Saturday 26 September, 2020

After Crop Over: Beaches to wind down on

(Images: Clockwise from top left: Bathsheba Beach, Rockley Beach, Bottom Bay, Miami Beach)

(Images: Clockwise from top left: Bathsheba Beach, Rockley Beach, Bottom Bay, Miami Beach)

Barbados is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, particularly along its coastline. Its beaches range from calm, picture-perfect coves that are wonderful for swimming to more rugged stretches of sand that are great for water sports or stretching your legs. If you need some R&R after Crop Over, here are ideas on which beach to hit.

(Quick tip: Sargassum has been washing up on some southern and eastern beaches, so ask around before you pick your spot.)

(Carlisle Bay by Pontificalibus-via-WikiCommons)

If you’re based in Bridgetown, then the closest option is Browne’s Beach on the wide sweep of natural harbour that is Carlisle Bay. The sea is usually clear, calm and shallow, so it’s a great place for a swim. Visitors can snorkel offshore and there are plenty of places to eat and drink on the beach, as well as changing rooms and sun loungers for rent. “You can stand up to your neck in the water and still see your toes. A sea turtle swam by us for a charming add to our experience,” wrote one visitor. It’s also a great place to watch the sunset.

(Image: Rockley Beach)

Further south on the west coast is Rockley Beach, also known as Accra Beach. It’s a wide, curved bay and the water can be lively – it can be a good place to splash in the surf or try boogie-boarding. At one end there’s a shallow area protected by rocks which is good for children. There’s a board walk if you fancy a stroll and a couple of good places to eat. And here’s a tip from one traveller: “If you feel like having a great plate of home-cooked food then I would say eat from the two food trucks that come around lunchtime.”

(Image: Dover Beach by Barry Haynes via WikiCommons)

Just a short hop south is Dover Beach, another good stretch of sand. The water can be choppy and there are lifeguards on duty. Visitors can rent kayaks, Hobie cats, boogie boards, windsurfing equipment and jet skis, and there’s also a small reef. And you won’t have to look hard for a snack.  “Lots of local cheap but fantastic lunch/tea-time eateries - amazing salads and fresh fish/chicken,” said one visitor.

(Image: Miami Beach by Joe Ross via Flickr)

Next along the coast is Miami Beach, also known as Enterprise Beach. “What sets this beach apart is the backdrop of a beautiful grove of trees coupled with a lovely wide sandy beach,” wrote one visitor. Again, the waves can be choppy but lifeguards are present. There’s a highly praised food van serving fish cakes and for more eating options Oistins – famous for its fish fry – is up the road.

(Image: Crane Beach by Gary Bembridge via Flickr)

Further round the island on the south-east coast is Crane Beach. Visitors can rent chairs from the Crane Resort for a fee which can be used as credit at their beach restaurant. The waves can be big – if you fancy bodysurfing then this is the place.

(Image: Bottom Bay by gemteck1 via Flickr)

Close to the most easterly point of Barbados, you’ll find Bottom Bay. The big draw here is the setting – a white sand beach framed by small cliffs with palm trees dotted about. Swimming is not recommended but it’s a great place to take some time out to enjoy the view. A tip from a recent visitor: “There is a friendly coconut drink seller at the car park but that’s all you’ll find here, so bring your own food.”

Moving up the east coast you’ll find Bath Beach which, although it faces the Atlantic, is a good option for swimming because it is protected by a reef. It’s lined with trees that provide good shade and there’s a playground for children. “Lovely place for a picnic under the shade of the trees, loads of washed up coral to pick up on the beach,” said one visitor.

(Images: Bathsheba Beach by Postdlf via WikiCommons)

Bathsheba Beach, a little further north, is where you go to surf. The shoreline is dotted with giant boulders, some very large, and the scenery is dramatic. It’s a great place to take a picture or two, and if the waves permit, you can explore the rock pools. Pounding waves make it too rough for swimming but surfers flock to try their hand at the famous Soup Bowl wave.

Moving north again, Cattlewash Beach is a great place for a long walk enjoying the rugged east coast scenery. Swimming isn’t recommended because of currents but there are some pools enclosed by rocks that you can take a dip in. There aren’t that many amenities on the beach but you can buy drinks and snacks in nearby shops for the perfect beach picnic.

Finally, if you carry on moving round the north coast and head back south down the west coast, you’ll come to Brandons Beach. This is the closest beach to the cruise ship port, on the outskirts of Bridgetown. The sea is calm and it’s a great place for a swim. Visitors report it’s not too crowded. “The water was gorgeous and the temperature was heavenly!!!” one traveller reported.  

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