July 20, 2024

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Your Barbados west coast travel guide

6 min read

I would happily visit anywhere in Barbados time and time again, but there’s something very special about the west coast. It prides itself on a number of beautiful beaches that are peaceful and perfectly kempt, it features some of the island’s most famous restaurants, and it’s home to a small but mighty shack serving up some of the best fish cutters and intoxicating rum cocktails I’ve ever tasted. Of course, let’s not forget that you can easily get around the entire Caribbean island in under three hours if you rent a car, so you don’t have to spend your entire trip on the west coast – but it’s certainly worth checking out if you’re staying in the south. Here’s why.

Where we stayed

FAIRMONT ROYAL PAVILION

Everything about the Fairmont Royal Pavilion is fabulous. With beautiful views overlooking white sandy beaches and the calm sea, it’s a serene spot for a full day of sunbathing and reading beachside with a cocktail after you’ve filled up on the buffet breakfast (which has everything from Bajan fish cakes to freshly made waffles). The hotel is decorated in lovely soft shades of pink and vibrant greens and the rooms are modern, spacious, warm and relaxing. We stayed in a suite on the ground floor which offered direct access to the beach, so post-breakfast swims couldn’t have been easier. It’s also in a great location if you fancy a stroll into nearby Holetown to visit the local supermarket for snacks, to wander around Chattel Village’s boutique shops, or to visit one of the area’s top-rated restaurants.

beach on the west coast of barbadospinterest
Zoe Shenton

The Barbados west coast: Beautiful beach views from the Fairmont Royal Pavilion

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CRYSTAL COVE

The boutique hotel is an ideal option if you’re on a tighter budget for your trip. The hotel is located in a stunning, cliffside spot, with the rooms surrounded by gorgeous gardens which lead down to an idyllic stretch of beach. It’s an all-inclusive option, with a huge range of food and drinks on offer throughout the day (drinks at the swim up pool bar are a must), and they also offer complimentary water sports, including snorkelling and sailing. Staff are so friendly and go out of their way to make it feel like a home away from home.

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Where we ate

THE CLIFF

The Cliff is an entire event; a bucket list dining spot. If you’re in the mood to splurge (and the budget allows), The Cliff should be top of your list. I recommend an early evening sitting for one of most romantic sunsets on the island, and if you manage to secure a table right next to the sea, the soundtrack to your dinner will be the relaxing ebb and flow of the waves crashing in the cove below. Dinner begins with a glass of bubbles from the champagne trolley (they now also offer their own signature champagne) before you dive into the extensive menu.

With so many options it’s tricky to choose, but I opted for the oysters to start, followed by the spiced lobster tail and for dessert I had the velvety-rich roasted banana soufflé. If you’re dining later in the evening you’ll be treated to a live pianist playing in the Twilight lounge from 9pm. While the views, vibes and food were all top notch, what really made the meal even more special was the service – not only was it the best service I had in Barbados, it was arguably the best service I’ve experienced… ever.

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THE CABOOSE

Located in Speightstown, The Caboose serves up tasty fish cutters, ice-cold beers and homemade rum punch. Depending on the day you visit, the fish of the day could be mahi mahi, amber fish, barracuda or king fish. Enjoy it with salad and Bajan-made Windmill Hot Pepper Sauce or go fully loaded with egg and cheese. Place your order at the boat then find a spot on one of the surrounding tables. It’s a perfect, relaxed pit-stop if you’re exploring the west coast for the day or if you fancy a quick lunch to break up your day at one of the nearby beaches.

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CHAMPERS

Still on the west side of the island but located down south in bustling Bridgetown, Champers offers a faultless laidback dining experience right on the water’s edge. There’s a pleasant, much-welcome breeze that you won’t get further up the west coast and the food is incredible – I had the crab crepe to start followed by the West Indian shrimp curry and both were mouthwatering. It’s also a perfect spot for turtle watching – one of the turtles we saw bobbing in and out of the water was so big even the staff went to get their phones so they could snap a shot of it.

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CATCH 22

For a chilled local lunch, head to Catch 22 in Salmond St Lucy, which is located in the quiet north west tip of the island. The restaurant, which sits on top of a cliff with spectacular views overlooking the sea, is surrounded by immaculate grounds and serves up a yummy menu including Bajan fish cakes, jerk chicken and catch of the day with rice and macaroni pie. Word of warning: it’s open from 11am-5pm so get there early to make sure nothing on the menu is sold out!

a wooden structure with palm trees and a body of water in the backgroundpinterest
Cosmopolitan UK

The gorgeous view from Catch 22 in St Lucy

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What we did

GIBBES BEACH, GIBBES

By far one of my favourite beaches on the island, Gibbes is a small, untouched cove with crystal clear waters and plenty of shade. It’s a great spot for relaxing dips and snorkelling. There are no loungers or vendors on the beach, so bring your own towels and pack some Banks beers. If you’re feeling peckish after all the swimming, stop off at the nearby Seashed restaurant on Mullins Beach.

a beach with a treepinterest
Cosmopolitan UK

Grab a couple of Banks beers and head to Gibbes Beach

CHATTEL VILLAGE, HOLETOWN

Nestled in lush green gardens, Chattel Village is a charming row of boutique shops selling a huge variety of gifts and clothes, as well as a number of restaurants, including top-rated Cafe Bar Carizma, which is a solid breakfast or lunch option. Stop by for a coffee and a browse, or to pick up a beach ‘fit and a present for a friend back home.

HEYWOOD’S BEACH, ST PETER

Located in the north west in St Peter, Heywood’s Beach boasts a huge stretch of white sand and clear waters, and is great for turtle watching without the crowds and hum of jet skis and catamarans. Aside from a few couples walking up the beach, we were pretty much the only people there. Like Gibbes, there are no amenities so make sure you pack water and a little picnic. You might also struggle to find shade, so bring an umbrella if you want to stay out of the blazing Bajan sun.

a beach with palm trees and blue skypinterest
Cosmopolitan UK

The west coast: some of the best beaches are virtually deserted

FYI: Barbados high season runs from December to April and lots of restaurants and hotels close during off season, so make sure you check what’s open before booking your trip!

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Headshot of Zoe Shenton

 Zoe Shenton is the Site Director at Cosmopolitan UK. As well as looking after the day-to-day running of the website, she oversees video, e-commerce and social for the brand. Starting out in teen magazines (RIP, Bliss), Zoe has worked in the media industry for almost 15 years and has a background in entertainment journalism, having interviewed the likes of Harry Styles and Taylor Swift. She also spent three and a half years living in Los Angeles where she covered red carpets and discovered all the best spots serving bottomless mimosas. Find her on


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