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October 29, 2021

Island touring in Barbados

Barbados, being just 21 miles long and 14 miles wide, Shoreshire villa in Sapphire Beach Condominiums on dover beach, is ideally situated in the perfect place to initiate a day trip around the island. Whether you choose to be on a guided island tour with one of our trusted travel partners, or to explore the island at your own leisure by car, here’s a great itinerary to get you off on your adventure:

First of all, I suggest taking a cooler with ice or preferably ice packs if you can find them with some beverages of your choice. If you’re not being guided take a working navigation system (i.e.: Waze) that doesn’t rely on internet connection. An old school map will be way harder. Also take an opener, sun tan lotion, towels, a change of swim suits and some cash since there won’t be any ATMs to stop at.

Start your island tour at least by 9am, but preferably 8:20am, otherwise you will be racing in the evening to catch the sunset and you’ll then be driving home in the dark. It won’t be scary at dark if you go the route I’m giving you because you’ll be in a lighted densely populated area by the time you head back to the villa.

Island Tour Map

Ok.. Here’s your island tour map.. Get your coffee and let’s go.. first head in the direction of the airport on the ABC highway. You’ll be passing the airport before you hit your first stop. whew… Not time to go back yet… Ok now pay attention… Just a few minutes before arriving at Crane Resort you need to be looking out for signs to foul bay since it’s not in the navigation I gave you. Here we are at our first stop on the island tour…

Foul Bay:

This is a hidden gem of Barbados and has been written up many times in international magazines. The best part about it is that it is all yours and untouched. There is no lifeguard, no beach chair vendors, no hotels or restaurants so basically you, your friends and what you have in your cooler is what you have. The beach is usually secluded for all of these reasons. But this is to your benefit since you’ll see a huge wide beach with palm trees and cliffs framing the crisp white sand and clear turquoise Atlantic ocean. Definitely don’t swim here though since there are many undercurrents and again no lifeguard.

View Foul Bay

Did I mention to get your coffee? Well that’s really up to you because you can get it at your next stop or instead be like me and grab your first banks beer of the day. Next stop is only a few minutes away.

Crane Hotel:

Usually at Crane I drive up to the guard and tell him that we’re going to have a few drinks at Azure restaurant and he pauses for a moment and then opens the gate. However, to avoid possible disappointment, you may want to call ahead of time and make a reservation for having a few beverages at Azure restaurant.

Crane Resort is spectacular. Where your previous spot was a secluded out of the way beach, this hotel is like a lost paradise village. So park your car and head to Azure restaurant. There’s a lot to see today.

Azure is on a cliff overlooking another phenomenal beach. Relax, have your beverage and enjoy the view.

View From Crane L'Azure

I think you’ll have to come back here another day for the full experience where you go down to beach and rent a sunbed. Right next to restaurant there is a pool and I suggest that’s where you go take a few pictures, overlooking the beach, before you leave. It’s a huge property so we don’t have the time today to see it all but you can ask the restaurant host where the old fort (now ruins fashioned into a jacuzzi) is. If you are fast you can pass by it on the way back to your car but be sure to not get lost. It’s beautiful over there and you’re going to want to take many pictures. It’s probably 10:30am now. One stop before lunch and here we are.

Conset bay:

This is a working fish market with a jetty reaching out in the ocean that you can walk out on. After parking, I usually walk out there, have a look around, take some pictures and imagine simpler times.

Then on the other side of the fishery you’ll see a shack where inevitably there will be some guys playing dominos and more often than not having a few. It’s your chance to see how some of the locals live. They are very friendly and they will talk to you. One time someone had cooked some food and they offered some to me. It was quite good actually but save your appetite because the next stop is where we should eat. Oh here we are. It’s probably 11:30, 12 by now so the island tour’s running a bit late.

Martin’s bay:

The Bay Tavern Bar and Restaurant is where we’ll be having our island tour lunch today. Now I know it’s really nice at Champers and Primo on the other side of the island but the food is so good here that I usually order an entire extra meal to go and fortunately the price is right. Their chicken is amazing and that’s what I go for with all the side fixings like rice and peas, macaroni pie and a toss salad. But there is a lot of other food as well since they specialize in freshly grilled seafood such as marlin, red snapper, swordfish and Mahi Mahi. I suggest supporting local businesses and buying a beverage to go with your meal and maybe even top up your cooler with a few more banks beers.

View from Martin's Bay

I suggest a little walk on the beach there to digest and look at the scenery. It’s quite nice and the sea is actually quite calm because it’s a sheltered area. Be careful though if you or your kids take a dip. It is still the Atlantic ocean. And they’re off..

Ok… Now it’s about 1pm.. Sunset in Barbados is around 5pm and we haven’t even gone around half the island yet. We’ll stop to see the professional surfers but we won’t stop long.


When I say that name what I usually mean is “Soup bowl”, the name of the place people go surfing. So if you’re lost that’s what you ask for but most people will know what you mean anyway. North swells with right hand barrels is what brings world professional surfers to this hallowed ground.

Now.. Ready for a tourist trap? Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice and it’s interesting(once), but you are making a trade off between a nice long swim at sunset and stalactites and stalagmites. Entirely optional and up to you. It’s an hour tour, you’re supposed to arrive 30mins before and you have to schedule it all online. As such you may have to make some time adjustments in your itinerary to make it work.

Harrison’s cave:

So what’s it all about? If you’ve searched for it, no doubt you’ve seen adjectives like “wonder”, “beauty”, “world class”, “popular”. And it is all of these things and I would definitely take the time to go see it. It is unique to the Caribbean and very popular with visitors. You will be taken on a tram ride through the cave and you will see underwater streams, waterfalls, pools and rock formations of stalactites and stalagmites. But oh.. cave tour’s over, so now we have to rush to the next stop.

