For my 30th birthday, my cousin and I spent 3 days in Barbados, a small Caribbean island with beautiful beaches, warm turquoise waters, and a rich cultural heritage.
Our parents are originally from Trinidad & Tobago, but we have family heritage in Barbados. In addition to the pre-birthday festivities and learning about the island, we were in desperate need of a break from work and used our trip to rest.
We’re pretty spontaneous travelers so here’s a travel guide of how my cousins and I spent 3 days in Barbados. With just three days to explore, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the island’s history, partake in adventure, and have time for relaxation.
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.
What do You Call Someone From Barbados
People from Barbados are called “Barbadians”. You will also hear them refer to themselves as “Bajans” which is its colloquial name.
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, and Virgin Atlantic. Traveling after work, our flight left JFK at 9 PM and arrived around 1:30 AM.
Getting Around Barbados
The best way to get around Barbados is on their ZR vans. We took them everywhere we went during our stay and they accepted both US and Bajan dollars. You can also do a car rental or take a taxi. If you choose to get a rental car, make sure you’re comfortable with driving on the left side of the road.
Where to Stay in Barbados
Barbados has several hotels and resorts with budget-luxury accommodations. We stayed at the Bougainvillea Beach Resort, a beachfront property on the south coast of Barbados.
The Bougainvillea Beach Resort was the perfect place for us to stay since it is along the bus route, within walking distance to some of the best restaurants, and about 20 minutes from the airport and Bridgetown in both directions. You can also stay at popular hotels like the Hilton Barbados Resort, The Crane, or Blue Horizon Hotel.
View the map below of other places to stay in Barbados which includes hotels, resorts, and fabulous villas to match your specific budget.
After checking in after 2 AM on our first day, we went straight to bed and woke up just in time for the water activities to start. The first thing we did was take a 30-minute catamaran trip across the water getting breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea and insider tips on how to make the most of spending three days in Barbados.
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 spent catching up, relaxing by the pool, and planning a possible cousin’s trip in the future. We wanted to hit up the nightlife at the St. Lawrence Gap that night, but sleep 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 of crystallized limestone 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. Harrison’s Cave is open 7 days a week with tours starting at 9:00 am until 4:00 pm.
You can also include a Monkey Zipline adventure, Nature Trail & Bird Aviary, Gully Challenge Course, or Mount Gay Rum Tasting at Harrison’s Cave.
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, that 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 city Bridgetown. Like Willemstad, Curacao’s harbor, historic Bridgetown, and its Garrison is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Bridgetown, you can see sites like St. Ann’s Fort, the Parliament Buildings, the Nidhe Israel Synagogue, and Carlisle Bay which is a beach about a 10-minute walk from the city center and a great place for swimming and scuba diving.
The streets of Bridgetown 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 some flying fish and cou cou (Barbados’ national dish).
After our self-guided Bridgetown tour, our 3 days in Barbados we 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 while sipping rum punch and listening to live music. We went back home very tanned and well-rested.
Other Things to Do in Barbados
For a small island, there is a lot to do in Barbados. If you have only one day to spend or visit for more than an extended weekend, here are some of the best things to do in Barbados that you can add to a formal Barbados itinerary.
- National Botanical Gardens – The National Botanical Gardens features a variety of tropical flowers, shrubs, and trees. Admission to the National Botanical Gardens is free.
- Oistins Fish Fry – Visit the Oistins Fish Fry on a Friday 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 how the local rum, Mount Gay is made and eat more Bajan cuisine in the Verandah restaurant that overlooks the sea.
- Barbados Wildlife Reserve – See monkeys, turtles, and other animals in their natural habitat at Barbados Wildlife Reserve.
- 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 the 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 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.
By following this three-day itinerary, you can immerse yourself in the diverse offerings of this paradise island, from exploring historic landmarks and eating delicious food to embracing the natural wonders of the island.
Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or a blend of both, Barbados is worth visiting. I hope 3 Day Barbados travel itinerary gave you a good idea of things to do on the island. If you found this helpful, pin it for future reference and share it with your social community.