Best areas to stay in Barbados
St. James is located on the west coast of Barbados and is where you will find the crème de la crème of amenities including several fine dining restaurants, cafes, shops and hotels. It’s also a great place to enjoy Barbadian history and culture.
The main town in St. James is Holetown, which is the third largest town on the island. The town is especially well known for its fascinating history and beguiling local culture, free for exploration. Just north of Holetown, you will find Folkestone Marine Park, which is excellent for sea adventures including snorkeling, diving or trips in one of their glass bottom boats for a glimpse of rich marine life, teeming underneath the surface.
St James is also home to gorgeous beaches that experience perfect weather all year round. With marvelously golden sand and calm waters, these beaches are ideal for swimming. Here, there are a lot of duty free shopping options available as the town has three shopping malls -Sunset Crest, Chattel House Village and the West Coast Mall selling designer clothes, souvenirs and luxury items. In addition, there are excellent, world famous restaurants in St. James; so if you are a foodie, and in particular if you like Caribbean style food, then this strip on the west coast will prove to be a gourmet delight. You can be assured of a great meal at any one of the major restaurants in town.
For the historically conscious, St. James is also where you will find the first Anglican Church built in Barbados- St. James Parish Church, which was originally built all the way back in 1628 and rebuilt built in 1789 after being destroyed by a hurricane. Other places of interest in this parish include the Portvale Sugar Museum which pays tribute to the most important export in Barbados' history, sugar at a time when the crop was king.
Christ Church Parish
If you arrive in Barbados by air, you will land at the Grantley Adams International Airport, which is in the parish of Christ Church. This is significant as located just next door to the airport is a hanger housing one of the legendary Concorde aircrafts that has still remained intact since the airline’s retirement. Of course, guests will have the chance to view and tour this historically significant piece of technological history; a testament to great engineering advancement and elegant beauty.
Arriving in Christ Church Parish, guests can immediately immerse themselves in the island culture by enjoying fried fish and other seafood at the village of Oistins. Following that, there are several beaches here to enjoy, including Miami Beach, Accra Beach, Long Beach and Silver Sands where you can kick start your vacation with water sports and swimming within sheltered bays.
Continuing on with the delightful experience, you can enjoy a round or two of golf at one of two locations in the parish, Rockley Golf Country Club or the Barbados Golf Club.
If you decide to settle down in this parish for your visit, there are several other attractions that will certainly keep you busy. For an excellent meal, fine dining may be enjoyed at a number of locations including several small eateries and larger gourmet restaurants. Beyond the tantalizing palette treats, the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary is a wonderful place to escape the hustle and bustle and find your inner peace among stunning biodiversity. Still on the low key side, you will find several places to visit including museums, art galleries and churches. Of particular significance is the Christ Church Parish Church, which is famous for the mysterious ‘moving coffins’ inside the Chase family vault.
St. Peter is a unique stretch of coastline located in the north. This parish is particularly unique in that it offers a calm, tranquil coast that transforms into rugged shoreline at various sections. Within the mix, you’ll find wonderfully stunning beaches such as Heywoods and Mullins which are excellent for swimming, sunbathing and snorkeling.
Here you will find the Speight town, St. Peter’s main town and the second largest town in Barbados. Speightstown holds distinction in being of great historical significance. Wondering the cobblestone streets of this town is a great way to relive Barbados’s colonial past. This rich past includes the grand St. Peter's Parish Church, built in an essentially Gregorian style all the way back in the 1629, only to be destroyed twice and rebuilt.
St. Michael is located in the south and is home to the country's capital Bridgetown. Bridgetown is the only city in Barbados with over half of the island's residents living there. Apart from the duty free shopping, restaurants and bars, you will find a fast paced type of lifestyle and high end offerings in Bridgetown.
On the slower, easy going side, Bridgetown is replete with elements that are reminiscent of its colonial past. If you’re in for a little travelling and learning about how rum is made, the Mount Gay Rum factory is found heading west along the Spring Garden Highway. Many other buildings and historic sites are also found in Bridgetown and within its outskirts.
Popular places in town include Kensington Oval, Queens Park House and Pelican Craft Centre. The Kensington Oval holds the distinction of being where the recent ICC Cricket World Cup final was held and the nearby Queens Park House houses an art gallery. Beyond that, your search for Barbadian trinkets will be complete at the Pelican Craft Centre which houses many local craftsmen and galleries selling various souvenir craft items.
As it draws closer to dusk, the landscape of the city changes drastically. Nightlife here is quite active, as the bars and nightclubs begin to open late in the evening and usually keep the party going until dawn. The action doesn’t end on the beaches either as bonfire parties including steel drum music, dancing and mouth-watering barbecues often rule the night. Popular beaches for such activities include Brandon's Beach and Brighton Beach.