Travel Guide: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go To Barbados

Barbados is a beautiful island in the Caribbean, located near Trinidad and Jamaica, that Mike and I have been fortunate to visit two times in the last two years (2021 and 2022). 

Since visiting and subsequently falling in love with the island, we’re eager to tell everyone about why they should check it out too! 

Barbados is not as popular a tropical destination for where we reside (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) due to the two long flights it takes to get there (more on that below), compared to quicker trips from Edmonton to places like Mexico, Cuba or Hawaii, but it is well worth the visit. 

Linda Hoang Mike Brown Unexplained Infertility - IVF Abroad Procreation Vacation Barbados
We absolutely love the Caribbean island of Barbados!

We’re told that most tourists to Barbados fly in from the United Kingdom, followed by Canada (if you’re in Toronto, you get a direct flight!), followed by the United States. 

Barbados only got on our radar when we were researching locations to try IVF Abroad (a Procreation Vacation) as part of our infertility journey, as the Barbados Fertility Clinic there is quite a popular one. 

During that first IVF trip to Barbados in 2021 we spent almost a month (three weeks!) on the island, so we feel like we got to know it pretty well.

For our second visit (2022), we returned to Barbados initially to try another round of IVF, but after miraculously getting pregnant naturally before the trip, it turned into a nine-day Babymoon vacation celebrating our baby to come instead. Another opportunity to fall in love with the island!

Linda Hoang Mike Brown Unexplained Infertility - IVF Abroad Procreation Vacation Barbados Infertility Clinic
Our first visit to Barbados was for fertility treatments.
Linda Hoang Mike Brown Unexplained Infertility - IVF Abroad Procreation Vacation Barbados Infertility Clinic
Barbados is a popular destination for IVF!

For those travelling to beautiful Barbados, I wanted to share some practical information, useful things to know before you go, to help you plan and get the most out of your trip, based on our experiences. 

In this blog post I cover:
  1. What is the flight like to get to Barbados?
  2. What is the currency in Barbados? Should you exchange money $$$?
  3. How do you get around in Barbados?
  4. Where should you stay in Barbados? 
  5. What are the best beaches in Barbados?
  6. When is the best time to go to Barbados?
  7. What is there to do in Barbados?
  8. What can you eat in Barbados? 
  9. What is Barbados known for?
  10. What else should you know about Barbados? 

Be sure to check out all my other blogs and video blogs about Barbados for even more travel info + inspiration! 

If you have any specific questions not covered in my posts, feel free to send me an email or shoot me a message on social media. Always happy to chat about Barbados!!  

Note: these tips and details are based on our personal experiences vacationing in Barbados, along with our personal travel preferences. It may differ from your experience and preferences (you are welcome to write your own blog post to share your experiences lol). 

Travel Guide: Things to Know Before You Go to Barbados

Use and share my Travel Guide: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go to Barbados!

What is the flight like to get to Barbados?

I am speaking from a Canadian perspective here—but for us, living out in western Canada, to get to Barbados we need to first fly to Toronto, then fly to Barbados. It makes for a very long travel day (people usually take the red eye to Toronto so it adds to the exhaustion), but it’s around 4 hours from Edmonton, Alberta to Toronto, and then another 5 hours from Toronto to Barbados. 

If you live in the Toronto area, perfect—you get a direct flight to Barbados! 

We also tend to meet a lot of people from the United Kingdom when we are in Barbados and they tell us there are direct flights from there to Barbados so that’s one of the reasons the majority of tourists in Barbados do come from the UK. Easy flights make a difference! 

We absolutely love the Caribbean island of Barbados!
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We absolutely love the Caribbean island of Barbados!

What is the currency in Barbados? Should you exchange $$$?

In Barbados, locals use / take both American Dollars (USD) or the Barbadian Dollar (BDS). 

We do exchange Canadian (CAD) to Barbadian (BDS) before our trips to the island because the conversion rate is better than if we converted CAD to USD. 

As of this blog post, $1 BDS is about 0.68 cents CAD, and $1 BDS is 0.50 cents USD. 

The majority of Barbados restaurants and shops also take credit card (machine/tap), so we supplement spending cash with credit card charges if we need to as well, you don’t ONLY need to use cash on the island.

