Though only slighter larger than the Isle of Wight, pear-shaped Barbados offers plenty of choice for beach lovers. With 97 km of coastline, the beaches of Barbados range from peaceful soft-sand coves and intimate palm-fringed stretches to dramatic rugged coastlines strewn with giant rocks and boulders.
As the easternmost isle of the Lesser Antilles, Barbados boasts Martinique, and Saint Lucia as its neighbours to the northwest, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the west, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela to the southwest, and Guyana to the southeast. It’s characteristically blessed with one beautiful beach after another – and all of them wholly unique. First time visitors will quickly lose their hearts to the quintessential Caribbean sands set on the calmer west coast, where rustling palms sway gently on powdery sands. These relaxing beaches offer pure clear waters with languid shallows that are perfect for young children. Further out, calm conditions make for ideal kayaking, catamaran cruises, swimming and snorkelling, as well as adventurous open water diving.
Beach babies keen to find the most flawless sands should delve into the southern beaches of Barbados, where idyllic shores are protected by coral reefs. Outlying deep waters offer divers a scuba experience to remember amongst underwater rainbows of tropical sponges. Conditions are exceptional in the island’s gin-clear sparkling waters, and plenty of dive operators run PADI courses or half/full-day dives. Be sure to visit the stunning powdery sands of Foul Bay and Bottom Bay for a typical Caribbean utopia.
The surf becomes more lively as you skirt the coastline to the southeast, with numerous beaches perfect hosts to year-round adventurous water sports such as windsurfing, kite surfing and boogie boarding. For gentler waters try Oistins, Maxwell or Silver Sands beaches and for more exciting surf opt for the reliably named Surfers Point.
Over on the east coast, sandy swathes are pounded by the crashing waves of the wind-blown Atlantic: a powerful and dramatic venue for world-class surfers who arrive from all over the world, their boards tucked under their arms. The most famous beaches are Bathsheba, Tent Bay and Conset Bay.
Equally as dramatic are the coral and sandstone cliffs on the northern coast, soaring over a hundred feet in height from the seabed up towards the clouds. Jagged rocks and coral formations conspire to offer the occasional sheltered cove around tiny patches of arc-shaped sands, while bizarre, wave-carved boulders, weathered by the ocean surf, form other-worldly sculptures – some like twisted spires and pointing fingers shrouded in foaming sea-spray. Though not recommended for swimming, this area is home to some of the most beautiful and atmospheric beaches of Barbados, and a firm favourite among artists and photographers – especially Maycocks Bay and Cove Bay.
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Have you visited the beautiful beaches of Barbados? Where do you spend your time on the island? Let us know in the comments section below.