Southern Barbados is one of the main tourist bases of Barbados. Starting just beyond the Garrison Savannah district of Bridgetown, the parish of Christ Church is a strip of hotels, bars and restaurants along Highway 7, one long traffic jam honking its way through Hastings, Worthing, Rockley, Saint Lawrence (the main party zone), Oistins and Silver Sands. This south-facing section of coast is good both for water-based activities and family bathing. East of the airport is Saint Philip parish: this has fewer hotels and amenities, the coast trends north-east and becomes rugged and the seas are stronger.

UnderstandEdit

 
Coastline at Oistins
"A wild, mad, drunken fellow whose lewd and extravagant carriage made him infamous in the island"
- description of Austin, an early landowner and likely origin of the placename Oistins.

The west coast of Barbados is sheltered and had the first European settlements, the east coast is exposed with a dangerous lee shore. The south coast is something between, with a distinct transition at Oistins and South Point. Oistins became a fishing village, but was never a major port for long-distance shipping. In the late 20th century the area was boosted by the expansion of flights into Seawell, on the flat terrain a few miles inland - in 1976 this airport was renamed for Grantly Adams (1898-1971), first premier of Barbados. (Surely just a coincidence that in 1976 his son Tom Adams became Prime Minister.) Budget flights brought active holidaymakers who weren't content to sunbathe on a beach, and who wanted water sports such as wind-surfing. That market, plus short travel times to the airport and to Bridgetown, turned the southwest section of coast into the major tourist strip on Barbados.

Get inEdit

1 Grantley Adams Airport (BGI IATA) is in this area, so travellers staying in the south of Barbados have short transfer rides. See Barbados#Get in for airport facilities and flight connections.

Highway 7 is the main road along which all public transport runs. Runs? - more often crawls, especially around commuter times, though they fly like hellbats whenever they see a clear stretch. Buses westbound are all going to Bridgetown with some continuing up the west coast as far as Speightstown. Buses eastbound are all going to Oistins with some continuing to Silver Sands and the airport, and a few beyond into Saint Philip.

Get aroundEdit

 
Map of Southern Barbados

And see Barbados#Get around for the different types of bus & minibus; it's a flat fare of B$3.50. Almost every third vehicle on Highway 7 is a minibus plying between Bridgetown and Oistins; they stop anywhere, even if you weren't hailing them to stop, with a tirra-lirra-lirra of horn to get your attention. (They will succeed in this whenever you try to sleep in your hotel.) Services beyond, north to Speightstown and east to the airport, are every ten minutes.

Private taxis start at B$2/km. These are the better option at night, and for anywhere off the main drag.

SeeEdit

  • 1 Garrison Savannah: see Bridgetown for this historic district a mile south of city centre. This was the 18th- and 19th-century military base, centred on the "Savannah", once the parade ground and sports fields, now the island's racetrack. Its chief attractions are the George Washington House, the Barbados Museum, and St Ann's Fort.
  • Mallalieu Motor Collection is a private enthusiast's collection of mostly mid-20th century classic motors, B$20. It's next to the Courtyard by Marriott.
  • 2 Foul Bay in spite of the name is an attractive bay, beach and village along the southeast coast, one of the more unspoiled beaches on the island. It probably got its name because fishermen landed and gutted their fish here, leaving stinking heaps.
  • 3 Sam Lord's Castle is nowadays a hard-hat construction site. Sam Lord (1778-1844) amassed a pirate fortune by pillaging local shipping, and built a mansion in Long Bay, Saint Philip. This was later turned into a swanky hotel, which went bust, and the money to redevelop it couldn't be raised. (Hard to imagine now, but mid-20th century banking rules actually forbade piracy and pillage.) The derelict building was gutted by fire in 2010. In 2017 the Wyndham Hotel group began rebuilding it, though this was hit by the covid travel slump and there's no word on when the new hotel might open.
  • Kitteridge Point is the east tip of the island. The coast to the north is exposed to the worst of the Atlantic weather. A three-mile strip of it is still within the southern parish of Saint Philip but in character is more like Central Eastern Barbados - see that page for features such as 4 Culpepper Island.

DoEdit

 
Sam Lord's Castle in 1949
  • Surfing: The southern coast is the best part of the island for surfing, wind surfing or kite surfing. West towards Maxwell is better for beginners whereas east towards Silver Sands suits those with more experience.
  • Scuba diving: the nearest dive shacks are clustered around Bridgetown but they pick up from the south-side hotels.
  • Foursquare Rum Distillery offer free self-guided tours. They're at Four Roads, Saint Philip, and open M-F.
  • Banks Brewery conduct tours daily at 10AM, noon and 2PM. They're on Newton Road Industrial Estate, off Tom Adams Highway 3 miles west of the airport.
  • Golf: Barbados Golf Club is a mile east of Oistins. White tees 6805 yards, par 72, visitor round B$200. Rockley Resort also has a golf course.
  • Cinema: Globe Drive-In is two miles northwest of Oistins. Olympus is a conventional cinema nearby within Sheraton Mall.

BuyEdit

  • Supermarkets along the beach strip include Shopsmart Express at Worthing (daily 9AM-6PM), Dover Market at Dover Beach (daily 7AM-10PM), Massy in Oistins (M-Sa 8AM-8PM, Su 9AM-2PM) and Montrose also in Oistins (M-Sa 8AM-7PM, Su 9AM-2PM).

EatEdit

 
Barchetta in the Mallalieu Collection
  • Oistins is a small fishing town on the south coast. Fish straight off the boats is prepared and cooked by the beach. Friday night is the Oistins Fish Fry, with a carnival atmosphere and beach huts selling fish dinners.
  • Zen is a Japanese/Thai restaurant within Crane Resort, Saint Philip (see Sleep). The menu features sushi, sashimi and Thai curries among others. It's open W-M 6PM-9.30PM.

DrinkEdit

Astronomical numbers of bars along the main drag, no standout. More rum, anyone?

SleepEdit

Highway 7 along the south coast is lined with mid-scale to upmarket accommodation.

Go nextEdit

  • Bridgetown the capital has a pleasant riverfront promenade. Buses towards town run past Garrison Savannah.
  • Western Barbados has more sheltered beaches for kiddy-bathing.
  • Central Eastern Barbados on the exposed Atlantic coast is the most scenic and least developed region.


This rural area travel guide to Southern Barbados is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.