carlisle bay - barbados itinerary
Adventure Travel Beach Travel Caribbean City Travel

Barbados Itinerary: 5 Days in Barbados

Last updated on July 13th, 2022

Barbados is a tiny and beautiful island in the Caribbean. Spanning 34 km in length and 23 km in width, Barbados may be small but features some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Outside of the Atlantic hurricane belt, the lovely weather makes this island a popular destination for cruises and honeymoons. Whether you enjoy beaches, culture, food, or natural attractions, there is guaranteed to be something that you will love about Barbados. This 5 day Barbados itinerary includes must-do activities while you are in Barbados.

Fun Fact: Barbados is the most eastern country in the Caribbean.

Is 5 Days in Barbados Enough?

Home to many beautiful beaches and natural attractions, you will want to spend at least 3-5 days in Barbados. If you spend more time, you can see and do more things, but any less and you will have to pick and choose what to visit. I found five days, including travel time to and from Barbados, to be a good amount of time to explore without rushing. 

If you are visiting Barbados by cruise, you will not have time to explore the whole island, but you can still enjoy your time in Barbados. If you have less than 24 hours in Barbados, you can choose to explore Bridgetown and visit one of its beautiful beaches.

I recommend you spend at least 3-5 days in Barbados for your trip, depending on what you wish to experience. This Barbados guide will help you plan up to 5 days in Barbados. If you have only 1 day in Barbados, check out my guide on what to see in Barbados in one day.

Bathsheba barbados

5-Day Barbados Itinerary: 

This 5-Day Barbados Itinerary will cover most of the island. You will visit the north, south, east and west coasts of Barbados in 5 days. This guide does not cover the interior of Barbados.  

This itinerary requires a rental car for the first part of day two. If you cannot rent a car, some of these places are hard to reach by public transportation, and you will have to adjust day two of your Barbados itinerary.

Day 1 in Barbados – Bridgetown and Oistins

Today will take you to the Saint Michael and Christ Church parishes of Barbados. 

You’ve arrived in Barbados, and it’s time to explore. You will most likely stay in or near Bridgetown. Hit the beach closest to your accommodations to begin your trip. 

Once finished at the beach, begin this Barbados itinerary. 

oistins pier barbados

Oistins Fish Market

Oistins Fish Market is a market in a small fishing village along the south coast of Barbados. A local tradition and taste of Bajan culture, the fish market is enjoyed by locals and tourists, who gather to enjoy a delicious seafood dinner. The most popular time to visit the Oistins market is Friday and Saturday nights. 

Seafood dinner options include tuna, marlin, lobster, mahi-mahi, red snapper, and swordfish. Other food options include chicken and steak. There are multiple vendors at the market, each preparing their fish a different way, whether grilled or fried and top it with unique sauces to add a delicious flavour to the seafood. 

In addition to food, there are also local arts and crafts vendors at Oistins Fish Market. 

Visiting the Fish Fry and the pier makes for a lovely relaxing evening in Barbados. I would highly recommend visiting Oistins Fish Market on your trip to Barbados. 

Oistins Fish Market

Hours of Operation: Daily for lunch and dinner
Cost: Approximately 15-17.50 USD for a plate of food and a beverage

Day 2 in Barbados – Self-Guided Island Tour and Carlisle Bay

Today will take you to the Saint Philip, Saint John and Saint Michael parishes of Barbados. 

Self-Guided Barbados Tour 

One of the best ways to explore Barbados is by driving around. A self-guided island tour will help you see more of Barbados in less time. Choose individual sites from the list that interest you, or visit them all. This self-guided island tour will show you the east and south-eastern sections of Barbados. 

The driving portion of this tour from start to finish is about 2 hours; this time frame does not include time spent at each location. 