There are also lots of Canadian banks on the island if you did want to take out Barbadian Dollars direct from your bank account (a small banking charge does apply), which was at first a surprise for us, but we later learned that our former Prime Minister was quite close with a previous Barbados President so they had established quite a few Canadian banks as part of that connection back in the day. So that’s super convenient for us as Canadians! 

Pretty much every restaurant takes card or cash payments.
For cash, Barbados accepts Bajan Dollars or American Dollars.

How do you get around in Barbados?

There are tons of taxis, shuttles, and public / private van services operating in Barbados because tourism is one of their biggest revenue drivers. You won’t have trouble finding transportation around the west / south sides of Barbados as that’s their most tourist-y spots. 

If you’re not walking or taking a taxi, most tourists will hop into something called ZR Vans.

These vans ride up and down high traffic / populated areas and try to cram in lots of passengers along the way. They also go at super high speeds and typically blast music, so it’s quite a unique Barbadian experience that you should at least try once (though if you don’t want to be smushed with strangers, ride too too fast,  or listen to music too loud, ZR vans may not be for you).

Costs for buses buses and ZR vans are around $3.50 BDS per person so it is a low-cost transportation option. Taxis tend to be around $15-25 BDS one way depending on where you’re going (10-20 minute, shorter rides). And then if you are doing an island tour, which is recommended (I’ll talk more about that as an activity below), those prices can vary but something like $200-$400 BDS a day for a private van, which is not a lot if you are with a bigger group who can split cost $$$ but does feel pricy if it’s just two of you. 

And you could also rent a car, which we didn’t do mostly because both times we stayed so close to so many amenities we felt like renting a car wouldn’t be worth it for the short trips we knew we’d be making, but it is something to consider if you want to do longer drives out into more rural areas of the island. 

It’s important to note that all the bus, shuttle, van, taxi transportation options I mentioned are cash only. But I wanted to talk about a great cashless option we used on our 2022 trip too!

These shared vans are a common mode of transport!
We also walked a lot in Barbados!
pickUP Barbados is a great, cashless transportation option on the island

For our 2022 trip, I actually partnered with a relatively new startup called pickUP Barbados for most of our transportation needs on the island. This is basically Barbados’ Uber or Lyft / ride-share service. You load your credit card in the app, pop in where you want to go, it will estimate your cost, and then find your driver and you’re off! 

The app uses existing, licensed taxi drivers on the island, so it’s all quite professional. 

The biggest perk or pro from my perspective is that it’s cashless. You can end up using a lot of cash just on transportation alone on the island so I liked going cash-free using this app. 

Another pro is the estimated fare. You’ll see just flagging down a taxi on the island won’t show you any meters, and it’s sort of a guess what the driver might tell you the ride will cost. You also don’t necessarily have a comparison so you’re stuck with whatever they tell you. I appreciated that in the app it gives you an estimated fare, and then the more you use it, the more you start to see that the estimated fares are quite similar and accurate (can vary depending on time spent on road due to traffic), but I remember our first 2021 visit feeling a little duped taking a taxi a certain distance one day for one price, and then another day being charged almost double for a very similar distance with a different driver. There is much more upfront fare transparency with pickUP. 

We loved the convenience of the pickUP Barbados app!
pickUP offers cashless, transparent, documented transportation.

It was also convenient to track driver locations and estimated times for pick up and rides through this app! And sometimes you’ll get vehicle upgrades for free! So we ended up getting a larger van versus smaller cars just because the driver happened to be close by when we were using the app. Depending on who your driver is, they may give you their personal taxi card because they also do island tours or private shuttles—so we ended up re-using similar drivers for different trips during our stay. 

All of this to say that we really enjoyed our experience with pickUP. The driver location accuracy is not as updated in real-time as you might be used to when using something like Uber or Lyft, but that was really the only feedback I had for this. As someone who is always on my phone, generally cashless, and likes to have a record or history of transactions, it just made a lot of sense to use pickUP Barbados on our second (and subsequent trips to the island!) 

Our first visit we stayed at Rosebank Apartments.
Our second visit we stayed at Accra Beach Hotel!

