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Our Favourite Things to Do in Barbados

Swim with the fishes (in a good way)

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Beach in Barbados with trees and calm, blue water

It’s hard to think of things to do in Barbados without conjuring images of white sandy strands and quaint fishing ports. And that scenery is pretty magnificent. But there’s far more to this island nation than that. This beautiful islet in the eastern portion of the Caribbean is a British Commonwealth country with a rich and fascinating history. A tour of the island will take you to the 17th-century plantation estates and such intriguing sights as the Nidhe Israel - a synagogue that dates back as far as 1654. This makes the island an idyllic holiday destination, because you can combine the cultural attractions with the gorgeous scenery. And those beaches really are something. From the secluded Shark Hole and the remarkable Carlisle Bay to the Pamir shipwreck and the Folkestone Marine Park & Visitor Centre, there are plenty of activities around the coast. And here at Plum Guide, we've created this guide to take you through the very best of them, so there's no doubt that you'll enjoy the holiday of a lifetime. Just make sure not to bring too much sand back to your luxury holiday home.

Visit the Nidhe Israel

Take a look around the historic capital of Bridgetown to learn about the island nation’s diverse history. The Nidhe Israel is the only synagogue in the city, and was constructed in 1654. Now a designated UNESCO site, it makes for a wonderful visit, with its pink façade and incredible past. Learn about the 300 Jews from Recife in Brazil who fled persecution to arrive here, before playing a key role in the sugar production that thrived in Barbados. Stroll through the cemetery, and meditate on life, before exploring the exhibits of the synagogue’s museum.

Lemons By The Sea, Plum Guide home in Barbados

Lemons By The Sea, Plum Guide home in Barbados

Delve into the Shark Hole

OK, so we’ve done a bit of sightseeing, and can cross that off of our lists. Now, it’s time to do what you really wanted this whole time - hitting up the beach. The Shark Hole is not quite as scary as it sounds, but rather a picturesque little cove. Turquoise water fills up the hole, between the rugged rocks that surround it. Fairly remote and off-the-beaten-path, you might have the whole…hole…to yourself. Watch out for the undercurrent, as the tide sweeps out.

Sails on the Horizon, Plum Guide home in Barbados

Sails on the Horizon, Plum Guide home in Barbados

Spend the day on Carlisle Bay

Man sunbathing on beach in front of blue sea at Carlisle Bay, Barbados

Man sunbathing on beach in front of blue sea at Carlisle Bay, Barbados

Excuse the rhyme, we couldn’t resist. If you’re looking for the archetypal oasis paradise, then search no further than Carlisle Bay. Heading down there for the day (or three) is one of the best things to do in Barbados. Lie down in the calm, warm waters of the bay, watching the sky above you and the palm trees gracing the beach. Take a boat trip out onto the water, and go snorkelling with turtles. (The turtles just happen to live there; they’re not snorkelling.) Another great activity here is taking a kayak out above a shipwreck. The water is so clear, that you can see it from the surface.

Midsummer Azure, Plum Guide home in Barbados

Midsummer Azure, Plum Guide home in Barbados

Seek succulence in Oistin's Friday Night Fish Fry

Silver fish on a chopping board ready to be cooked

Silver fish on a chopping board ready to be cooked

So, we’ve now had a little look at the beaches and the historic attractions. But what of the local culture? Rummage through the markets in Christ Church Parish for the sounds, sights and scents of Barbados. The Oistin’s Friday Night Fish Fry makes for a great entry point to the island’s seafood traditions. Chat to the locals, and see how they use traditional methods to fry fish caught locally.

Tropical Gold, Plum Guide home in Barbados

Tropical Gold, Plum Guide home in Barbados

Toast your holiday with a drink

There’s nothing quite like visiting a Barbados rum distillery, set against the palm trees and blue skies of the Caribbean. Make like Jack Sparrow, as you down bottles (or take it easy with a few small caps) of Mount Gay rum at Mount Gay Distillery. All the while, learn about the intricate history of this popular local spirit through the comprehensive exhibits of the visitor centre.

Visit the Folkestone Marine Park

Large sea turtle swimming in clear water in Barbados

Large sea turtle swimming in clear water in Barbados

This is simply one of the best places in the world to take on some aquatic activity (if you’re brave enough). As far as things to do in Barbados go, it’s up there with the best. You’ll discover all sorts of aquatic life among the sea coral and shipwrecks in this park. Go snorkelling and scuba diving around the artificial reef created by the ship at the bottom of the sea. Try kayaking, and visit the aquarium for an unforgettable trip.

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