I really try my best to plan my trips in advance, but plans change every once in a while. My Vegas, then Miami, then Chicago, then Vegas, then Chicago again 30th birthday trip and jumped on a flight deal to spend an extended weekend in Barbados with my cousin. Our parents are originally from Trinidad, but we also have a family history in Barbados. In addition to the pre-birthday festivities, we were in desperate need of a break from work. We’re pretty spontaneous travelers so here’s a travel guide of how my cousins and I spent 3 days in Barbados. If you are spending one day in Barbados for a cruise stop or visiting the island for more than a weekend, I’m also sharing other things to do in Barbados to include in your Barbados itinerary.
Traveling to Barbados from NYC
JetBlue offers direct flights from NYC to Barbados via their mint service. Other airlines offering flights to Barbados include American Airlines and Caribbean Airlines. Airlines flying to Bridgetown from destinations in Europe, the Caribbean, and Canada include WestJet, Air Canada, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and LIAT. Traveling after work, our flight left JFK at 9 PM and arrived around 1:30 AM.
Where to Stay in Barbados
Barbados has a number of hotel and resorts with budget-luxury accommodations. Our hotel, the Bougainvillea Beach Resort is a beachfront property along the bus route and about 20 minutes from the airport and Bridgetown in both directions. Since we arrived so early in the morning, after checking in we went to bed and woke up just in time for the water activities to start. We took advantage of a 30-minute catamaran sail across the water getting breathtaking views and insider tips on how to make the most of spending three days in Barbados.
Related: A Weekend at the Bougainvillea Beach Resort
Three Days in Barbados Day 1 – Beach and Family Lime
Coincidentally, my cousins from Trinidad were in Barbados for a gymnastics competition. Their hotel was 15 minutes driving distance, so we took our first ride in the ZR Van to meet them for lunch at Just Grillin’ right across from the Accra Beach hotel. Most of the night was catching up, relaxing by the pool and planning a possible cousins trip in the future. We wanted to hit up the nightlife at the St. Lawrence Gap that night, but sleep definitely took over.
Three Days in Barbados Day 2 – Harrison’s Cave and St. Lawrence Gap
Sunday afternoon, we met up with my cousins again for a day trip to Harrison’s Cave which is an active stream cave system that is 2.3 kilometers long and Barbados’ #1 local and tourist attraction. Through the tram tour, we were able to see stalactites and stalagmites and learn that they are actively growing by less than the thickness of a piece of paper each year.
After eating lunch at Swagg, we said our goodbyes and finally made it to the St. Lawrence Gap for drinks, souvenir purchases, people watching and dancing to soca tunes in a nearby club. DJ liked us so much, I was getting happy birthday shoutouts the whole night. If you’re looking for great nightlife in Barbados, the St. Lawrence Gap is one of the best spots to be.
Three days in Barbados Day 3 – Day Trip to Bridgetown, Beach Bummin’ and Manager’s Cocktail Hour
On the last day of our extended weekend in Barbados, we took the ZR Van to the capital Bridgetown. Like Willemstad, Curacao’s harbor, historic Bridgetown and its Garrison is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The streets were very busy with taxis, street vendors and a mix of tourists and locals seeing sights and moving at a fast pace. After many recommendations, we went to the food court at Cave Shepherd for fresh Cou Cou (Barbados’ national dish).
After our self-guided Bridgetown, Barbados city tour, our 3 days in Barbados ended where it began in our resort on the beach. Every Monday, the Bougainvillea Beach Resort hosts a cocktail hour, so we chatted with the staff about our past and future travels, my blog and how much we enjoyed our stay. We went back home very tanned and well-rested.
3 Days in Barbados Itinerary + Other Things to do in Barbados
An extended weekend in Barbados for relaxing was just enough for us, but I’m hoping to do more activities on my next trip to learn about the country’s history and my family’s culture. If you have only one day to spend in Barbados or visiting for more than an extended weekend, here are some other things to do in Barbados to add to a formal Barbados itinerary.
- Oistins Fish Market – Visit the Oistins Fish Market on a Friday or Saturday night. Here you will get to listen to the sounds of Calypso and Soca and eat local dishes like fish cakes, Jug-Jug (guinea corn and green peas) fried fish and Pudding. You can also purchase arts and crafts from local craftsmen.
- Mount Gay Rum Tour – The Caribbean and rum go hand in hand. Learn the history of how Mount Gay Rum is made and eat more Bajan cuisine in the Verandah restaurant that overlooks the sea.
- George Washington House – Did you know George Washington lived in Barbados for two months at Bush Hill House in 1751? Fun fact: Barbados is the only country the former president ever visited outside the continental United States.
- Rihanna Drive – Hop back into present-day and visit singer, actor, fashion designer and recently named “the richest female musician in the world” by Forbes, Robyn Rihanna Fenty’s childhood home. Westbury New Road, the street Rihanna grew up on in St. Michael, Barbados, is now officially Rihanna Drive and attracts thousands of visitors each year.
- Atlantis Submarine Expedition – Descend up to 150 feet underwater for the Atlantis Submarine Expedition. See corals, marine life, and shipwrecks while your tour guide shares stories about the underwater life in Barbados.
- St. Nicholas Abbey – St. Nicholas Abbey was built in 1660 and is one of only three genuine Jacobean mansions in the Western Hemisphere.
- Nikki Beach Barbados – Nikki Beach Barbados is a luxury beach club combining music, dining, entertainment, fashion, film, and art. Reservations can be made for the pool, beach, or restaurant for a nice