Where should you stay in Barbados?

During our first (2021) visit to Barbados, we knew we were going to be staying for almost three weeks due to our fertility treatments so from a more affordable standpoint, we opted to stay at an apartment for the majority of our time there, and then did just a few of our final days at a hotel.

For our second (2022) trip, we decided to go full hotel / resort for our 9 days on the island. 

I mentioned the popular tourist location on the island is the south / southwest region (Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados in the parish of Christ Church), there you will find a ton of different hotel, condo, apartment options to consider for your trip to Barbados.

We basically stayed in the same area for both of our trips, in an around Rockley Beach, because we loved the beach and the number of restaurants, stores, and amenities located in walking distance there. It’s a really popular location that many tourists tend to stay at, and if you’re planning your first trip to Barbados, it makes a lot of sense to stay in that area too! 

Of course there are other areas all over the island you can stay. People do stay in rural locations if they’re looking for a different kind of island adventure. Some people stay on the east side of the island, which tends to have rockier, wavier beaches, but more access to the lush tropical rural areas (again depending on what you’re looking for). Some people may also stay in the “downtown” Bridgetown area of the island, again it really just depends on the vibe you’re looking for on this trip. We want close and easy access to beaches! 

For our next trip to Barbados, we may consider staying just a smidge north (still on the west coast) around Carlisle Bay and the beaches there, as it’s a bit more calm waters versus Rockley Beach, which is still pretty calm waters considering—but does have a fair bit of waves, which we LOVE (bobbing in the waves of Barbados), but if we come back with an infant, wave-less water would be more ideal. 

The island of Barbados is split into 11 “parishes” (similar to states or provinces) and the most popular area is Christ Church, but as I mentioned, you may want to stay (or visit) in other areas depending on the type of vacation you’re looking for. 

Overall, we absolutely recommend the area we stayed in in Barbados. It makes a great home base for vacation, and then we are happy to explore the other parishes or regions of the island as day trip activities. 

Honestly, having the beach access RIGHT from your hotel, makes such a difference.

Savannah was nice but the beach wasn't as nice!
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We love a good room view (at Accra).

Our accommodations experience summary is as follows:

  • Accra Beach Hotel had the absolute best access (and room) that we’ve stayed at in Barbados, and best beach. Beautiful, cool to touch white sand, and great, calm waters (with enough waves for some bobbing action). Plus great location in walking distance to so many restaurants and amenities.
  • Rosebank Apartments was just a 10 minute walk from the beach, and is a great low-cost, affordable option. It’s definitely not a fancy, resort feeling, that’s not the vibe, but from a cost perspective it’s a great pick. And location-wise, also just a few minutes from great restaurants, grocery stores, and other amenities near Rockley Beach.
  • And the Savannah Beach Hotel, while pool access from the room was quite nice, the beach and sand was rockier than we would have liked. And it’s not as close to walking distance to as many restaurants or amenities than we would have liked (though you can make reservations at restaurants in nearby hotels). 
Everywhere feels lush in Barbados!
We loved being close to Rockley Beach!

What are the best beaches in Barbados?

So I sort of talked about this already in terms of picking locations for where you might want to stay or visit, but personally, we absolutely love Rockley Beach (sometimes also known as Accra Beach) on the south/southwest coast of the island. We love it for a few reasons: cool white sand, calm waters, just the right amount of waves for bobbing, how long the stretch of beach is, its proximity to a boardwalk and access to numerous local restaurants! Many accommodations are also located near / along Rockley Beach, so that easy beach access is a huge perk. 

Rockley Beach—we love you!

Another beach area in Barbados that is super popular is Carlisle Bay near Pebbles Beach. This area is actually a popular spot for a lot of boat / catamaran cruises because of it’s cool shipwrecks as well as ample sea turtles who call the waters home! It’s also known for it’s super clear and still waters. Whereas Rockley Beach is pretty calm but still has waves, Carlisle Bay / Pebbles Beach area doesn’t really have any waves at all, so that might be perfect for what you’re looking for! Location-wise, it’s also closer to the “downtown” area if you wanted to more easily walk there as one of your activities, and there are a lot of big hotels along this coast. For our future visit to Barbados we would like to spend more time in this area (we have visited during our previous stays but want to be able to compare it to staying near Rockley Beach).

