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Lemme See Barbados in a Day!

Cruising for Saints in the Caribbean Day 7: Arriving in country 43/196 and seeing the main sights of Barbados in a day. A road trip through Bridgetown, visiting the best east coast beaches, St. Nicholas Abbey, and Mount Gay.

To explore the island state of the Barbados, my sister, brother and I decided to split from the group and rent a car. We were on a single-day road trip around the island!

Bridgetown

We got a cab from the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal to Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) where the rental agency was. For some reason we figured a minivan was the way to go.

Time for a road trip!
Time for a road trip!

We started on the east coast of the island, driving through sleepy beach towns to popular shorelines. The highway only had one lane for each direction and often passed through villages and residential areas.
Continuing along the coast, we stopped at Foul Bay, Crane Bay, and Bottoms Bay.

The smaller roads looked they were made of sand.
The smaller roads looked they were made of sand.
Crane Bay... notice how the rocks are worn down from the water.
Crane Bay… notice how the rocks are worn down from the water.
A small town church on the side of the main road.
A small town church on the side of the main road.
Indeed.
Road signs in Barbados.
At the huge stretch of empty beach at Bottom Bay.
At the huge stretch of empty beach at Bottom Bay.
The walk to the beach through lush vegetation and passed locals offering coconuts or something to smoke.
The walk to the beach through lush vegetation and passed locals offering coconuts or something to smoke.
Endless beautiful beaches and turquoise waters.
Endless beautiful beaches and turquoise waters.

At one point we got a bit lost following our tourist map for driving directions and ended up in a rural area of shanties. We stopped a local to ask for directions back to the coastal road. It went something like this:
Lemme see lemme see Takes map. “Ok, ok, now… here you are… wait a minute wait a minute. Ok ok, here you are on dusty road… Now. You go down this road and then turn right Signals left. Keep going until you reach a church on your left Signals right. Very important, don’t get off the highway, Mon! And then when you get there… ask someone, cause you lost.”

“Ok I think we got it! Thank you!”

“Lemme see lemme see… now… where are we… ok we’re on dusty road…”

It went on like this for 15 minutes.

We didn’t want to be rude and just drive away, but it was getting quite unbearable. Eventually he let us go and we completely ignored his directions to find our way back to the main road.

Stopping by for a closer look at a banana plantation on the side of the road.
Stopping by for a closer look at a banana plantation on the side of the road.

Further north we arrived at Tent Bay and stopped at Atlantis Hotel and Restaurant for a coffee and to relax a bit.

The Atlantis Hotel is a cute historic hotel right on the rocky ridge.
The Atlantis Hotel is a cute historic hotel right on the rocky ridge.
Sporting my "country shirt" of the Barbados!
Sporting my “country shirt” of the Barbados, featuring the country flag.
At a small boatyard.
At a small boatyard.
The picturesque Bathsheba Park.
The picturesque Bathsheba Park.

St. Nicholas Abbey

Our next stop was the famous abbey tucked in the lush hills of the Barbados. On arrival, you pay the park fee at the gate and park your car before touring the property on foot. This sugar plantation house in Jacobean style Renaissance architecture was built ~1650 and is still producing sugar today. The buildings and grounds were very well preserved and maintained.

The garden in front of the sugar plantation house.
The garden in front of the sugar plantation house.
Smooth rum made onsite.
Smooth rum made onsite.
The distillery... *drool
The distillery and barrels of rum.. *drool
The process of getting sugar water from the cane. The process of getting sugar water from the cane.
The process of getting sugar water from the cane.
Photo-ops on the grounds.
Photo-ops on the grounds.

Mount Gay Refinery

Though not recommended in any guide book, we noticed the name Mount Gay on the map and as it was nearby, we decided to take a look.

The oldest existing rum, Mount Gay.
The oldest existing rum, Mount Gay.
Unfortunately this was not a distillery for visitation and no one came to greet us as we parked in the industrial plant parking lot.
Unfortunately this was not a distillery for visitation and no one came to greet us as we parked in the industrial plant parking lot.

As our time was running out, we had to jet back to the port and return the car. The drive along the north-south highway 2A was straightforward and besides some traffic, uneventful.

The drive along roads like this... didn't seem so bad.
Driving along roads like this didn’t seem so bad.

As Barbados has been hailed the culinary capital of the Caribbean (by Zagat) I had to try out the local specialty, the flying fish sandwich. For fast food, it was truly delicious!

Before boarding, I went to the immigration office to ask for an entry stamp. The officer took my passport and readily stamped it. I was glad to get it and also surprised that they would stamp it since I technically didn’t go through any immigration check. Once I examined the purple ink in my passport, my smile disappeared as I read the word “SOUVENIR” below the “Barbados Immigration” seal…

A steel drum band sending off the visitors!
A steel drum band sending off the visitors!

We boarded the ship and shared our experiences with the rest of the group. Lush forests, amazing coasts, and friendly locals all made the day on this little island one to remember!

David De Clercq

About David De Clercq

Founder and writer at World-Adventurer.com, David is on a mission to travel to every country in the world and has less than 10 countries left! He loves new adventures, unique cultures, historic landmarks, and luxurious hotels. Follow along as David shares a journey of a lifetime!

  • LOL ’cause you lost’
    ‘Doon swing off thee highway, mon!’
    Great trip!!!!

  • Marcin

    This is not Bottom Bay…please write correct beach name…

  • Antonio

    The comment about the roads is very misleading as you can clearly see the road is being paved and about the road signs again misleading, the road signs in Barbados don’t look like that. I appreciate what your doing but please do not mislead persons visiting this site.

  • Antonio

    David De Clercq, you should be thankful for the help and not delete the comments

    • Hi Antonio, Thanks for the comments! Your comment was caught in the spam filter for review (not deleted). As for the road, even in the areas that were not under construction, many of them were dirt roads. The road sign is in fact a road sign. I didn’t say an official government road sign. Barbados is a beautiful country and I tried to focus on the local flavors. Happy reading!