If the winter weather has you down, maybe you need a Caribbean vacation! And in honor of Rihanna recently winning the Harvard Humanitarian of the Year Award for her work in her home country of Barbados, I think this may be just the vacation you need! When I visited Barbados last year, I was reminded again and again of her connection to this tiny island nation, where everyone was proud to tell me about their local girl who made it big in America. It’s a story every American can love, and a country for anyone who loves to relax in the sun. I loved my trip to Barbados, and I think you’ll love it there too. As much as we all love a good relaxed sunbathing vacation, try to venture beyond the beach and see what a cultural gem Barbados is. Here are the top 8 things to do in Barbados, get your sunscreen ready!
8 Things to do in Barbados
1 | Scuba in the coral reef
Dive into the crystal clear waters and swim in search of colorful coral reefs. The scuba diving in Barbados is some of the best! When I was in Barbados, I dove with Reefers and Wreckers, who I would highly recommend. They have a really quality team of professional divers and they know all the good spots to find lots of colorful fish!
2 | Tour a rum factory
Barbados is known for its rum trade, and it’s even purported to be the birthplace of rum! One of their most popular labels that we have here in the states is Mount Gay Rum. They’ve been distilling this rum in their factory since 1703! Take a tour of the distillery and sample some of that famous Barbados rum.
3 | Visit a Jacobean mansion
St Nicholas Abbey is one of only three Jacobean mansions in the western hemisphere, which means you can get a peak at English Renaissance architecture when you visit. This mansion is ripe with history as a plantation, distillery, and home to influential families throughout the centuries. Get a look at the history of Barbados at the beautiful St Nicholas Abbey.
4 | Crop Over Festival
Like Carnival but better, the Crop Over Festival is a giant celebration of the sugar harvest in Barbados. The celebrations include a parade, a gala, a feast, cultural events, and lots of music and colorful costumes! If you want to see the best of Barbados culture, come for the Crop Over Festival in the summer.
5 | Snorkel with the turtles
Even for those of you who aren’t inclined to strap on the scuba gear, you can still get a look at the wildlife under the water. One of my favorite experiences in Barbados was snorkeling with the sea turtles! We got super close and just swam around with the pack, and because it’s so close to the surface of the water it’s a great opportunity for photos. After all, these turtles are pretty photogenic!
6 | Learn at the museum
The Barbados Museum & Historical Society offers visitors a great opportunity to learn about the history of the island, about its cultural, historic, and environmental heritage. Take an afternoon to stroll around the museum and see what you can learn about this rich nation.
7 | Visit the flower forest
With over 50 acres of botanical gardens, this may just be the most beautiful spot on the island! Check out all the native flora of the island at the Flower Forest Botanical Gardens and enjoy a relaxing walk through the gardens.
8 | Cruise around in a catamaran
Whether for a sunset cruise or just a sunny cruise around the island, a catamaran trip is a great way to explore in Barbados. You want to see the island from all angles and this is the way to go for a seaside look at the shore, a relaxing way to enjoy your trip!