What to See and Do on a Barbados Roadtrip – Self-Guided Tour

foul bay barbados itinerary

Foul Bay 

Foul Bay is an expansive beach located in south-eastern Barbados. With stunning white sand and palm trees for shade, Foul Bay Beach is a popular spot for a picnic and sunbathing. The waves can be rough, so it’s better for body surfing than swimming. 

While its name is not appealing, Foul Bay Beach itself is beautiful. The beach stretches long and wide, so there is plenty of space for everyone to enjoy. 

Foul Bay is also a nesting site for hawksbill turtles; be cautious not to disturb their nests. Please keep the beach clean and take all litter with you. 

Foul Bay 

Hours of Operation: Daily sunrise-sunset
Cost: FREE

shark hole barbados

Shark Hole 

Shark Hole is a small secluded beach along the south-eastern coast of Barbados. This tiny spoon-shaped inlet is a unique geological feature in Barbados. The beach is protected from the rough waves of the Atlantic by a coral ridge, so the waters are calm at Shark Hole. Named after an old fishing tale, you won’t find any sharks at Shark Hole. 

Shark Hole is popular with locals; the beach can get crowded on weekends. Being a small beach, only about 40 ft at its widest, it fills up quickly. It is best to visit Shark Hole on a weekday, if possible. A hidden gem of Barbados, it is worth visiting.

Shark Hole 

Hours of Operation: Daily sunrise-sunset

Cost: FREE

Note: If you swim, do not pass the coral ridge, as the waves are stronger and there are riptides below.

bottom bay barbados

Bottom Bay

Bottom Bay is a beautiful beach semi-enclosed by a cliff, lined with palm trees. Tucked away in Barbados’s south coast, Bottom Bay is a popular picnic spot. It is not recommended to swim due to the strong waves. Enjoy this secluded beach by taking a stroll or packing a picnic. 

Bottom Bay

Hours of Operation: Daily sunrise-sunset

Cost: FREE

deebles point barbados

Deebles Point 

Deebles Point, also known as Ragged Point, is a cliffside in the most eastern part of Barbados. Found on the Atlantic side of the island, Deebles Point offers panoramic views of the coastline and East Point light-house. 

When visiting Deebles Point, be careful of the wind. Do not get too close to the edge of the cliff. At Ragged Point, you can walk down a set of stairs to reach a viewing platform.

When you look directly out at the ocean from Deebles Point, you see nothing but water and know that the next land-mass on the other side is the continent of Africa. You are standing at the most eastern point of the Caribbean. 

Deebles Point 

Hours of Operation: Daily sunrise-sunset
Cost: FREE

codrington college barbados

Codrington College

Codrington College is an Anglican theological college in Saint John, Barbados. The college is built on the former site of a sugar cane plantation. An impressive property, you are greeted by an entranceway lined with Royal Palm trees. 

You can take a self-guided tour of the campus. Codrington College campus grounds include a lake, a chapel, picnic tables, and benches overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Picturesque, Codrington College offers some fun photo opportunities. 

Codrington College

Hours of Operation: Daily 10 am – 6 pm 

Cost: 10 BBD per adult for entrance plus 5 BBD per vehicle for parking

Once you have completed your Barbados road trip, head to Carlisle Bay. 

carlisle bay - barbados itinerary

Carlisle Bay

Connected to Bridgetown, Carlisle Bay is the heart of Barbados, known for its white sand and beautiful calm Caribbean waters. Carlisle Bay features six shipwrecks spread across the bay, at depths between 12 m and 55 m. 

Activities to do in Carlisle Bay include snorkelling, scuba diving, swimming, and enjoying a boat ride on a yacht or catamaran. 

snorkle barbados

How to Snorkel Carlisle Bay, Barbados 

There are multiple ways to snorkel Carlisle Bay: you can bring your snorkel gear from home and swim out from the beach, or you can take a tour that includes a boat ride and snorkel gear rental. 

