Barbados Two Ways

What to do on Barbados' east and west coasts 

Whether you’re looking for a simple, laid-back getaway or a luxury-filled escape, Barbados can deliver. Just choose the coast that fits your vacation style.

East Coast

Defined by its rugged landscapes, jaw-dropping scenery and local vibe, the east coast is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. 

Ease into island life at The Atlantis Hotel & Restaurant in Tent Bay. This historic property with killer ocean views has eight guest rooms, two cottages and a very friendly staff. Lounge around the private pool or linger over a lazy meal on the restaurant’s terrace.  

Later, head to Bathsheba, a sleepy fishing village just steps from Tent Bay, to watch experienced surfers from around the world ride Soup Bowl, the island’s largest wave. From Nov. 12 to 15, the sport’s top competitors gather here for the Barbados Independence Pro Surf Fest. 

If you want to try surfing for yourself, head about 30 minutes south to Surfer’s Point in Christ Church for lessons with Zed’s Surfing Adventures. Or, if surfing doesn’t appeal, try Bath Beach (between Surfer’s Point and Bathsheba) for calmer waters, perfect for paddleboarding and swimming. 

The east coast is also the best place for hanging with the locals at one of the many rum shops—colourful, family-run bars that also often serve as grocery stores. A sure bet is Sea Side Bar, across from Soup Bowl, where you’ll find a lively mix of locals, expats and visitors sipping Banks Caribbean Lager and eating fried fish and macaroni pie (a Bajan must). 

West Coast

Known as the Platinum Coast, this area dazzles with world-renowned restaurants, luxe hotels and stunning beaches. 

There are plenty of beautiful resorts to choose from on the glitzy west coast, including the family-friendly Almond Beach Resort, the well-appointed Fairmont Royal Pavilion and world-class golf resorts like Sandy Lane and the Royal Westmoreland.

Thanks to the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea, you’re also spoiled for choice when it comes to beaches. Head to Mullins Bay Beach, where the popular beach bar is perfect for a sunset meal, or Paynes Bay Beach—its shallow reefs make it an ideal spot for snorkelling. 

Shoppers and foodies should spend time in the western coast’s main city, Holetown. Enjoy some duty-free shopping at the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre, home to luxury retailers like Louis Vuitton and Burberry. Later, splurge on dinner just south of Holetown at Cin Cin By The Sea, which melds Caribbean and Mediterranean cuisines with dishes like pan-fried gnocchi served with jerk pork. 

Another day, head down the coast to the island’s vibrant capital, Bridgetown. Take a tour of the famous Mount Gay Rum distillery or check out the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival (Nov. 19 to 22), which showcases the best of Bajan cuisine.

Getting There: WestJet flies to Barbados four times a week from Toronto.