Last updated on July 13th, 2022
Barbados is a beautiful Caribbean Island with so much to see and do. The entire country is only 432 km2 (or 167 square miles) in size, but every corner of the island is packed with natural beauty. You could spend a week or more in Barbados and not see everything the island has to offer, but it is possible to enjoy some of the country’s top sights in just one day. If you only have one day to spend in Barbados, this is exactly how you should spend it!
Is Barbados Nice to Visit?
Yes, Barbados is an excellent country to visit! The island itself is stunning and full of dining, shopping, and activity options for everyone to enjoy. Barbados is also considered one of the safest islands in the Caribbean, making it a great destination for foreign visitors. Furthermore, the people of Barbados are exceptionally friendly and welcoming. If you haven’t been yet, you should start planning a trip to Barbados.
Is There a Lot to Do in Barbados?
Yes, there are so many fun and unique things to see and do in Barbados! Of course, one of the first things that probably comes to mind when you think of Barbados is the beaches. While exploring the beaches of Barbados is certainly one of the most popular activities in the country, there are also lots of museums, shops, hikes, and so much more to enjoy as well! Make sure to read my guide to 15 Fun and Unique Things to Do in Barbados for more inspiration.
How Many Days in Barbados?
You can spend anywhere from 1-5 days in Barbados and experience something new every single day. If you have the time, I recommend a 5-day trip, because that gives you plenty of time to balance exploring with relaxation. Give my Barbados Itinerary: 5 Days in Barbados guide a read to see my recommendations on how to enjoy five days in Barbados.
How Can I Spend a Day in Barbados?
If you only have one day to explore this beautiful island, it can feel overwhelming to try and decide what to do! This guide will give you four unique options for how to spend one day in Barbados. Each option explores a different facet of Barbados, but all of them ensure that you’ll be making the most of your short time in this stunning country.
Option 1: Beach Day
The first option for how to spend 1-day in Barbados is with a beach day. Of course, one of the most classic ways to enjoy Barbados is by taking advantage of the island’s gorgeous white sand beaches. While there are several excellent beach options throughout Barbados, I recommend the beaches in Carlisle Bay. Close to Bridgetown and the cruise port area, it is an easy and relaxing way to spend a day in Barbados.
Located on the southwest coast of the island, Carlisle Bay is an excellent spot to do some swimming. The bay is known for its calm and clear waters which are also ideal for snorkelling. It is common to see sea creatures such as turtles and fish as you snorkel, so make sure to pack your snorkel gear or rent some. Turtles are my favourite sea creature and there were so many of them in Barbados. In addition to seeing turtles, there are multiple shipwrecks just off the shore that you can see while snorkelling as well, a total of five shipwrecks spread across the bay. I snorkelled to two shipwrecks during my visit to Carlisle Bay.
After a full day of fun in the sun, make your way into town for a beachfront meal at one of the many restaurant options. Baystreet Fish, affectionately known by the locals as Harolds, is a popular option that serves up local seafood dishes such as fish and chips. If you’re looking to splurge a bit, Lobster Alive is another popular beachfront option with more upscale offerings.
Option 2: Explore Bridgetown
Option two of what to see in Barbados in one day is to explore the capital of Bridgetown. This option is perfect for visitors who aren’t crazy about the idea of spending an entire day on the beach. Bridgetown is both the capital of Barbados and the country’s largest city, making it the perfect place to explore for one day.
One great way to acquaint yourself with Bridgetown is to do a walking tour of the city. You can either embark on a self-guided tour or book a walking tour through a company with a local guide. Walking tours are a great way to learn more about the history of Bridgetown, and Barbados as a whole, while discovering hidden gems and historical sites you might not be able to experience otherwise. During my visit, I did a self-guided walking tour of Bridgetown.
Another fun option for your one day in Barbados is to participate in a rum tasting at a local distillery. Rum is a liquor that is fermented and distilled from sugarcane and is closely associated with the Caribbean. Many rums are produced in the Caribbean as well as South American countries, and Barbados is the perfect place to sample some for yourself and learn more about how the liquor is made.
Mount Gay is the premier rum tasting experience in Barbados, and you can also tour the distillery to learn more about its history. They are the oldest commercial rum maker in the world after all. Plus, after a morning of walking throughout Bridgetown, a visit to a distillery is perfect for those who enjoy alcohol.
