Budget Barbados: Five Free Island Activities

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  05.27.09 | 3:48 PM ET

Photo of North Point by Eva Holland

I’ll admit, Barbados is hardly known as a shoestringer’s paradise—this isn’t $5, $25 or even $100 per day territory.

But still, after a couple of extended visits here, I’ve learned that it’s not all pricey cocktails, rooms with a view and chartered yachts, either. There are affordable accommodation options and wallet-friendly meals to be found—and, best of all, some of the island’s most memorable spots are free, or close to it.

North Point
This, the northernmost point, may be my favorite spot on the island. It’s all crashing surf and dramatic cliffs, a sharp contrast to the placid beaches on the West Coast. Pack a picnic, and don’t let the hucksters at the entrance convince you there’s an entrance fee—there isn’t. Oh, and don’t miss the blowhole about a hundred yards east of the main path.

Barbados is unusual in its firm stance on private beaches: there aren’t any. Every beach, even those dominated by the ritziest of resorts, is free and open to the public, accessible via a signposted path from the street. The island’s got everything from bustling fun-in-the-sun scenes to undeveloped, empty strips of sand—try Carlisle Bay, near Bridgetown, or Paynes Bay, on the West Coast, for the former and Foul Bay or Bottom Bay, near Sam Lord’s Castle, for the latter.

Folkestone Marine Park
Just north of Holetown, Folkestone is home to a sunken barge and a coral reef busy with colorful fish; there’s also a small museum and aquarium onshore. Access is free, though assuming you don’t BYO snorkel gear, you’ll need to pay a small rental fee.

Photo of Carlisle Bay by Eva Holland

The Boardwalk
The Barbados Boardwalk just opened in January and spans about a mile of the South Coast, running west from Accra Beach. It’s a lovely spot in the late afternoon and early evening, before the sun sets but after the day has cooled down a little.

Old stone Anglican churches are scattered across Barbados, often occupying prime viewing points out over the ocean or the cane fields—get out your camera and cue up adjectives like “quaint” or “picturesque.” St. James Parish Church, in Holetown, claims to be the island’s oldest, while St. John Parish Church, on the East Coast, draws the crowds thanks to its cliff-top location. Admission to the churches is free, though donations are welcome.

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

2 Comments for Budget Barbados: Five Free Island Activities

Jason Rains 05.27.09 | 5:49 PM ET

Nice information.  Barbados can be pricey, but with a little creativity and a willingness to explore options like those you mentioned, it’s not as bad as one might think.

Cheap USA Hotels 06.01.09 | 2:05 PM ET

For cheapest accommodation if you don’t care about luxury but at least clean, I suggest Pegwell Inn Guest House, located in (Upper) Welches, Christ Church. It’s close to the beaches, amenities (across the street is a plaza), and within walking distance to Oistins (the fish place), post office, fast food restaurants, even close to public transportation. For public transportation, either a minibus, route taxi or the big bus, it’s $1.50 BDS each way. You can stay on the Speightstown bus to go to Speightstown instead of getting off at Bridgetown, or the Bridgetown bus to go straight into the capital.

That location I suggest where to stay is right there is Route 11 (route taxi) and it goes to Bridgetown.

But if you’d like to see if you can get free accommodation, you can sign up to be a member (for free) and once you’re approved, you’re good to go, http://www.hospitalityclub.org/ .

As for airfare, always ring or go to a travel agency and compare, once you get the cheapest, grab it while you can. If you have a credit card, you can compare online.

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