7 must-visit events in Barbados
If you’re thinking of visiting the Caribbean soon and want to choose an island of the livelier variety: we recommend Barbados.
Not only does Barbados boast beautiful beaches and perfect blue waters, but the island is also home to myriad festivals and events. 2018 has been a particularly great year with more planned before December hits, plus the 2019 calendar is already filling up. Here are just seven of the best events to attend in Barbados.
Food and Rum Festival – (18th – 21st October 2018)
Barbados is considered the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean, so it only seems fitting to start our list with a food festival.
Every October the organisers pull together a selection of events designed to excite the taste buds while offering a variety of other colourful experiences to stimulate the other senses. This year join the UK’s celebrated Michelin Star Chef Tom Aikens in Barbados for an amazing four-day experience. The line-up includes:
- Thursday Festival Opening with the Oistins Bay Gardens Cook-Off
- Signature Rum Event
- Saturday afternoon Polo Rum Spirits, and canapes
- Fine dining events on Saturday night that pair international chefs with local top chefs
- Beach Party at the Hilton Resort Barbados along with a final fine dining dinner at a signature local restaurant.
Open Water Festival - (7th – 11th November 2018)
The waters that surround Barbados are absolutely sublime and offer perfect swimming conditions. Every year, in early November, Carlisle Bay comes alive with hundreds of swimmers from all over the world as they take part in the Barbados Open Water Festival. The 2018 event will offer 1.5K, 5K and 10K swims.
Swimming conditions and the beauty of the island aside, there is a wonderful camaraderie among the swimmers at this event with its laidback island-life setting and the highly popular pre-event practices and social sessions leading up to the swim races. It’s this mix of fun and competition in a remarkable location that has resulted in excellent reviews and many repeat visitors.
Run Barbados Marathon Weekend - (7th – 9th December)
If you’re looking for a scenic place to go for a morning jog, Barbados certainly ticks the boxes. The route for the 2018 Run Barbados Marathon Weekend includes Bay Street where the Government Headquarters and the Prime Minister's office are located, Carlisle Bay, Bridgetown Boardwalk, Kensington Oval, Charles Duncan O'Neal Bridge, Independence Square, and – of course – beautiful views of the Caribbean Sea.
Barbados Sailing Week - (16th – 24th January)
Sailing has a long history in Barbados with the first organised race around Barbados held on January 1st 1936. Starting at the Barbados Cruising Club, the route leaves through the historic Carlisle Bay, passes the deep water harbour and then begins a 20-mile tight reach in calm water up the platinum coast of Barbados passing the homes of the rich and famous.
Then it curves around the top of the island where sailors will pass the Atlantic Ocean, and will face a good 7 miles of tricky currents, wind shifts and big waves. Eventually, they will slide down the 18-mile long south cost and finish up at the south-west point of Barbados.
Sugar & Rum Season - (February 15th – March 31st)
Both sugar and rum form a significant part of the Barbadian Heritage, and this festival invites you to experience the history of both.
From rum distillery tours to sugar and rum cooking classes, chocolate making classes, mixology shows, spa treatments, street and beach parties, cane factory, windmill and rum shop tours, the Barbados Sugar and Rum Season is steeped in history and authenticity.
St Nicholas Abbey Heritage Railway Opening
This isn’t a festival or yearly event – but the opening of a historical attraction. Once upon a time, Barbados used to boast a train service that ran from the capital city of Bridgetown to Bellepaine, St. Andrew on the east coast.
In January 2019, the St Nicholas Abbey Heritage Railway will be opened, (in a million dollar project) and visitors to the island will once again be able to experience Train rides in Barbados.
2018 Year of Culinary Experiences
After all that, you’re going to need some food - but not to worry, the food scene in Barbados offers a delicious mix of culinary experiences. Keep your eye out for the re-DISCOVER logo in restaurant windows (there’s also an app you can download), where you can enjoy a 3-course dinner (including a ½ bottle of wine) for US$50 per person (note that an advanced e-booking must be made). There are also 40 restaurants offering a 40% reduction on lunch menus.
An exciting calendar of Culinary Experiences, including World Food Day as well as the Barbados Food and Rum Festival has also been launched. Alongside weekly and monthly events such as Hasting Farmers Market, Oistins Fish Fry at Oistins Bay Gardens, and a Sunday Jazz Lunch at Eastpoint Grill.