Option 3: Take a Guided Tour
The third option for how to spend one day in Barbados is to book a guided tour to explore a more unique side of the island that you may not be able to experience on your own. Although you can certainly enjoy Barbados without a tour guide, it can be helpful to book a tour to enjoy certain activities that the island has to offer, especially with limited time.
One really popular tour option in Barbados is a 4×4 Jeep tour. These tours take you both on and off-road to experience some of the more rugged areas of Barbados that are a bit off the beaten path. Booking a 4×4 Jeep tour is a perfect way to spend one day in Barbados if you’re an adventure-seeker.
Another great Barbados tour option is to book a Catamaran snorkelling excursion. Although you can snorkel just off the beaches of Barbados, it’s a unique experience to head further out to sea on a catamaran. These catamaran tours will take you to some of the best snorkelling areas that Barbados has to offer, and some even include food and drinks. Another perk of booking a Catamaran tour is you’ll be with a smaller group of people, or you may even be able to book a private tour, which is a much more relaxing experience than the beaches can provide.
Option 4: Hire a Taxi Driver for Your Own Private Island Tour
The last, but certainly not least, option for what to do in Barbados in one day is to embark on a private island tour by hiring a taxi driver. Hiring a private driver to explore the island is a great way to take your vacation to the next level. You will feel like a celebrity as your driver chauffeurs around Barbados and highlights some of the most unique areas of the island.
One amazing option for your private island tour is to head to North Point, the most northern point of the entire island. North Point is a stunning viewpoint where you’ll experience sweeping views of the ocean as it meets the rocky cliffs of Barbados. North Point is also home to Animal Flower Cave, a beautiful hidden gem where you can see sea anemones up close and personal and swim inside the cave.
If you want to explore a completely different side of Barbados, consider taking a trip to Harrison’s Cave, which can be found in the central area of the island. Harrison’s Cave is a large subterranean cavern full of flowing streams of water and unique rock formations. Harrison’s Cave first opened to the public in 1981 and has become one of the island’s most popular destinations since.
Another centrally-located option to explore during your one day in Barbados is Hunte’s Gardens, a beautiful botanical garden. Hunte’s Gardens is the perfect destination for nature lovers, and the garden is full to the brim of stunning plants. Hunte’s Gardens is a great place to walk around and relax, and you’ll be met with an incredibly peaceful atmosphere. You can combine a visit to Hunte’s Gardens with Harrison’s Cave for a unique way to spend a day in Barbados.
Where to Eat in Barbados
Of course, a guide on how to spend 1-day in Barbados would not be complete without some restaurant recommendations! After a full day of exploring, I’m sure you’ve worked up quite the appetite, and Barbados has plenty of restaurant options for everyone to enjoy.
Barbados is considered a foodie’s paradise, and many of the restaurants throughout the island are known for serving delicious, fresh foods that incorporate local specialties as well.
Cuz’s Fish Shack
Cuz’s Fish Shack, which can be found on Pebbles Beach, is a classic Barbados spot that offers super affordable and amazingly fresh seafood from an unassuming stand. The fish sandwiches were so good, that I ate at Cuz’s Fish Shack twice during my trip. Don’t miss this must-eat place in Barbados!
Oistins Fish Fry
Another great seafood option is Oistins Fish Fry, which can be found along the south coast of Barbados in the town of Oistins. On Friday nights, the town hosts a fish fry where you can enjoy unique samplings, such as swordfish and marlin, and classic staples like tuna and chicken. The fish fry is a very informal event that is an amazing opportunity to sample some local foods and meet new people. The fish was so fresh and the vendors were so nice during my visit to Oistins Fish Fry.
Other Places to Eat in Barbados
If you want to sample some Jamaican food, Irie Foods, also in Oistins, is a great restaurant option. Mojo, which is located in Bridgetown, is a popular bar and grill that is an especially great date spot. And if you’re feeling a bit burnt out on eating seafood, R.A. Mapp in Bridgetown is known for serving up some exceptionally delicious rotisserie chicken.
Barbados is an incredibly beautiful country that I highly recommend paying a visit to. Although you could spend multiple days exploring the island, one day in Barbados is perfect to see some of the top sights and get a taste of what this island country has to offer. Whether you love the beach and being outdoors, want to experience Barbados’s rich history first-hand, or consider yourself a food and drink connoisseur, Barbados truly has something for everyone to enjoy. If you only had one day to spend in Barbados, what would you make sure to do?
Hope this information helps you plan how to spend 1 day in Barbados.