Being a strong swimmer, I knew I would be okay to leisurely swim out to the shipwrecks and snorkel on my own. I had packed my snorkel set, and I didn’t need a lifejacket to remain afloat in the water. While snorkelling across the shipwrecks in Carlisle Bay, I saw three starfish, turtles, and many kinds of fish. I had such a fun time and found three shipwrecks!

If you wish to book a snorkel tour, you can find a tour option using Trip Advisor.  I did not take a snorkel tour in Barbados, so I cannot recommend a specific company.

How to Get to Carlisle Bay, Barbados 

From Bridgetown, you can visit Carlisle Bay by taxi, local shuttle bus, or on foot. There is public beach access as well as a private beach club available. The beaches of Carlisle Bay are called Pebbles Beach and Brownes Beach. 

Day 3 in Barbados – North Coast and Speightstown

Today will take you to the Saint Lucy and Saint Peter parishes of Barbados. 

animal flower cave - barbados itinerary

Animal Flower Cave 

Animal Flower Cave is a natural sea cave located under the cliffs near North Point, Barbados. The cave was discovered in 1780 by English explorers and sits above sea level. The name Animal Flower Cave comes from sea anemones; they can be found in the cave and are known as animal flowers by locals.

Animal Flower Cave features the sea cave and a cliffside restaurant serving lunch. The restaurant serves fresh and local Bajan dishes. 

You can tour Animal Flower Cave with a local guide and will also have an opportunity to swim in the natural pool if you wish. Make sure you bring or wear your bathing suit if you plan to swim. As part of the tour, the guide explains the history of the cave and shows you the best photo spots. Within Animal Flower Cave, you will have scenic views of North Point and the ocean.

During my visit, we toured the cave and swam in the natural pool. We had the cave to ourselves for most of our visit. It was one of the most memorable moments of our Barbados trip to swim inside Animal Flower Cave. 

Animal Flower Cave

Hours of Operation: Tues-Sun 9:30 am – 4:30 pm, waves permitting. 

Cost: 25 BBD per adult

How to Get to Animal Flower Cave 

From Bridgetown, take the bus heading to Animal Flower Cave. Make sure the bus is going to Animal Flower Cave and not Flower Forest Botanical Garden, we accidentally took the wrong bus on our trip, had to backtrack, and switch buses.

If you have a rental car, there is parking available at Animal Flower Cave.  

Beside Animal Flower Cave is North Point, the next stop for today.

north point barbados

North Point 

North Point is a cliffside in the most northern part of Barbados. Found where the gentle Caribbean Sea meets the rough Atlantic Ocean, North Point offers panoramic views. From North Point, you can see the seaside entrance to Animal Flower Cave, one of Barbados’s most visited attractions. 

When visiting North Point, be careful of the winds. Don’t go too close to the edge of the cliff. It was a neat experience to say I’ve visited the most northern point of a country. 

North Point 

Hours of Operation: Daily sunrise-sunset

Cost: FREE

On your way back to Bridgetown, pause at Speightstown. 

barbados sunset

Speightstown 

Speightstown is a historic colonial town in northwest Barbados, the second largest town to Bridgetown. A former port, Speightstown has transformed into an active and vibrant community, featuring: street vendors, art, and historic architecture. 

Take a stroll along the colourful streets, enjoy a nice meal, or relax at one of its beautiful beaches. During my visit to Speightstown, I dined at a restaurant overlooking the ocean and watched the sunset.

Speightstown

Hours of Operation: Daily sunrise-sunset

Cost: FREE

Day 4 in Barbados – Bridgetown

Today will take you to the Saint Michael parish of Barbados. 

bridgetown barbados itinerary

Bridgetown Walking Tour – Self-Guided 

One of the best ways to experience Bridgetown is to explore the city on foot via a self-guided walking tour. During your walking tour, you can explore the city of Bridgetown and see its historic attractions, and visit local markets. Select items from the list below that interest you, or choose to visit them all. 

