Solo Travel in Barbados
Types of Girl about the Globe (GatG) – Beach GatG, History GatG
Barbados is one of the most popular Caribbean islands. If you are planning a trip to Barbados, below is our guide on things to do in Barbados, recommended tours and accommodation for solos. Just click the relevant link or read the whole article to plan your Barbados holiday.
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- Solo Travel in Barbados
- Places To Go in Barbados
- Accommodation in Barbados
- Barbados Tours
- Getting Around Barbados
- Best Time To Visit Barbados
- To and From Barbados Airport
- Map of Barbados
- Plan Your Trip To Barbados
- Related Posts
Solo Travel in Barbados
Barbados is a great Caribbean island for solos. It’s one of the most popular of the Windward Islands with fantastic nature, historic buildings and architecture, not to mention lighthouses. Barbados has good nightlife so it’s easier to meet others. The locals are friendly and welcoming and if you happen to get lost, all you have to do is pop into one of the many rum shops to ask for directions.
As a solo woman you may get attention being by yourself at night. When the sun goes down, use transportation to get around instead of walking and avoid the beaches. One area to avoid at night is St. Lawrence Gap (known as ‘The Gap') where it's common to get hassled.
If you’re looking for nightly entertainment, you may feel more comfortable staying in a resort. Barbados is the island to relax on a beach by day and enjoy high-class dining with a world-class vista at night.
Places To Go in Barbados
As a popular destination for tourists, Barbados is known for its clear waters and is a haven for sun seekers but there is so much more to this island than meets the eye. With a fascinating past of old pirate tales and slave history, Barbados is an island steeped in culture with many treasures to discover.
Fourteen miles wide and 21 miles long, Barbados isn’t just the place to come and lay on a gorgeous beach for a week. It has a plethora of activities to keep you more than entertained on a Barbados holiday. Below are our recommended places to go.
Bridgetown is the island’s capital and it may surprise you to know that this historic city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Jewish Synagogue is an important place here. This peach-coloured building with Gothic arches was built in the 17th century and is now protected by the National Trust.
You can take yourself on your self-guided walk here, past British colonial architecture and St Michael’s Cathedral. See the bronze statue of Lord Nelson in National Heroes Square which used to be called Trafalgar Square (not to be confused with the one in London). The square was renamed in honour of the 10 national heroes of Barbados. Admire the historic Parliament buildings opposite and the white dolphin fountain, before walking along the promenade and watching the sun go down at the harbour.
Barbados has their own highlands, aptly named the Scotland District with farmlands and rock formations dating back millions of years. But this isn’t the only region on the island with ties to the United Kingdom. Speightstown in the north-west is twinned with Reading in the UK. Here you can wander around colonial buildings in one of the island’s major towns, see the fishermen with their daily catch in the jetty, and learn more about the island’s slave history and production of sugar cane at Arlington House.
What makes Barbados different from its Caribbean neighbours is that it is not a volcanic island and has a remarkable geology of caves and gullies. Rediscovered in 1970, Harrison’s Cave, named after Thomas Harrison who owned the land in the early 1700’s, is one of the island’s top attractions. What makes this cave so special is that the only way to discover these impressive formations (some of which are thought to be 7000 years old), is on an electric tram which takes you through the one mile cave system on an educational ride.
Through dark tunnels you pass formations such as ‘the altar,’ and ‘the chandelier’ before you arrive at the impressive lit Great Hall. There are no shortage of stalactites and stalagmites here and Harrison’s Cave even has its own lake and waterfall within its limestone caverns.
Near Harrisons Cave is Welchman Hall Gully, a tropical forest in a cave with hundreds of exotic plants. Not only is it home to wild monkeys and a monkey conservation project, but it’s also where the grapefruit is said to have originated.
Take a stroll in Flower Forest, aptly named because of its abundance of flowers within its 53 acres. Or explore Huntes Gardens, a botanical garden with tall palm trees that was created in a gully sink hole by Anthony Hunte. Both are located in Saint Joseph.
Morgan Lewis Mill
Barbados has the only working sugar mill of its kind in the world. This wind-powered milll includes an exhibit of the machinery which used to grind the sugarcane in the eighteenth-century and although it is on the list of the top 100 endangered historical sites in the world, you can still enter this historic mill to admire its structure. If you visit between December and April you may be lucky enough to sample cane juice made straight from the mill.
St Nicholas Abbey
St Nicholas Abbey is one of the magnificent houses on the island originally built by rich plantation owners. The abbey is a restored Jacobean house with gorgeous gardens and its own rum distillery which is offered to you during your visit. You can take a tour around the museum (which is more of a house), and enjoy a free rum punch as you learn more about the history of the abbey and admire the mahogany interiors of this seventeenth-century building.