And I’m not mentioning this because I think their beaches are the best, but I did want to note that typically, the beaches along the east side of Barbados aren’t as popular for swimming. For us, we want to get in the water and swim, so we want to pick locations for stays or activities where we can do that. East coast beaches tend to be more rocky, more wavy, very popular for surfing, but not necessarily great for swimming. There are some really cool, dramatic, rock formations on the beaches of Bathsheba for instance, that is cool to see, but harder to get in the waters around there. That’s one of the many great things to see and do on the east coast, but if you’re really hoping to get in the water, an east coast beach may not be the beach for you.

Linda Hoang Mike Brown Unexplained Infertility - IVF Abroad Procreation Vacation Barbado
We love the Bathsheba rocks, but it's not really a beach day spot.

When is the best time to go to Barbados?

So the most popular tourist months in Barbados is January to April, but we actually have never been during this time. We’re typically in Barbados at the end of their rainy season (end of November into early December), which I think we prefer because it’s a lot less busy.

You’ll find it a lot more difficult to find hotels (book early!), you’ll find it more crowded, harder to get tables at restaurants, and we assume slower service in general, during those busy tourist months (though maybe not—they might have more staff to help with the influx of tourists but sometimes service can be hit or miss during the slower season we wonder how much better it would get during busy season lol). 

The risk of going at the tail end of rainy season is that it still might be rainy, but we find the rainfall in Barbados is mostly pretty short-lived. We also find the weather forecasts (like anywhere lol) not really the most accurate. Just before we arrived it was showing cloudy / rainy for the entire week but once we arrived we maybe only had two days that were consistently rainy/cloudy! Or there would be pockets of overcast / cloudy weather during the day but really nice and sunny in the morning. 

I think if you go during the tourist months (Jan-Apr) you probably get more consistent sunshine but I don’t know how much I’d love how busy the island gets lol. 

We have had great weather during our trips!
Love the Barbados sunshine.

What is there to do in Barbados?

There’s so much to do in Barbados, depending on what type of adventure you’re looking for. Mike and I like a mix of beach / pool relaxation days with more active excursion type of days so our Barbados trips are often a mix of both. And no matter what, I want to eat local as much as possible!

As I mentioned, where you stay may play into what you prefer to do or the type of vacation you want (very rural versus more touristy/resorts for example), or all inclusive versus giving yourself the chance to dine at local restaurants, or cook up your own food. 

On a future trip I’d like to rent a car as well so we can do a bit more driving and exploration on our own. 

I have done a separate video blog on things to do in Barbados that I’ve linked below for quick reference, and I do want to do additional, more detailed blog posts on things to do as well, so my listings here won’t go into great detail, but below are a few ideas for what you can get up to in Barbados! 

