From the moment you arrive at the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal, you'll be aware of the relaxed and welcoming Barbados atmosphere. This vibrant, lively capital city is a favourite place for shore excursions, with plenty to see and do, including the chance to enjoy a drink or two at a beachside bar or savour the sights and sounds of Bridgetown's bustling markets.
You'll see some of Bridgetown's famous beaches before you've even stepped off the ship and you'll dock just a short stroll from some of the island's main shops and attractions. From the coast, you'll have the opportunity to see the miriad tropical fish and sea turtles that live below the waves.
Whether you choose to spend your time on dry land, or snorkelling or scuba diving off the coast of Bridgetown, you'll love the colour and life of the island. Barbados is home to stunning flowering plants and beautiful reefs that can be explored by tourists. The Sandy Lane golf course is an ideal place to spend a few hours if you're looking for a challenge, while Barbados has some interesting historic buildings and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are though, a few particular attractions that you should make an extra effort to visit during your shore excursion:
Mount Gay Rum Distillery
An educational experience, a tour of the Mount Gay Rum Distillery is a favourite shore excursion activity on which you can learn about the history of Barbados rum, sample it yourself or learn how to prepare and mix rum cocktails.
Jolly Roger Pirate Cruise
Assuming you've not had enough of life on the open sea, you can book a place on this pirate cruise for a unique and unforgettable experience. You'll be expected to really get involved in the spirit of the cruise, walking the plank and swinging from the ropes. You'll also swim with sea turtles and savour the delights of a BBQ buffet and an open bar.
Absolutely breathtaking, this Barbados cave is one of the Caribbean's best. You'll explore parts of the cave on foot, but will be transported by tram for most of your tour. Guides will explain how the caves formed, and how they're still changing by the year.
Shopping in Bridgetown
Make sure that you don't miss the Chattel Village shops. They're brightly-coloured buildings filled with wonderful treasures including gifts and souvenirs to take back to your cruise ship. You can purchase decorative items for your home, Cuban cigars and beautiful accessories and items of clothing. A number of street vendors sell items that you could find on local beaches, including pretty shells and pieces of driftwood. Some have crafted these items into jewellery.
At the cruise terminal, you'll find a selection of duty free shops. Nearby you'll also have access to some small boutiques and to the Bridgetown Fish Market, which is an interesting place to experience even if you're not intending to buy. If you have time, visit Earthworks, where you can watch pots being made by the locals and perhaps purchase one to take home.
Eating out in Bridgetown
There are two distinguishing features of restaurants in Barbados. The first is the prevalence of rum. Mount Gay Rum is produced on the island, and rum drinks and cocktails are served at almost every restaurant. The second thing to be prepared for is the sheer quantity of food on offer. The locals love their food, and enjoy being hospitable, meaning that buffet meals are very common on the island.
Macaroni pies are a Barbados speciality, and rice and fish are staples of an island diet. Chicken and fish are incorporated into many meals, with flying fish being a favourite for tourists to try. Red meats, on the other hand, aren't particularly popular. Don't expect to find a burger in Barbados – though fruit and vegetables are sure to feature heavily in any restaurant menu. In keeping with the party atmosphere, many bars and restaurants frequently host their own live entertainment.