Don’t forget to pay a visit to Cherry Tree Hill, aptly named after the trees which used to exist here. Cherry Tree Hill is part of this plantation and offers a great viewpoint and photo opportunity of the Scotland District, with rolling fields and the sea in the distance. You’ll also find souvenir sellers here too.
Nearby in the parish of St Andrew is the Scotland District, named after the patron saint of Scotland, which bares little resemblance to Scotland with its tropical climate. For more history, the Barbados Museum has more than 480 years of history.
Leave the calm Caribbean waters behind and head to the east coast for a rugged Atlantic coastline with dramatic cliffs and giant boulders not dis-similar to the Twelve Apostles in Australia. This area is where the tourist industry in Barbados began and here you can see the old railway line which used to run from here to the capital, as well as the botanical gardens where you can admire orchids and palm trees amongst other exotic flora.
One of the most surprising treasures on the island is the Concorde Museum. During its prime, Concorde flew into Grantley Adams International Airport every Saturday and it seems only fitting that Barbados is now home to one of these planes. The Concorde Museum is more than just a museum of the old aircraft which took its last flight in October 2003. It’s an interactive experience and starts from the beginning of your tour as you are greeted with a boarding pass to ‘check-in.'
Stepping into the departure lounge will bounce you straight back to the eighties with the old British Airways uniforms and a Rubik’s cube on display. As you ascend up the stairs and “board” you get a taste of what it was like to fly within this sleek plane and get a sneaky glimpse at the cockpit too. With the Concorde Museum being situated at the airport, a trip here is easy to include when you first arrive or as you leave Barbados.
Beaches & Water Sports
There’s plenty of adventure on the land and sea too. Head to the East Coast to surf the waves or just marvel at the advanced surfers as they tackle the big waves at northern Bathsheba. There’s a reason it’s the shipwreck capital of the Caribbean, and an ideal destination for a diving or snorkelling expedition. Take a catamaran cruise along the West Coast, practice your balance on a SUP. You can even try kitesurfing or windsurfing, or if you prefer to stay dry, do a spot of window shopping at the boutique and designer stores on the west coast.
There are plenty of beaches to choose from too. From beautiful white sand to the more rugged depending on whether you want to be active or just feel the sugar-soft sand between your toes. Choose Rockley Beach for its calm waters for swimming, Bottom Bay Beach for sunbathing (don’t swim here though), Silver Sands for water sports, Carlisle Bay for diving or Alleynes Bay for mingling with others and dining with a sea view. Long Beach is the island’s longest beach (hence the name). This peaceful lesser-visited beach is perfect for a long stroll and it’s near the airport
Whichever place you choose to visit, Barbados is a unique place in the world which Barbadians are proud to show off. Shaped by its history, culture and geology, Barbados itself is a national treasure.
Accommodation in Barbados
The island has a variety of Barbados accommodation. From stunning apartments, boutique hotels, and beachfront resorts and spas, to B&Bs.
The south and west coasts are the more popular. St. Lawrence Gap is one of liveliest areas with clubs, bars and watersports, or choose somewhere quieter such as Holetown with cafes, bars and restaurants beautiful beaches and a boardwalk. The east coast is a great place to escape and mingle with the locals in the villages and hike along rugged landscapes.
If you are on a budget and the hotels seem too pricey (especially in high season), you may want to look at Airbnb where you stay in a local’s spare room or rent their whole home for your stay. Save $25 off your first Airbnb stay here.
All of the accommodation below have been recommended by solo female travellers from our Girls about the Globe community and come with a Solo Female Friendly endorsement. For all other accommodation, click the link below.
These beach-front apartments in Saint Peter have everything you need for your Barbados holiday. Just a short walk away is Speightstown where you’ll find restaurants, bars and groceries. Each apartment comes with an oven, stove, and dishwasher and gorgeous artwork to make you feel at home. The owner is really welcoming and friendly, and with the beach on your doorstep you can swim and snorkel to your hearts’ content. Choose from an apartment on a split level or a penthouse apartment.
- Prices from £120 per night for an apartment
- To book, check prices or availability for Coral Sands & Carib Edge
This five star hotel isn’t cheap but if you’re looking for accommodation on one of the island’s nicest beaches, The Sandpiper in Saint James offers world-class service, and snorkelling gear and stand up paddle boards to take advantage of its beachfront location. If you prefer to sunbathe, you can relax at the outdoor swimming pool and sun terrace, before enjoying some international cuisine in the restaurant. Choose from a standard double room, a one-bedroom suite, or a presidential suite.