What to See and Do in Bridgetown – On Your Walking Tour 

Independence Square 

Independence Square is a small public square in the heart of Bridgetown. A quiet little spot, the plaza features a water fountain and benches with a view of Parliament and National Heros Square. While wandering around Bridgetown, Independence Square is a good place for a quick rest.

Independence Arch 

Independence Arch is an important landmark at the sound end of Champlain Bridge in Bridgetown. The arch was built in 1987 to celebrate 21 years of Barbados’ independence from Britain. It displays important parts of Bajan culture, including carvings of two national symbols, the flying fish and pelican. Each November, the arch is lit up with blue and gold lights to celebrate Barbados’ independence. 

Chamberlain Bridge 

Chamberlain Bridge is a lift bridge in Bridgetown, one of two active bridges in the capital city.

Originally built as a swing bridge in 1872, the bridge was rebuilt in 2006 to be decorative and allow pleasure crafts to pass. The Chamberlain Bridge connects the outer and inner basins of the Careenage. You will find Chamberlain Bridge near the Barbados Boardwalk and Independence Arch. 

National Heroes Square 

National Heroes Square is a triangular-shaped public square in central Bridgetown. Formerly called Trafalgar Square, the plaza was built in the early 1800s following the Battle of Trafalgar. In 1999 the plaza was renamed National Heroes Square to honour the national heroes of Barbados. National Heroes Square features a fountain celebrating running water in Barbados.

Wickham Lewis Boardwalk – Barbados Boardwalk

The Wickham Lewis Boardwalk, commonly known as the Barbados Boardwalk, is a waterfront trail passing through Bridgetown, Barbados. Running east to west along the water, the Barbados Boardwalk is a perfect place for an afternoon stroll. You will find the boardwalk lined with colourful buildings and see many docked ships along the path. The Barbados Boardwalk is very picturesque.

Along the boardwalk are benches, which are a good place to relax, watch the sunset, and see boats pass by. During my visit, we walked along the Barbados Boardwalk, admiring the beautiful buildings of Bridgetown.  

Cheapside Street Market 

Cheapside Street Market is a local Bajan farmer’s market. At the market, you will find fresh fruit, vegetables, and meats, as well as vendors serving local cuisine. The market is open to locals and tourists and operates Monday through Saturday.  

Are you looking for more things to do in Bridgetown? Try these activities. 

  • Blackwoods Screw Dock Barbados  
  • Mount Gay Rum Distillery
  • Rihanna Drive Monument 
  • Queen’s Park
  • Montefiore Fountain
  • Old Town Hall 

Note: The Lord Nelson statue is no longer in National Heroes Square. The statue was moved to the Barbados Museum and Historical Society in 2020. 

Day 5 in Barbados – Bridgetown 

Today you will leave Barbados and either head home or continue with your travels elsewhere. Your 5 days in Barbados are coming to an end. Depending on your flight or cruise time, you may decide to relax or explore more of the island. 

I chose to go to Carlisle Bay once again to get one last beach morning in before flying out in the afternoon. 

If you choose to get some last-minute exploring in, you can explore more of Bridgetown using yesterday’s list, or try one of these activities: 

More Things to Do in Barbados

Richard Haynes Boardwalk – a 1.2km boardwalk connecting Sugar Bay to Rockley Beach

Harrison’s Caves Eco-Park Adventure – an underground cavern in the central uplands

St.Nicholas Abbey and Steam Railway – a heritage steam train that transverses a plantation 

Morgan Lewis Windmill – a historic windmill from the last sugar mill in Barbados 

Harrison’s Point Lighthouse – an 85ft lighthouse in northwest Barbados, no longer in use

Safe travels home, and I hope you enjoy your 5 days in Barbados.  

Is Barbados Safe? 

In general, Barbados is a safe place to visit. Barbados is considered one of the safest countries in the Caribbean. Local Bajans are very relaxed, helpful and friendly. 

There is a low crime rate on the island, but that doesn’t mean no crime happens. As with other destinations, be observant, don’t leave valuables unattended, and watch for pickpockets. 

