As the metropolitan centre of Barbados, Bridgetown is an eclectic jumble of Bajan culture and colonial architecture, with its entire downtown district holding a UNESCO World Heritage designation. Bridgetown also boasts long golden beaches, renowned shipwreck dive sites and a lively nightlife scene.
Things to Do
If you’re craving the beach scene at Bridgetown, head straight for Carlisle Bay, home to sparkling waters, a sandy beach and watersports. Rent some gear for snorkelling, swim with the sea turtles or explore ancient shipwrecks, such as the S.S. Stavronikita. You’ll be scuba diving amongst vibrant coral, barracudas and sunken antiques.
Take a guided tour of the centuries-old St. Nicholas Abbey, which houses one of the longest-running rum distilleries in the Caribbean. Sample rums in the shade of silk cotton trees planted in the 1700s. At Mount Gay Rum Distillery you can learn how rum is produced while sipping on house-made rum punch.
Stroll across Chamberlain Bridge in the centre of Barbados for photos at Independence Arch and pick up souvenirs along the wooden boardwalk. Just outside of town, you can learn about the history of Caribbean sugar plantations at the 17th-century Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill. It offers live demonstrations on sugar making with old-fashioned wind power.
Local culture is evident on the shopping strips of Broad and Swan streets, but you’ll find the most unique handmade crafts and clothing at Cheapside Street Market. Pick up artwork by local artists or purchase bags, hats and dresses, then sample Bajan coconut juice and tropical sweets.
Getting around Bridgetown
Public buses, private minibuses and mini-vans offer transportation around Bridgetown. Taxis are available in the main tourist areas and you can rent a car at Grantley Adams International Airport, about 12 kilometres away.