A few things to do in Barbados…

  • Check out the Flower Forest Botanic Garden in Barbados. We visited this beautiful tropical garden as part of an island tour excursion via RCR Tours. What a stunning spot. You basically do a self-guided loop through the garden and come across so many different trees, plants, and flowers you’ve likely never seen before. It’s super peaceful and I can’t stress enough, so so pretty. There’s nothing quite like being surrounded by this much greenery! If you don’t go via a tour, you can also plan to have lunch here too. 
I just loved our visit to the Flower Forest Botanic Garden.
In awe!!
Loved seeing plants, trees, flowers I'd never seen before!
  • Book an RCR Tours Island Tour with Lunch and a Visit to a Wildlife Sanctuary. This is a family-owned tour company that offers what we thought was a great experience for a great price (great value). Our day trip took us to east side of the island with stops at Earth Works Pottery, St. John’s Church, the Flower Forest Garden, Bathsheba, and the Barbados Wildlife Reserve (where you get up close and personal with monkeys!) and lunch in between! 
  • Meet the monkeys at Barbados Wildlife Reserve. Monkeys are actually not native to Barbados, but they’re everywhere on the island. They are actually considered an invasive species and they have no natural predators on the island. I am not really a ‘zoo’ person but the reserve promises it’s not a zoo, lol. Most of the animals here roam freely, like all the turtles and tortoises, and some peacocks!) and the most free-roaming of all are the Barbados Green Monkeys—but they always know when feeding time is. If you’re not visiting with a tour, make sure you call ahead to double check feeding times / locations. 
Don't miss feeding time!
Huge tortoises at the Wildlife Reserve.
You can really get up close and personal!
The sweetest little monkey babies.
  • Go on a Catamaran Cruise (we love El Tigre Catamaran Cruises). What’s a Caribbean island vacation without a day spent out on the water? For our visits to Barbados, we always include an ocean day, and we love El Tigre Catamaran Cruises. The crew is amazing, the boat is lovely, the stops are great (3 stops including snorkelling with sea turtles, over shipwrecks, and overlooking some Barbadian mansions, along with lunch). If you go, say hi to Maureen and Winton for us! * note: our second excursion with El Tigre was hosted.
Linda Hoang Mike Brown Unexplained Infertility - IVF Abroad Procreation Vacation Barbados
Swimming with turtles on this Excursion (2021)
Babymoon Catamaran Excursion! (2022)
We highly recommend El Tigre Catamaran Cruises!
  • Check out the Animal Flower CaveThe Animal Flower Cave is a really cool spot on the north side of the island. It’s a natural wonder of Barbados! You can book guided tours of the cave, and go swimming inside it too! There’s a natural rock pool inside the last cave chamber, with waves crashing up against the cave. The name of the cave actually refers to a sea anemone found in the pools of the cave (we saw two!), which become small if touched. Over the years there have apparently been less and less “flowers” here though. This is a natural sea cave formed by the crashing waves of the Atlantic ocean over thousands of years! They also have a restaurant here!
Instagrammable Cave Goals! lol
Animal Flower Cave was really cool!
  • Go on a Mount Gay Rum Tour. Barbados is the birthplace of rum! And Mount Gay Rum has been producing it since 1703. So taking a tour of the birthplace of rum seems like a pretty great thing to do while you’re visiting the island, right? They’ve got lots of historic distillery tours you can choose from, including interactive cocktail sessions, exploring the molasses, fermentation and distillation houses, a rum tasting and lunch (what we did) and more! My parents really loved going on this tour and the lunch buffet was really good. This is also a great thing to do on a rainy day in Barbados!
    * note: our tour at Mount Gay Rum was hosted.
My mom and dad on our Mount Gay Rum Tour!
Cheers to being at the birthplace of rum!
Lots to learn on a Mount Gay Rum Distillery Tour!
  • Check out the Friday Night Oistins Fish Fry. No visit to Barbados is complete without taking in the Friday Night Fish Fry at Oistins Bay Gardens. Here you’ll find dozens of food stalls, each serving up all sorts of different fish, in all sorts of different preparations. There’s also a little market you can browse and a main stage with live entertainment. There’s typically ample seating depending on which stall you’re ordering from, and if you see a line-up, it’s probably at the Legendary Fish Cakes stall—where they sling tasty and super low cost fish cakes. You can even buy batter to just fry up the fish cake yourself if you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen. The area around Oistins gets super busy on Friday (and Saturday) nights in particular. This is a super lively experience. 
You can't miss an Oistins Fish Fry!
Gotta pick up a legendary fish cake at Oistins.
  • Experience the St. Lawrence Gap. This is a 1.3 km stretch of road that’s well-known for its restaurants, shopping and nightlife. You can find some roof top patios, some bars with live entertainment or DJs, some spots with seating that faces the water, and popular restaurants like Harlequin Restaurant which we dined at during both our visits to Barbados. 
Roof top patio vibes in The Gap!
St. Lawrence Gap is a popular nightlife spot in Barbados!
  • Hit the beach! We really just love our barbados beach days. On our second visit, our hotel had direct beach access which included beach chairs which was lovely. On our first visit, we ended up renting beach chairs—or you can just plan to bring extra towels or beach blankets to lay down on the sand for free. But beach days comprise a lot of our Barbados vacations and we loved that. The white sand here is so beautiful and cool to touch, and just sitting out under the bright blue sky, sun, palm trees, reading a book, then popping into the water—and repeat—was glorious.
Hit the beach!!
The beautiful waters of Barbados.

