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Whilst famous for its fantastic beaches Barbados has a lot more to offer that just fine powdery sand and brilliant turquoise seas. The aim of this Barbados Cruise Port guide is to help your make the most of your day in port.
You'll find a Unesco World Heritage–listed capital, a beautiful green & lush interior dotted with glorious botanical gardens, colonial-era plantation homes and wild surf on the lonely east coast.
First colonised by English settlers in 1627 but proudly independent since 1966, Barbados is a historically & culturally rich nation that rewards exploration. It is prosperous, developing nation full of natural charm. The people are friendly, fun loving and warm. It's the perfect destination for a cruise visit for a day.
Barbados Cruise Port - Where do the cruise ships dock?
Your cruise ship will dock at the Barbados deepwater harbour just a mile north of the city centre of Bridgetown. At the Barbados cruise terminal you will find a tourist information center, car rental service, taxi services and sightseeing tours. You can also visit the souvenir shops and use the terminals wi-fi, which we know from personal experience is very good.
Barbados Cruise Port - What to do with a day in Port
Explore Historic Bridgetown
Wander Bridgetown’s bustling streets with its many sights and colonial era buildings. There is good shopping along Broad & Swan Streets which is abuzz with local culture. Or you can visit the charming pastel-colored village market at Chattels. Made up of nice wooden buildings for more local crafts, souvenirs, gifts, and fashion. The entire downtown area and south to the Garrison was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012.
- Parliament Buildings - Situated on the northside of National Heroes Square this neo-Gothic-style building is well worth a visit.
- Nidhe Israel Museum - Housed in a restored Jewish community centre the museum documents the story of the Barbados Jewish community.
- The Garrison - Explore the historic buildings and grounds of the former British garrison that was once the heart of England’s empire in the Caribbean, and a vital hub for the sugar and slave trades. It’s still in operation today, as the headquarters for the Barbados Defense Force and others.
One of the island's most popular attractions is the Barbados Boardwalk. Or as its more properly know the Richard Haynes Boardwalk. It stretches along Hastings Rocks for 1.6 km between Camelot and Accra beaches and follows the south coast of Barbados. This pretty location is perfect for slow afternoon strolls. There are several opportunities to stop and grab a snack at restaurants that line the path or sit and look out onto the Caribbean Sea. It's about 2.5miles from Bridgetown and the cruise terminal so you will need to catch a taxi to reach it.
Some travellers caution that the boardwalk's wood can get hot during the day, so be sure to wear shoes when visiting. And to avoid sunburns and dehydration, pack plenty of sunscreen and water.
Bathsheba Beach is breathtakingly beautiful; wide white sand beaches stretch along the dramatic Atlantic coastline of striking rock formations against which the rollers break in cascades. What at first glance look like huge boulders washed up on the beach are actually rock formations broken away from ancient coral reef! The beach which features a wide expanse of soft white sandy beach and an adjacent park is perfect for sunning and picnicking.
Set up in a sinkhole in the middle of a rainforest, Hunte’s garden is a beautiful garden of rare and exotic plants. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of the place as you explore.
If you need to take a break from walking, there are benches everywhere to sit and relax on. The owner plays classical music to add to the garden’s ambiance. What more could you want? Be sure to have your camera ready, as birds and animals love to visit this garden too!
Catamaran Sail Away
Sail along the scenic Barbados coastline on a luxury catamaran outfitted for a fun day at sea.
St. Nicholas Abbey
For the History buff, a trip to St. Nicholas Abbey will be a delightful experience. Go and explore one of the only 3 genuine Jacobean mansions remaining.
Discover Barbados natural wonder at Harrison’s Caves. Venture into the underworld and discover the enchanting world of a crystallized limestone cave; characterized by stalagmites and stalactiteshanging or raising from the ceiling and floor of underground caves (you know the difference right?).
If you are looking to spending some time on the beach, then you are in for a treat in Barbados. The island is a beach lovers paradise. The most popular beaches are on the western and southern coast and are especially beloved for their warm calm waters and pristine beaches.
Brownes and Pebble Beach
Brownes overlooks Carlisle bay and is one of the largest of Barbados’ beaches. This pristine wide stretch of soft white sand edging azure waters is great for sunbathing. A number of shipwrecks in the bay have attracted a lot of fish, so divers and snorkellers will have a ball at Brownes.
Paynes Bay Beach
Fringed by a fine stretch of sand, Paynes Bay is very popular and its calm waters make it one of the best spots for swimming and snorkeling (if you're lucky there's a very good chance of seeing sea turtles).
Rockley Beach, also known as Accra Beach, is postcard perfect. A small crescent of sugary white sand backed by shady trees, it has warm shallow waters that is suitable for swimmers of all abilities. Just back from the beach is a lively retail area full of kiosks selling food and cold beverages. Boogie boards and surfboards are available to rent.
The famous Barbados Boardwalk begins at one end of the beach (see earlier article for more details).
The setting at Crane Beach is spectacular. Towering cliffs with an elegant hotel perched on top look down on a wide crescent of beach with beach chairs laid out just waiting for occupants. Depending on the time of year, the waves can be quite large here, however the offshore reef does protect the beach from the worst of it.
Sunbeds can be rented, and there is a small vendor selling food and cold drinks at the back of the beach.
A short drive from Bridgetown you'll find Dover Beach. This is one of the livelier beaches on Barbados, with crowds of tourists and locals swimming in the calm, clear waters. The sand is sugar-soft, and the beach quite wide, so you won't have any issues finding the spot.
Cou Cou & Flying Fish
At the top of almost everyone's list of must try Bajan foods is Cou Cou and flying fish. It’s the national dish. Cou Cou is made of cornmeal grain, fresh okra, and is similar to grits. Flying fish is deliciously stewed with onion, garlic, thyme, tomatoes, and pepper.
A Bajan version of a sandwich. Salt bread is used (dont worry it doesnt taste salty) and the sandwich is filled with savory ingredients such as fish, ham, pork or cheese
Rice and Peas
This is a popular dish amongst West Indians. It is made from rice and pigeon peas and is served with most meals.
Black cake is made with fruits like prunes, raisins and dried cherries. Bajan rum is added, making it a distinct Bajan black cake. It’s very rich and similar to what Brits call Plum or Figgy pudding and as you would imagine, is popular around christmas time.
Good to Know
Swimsuits should only be worn on the beach – it is considered disrespectful to wear them around shops or in town.
Currency: Barbadian Dollar. US Dollars are widely accepted (bills not coins)
Money: ATM’s are available across the island with plenty of then downtown by the cruise port.
Visas: Not required for citizens of the US, EU or Australia