Barbados by Car - A Day Out
So, you’ve hired a car. There’s 166 square miles to explore, but where do you start?
Coconut Court has a few ideas to help you discover Barbados by car. We’ve chosen three places you can see in a day and enjoy plenty of time for lunch.
After a leisurely breakfast at The Deck Restaurant (you’ll want to miss the rush hour traffic) get to the ABC Highway and then head west until you reach Everton Weekes roundabout near Warrens. Take the third turning and follow the road to the gully, home to the grapefruit and one of the few accessible forest areas on Barbados. It’s not far from Harrison’s Cave, another attraction well worth a visit.
Try to get to the gully just before 10.30am as a troop of wild monkeys usually arrives about this time to be fed by the staff. This gentle stroll on a well-made path takes about 45 minutes. Enjoy high cave walls with stalactites, a fantastic view point and both exotic and native trees and plants. There’s a free brochure to help identify the flora and fauna.
Admission is US$14 for adults, half price for children (there’s also a small adventure park with a swing, zip line and tree house). Between December and April there’s a guided tour at 10.30am included in the price of admission.
Next, we’re headed to Morgan Lewis Windmill, the largest and only complete sugar windmill surviving in the Caribbean.
From the gully, turn right and take the first left down the hill. You’re going to keep heading north through the parish of St Andrew.
Turn right at Shorey village and pass (or stop and have a drink) at the superbly named Nigel Benn Aunty Bar, which is run by… the aunt of former world boxing champion Nigel Benn.
Carry on up the hill until you reach the windmill with its fantastic views of the east coast. Entry is only US$5 with a guided tour for $10.
The windmill, which is owned by Barbados National Trust, was restored in the 1990s and is one of more than 500 in Barbados which were used to crush sugar cane.
A guided tour of the windmill is a great way to understand the importance of sugar to the island. Exhibits include machinery used to produce sugar and there’s a small café. Entry to the grounds and the café are free.
No swimming here!
From here, we re-trace our steps to the east coast road and head to Bathsheba. On the way you’ll pass Sand Dunes Restaurant - a great place for a drink and some local food.
Further on, there are laybys where you can walk down to the beach, admire the surf and enjoy the salt air.
Remember, DON’T SWIM HERE – the currents are too dangerous.
A break in Bathsheba
Then it’s on to Bathsheba where you can watch experienced surfers tackle the break at Soupbowl, a world famous wave home to international surf contests.
If you arrive at low tide, cool off in the safety of the pools at the north end of the beach (by the Roundhouse restaurant) while watching the surf break on the reef. Again, no swimming!
Speak to Vaida
The route home to Coconut Court takes you up the very steep Horse Hill – alternatively you can hug the coast road to the south through the parish of St John, though the road is not very good. Either way, follow the signs to Bridgetown until you reach the ABC Highway and then it’s back in time for happy hour at Captain Charlie’s Beach Bar.
For more information about any of the above, speak to Vaida at the Coconut Court activities centre. She can also help with car hire.
Watch horses swimming - just minutes FROM YOUR FAVOurite HOTEL
If you fancy a walk before breakfast and want to enjoy a bit of Barbados culture too, we’ve got exactly what you need. Just a few minutes’ walk along the beach from Coconut Court, you’ll find race horses enjoying an early morning sea bath.
Back to Coconut Court in time for breakfast...
It’s a fantastic sight - and the horses love it too. Swimming keeps the horses fit and allows them to exercise without stress and risk of injury. Sea water aids recovery too.
The best times to see the horses are early on Thursday morning or on a Sunday morning when there has been a race meeting the day before. But there’s a chance you’ll see them every day – you just need to get there shortly after dawn.
And then you can saunter back to Coconut Court in time for breakfast. What a great start to the day!
Have a flutter
Many of the grooms have worked with horses all their lives and come from families with long connections to racing. The grooms are happy to pose for pictures and usually keen to talk to tourists about their job and the horses. Of course the next thing you have to do is have a flutter on the horse you’ve seen swimming – the grooms will tell you when it's next racing.
Horse racing in Barbados goes back a long way and the nearby Garrison Savannah is generally acknowledged to be the Caribbean centre of the sport of kings.
Most mornings, you can also see the horses working out at the track. Some of the horses come down to the beach after they’ve done a few laps here.
These early morning jaunts are ideal for those who are keen to do a bit of research.
And remember, you don’t have to go into the stand to watch the horses on race day. Although it’s great fun and a super atmosphere you can get up close without paying an entrance fee.
You won’t be near the winning post, but you can see the horses from the roadside and there are booths where you can bet your shirt on the horse you saw in the water earlier in the week.
Directions: To see the horses swimming, go to Pebbles Beach near Barbados Cruising Club anytime from dawn. Walk out of Coconut Court to the beach, turn right, walk a few hundred yards, and then cut inland behind the Hilton Hotel. Walk along the beach until you come to the Barbados Cruising Club. The race track is also a short walk along the road from the hotel.