Those are really just a few things you can do in Barbados.

There’s a lot more to do, and a lot more you might want to do depending on your travel preferences (hiking, surfing, etc.) and a lot more we plan to do on our return trips (like I want to rent e-bikes and go around the island too!) 

Get more ideas for things to do on Barbados Tourism’s website:

Barbados is all about the fish!
Can't vacation in Barbados without fun drinks.

What can you eat in Barbados?

When in Barbados you should expect to eat a lot of fish! 

I do plan on doing a separate, more detailed ‘food to eat’ blog post about Barbados, plus more video blogs, so I won’t go into great detail here but it’ll give you a pretty good idea of what dishes you might want to try or restaurants you might want to visit while on the island. Don’t forget to watch my food-focused video blog from our first visit for more suggestions! 

A few foods to try + restaurants to check out in Barbados…

  • Very Bajan Dishes:
    • Flying Fish & Cou Cou is actually the National Dish of Barbados. Flying fish is commonly found in the waters around Barbados and they don’t actually “fly” but the distance and speed at which they jump / glide gives the illusion of ‘flying.’ You usually get Flying Fish paired with Cou Cou, like a Caribbean cornmeal (think polenta or grits), but actually both visits to Barbados the restaurants did not have any Cou Cou for us!
    • Pudding & Souse is traditionally only served on Saturdays. The souse is a mix of pig parts (think offal, pickled pork, parts of pig that aren’t as typically consumed like feet, ear, snout, or tongue, though depending on where you go now recipes may just use standard cuts of pork), and the pudding is a sweet potato.
    • Bajan Fish Cutters are basically fish sandwiches (fish on a salted Bajan bun—be sure to add Bajan Pepper Sauce!) This is a traditional Bajan sandwich (and in fact there are other types of ‘cutters’ / sandwiches you can get but fish is most popular). 
    • I wanted to make sure I tried these very Bajan dishes during our stays so I always scanned them on menus of restaurants we were looking to try! 
Putting hot sauce on a fish cutter!
Little bit of Pudding & Souse!
  • Catch of the Day. We always asked what it was, wherever we went! On our very first night during our first trip to Barbados, the Catch of the Day was Barracuda, which we had never tried before. So that was a lot of fun. Also don’t worry about the ‘dolphin’ references on the menus. We avoided it for awhile at first, thinking it was actual dolphin, but then realized that’s just what they call dolphinfish (also known as Mahi Mahi).
Barracuda on our first night!
We ate a lot of fish in Barbados!
  • Bread Pudding. This is a traditional dessert found across the Caribbean islands and something Mike was eager to order wherever we went. Often it comes with hot rum sauce (and as we already know, rum was born in Barbados so having it here is extra special!)
Always order bread pudding for dessert!
Mike loves Barbados Bread Pudding!
  • Chefette. While I tend to avoid fast food or chains when we travel, if the fast food chain is unique to where we are and the locals are all about it (which the locals are super all about Chefette in Barbados), then I’m happy to try it out! Chefette is *the* fast food chain in Barbados, with multiple locations across the island, specializing in chicken which we’re told Barbadians love. In fact, there was once a McDonalds on the island but it quickly shuttered because they didn’t prioritize chicken on their menu which was their big mistake lol. 
Chefette is a very popular fast food chain in Barbados!
  • Salt Cafe and Tapas. There’s lots of restaurants we’ve tried in Barbados but I wanted to specifically call out Salt Cafe and Tapas as two very delicious spots, both located near Rockley Beach / off the Richard Haines Boardwalk. Salt Cafe is more Asian-inspired, with lots of fish options and delightful poke bowls and bao buns. Tapas is definitely finer dining, with all sorts of options (including a variety of smaller tapas / sharing items). From tempura shrimp taco shots to chicken katsu, an excellent Green Thai Curry, and a variety of seafood options, Tapas, which is located right on the water, offers great service and food. 
Poke at Salt Cafe in Barbados!
A fine evening out at Tapas in Barbados!
  • Oistins Fish Fry. I mentioned heading to Oistins in the ‘what to do in Barbados’ section so I won’t spend much time on it here but did want to reiterate that you can’t visit Barbados without trying different fish at different food stands at Oistins on a Friday or Saturday night (though food stands are open throughout the week). 
Our dinner at the Oistins Fish Fry!
Legendary Fish Cakes at Oistins Bay Gardens.
  • Try the restaurants at Quayside Centre. Conveniently located across the street from Accra Beach Hotel (near Rockley Beach) is Quayside Centre, a little shopping centre home to several restaurants and gift shops. This was a great spot to grab a bite—from kebabs to Chinese food, seafood at Just Grillin’ or ice cream at Chilly Moo’s, there’s lots of great options here!
A mahi mahi wrap! (It's not chicken!)
Kebabs from Quayside Centre.
  • Experience the Worthing Square Food Garden. And finally, at least for this blog post, I wanted to make sure I specifically recommended the Worthing Square Food Garden as a great destination for food in Barbados! This is an outdoor food court-style spot with more than 18 food vendors selling everything from Venezuelan arepas to bubble tea, to meat skewers, pasta and more. Literally there s something for all culinary desires here, and depending on the night you go, there may be live music. Also!! There are resident square kittens and cats who live here, and may hang out for some food scraps as Mike was so very willing to give them both times we stopped by, lol.
Choose from 18+ food vendors at Worthing Square!
The tostadas and arepas from Arepitas Barbados are amazing!
The cats are plentiful at Worthing Square!
A cool little food square in Barbados.