- Prices from £287 per night for a standard double room
- To book, check prices or availability for The Sandpiper
The Yellow Bird Hotel is a popular 3 star hotel in St Lawrence. Situated right on the beach, this colourful hotel has an outdoor pool with a restaurant and bar so you can dine poolside under the Caribbean sun. There are bars and restaurants just a 5 minute walk away as well as other beaches too. The hotel can arrange any watersports and diving that you want to do. With fantastic staff and great views, there’s a reason that this hotel is popular Choose from a deluxe studio with a seaview, or a superior king room. There are also two bedroom options available.
- Prices from £125 per night for a deluxe studio with seaview
- To book, check prices or availability for Yellow Bird Hotel
Eco Adventures Barbados – A local tour company offering adventures off the beaten track. Interact with turtles, or join one of the many guided hikes, learning more about the island’s history, or just strolling along picture-perfect coves through the island’s lush landscapes. They have plenty of hikes to choose from for the eco solo.
Day Tours – Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated activities and day tours in worldwide destinations including Barbados. Some of the tours have a minimum of 2 people but you can find tours you can join as a solo such as an Exotic Barbados Island tour, a Carlisle Bay clear kayak shipwreck tour, and a walking tour of Bridgetown to learn about the development of the city. There are several to choose from and it’s really simple to use. Just check the reviews, price and availability then book online.
Getting Around Barbados
Barbados has a good bus system making it easy to get around the island. It’s cheap too and just BD $3.50 for a journey. The government buses are normal-looking buses in a blue colour with yellow stripes so they’re really easy to spot. These buses run the main routes in the islands.
There are also minibuses which are privately-owned. Instead of being blue, these are yellow with blue stripes and come with a conductor that you pay the money to as you get on. You’ll also see white vans with stripes which seem to go everywhere on the island.
If you’re planning on hiring a car, the island is ideal to drive around. Routes are well signposted (some can be narrow), and there are small roundabouts and traffic lights. You do need to be at least 21 years old and have a minimum of 2 years driving experience (some ask for 5). Barbados does require you to have a Visitor’s Permit to drive on the island. Usually for a period of two months maximum. Your car rental company can arrange for this for you.
You can also rent a bike if you’re feeling active. Taking a 4×4 tour is an adventurous way of getting around and takes you to the places that are off the beaten path.
Best Time To Visit Barbados
The island has a tropical climate throughout the year and rarely falls below 24 degrees Celsius. But if you’re looking for a best time to visit Barbados then December to April is a good period to go in. You’ll avoid the rainy season which happens between June to November but even if you do book a holiday for this time, the rain falls in quick showers and usually in the afternoon so they won’t affect you too much.
Visit in December for the annual Rum Barbados weekend. You can even take part in the marathon too (before the run festival obviously). Below is the annual weather in Bridgetown to help you plan your trip.
To and From Barbados Airport
From Barbados Airport (BGI) there is a bus service that costs $2 and takes 45 minutes into Fairchild Street Terminal in Bridgetown. A taxi will cost a minimum of $20 depending on where you are going on the island. If you are planning on hiring a car for the duration of your stay, it is easy to collect it from the airport.
Feel more confident with someone waiting for you at the airport when you pre-book a transfer with Hoppa, a reliable and safe service for solo females.
- Can I drink the water? Yes. Tap water is fine to drink here.
- Is tipping expected? A service charge of 10-15% is added to your bill so if you feel you had great service you can always add a tip. If a service charge hasn’t been added, tip 10-15% on top.
- Fixed price or barter? Fixed price except for in the markets.
- Any ATMs? Yes, in the capital and the larger towns on the island. You have to take your sunglasses off to go into the booth.
- Which side of the road do they drive? On the left-hand side.
- Good for vegetarians? Yes. There are plenty of vegetarian restaurants in Bridgetown, and you can find one or two in other areas on the island.
- Any Seven Wonders of The World? No but Barbados has its own Seven Wonders of Barbados.
Map of Barbados
Plan Your Trip To Barbados
Budget – £100 a day
Current Time in Bridgetown
Capital – Bridgetown
Population – 287,025
Language spoken – English is the official language. The accent sounds similar to a Scottish twang. Locals also speak ‘Bajan’ a creole language.
Local Currency – The Barbados Dollar (BBD)
Do I need a visa? Not if you are travelling on a British or U.S. passport.
Did you know? Barbados is where the singer, Rihanna was born.
Lingo – They speak English.
The Best Time to Go – January
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