Barbados’ white sand beaches and crystalline waters may be ideal for total relaxation, but there’s a whole other side to the island sure to be a hit with adventure seekers.
In fact, the Caribbean island is home to a vast amount of activities sure to exceed the expectations of even the most discerning traveller.
With 2019 as the Year of Wellness and Soft Adventure, we’re not just talking adrenaline-inducing, jam-packed itineraries; you will also find brilliant adventures with all of that laidback charm the island is known for.
Think exploring stunning natural landmarks, discovering colourful fish on diving adventures, or immersing yourself in the culture and heritage in the fascinating towns.
The island’s year-round sunshine makes for the ideal conditions for exploring, especially if you’re looking for that perfect winter sun getaway.
To give you a helping hand we’ve teamed up with Visit Barbados to uncover the top adventures to be had on the island including what to visit, best sports and activities, and the top events not to miss.
Check out our guide below…
What to visit
Explorers can get their fill in Barbados thanks to the plethora of sights and natural landmarks to discover.
There’s plenty of opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture, learn about the island’s fascinating history and discover the island’s beauty.
Here are our picks of the top three best places to visit for adventure…
One of Barbados’ natural treasures, Harrison’s Cave offers everything from rushing streams to calm, glassy pools.
You can take guided tours around the living cave and learn about the impressive rock formations.
Travel by tram to make the most of the vast space and stop off at the strategically placed exhibits and interactive displays aimed at adults and children alike.
Located in the parish of St Peter, this breathtaking Jacobean mansion was built in 1658 and is one of three in the Western Hemisphere.
Visitors can explore the boiling house, rum distillery as well as the surrounding gardens and orchards, not to mention there’s a 1914 restored steam locomotive that’s well worth a visit!
Explore the island’s gullies, forests, remote bays and roads with spectacular coastal views in one of the 4×4 Land Rover tours, where the vehicles offer access to some of the hidden secrets of Barbados.
Embrace the nature, history and culture of the island and learn some of the folklore too.
Best sports and activities
Barbados’ beaches and scenery make for the perfect setting to relax and unwind, but if your dream holiday involves a bit more of an action-packed itinerary, the island delivers.
Here we take a look at the top four activities and sports you can enjoy – ideal for making memories with your loved ones.
The island offers some of the best hiking in the Caribbean thanks to its wide array of landscapes from lush green forests to those white sand beaches.
A walking tour can be an ideal way of taking it all in while also getting your heart pumping.
Hike Barbados, sponsored by the Barbados National Trust, is particularly popular with visitors and offers weekly expeditions to hotspots such as the rugged east coast.
There really is something for everyone, whether you’re a beginner after a leisurely stroll or a seasoned rambler looking for a challenge.
Barbados offers ideal diving conditions year-round. There are heaps of spots to explore including fringe, barrier and patch reefs, as well as wrecks along the west coast.
Keep an eye out for the corals, sponges and gorgonians to be found, as well as marine life including wrasse, yellowtail snappers, turtles, parrotfish and even barracuda.
Never been diving before? There are plenty of centres offering lessons for beginners including dives on the shallow reefs and wrecks.
In fact, the island has over a dozen diving centres along the west and south coasts, not to mention hotels such as The Hilton offer their own diving operations.
3. Horse riding
The riding centres in Barbados cater to everyone from serious equestrians to occasional riders.
There are plenty of riding trails through colourful woodlands to beachfront rides, with guides on hand to point out the best landmarks along seriously picturesque routes.
There’s plenty on offer for golfers thanks to the five PGA Standard Golf Courses (Apes Hill, Royal Westmoreland, Sandy Lane Country Club, Sandy Lane Green Monkey and Barbados Golf Club), as well as a nine-hole course at Rockley Resort.
There are plenty of tournaments on year-round but the Sir Garry Sobers Tournament is a highlight, taking place over four days and involving almost 300 players.
Top events you won’t want to miss
Barbados is known for its vibrant atmosphere and friendly locals, so it’s no surprise that the island plays host to heaps of fun-filled events throughout the year.
We’re talking everything from sports events and competitions to festivals celebrating the best of the local heritage.
We take a look at the top four you won’t want to miss…
1. We Gatherin
If you’re planning a trip in 2020, this celebration of all things Barbados needs to be in your calendar.
The exciting festival kicks off in the north of the island in January 2020, moving southward each month, when each local parish will be able to showcase the best of its icons, social life and the food.
The celebrations will culminate in the parish of St Michael in November, before an elaborate Christmas extravaganza in December.
If you’re looking for a new running challenge, this race ticks all the boxes.
The start and finish of the ‘out and back’ mostly flat route sit at the picturesque Bay Street Esplanade, while the run itself goes past plenty of spectacular locations showcasing the sheer beauty of the island.
Run Barbados Marathon takes place on the 6th-8th December 2019.
The magnificent Carlisle Bay comes alive in November as hundreds of swimmers from all over the world take to the waters at this vibrant festival.
The protected marine park never fails to be a hit with visitors, thanks to its ideal open water swimming conditions. Once a bustling seaport, the bay is steeped in history having even welcomed a young George Washington in 1751
The Open Water Festival takes place on the 6th-9th November 2019.
Stand-up Paddling is a great way to explore the Caribbean waters, and this year the island is part of the APP World Tour.
The thrilling event brings together the world’s best SUP enthusiasts to celebrate the sport, while Barbados’ world-famous Soupbowls will serve as a brand new stop for the tour.
Learn more about paddle boarding in Barbados on the SUP website here.
SUP Event: Barbados Pro-Am takes place on the 9th-17th November 2019.
You can find out more and plan your perfect romantic getaway on the Visit Barbados website.
Looking for a romantic getaway? Check out our guide to Barbados for couples for more inspiration.