Those are really just a few foods to try / restaurants to visit in Barbados.

There’s a lot more we haven’t tried, and a lot more we plan to try on our return trips! 

Get more ideas for food to eat on Barbados Tourism’s website:

Barbados is the birthplace of rum!
An original rum still from 1760.

What is Barbados known for?

Here’s a few things about Barbados…

  • Barbados is the birthplace of rum! As mentioned, you should definitely do a rum tour at Mount Gay Rum. The island is considered the birthplace of rum (and Mount Gay) since 1703. There’s a ton of rum-making history on this island. 
  • Rihanna is Barbados’ National Hero. Super talented superstar Rihanna, you know who Rihanna is, was born and raised in Barbados, and in November 2021 (while we were on the island actually!), the island actually named Rihanna one of its National Heroes. The street where her childhood home is was renamed Rihanna Drive in 2017, and is a popular spot for tourists to stop by, and she has also a mansion on the island that you can see from the water or also as a quick stop on an island tour. 
Rihanna's childhood home on Rihanna Drive!
Rihanna's Barbados mansion!
  • Barbados is the World’s Newest Republic. Also in November 2021 when we first visited the island, Barbados removed the British Monarch as its head of state to become a republic. It is still a member of the Commonwealth and has been independent from the United Kingdom since 1966. The British is said to have colonized Barbados back in the 1600s. Because of this, you’ll find a lot of British influences across the island.
  • Barbados is considered the richest Caribbean island. Barbados is the wealthiest and one of the most developed countries in the Eastern Caribbean, with the highest GDP per capita.
  • Barbados is known as the ‘Land of the Flying Fish.’ In fact (as mentioned in the food section above), Flying Fish and Cou Cou is the National Dish of Barbados. These fish don’t actually fly, they glide through the air and can just go far distances and at high speeds. The flying fish is also depicted on the Barbadian dollar.

Here’s a few other facts you may be interested in learning about Barbados!

Beautiful Barbados!

What else should you know about travelling in Barbados?

It gets dark early here!

Okay this is true for most places around the world, but we feel a bit spoiled being in Edmonton, where during summertime, our sun doesn’t set until 10 p.m., sometimes 11 p.m. at night. So when we travel to hot places, tropical places, vacation spots, we’re always a little stunned when it feels like summer but the sun is gone by 6 p.m. 

What that meant for us is that we end up doing most of our activities during the day, making the most of an early sunrise, and then tend to hunker down in the evenings. 

We also found for some reason that a lot of Barbados restaurant patios are not really well-lit in the evenings. They’re definitely open—just very dark (which as someone who wants to photograph my food / experiences, makes it a bit of a challenge lol). 

