All the brilliant colors and all the things to do in Bridgetown Barbados.

Barbados’ capital is full of color – colorful personalities, colorful buildings, and open markets of fresh, colorful ingredients – here are our top things to do in Bridgetown Barbados.

Top things to do in Bridgetown: Snorkel with the turtles

One of the top things to do in Bridgetown is to take a cruise. Not a cruise ship, but a catamaran. There is a range of day trips that give you the chance to swim with the majestic sea turtles or you can go rogue and embark on a boozy rum cocktail cruise aboard a faux pirate ship. Our tip is to find a catamaran that takes you to the turtle beach for snorkeling then unleashes the open bar as you set sail along the coast. This was the best experience for your budget.

Top things to do in Bridgetown: go to the races at the Savannah and Old Garrison tracks

Barbados was established in 1628 and you’ll find more than a few symbols of its British past. A garrison faces a horse racing track; there’s a cricket stadium and shops sell pasties and English Cadbury’s chocolate. The Garrison area takes in St. Ann’s Fort, built in 1705, the George Washington House, where he fled to in 1750, and the racing track.

It must be the British heritage, but horse racing and gambling are huge here. There’s a fully functioning modern infrastructure and race day brings in huge crowds. Right across Bridgetown, you’ll see bars and gambling dens with screens broadcast races from around the globe. It reminds us of home (Australia) where you can gamble on nearly anything you can imagine.

The track is bordered by cannons of different ages and eras, a memento to the area’s past.

Top things to do in Bridgetown: Stroll the waterfront by the Barbados Government Offices

Situated on Bay Street, by Pebbles and Browne Beaches are the Barbados Government Offices. It is from here where most ministries operate. They are spoiled for view with the turquoise Caribbean waters of Carlisle Bay just across the road.

Top things to do in Bridgetown: Savor a cold drink at Harbour Lights and Carlisle Bay

Carlisle Bay is a sanctuary for sea life, with natural and man made reefs providing a rich habitat for fish and sea turtles. Just off the beach, a cluster of charters are taking people snorkeling with the turtles and by the beach, trainers from the racehorse exercise their fine steeds in the shallows. The bay is home to several ship wrecks including a party boat and a ship torpedoed by a German U-boat in World War 2. On the shore, popular Harbour Lights is the perfect place to grab a drink and enjoy the sea breeze. This roomy beer garden is sleepy by day but the happening night spot after dark.

Top things to do in Bridgetown: Find a boat at Chamberlain Bridge

A central bridge, the Chamberlain Bridge is still covered with festive livery over the Careenage River in honor of 50 years of independence (since 1966). Originally constructed as a swing bridge in 1872, it can now be raised to let boats through and up the river. ZR vans packed with locals honk their air horns joyously to invite pickups along the way. To the left, a row of yachts, catamarans and in the distance a faux pirate ship party boat prepare for binge drinking day trippers and to the right, the canal leads up to an open marketplace and bus terminus.

Top things to do in Bridgetown: Shop in the colorful open markets

Fresh tropical fruits are something we’ve missed. Here they are in abundance. Pineapples, bananas, mangoes, passion fruit – coconuts right off the palm. It’s not the main market day so the place is sparse with sellers. There are stands selling the kind of junk you find at dollar stores and knock-off perfumes. The locals are not in the mood to have their stands photographed unless you’re going to fill a bag.

Top things to do in Bridgetown: Explore Downtown

Walking the streets to central Bridgetown the place has an edge to it. People are day drinking, there are gaming lounges and gambling dens every few shops. It’s not menacing, but it’s also not exactly welcoming.

Top things to do in Bridgetown: The Parliament Buildings

At the top of Broad Street stands a beautiful stone building protected by a rusting wrought iron fence. A lonely guard on a plastic folding chair sits in front, sheltering from the sun. It’s the Parliament Buildings, the seat of Bajan government, built in 1874. Despite its independence, there are still clear nods to the mother country in the form of a red Royal Mail box and old British coats of arms. We can walk right into the complex and up to the door, though we cannot pass today. Not without a guided tour and it is not something we feel we need to wait for. The blue and yellow standard of Barbados flies proudly above the clock tower.

Top things to do in Bridgetown: Marina and Cruise Terminal

Bypassing the central shopping area, we wander the waterfront in the direction of the cricket stadium. Under the cover of thick fog trees, the most basic sheds protect locals drinking down cans of Barbados’s favorite beer, Banks. It’s not even eleven and they look like they’ve been there for hours. The cruise ship terminals must be close – cabs line the streets waiting for an easy fare.

As a complete dichotomy, a humble marina stands directly adjacent to two luxury liners which rise above like fallen skyscrapers. Talk about excessive – these ones have climbing walls, water slides and an articulating arm that takes guests way out over the ocean in a see-through capsule. The streets around here are vibrantly colorful.

Top things to do in Bridgetown: Kensington Oval

The Kensington Oval is the spiritual home of West Indian cricket. A brass statue of Sir Garfield Sobers graces the entrance of the 11,000-seat arena. It’s here where the greats of the 1980s played – both from an Australian perspective and from the locals, who were the best in the world during that era.


Top things to do in Bridgetown: Go rum tasting at Mount Gay

If you’re looking for an authentic rum tasting, head Mount Gay Visitors Center for icy cold cocktails served up by the Caribbean cocktail champion. Learn more here.

Bernie and Jess Watt are Australian travel bloggers living in NYC. Check out more travel ideas across Barbados and the Caribbean.
Heading for the beach is one of our top things to do in Bridgetown Barbados

WHAT?

You’ll need at least a day to enjoy the top things to do in Bridgetown Barbados. While the city is worth a visit, you’ll get the most out of your Barbados stay heading to the beaches and soaking up the brilliant year-round sun.

WHERE?

Bridgetown sits on the south west coast of the island nation of Barbados.

HOW?

Catch a cab into Bridgetown from BGI airport and get around when you’re here via the ZR vans, a cheap, but crowded van service that gets you up close and personal with the Bajans.

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