barbados was our last afternoon on the island. We had an amazing lunch at Sea Shed, then were picked up on a private speed boat by Seaduced and whisked away to swim with the turtles.
When we got there, there were no other boats or tours out so we had a party with the sea turtles just the two of us. After an hour of swimming and playing around, we hopped back on board, had a few more cocktails and were given a tour of the west coast of Barbados by boat! We had so much fun during these hours and it was the perfect way to spend our last day.
Need to Know Before you Go
- Public transport in Barbados is tricky. We got by by staying in hotels on different parts of the island and getting taxis. Renting a car is an option but the traffic in Barbados is wild. I don’t think we would have rented a car anyway because it seemed a bit intense to drive there if you aren’t used to it. We also wanted to have a few afternoon drinks some times so we decided renting a car wasn’t for us. But taxis are pricey. Just something to consider, if you want to always hire taxis or rent a car during your stay.
- There isn’t really a bad time of year to visit. We went during the rainy season, stayed for 16 days and maybe had four days of intense rain. Other times we would get an afternoon thunder shower and then it disappears after an hour. Barbados is also out of the path of hurricanes in the Caribbean so you don’t need to worry about that.
- It can be expensive. We were surprised how much food cost in the supermarkets. Barbados isn’t the cheapest place. But you can make it affordable by shopping from street vendors and eating local food.
- Pack your own snorkel gear if you have it. Or buy some there. In Covid times, tourism operators aren’t renting out snorkel gear due to the health risk. So make sure to invest in some good gear before you go!
- Make friends with the locals. Barbados is craving tourism and everyone on the island seemed so appreciative that we were there. We were able to meet many genuine people and we encourage everyone to be social with the locals and learn from them what they think are the best places in Barbados! Most of what we did came from recommendations from locals, but each person has their own opinions so chat to everyone and be flexible in your schedule so you can take action on their advice.
Thanks for reading everyone and enjoy your trip to the beautiful Barbados!