Sunset dinner by the ocean in Barbados!
It gets pretty dark pretty fast in Barbados.

It gets loud at night with Barbados’ Whistling Frogs!

A sound we’ve come to really miss when we think about Barbados is from the Whistling Frogs of Barbados. Some people love this sound, some people hate it (or you’ll come to love it after you leave the island). But as soon as the sun sets, the whistles start. The sound comes from very teeny tiny frogs that are native to the island. It’s like a lovely nighttime song. 

Just a boy and his Banks Beer in Barbados.
Trinidadian 'buljol' in Barbados!

Barbados is an expensive vacation.

While the island does offer some all inclusive locations, they’re not going to be as affordable as a Mexico or Cuba. I also don’t prefer doing all inclusive in Barbados because I’d much rather eat out at local restaurants than at the resorts. You can eat at resort restaurants even if you’re not staying there, or doing an all-inclusive package, so those are still nice to do depending on the restaurant or even food theme night you may be craving, or live performance paired with dinner that some resort restaurants offer, but overall, I think it’s better to go to not-all inclusive so you can travel more like a local on the island. Even when I say that, I acknowledge that most locals don’t actually eat out a lot in Barbados lol, but I mean more that you can get more authentic island food experiences off-resort than you can doing all-inclusive. 

So it does work out to a pricier vacation than perhaps some of its tropical counterparts, when you break down flight, hotel, food, excursions, etc. 

Lindork Does Life - Catamaran Cruise Barbados - Caribbean Islands El Tigre
Just a gorgeous place.

There’s lots of local experiences to try! 

We always love finding things specific to where we travel—local food and experiences we wouldn’t be able to get back home.

That could mean checking out the island’s popular fast food chain (Chefette as mentioned above), making sure we pop into the local grocery store and scanning the aisles for only-in-Barbados (or the Caribbean islands) products, like Amanda’s Hot Sauce, or “One Drop Bajan Pepper Sauce” (because all you need is one drop!), drinking local Barbados Banks beer, or checking out corner stores, cafes and gift shops! 

During our second trip to Barbados, we also were gifted a few local, made-in-Barbados products to try, including:

  • Alcolado Glacial – a splash or spray mentholated lotion produced in Barbados and Curacao, and is a staple in many homes across the Caribbean.
  • Claytons Kola Tonic – a non-alcoholic mixer based on the superfood Kola nut from West Africa, produced in Barbados
  • Claytons Kola Kick – a ready to drink non-alcoholic energy beverage also based on the Kola nut, produced in Barbados
  • Hanz Sanz – this is a hand sanitizer, produced in Barbados
Made in Barbados: Alcolado Glacial
Claytons Tonic + Energy Drink.
Hanz Sanz Sanitizer.

Note we were gifted the above Made in Barbados products *

During our first trip to Barbados we used a few different seasonings and picked up items from the local grocery store to cook food at home since we stayed for so many weeks too!

It’s nice to somewhat live like a local, or at least get a better sense of how locals do things, when we travel. And in the case of some of the pantry items, sauces, snacks, and even all four products mentioned above that we were gifted, they make great take-home products that we can still use back in Canada too. The hot sauce in particular is always a hot commodity lol.  

Linda Hoang Mike Brown Unexplained Infertility - IVF Abroad Procreation Vacation Barbado
On an island tour of Barbados!

I hope this helps you plan your visit to Barbados!

Honestly I’m sure there’s more pieces of information I’ll keep adding / editing to this post but I hope these insights and our experience shared so far helps you plan your Barbados vacation! 

This island will always be special to us.

And we know we’ll be returning in the future, as we still have two frozen embryos being stored at the fertility clinic, and because we want to bring our new baby boy to visit the island that spurred his creation. Although the first IVF treatment didn’t technically work, we believe it did do *something* that allowed my body to conceive naturally shortly after, and for that we are forever grateful. 

If there’s something specific you want to know that hasn’t been answered, just send me a message! I’m happy to share. 

Don’t forget to check out my other Barbados blogs and video blogs!

And if you’re headed to this amazing Caribbean island, have so much fun in the sun!!! 

Use and share my Travel Guide: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go to Barbados!

Linda

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