Why You Should Book A Trip to Barbados This Winter
Barbados is more than just a pretty beach. There's a multitude of active events popping up for the first time in this Caribbean hotspot. July saw Barbados' first Dive Fest, which included a series of scuba diving, freediving, and lionfish hunting excursions. Then there was the first Barbados Beach Wellness Festival in September, featuring standup paddleboard yoga, tai chi, and capoeira sessions. Cycling enthusiasts also flocked to the first Barbados Festival of Cycling, where participants explored the island by road and mountain bike. October brings the first Barbados Beach Tennis Open and the Dragon World Championships, a series of inflatable standup paddleboard race events. Besides these new events, there is no shortage of year-round adventurous feats to get into in Barbados. Here are some we love.
Sleep Next to Waves
Ocean Two Barbados has a modern gym open 24 hours a day, and a personal trainer can be arranged through the concierge department. Out on the water, non-motorized watersports are included in the room rate, and there is also surf school next door if you want to catch some waves. To hit some down dogs, try the sunset rooftop yoga every Monday, or relax with rejuvenating spa treatments in the comfort of your own room. At night, toast to your vacation in the epicenter of the bar-hopping scene, St. Lawrence Gap, only a short walk from the property.
Get Your Blood Pumping
The Bushy Park Race Track in the Parish of St. Philip hosts circuit racing and drag racing events, where female international racers like Susie Wolff and Emma Gilmour have competed. On weekdays, you can go for a brisk walk on the track (which opens in the evenings free of charge), a popular fitness activity for locals and their children. You can also test your need for speed with go-karting on the track, where the 125cc Italian-made EasyKarts can go up to 80 miles per hour.
Play Like the Bajans
There's a prominent skateboarding culture on the island, and you can witness mini-skateboarding competitions throughout the year. After Barbados' original skate park at the F-Spot was destroyed in May 2017, it was quickly rebuilt at Dover Beach in St. Lawrence Gap with bright blue and yellow Barbadian colors. This is the location of the big semi-annual competition: the One Movement Skateboard Festival, which occurs every August and early March. The competition welcomes Bajan and other Caribbean skaters ages 11 to 50 and over, where they compete, performing their best tricks. Spectators can walk up and take in the energy.
Looking for something unique to the destination? Barbados is the only place in the world where people play road tennis. It's like tennis played with a ping-pong-like paddle, with no net. You can walk up to any roadside location and join in on a game.
Locals love to hang out at the horse races at the Garrison Savannah, an island event held for more than 100 years. The third racing season takes place from October to November, and the events are accessible to most as you can bet as little as $1 on a horse. To see how the horses stay fit and healthy, head over to the Carlisle Bay beach in the mornings and evenings for a chance to spot trainers bathing the racehorses to cool them off and keep their muscles strong.
Those into geological wonders will find the Eco Tour at Harrison's Cave both thrilling and exclusive to Barbados. During the tour, you'll swim through muddy cave ponds and climb through an active pipe in pitch dark.
Barbados has been called the "Shipwreck Capital of the Caribbean." It's one of the few places where you can experience six wrecks in one dive. Carlisle Bay features six shallow-water shipwrecks functioning as artificial reefs. Reefers and Wreckers, a family-owned dive shop located in Speightstown, hosts guests for morning and afternoon dives on the north, south, and west coasts. For example, they can take you out to the Bright Ledge dive site which drops to 60 feet, with a host of puffer fish, barracuda, mackerel, and other tropical fish meandering the corals. Another diving spot is the Pamir, a shipwreck sunk in 1985 for the purpose of artificial reef creation. As well as dive excursions, Reefers and Wreckers offers PADI courses that range from Open Water to Dive Master.
Crane Beach was named after a large crane situated at the top of the cliff that was used for loading and unloading ships. The mid-size waves make this south coast destination popular for boogie boarders. The calm waters and gentle waves at Folkestone Marine Park make the beach perfect for swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding. The artificial reef found a third of a mile offshore is home to eels, octopus, schools of blue tang, parrot fish, boxfish, and puffer fish.