Bridgetown

Travel Guide Caribbean Barbados Bridgetown

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Introduction

Bridgetown is the capital and largest city on the island of Barbados with approximately 100,000 people living in the metropolitan area. It is located along the southwest coast of the island and forms the administrative and cultural heart of Barbados as well as being an important financial centre for the West Indies. It is also one the bigger cities and more important tourist destinations within the entire region. It has a lot to offer for travellers, with some fine British building style influences, markets, square, cathedrals, churches and synagogues as well as good infrastructure in general. The international airport is nearby with good connections. If you want something other than sun and fun, this city deserves a day or two at least.

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Sights and Activities

  • Barbados Museum, St. Ann's Garrison, St. Michael (On the western edge of the race course), ☎ +1 246 427 0201, fax: +1 246 436 1956, e-mail: musepr@barbmuse.org.bb. Mon-Sat 9:00am-5:00pm, Sun 2:00pm-6:00pm. Housed in the former British Military Prison, the Barbados Museum is an excellent place to go to catch up on the history of the island though you'll have the place to yourself. The exhibits start from the time the coral island first appeared; briefly cover the history of the indigenous people of Barbados; the arrival of Europeans and African slaves and the culture of the island during the colonial period; the emancipation of slaves; independence from the British; and more recent history. There is an interactive children's section that the young ones will enjoy. A small concession serves cold drinks. B$15/B$7.50 Adults/Children.
  • St. Mary's Church, ☎ +1 246 426 2761. The current Georgian building was constructed in 1827 but there has been a church here since 1630.
  • Careenage. Once a port for ships, the Careenage now houses restaurants, bars, and boutiques set in what used to be warehouses and stores for ship supplies. Well protected from the open sea, walk along the Careenage with period buildings on one side and fishing and pleasure boats on the other, stop off for a rum at the Waterfront Cafe, and (with a bit of imagination!) you can almost step 150 years back in time! edit
  • Parliament, Broad Street, Barbados (Near Trafalgar Square). The neo-Gothic parliament buildings are open to the public when parliament is in session.
  • Mount Gay Rum Distillery Tour, Spring Garden Highway, Brandons, St. Michael Parish, ☎ +1 246-425-8757, fax: +1 246-425-8770, e-mail: charmaine.hooper@remy-cointreau.com. M-F 9:30-15:30, Sa 10AM-4PM. Sugarcane, the primary agricultural crop of Barbados, is "rum in the first phase," and you can see how sugarcane is made into the final product at the Mount Gay Rum Distillery. Three tours types are offered: Standard tour (US $8, B$16) approximately 45 minutes long, starting every hour, kids free; Cocktail tour (US $40, B$80) approximately 2 hours long, starting at 14:00 Wednesday, includes a cocktail-making contest at the end of the tour, where the tour participants make their own cocktails with Mount Gay Rum and other ingredients, and compete for the best cocktail; Lunch tour (US $60, B$120) approximately 2 hours, by reservation only. Includes an outdoor Bajan lunch, along with the omnipresent rum punch. Note that the distillery's flash website is so overwrought and confusing as to be not worth your while - give them a call directly to set something up. US $8-60.
  • The Dive Shop (Scuba Dive), Ameys Alley, Upper Bay St, St. Michael, ☎ +1 246-426-9947. A one tank dive is US $60 and a 2-tank dive is US $100. Resort class and dive is US $85. Multi-dive packages also exist, such as a 3-dive (1-day) package. Snorkeling is also offered for US $25 US $60-100.
  • Watch Cricket. Kensington Oval is like the Lord's of the West Indies. If you're lucky enough, try to catch a one day international or a test match at the oval and you'll get a sense for the fun and excitement that goes with West Indies cricket.
  • A day at the races. Barbados has an active horse racing calendar centered around the Barbados Derby Day and the Barbados Gold Cup Day. Rub shoulders with the cream of Barbados society as well as with the serious punters at the race course in Garrison.