During my visit to Barbados, I didn’t once feel unsafe. Barbados was one of the safest places I’ve visited thus far, and I would happily return. 

Is Barbados Expensive? 

In general, Barbados can be an expensive place to visit.  Most items on the island need to be imported from the USA or the United Kingdom. 

The west coast tends to be more expensive compared to south Barbados. While Barbados can be pricey, it is possible to make your trip to Barbados affordable and for you to see the island on a budget. 

You will find luxury and budget options available in Barbados, from food to accommodations. Barbados is a fun place to visit, and whether you spend a little or a lot, you can enjoy its beauty.

Getting Around Barbados

There are a few different ways to get around Barbados: rental car, bus, walking, or taxi. The local buses are small cargo vans or school buses that drive around various places on the island. Even though they are private, they have set routes. The bus cost is $2 in Barbados and will cover all major tourist areas. 

Make sure to ask the driver if the bus will take you to your destination. If it’s not the right bus, the driver or passengers will direct you to catch the right one. Locals are very helpful with directions, especially if you can show your destination on a map. 

One thing to note, the cargo van buses will try and fit as many passengers into the vehicle as there are seats. Being a larger-built girl, it got a little squished at times, but nothing too uncomfortable. 

Renting a car is another good way to get around the tiny island. You will be able to rent a car at the airport. Renting a car would allow you the freedom to travel anywhere on the island at any time, and in comfort. 

How to Get to Barbados

To get to Barbados, you can arrive by plane or via cruise. Flying to Barbados, you will land at Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) along the south coast. Flights arrive from Canada, the USA, Europe, and other Caribbean islands. From Toronto or New York, a direct flight to Barbados is approximately 5 hours. 

If you are on a cruise, and Barbados is one of the destinations, you will arrive in Bridgetown on the west coast. There are over 20 cruise lines that stop at the port in Barbados. 

How to Get to Bridgetown from the Airport 

Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) is the primary airport in Barbados. The best way to get to Bridgetown from BGI airport is by taxi or local bus. Buses and taxis run daily and will take you towards Bridgetown and its surrounding areas. 

A private local bus ride takes about 20-25 minutes and costs $2 each way. You can pay for your fare with USD bills. I did not take a taxi in Barbados, so I am unsure of the rate.  

Another way to get from Barbados airport to Bridgetown is by rental car. It takes approximately 20 minutes to drive to Bridgetown. 

What Language Do They Speak in Barbados? 

English is the official language of Barbados. Bajan, an English-based Creole language based on British and African influence, is also widely spoken by locals. 

Helpful Tips for Visiting Barbados

  • There are fewer crowds in Barbados on days when cruise ships are not docked. 
  • November through May is the best time of year to visit Barbados. 
  • The official currency of Barbados is the Barbados Dollar (BBD); the BBD is tied to the USD at a rate of 2 BBD is 1 USD. You can use either BBD or USD while in Barbados. 
  • Tap water in Barbados is safe to drink.
  • The drinking age in Barbados is 16 years old.  

Hope this information helped you plan your 5-day itinerary for Barbados.

Happy travelling!

6 thoughts on “Barbados Itinerary: 5 Days in Barbados”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this itinerary! I’ve always wanted to go but afraid because I never have been there and didn’t know where to start for places to visit or where to eat at. This helps me a lot to make future plans!

    1. It makes me so happy that you enjoyed this Barbados itinerary and that it makes you feel more comfortable to plan your own trip to Barbados. Hope you love visiting Barbados as much as I did 🙂

    1. So glad you enjoyed reading it. Great choice adding Barbados to your bucket list, what a fun and beautiful destination.

  2. I appreciated this whole post! I wouldn’t know where to start planning this type of trip and you made it very comprehensive. Thank you!

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I love sharing as much information as I can to make trip planning easier. Save this for later for when you plan a trip to Barbados 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *