If you’re a thrill seeker who’s always imagined Barbados as simply a destination where you can kick back and relax, you might want to take a closer look at some of the more exhilarating activities it has to offer. Whether you prefer your excitement on land, on water or even beneath the waves, you’ll be more than pleasantly surprised at the adventures that await. Here we look at some of the best.
If you’re the adventurous type, you won’t be satisfied with just seeing the typical tourist sites across the island. Instead, you’ll want to explore its hidden gems and have lots of fun while you’re at it. If that’s what you’re after, then you should take a Jeep safari: a six-hour, off-road excursion on an open-sided four-by-four, where you’ll leave the beaten track and take a rugged ride around the island’s best-kept secrets. This by-the-seat-of-your-pants expedition will visit the best of the island’s less-visited cultural, historical and natural locations, taking you to places that you wouldn’t be able to see if you hadn’t gone off-road.
Submarine predator hunt
There are only a few locations where anyone can book themselves a ride on a submarine and, thankfully, Barbados is one of them. Even better, the one in Barbados, the Atlantis, is not your average sub. Kitted out with large portholes along either side, it’s been designed to give its travellers perfect views of the seafloor as it dives to 150 feet below the surface.
While a daytime journey will let you see the beautiful reefs and creatures that live on them, real adventure seekers will probably prefer the night-time dive. Here, illuminated in the submarine’s lights, you can experience what even practised divers rarely get to see: the ocean floor at night and the scary predators that come out in search of prey.
If you love the challenge of pulling in a big fish, then the tropical seas surrounding Barbados have more than enough whoppers to make you feel right at home. Barbados’ unique location, having the Caribbean on its west coast and the Atlantic on the east means that between December and April, there are more than five hundred species of fish in the area, making it an angler’s El Dorado.
Getting out there is easy, too, as there are lots of experienced operators offering full and half-day angling trips, complete with equipment, food and refreshments. These experts will take you to where you’ll find the fish, and these include sailfish, marlin, barracuda, wahoo, yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi and if you fancy the challenge, possibly a reef, tiger or bull shark.
Diving the reefs and wrecks
The Barbados coastline is home to over 200 shipwrecks, some almost 400 years old, belonging to European navies, traders and, of course, the infamous pirates of the Caribbean. Many of these vessels rest in shallow, clear waters giving divers the benefit of great visibility and making them easier to explore. In fact, some are just a few meters below the surface and are safe to swim inside. Barbados also has some exceptional coral reefs where divers can encounter a wide variety of sea life, including brightly coloured tropical fish, turtles, sea horses, octopi, barracuda and urchins.
The most popular diving locations are around Carlisle Bay and it’s here where you’ll find the majority of the licenced tour operators. These provide the trips, equipment and if required, diving instruction or refresher lessons.
Race car driving
If speed is what gets your adrenaline going, then you have to visit the Bushy Park driving circuit. Here you can get your pedal-pressing thrills by taking part in a Radical Drive Experience, driving a real racing car on a high-speed spin around a professional racing circuit. To ensure you do this safely, you’ll do a few practice laps with an experienced driver first and then you’ll be let loose to try for the podium and achieve your personal best lap speed.
Surfing the Soup Bowl
The reason there are so few hotels on the east side of Barbados is that the coast is constantly pounded by big Atlantic waves. This is no good if all you want to do is swim, snorkel and windsurf, but if you live for surfing, then this is the place to be.
Around the town of Bathsheba is Barbados’ famous Soup Bowl, a part of the coast renowned for large, barrel waves and which is a magnet for top-class surfers from around the world. If you’re an experienced, thrill-seeking surfer, this is your nirvana. Be warned though, it’s not for the faint-hearted and swimming conditions can be treacherous. If in doubt, come to spectate and keep your surfboard for the kindlier south coast.
Ultimate thrill: Staying at Royal Westmoreland
If you are looking for somewhere to stay that will take your breath away just as much as the adventures you have planned, then nowhere will do this quite like the exclusive Royal Westmoreland. Offering some of the most luxurious villas and apartments, it’s one of the most private Barbados resorts, overlooking the west coast, with amenities that include a championship standard golf course, state-of-the-art gym, floodlit tennis courts, a collection of first-class eateries and a nearby Beach Club. You’ll find it offers exceptional service, complimentary housekeeper and concierge, private chef service and 24/7 security.
For more information, visit Royal Westmoreland’s Holidays Page.