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Events and Festivals

Crop Over Festival

This island-wide celebration is probably the biggest and most-loved on Barbados. The origins date back to the 1780s, when sugar cane harvest was celebrated. The highlight is the carnival and spectacular Kadooment Parade. The festival runs from the end of June until early August and includes many smaller events throughout that time period.

Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival

For four days in November, celebrity chefs and food and beverage experts from all over the world descend on Barbados to celebrate the best of Caribbean cuisine. There are tastings, BBQs, cook-offs, dinner cruises, distillery tours, and much more. Visitors will be able to sample the best rum on Barbados and learn about the history of Caribbean spices and seasonings at this fun foodie event.

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Weather

Bridgetown has a hot and humid tropical climate with average daytime temperatures between 28 °C and 30 °C and average nights around 23 °C. Most rain falls between June and October with a change of hurricanes from August onwards. Therefore, the drier (and slightly cooler) December to April period is the best time to visit weatherwise. Unfortunately prices rise sharply during this period and the months of November and May still have good weather. So budgetwise these latter months may be a good option as well.

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Getting There

By Bus

Bridgetown is the hub for the island's cheap and convenient buses. Buses from the south arrive at the Bus Terminal near the city center and buses from the north and center arrive at the bus terminal near Cheapside Market to the north of city center. Note that southern buses arrive outside the terminal, but you have to go into the terminal (entrance just around the corner near the bridge) to catch departing buses.

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Getting Around

Most of the Bridgetown sites are in easy walking distance of city center. City buses run to many of the outlaying sights, such as the Savanna Green. For sights off the main roads, such as the Malibu Rum Factory, a taxi or private car is your best option.

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Eat

A typical Bajan buffet might include Fried Flying Fish and Cou Cou, Pepperpot stew, Pumpkin fritters, Spinach cake, Split Pea & Pumpkin Soup, Chinese Cabbage & Carrots, Baked Cinnamon Plantain, Field Peas & Rice, Macaroni Pie, Bajan Fish Cakes, Fried Okra and Eggplant, Pickled Breadfruit, Pickled Pork (Souse), Pumpkin Salad, Sliced Cucumber & Dill Salad, Beet & Onion, Two Bean Salad, Chocolate & Vanilla Gateaux, Coconut Cream Pie, Rum Balls, Mango Mousse, Bajan Bread Pudding, Creme Caramel, Swiss Rolls and much more.

  • [Brown Sugar, a restaurant in Garrison is famous for their sumptuous all-you-can-eat planter's buffet lunch.
  • Lord Nelson's Pub
  • Bean and Bagel
  • Waterfront Cafe, The Careenage, Bridgetown, ☎ +1 246 427-0093. Set on the cool side of The Careenage, Waterfront Cafe is an excellent place to sample Bajan cuisine washed down with a rum punch or Banks on tap. Live music every night. B$15-B$50.

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Drink

  • Harbour Lights, Marine Villa, Bay Street. All day. The place to go in Barbados. B$40 gets you in and you won't have to pay for a drink all night. The bar / club extends right onto the beach and its a great place to meet other travellers and live music is on every night. You won't want to go anywhere else once you've been. B$40.

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Sleep

There is little accommodation in Bridgetown itself. Most visitors stay either in one of the small towns in Southern Barbados or at one of the resorts near Speightstown and Holetown on the west coast.

  • Hilton Barbados, ☎ +1 246-426-0200. Needham's Point St Michael, Bridgetown.
  • Courtyard Bridgetown, The Garrison Historic Area,Hastings, ☎ +1 246-625-0000. Check-in: 1500, check-out: 1200.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

There are several small internet cafes located around the island as well as connections offered by the larger resort hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Barbados is: 1-246
To make an international call from Barbados, the code is: 011

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 13.0935
  • Longitude: -59.610499

Accommodation in Bridgetown

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Contributors

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This is version 21. Last edited at 7:47 on Aug 13, 19 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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