We’re going to be going on a scenic drive through the real Barbados and then along the picturesque and mostly untouched east coast. Arriving now at our next stop. Only 2 more stops to go on the island tour. If you stopped at the cave it’s now around 3, 3:30pm. If you didn’t it’s only 1:30pm and you can relax.

Little Bay (Blow holes):

Even as a Bajan myself, this place never gets old. With the pounding Atlantic ocean in the background, blow hole fountain displays and with almost, what you might call an bubbling infinity jacuzzi, protected by the limestone rock formations, it’s a place I never miss when touring.

Little Bay Blow Holes

Again. I’m not encouraging nor taking responsibility for your swim but I have swam here and it would totally depend on the conditions. However under no circumstances should you go beyond those protective rocks though. I figure we want to get to our next stop by at least 4ish, so based on how much time you have you can decide how long to stay.

Animal Flower Cave/North Point:

You are now on the northernmost point on the island tour. Here you will experience the full glory of the Atlantic ocean and you will now understand why the ocean is no joke. Luckily safely perched on our cliffside vantage point we don’t have to worry about it and we can just let it sink in.

North Point View

There is a bar and restaurant there for snacks but we don’t need it because we have our cooler and we’re full. Keep an eye on the time because it will be 20 minutes to our next and final stop and the earlier you get there the more time you will have before sunset. Ok.. had enough of this unadulterated nature power

We’re off to the west coast of the island. The home stretch back to the south coast. It’s straight sailing from here.

Mullins Beach:

You can park across the road from the beach in a parking lot they have on the left. It’s called wellness center and there are spaces that say public parking. Grab your beach towels and your cooler and head to the beach and the amazing sunset. Generally the beach chairs get put up at 5pm so if you need one tell them you know this and negotiate.

A few things about west coast. Everything is more expensive, including the beach chairs and umbrellas (Did I mention to bring your cooler so you don’t have to buy a drink). The rich folk like this side of the island but I really have no idea why. During the day it’s not usually breezy and it just feels hot even to walk on the sand which isn’t white like the south. Of course it’s paradise, in comparison to where you’re coming from, and it’s nice now at the time we’re here, but in comparison to your beach at home base.. Well there is no comparison..

The ocean on the other hand is different but very nice. There is a steep drop when you enter so be careful. The biggest plus is that it usually is super calm here where at times the south can get rougher. In your case, at dover, if it’s rough one side of the beach the other side is always still calm enough to swim.

Ahhhhh.. Did you see that island tour sunset? And did you catch the green flash when the sun disappeared?

You can hang out and swim until dark if you like. When you’re all done we’ll be heading back along the coast, passing the port and..

Bridgetown (at night):

This is the main city in Barbados and it’s shopping center. You will find all manner of duty free shopping and it’s a rather quick walk from the cruise ship port so you will find tourists and locals alike in the hustle an bustle of the day. In short though, my recommendation is that if you can avoid it, stay on the beach. There is some talk about improving it so one day it maybe different but they only time I go there is to get on a catamaran day trip cruise or when I’m finishing up an island tour like you are. It’s nice and quiet at night with nice decorative lights and that’s just the way I like it.

View Bridgetown at Night

You did it folks… We know you have a choice in island tours… Thank you for choosing Barbados! Welcome back home.

Beach view from Sapphire


Let’s summarize the island tour

  • 22 mins to first stop from dover
  • Arrive 9:22.Stay 8mins. Leave 9:30am
    Foul Bay, Barbados 2 km (5 mins to next stop)
  • Arrive 9:35.Stay 1hr. Leave 10:35am
    Crane Beach, Barbados 10.3 km (19 mins to next stop)
  • Arrive 10:54.Stay 26mins. Leave 11:20 am
    Conset Bay, Barbados 7.7 km (14 mins to next stop)
  • Arrive 11:34.Stay 1hr eat lunch. Leave 12:34 pm
    Martins Bay, Barbados 5.1 km (9 mins to next stop)
  • Arrive 12:43.Stay 17mins. Leave 1 pm
    Bathsheba, Barbados 9.1 km (16 mins to next stop)
  • Arrive 1:16pm.Stay 1hr 14mins. Leave 2:30 pm
    Harrisons Cave, Allen View, Barbados 18.7 km (30 mins to next stop)
  • Arrive 3pm.Stay 30mins. Leave 3:30 pm
    Little Bay, Barbados 7.3 km (14 mins to next stop)
  • Arrive 3:45pm.Stay 30mins. Leave 4:15 pm
    Animal Flower Cave, Barbados 13.5 km (22 mins to next stop)
  • Arrive 4:37pm. Beach. Stay indefinitely
    Mullins Bay, Barbados

If you start earlier, at 8:20am, then you won’t have to cut stays short. Last time I did this I lost about 35 mins extra at Martin’s bay hence I’m recommending an earlier schedule. Plus you may want to spend more time at Foul bay or not do Harrison’s cave so it’s up to you to play with the schedule.

If you’re touring with a guide, negotiate with them ahead of time what you want to do, if they are ok with the schedule, and what it will cost. Best there be no surprises on your wonderful journey.

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I grew up in Barbados and now reside in Boston primarily working as a software developer. I'm also a licensed real estate professional so I know what it takes to be a trusted responsive short term rental host. Hopefully i've hired the best on premise staff who have thought of everything, but I myself am always only a phone call away. Being a local (we go back frequently) I know all the things to do, when to do them and I can get you in contact with the right people to facilitate it. My wife, who is russian, and I love nice restaurants and drinks as well so we can point you to our favorite places to go. You can expect a reasonable and timely response from me should you need any assistance. Enjoy your vacation!

Category: Barbados, Holiday Ideas

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