The capital city of Bridgetown is your likely start point whether you enter via air or sea. It's worth spending half a day strolling the streets, with notable spots to visit including Parliament Buildings, Queen's Park, Garrison Savannah, Independence Square, and Chamberlain Bridge. The city itself is compact, with all attractions within walking distance of one another. Taxis are readily available to take you back and forth from the tourist hubs.
St Lawrence Gap
This 1.3km stretch is the central hub for fine dining, diverse accommodation, bustling nightlife, and even a beach. If you're a foodie, you'll head here for the best restaurants in town. If you're a beach lover, you're covered with the pristine sands of Dover Beach. If you're in search of the best coffee or smoothies, stop by ArtSplash Centre on The Richard Haynes Boardwalk.
A half day trip is to North Point which is where the gentle Caribbean meets the wild Atlantic. The highlight is taking the steep steps down to Animal Flower Cave, where you'll be able to get up close to the waves crashing into the shoreline. There's also a natural rock pool inside the caves, which is worth a dip if time permits. You can also follow the coastline to some stunning vantage points where you'll see the waves crashing against the rocks (without having to go inside a cave). It really is a very picturesque spot!
Barbados has a huge variety of over 70 beautiful palm fringed beaches across the island, although Bathsheba is definitely one of the most picturesque! Located on the east coast is this rugged, scenic beach with dramatic rock formations. You've got the white powder sand, but also the frantic pace of surfers heading out to catch the waves. There's also many food trucks and coconut stands dotted along the shoreline.
Farley Hill National Park
Also located on the east coast is Farley Hill National Park, which a mansion in ruins tucked away in a forest of mahogany trees. This is on the site of Grenade Hall Plantation and was built back in the seventeenth century with the sole purpose of entertaining wealthy individuals. At one point, the mansion had over 50 rooms and was referred to as "the most impressive mansion in Barbados" and even featured in the 1957 movie "Island in the Sun". Farley Hill also makes a great picnic spot and offers Atlantic coast views.
Project HARP Space Gun
If you're into unique abandoned spots, then look no further than HARP. The full name is "High Altitude Research Project" and the location of the site is directly behind Grantley Adams International Airport. This was a joint initiative between the US and Canada to research the use of delivering objects into the outer atmosphere. Abandoned in the 1960's and left to rust ever since. There's also another gun next to it, which looks like something out of a Star Wars movie. It's difficult to reach the exact location via car, but the spot does appear on GoogleMaps, which makes life easier for the short 5-10 minute walk from where the road ends.
Rihanna's Childhood Home
Barbados has produced many celebs over the years, with one of the biggest being global superstar "Rihanna". Many are perhaps unaware of her Barbados roots. Except the local tourism board who are taking full advantage with their promo work. You can take a tourist stop outside Rihanna's childhood home, which is located on the aptly named "Rihanna Drive" on the outskirts of Bridgetown. This is a colourful neighbourhood, whilst this house has a freshly painted blue driveway, that has a Rihanna sign on display.
There's plenty of luxury beachfront resorts in Barbados, but they tend to be quite heavy on the wallet. As I tend to be out and about all day exploring, I chose Melbourne Inn & Car Rental. It's basic, but in a great location with plenty of spots within walking distance. The wiFi is fast and the nightly rate is inexpensive. An additional bonus is that they offer competitive car rental rates at the hotel reception.
Primo in St Lawrence Gap was a winner of a choice. The location is directly on the waterfront making it a beautiful spot for sunset. The menu has some great options, with the seafood dishes high on the favourites list. There were also some great dessert options, and Lavazza coffee available, as well as plenty of bars within close proximity if you want the night to continue beyond food.
Barbados is definitely an island where it's worthwhile renting a car to take full advantage of everything on offer. I'd recommend booking this in advance, as there's quite a short supply compared to the demand. If you don't drive or want to use a guide, then I can recommend Ryan, who has his own vehicle and offers custom tours around the island. You can reach Ryan via Whatsapp on +1 246 247 3495.