From time to time, we all need the chance to pack our bags and head off to a faraway destination where there’s nothing to think about but which cocktail to enjoy at the beach. These kinds of decisions usually lead to good things, especially if you end up at your dream destination in the Caribbean.
If you’ve been thinking you need a break from it all, an all-inclusive trip to Barbados probably sounds like heaven on Earth. This small island is beloved for many reasons, including its picturesque beaches. Barbados has some of the most mesmerizing and pristine shores in the Caribbean, perfect for lounging on soft white sand, trying new water sports, discovering an underwater world through scuba diving, and even surfing.
Carlisle Bay, in the parish of St. Michael, is home to some of the most popular beaches in Barbados. These include Brownes Beach, Pebbles Beach, and Bayshore Beach. Here, we’ll tell you all about the Carlisle Bay area, the exciting activities you can enjoy on and around these beaches, and how to make the most of your time there while in Barbados.
The name, Carlisle Bay, rolls smoothly off the tongue. The location is a crescent-shaped bay off Barbados’ southwest coast. It is near Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados, and is at the center of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Carlisle Bay has a protected marine area, which makes it a prime dive location. Along with thriving marine life, there are also a few shipwrecks, cannonballs, and other relics that can be seen underwater in this area.
There are even more reasons people love to spend time in Carlisle Bay while in Barbados, and here are the best ones:
Spending time at Carlisle Bay in Barbados is perfect for anyone who wants to relax, socialize, enjoy nature, dive, partake in water sports, enjoy authentic Bajan (Barbadian) cuisine, and more. Visitors love the calm, clear waters in this area, and they provide optimal conditions for snorkeling and scuba diving.
The marine life you may see while diving in this area includes a variety of fish, such as triggerfish, grunts, snappers, trumpetfish, sergeant majors, parrotfish, and needlefish, as well as sea turtles, lobsters, and stingrays.
Scuba diving in Barbados, and in particular Carlisle Bay, can be made even better by staying at Sandals Barbados or Sandals Royal Barbados, which offer its certified guests free scuba diving (max. two tanks a day per guest). This includes top-of-the-line dive equipment at no additional cost.
For other water sports, Carlisle Bay is still a winner since you’ll be able to rent kayaks, jet skis, and so much more. Umbrellas and beach chairs are available for rent if you prefer a more casual day on the beach. Exciting tours on catamarans can be experienced around Carlisle Bay as well!
Good to know: All the beaches along Carlisle Bay have lifeguards, restrooms, and free parking. Plus, at the end of every beach day, you can see a lovely sunset from the pier!
It’s a big disappointment to envision the perfect beach day on an exotic island, only to arrive there and find that it is nothing like you’d imagined. It’s not as big as you thought and doesn't give off the desired ambiance. While combing the beaches in Carlisle Bay, Barbados, you’ll find that is definitely not the case!
You’ll have plenty of room to sprawl out on the sand and enjoy your island vacation. Whether you spend the day at Brownes Beach, Pebbles Beach, or Bayshore Beach, there’s sure to be room enough to lay down your towel and roam around while enjoying some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Locals and visitors both love beaches in Carlisle Bay because they’re beautiful, spacious, and fun for all!
At Carlisle Bay, you can spend as much time as you’d like with friends, with the love of your life, or even alone, and not ever feel like something is missing. It is located a few miles from Bridgetown’s cruise port and is particularly popular with cruise travelers. On days when there are ships in port, you may find that some of the beaches are more crowded than usual. However, with so many beaches in the area, things are still kept at a manageable level and everyone can have a good time.
Carlisle Bay is a short walk from Bay Street in downtown Bridgetown. You’ll find the area a convenient and satisfying place to do a little shopping, or check out the local restaurants, bars, and churches.
You’ll likely be raving about how amazing Carlisle Bay is as soon as you arrive. It’s in one of the best areas to stay in Barbados, and you’ll find it to be a great starting point if you’re interested in other attractions and sites on the island. Oistins in the parish of Christ Church, for example, is just a 20-minute drive from Carlisle Bay.
Oistins is worth visiting while in Barbados, especially on Friday and Saturday nights when you’ll find delicious seafood and lots of dancing at fish fry events. Carlisle Bay also offers great dining options with many restaurants and bars near beaches. Some of the most popular of these are the Copacabana Beach Club, Harbour Lights Beach Bar, Pirates Cove, and Boatyard. Dee’s Bar is also a good option for an easy-going, local atmosphere that includes tasty Barbadian cuisine.
Expert tip: When in Carlisle Bay, you simply must try rum punch from one of the popular beachside bars. There is plenty of unique food and drinks to try in Barbados, as well as some phenomenal Sandals all-inclusive resorts that offer its guests unlimited food at up to 20 restaurants on property!
James Hay, Earl of Carlisle, was Lord Proprietor of Barbados in the 1600s. Carlisle Bay is said to have been named after him. Back then, Carlisle Bay was a hub for merchants’ vessels, particularly British ones. Catamarans and luxury yachts seem to have replaced those nowadays, and you’ll see quite a few of them anchored in the area. Carlisle Bay has become a tourist hotspot in Barbados, and its marine park attracts divers from around the world.
A Caribbean vacation is hardly complete without some water sports. In Barbados, you’ll have tons of options for water sports to try while in Carlisle Bay. Go kayaking, diving, or have some fun on a catamaran!
You are only limited by your imagination in this dynamic area. Renting a jet ski is also possible at Carlisle Bay, and this experience can add excitement to any beach day. Snorkeling and scuba diving equipment are available from vendors on the beachfront, but if you stay at an all-inclusive resort in Carlisle Bay, water sports equipment may be included in your package for free.
Love water sports? Water sports at Sandals all-inclusive resorts in Barbados are free for guests and include scuba diving, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, boogie boards, snorkeling, Hobie Cats, glass bottom boat trips and more.
A cultural tour can add something special to your visit to Carlisle Bay. One of the best attractions you can include on your vacation agenda is a visit to George Washington House, which is said to have been US President George Washington’s dwelling in 1751. The late president, who was 19 at the time, had traveled to Barbados with his half-brother, Lawrence. Historical accounts claim that Lawrence’s tuberculosis had prompted the spontaneous visit. Doctors had been recommended that he spend the winter in the tropics because of his condition. As for George Washington, his trip to Barbados is said to have been the only time he ever spent outside of the United States.
Aside from the George Washington House tour, there are various other tours available in Barbados. These include walking tours of the capital, Bridgetown, where there’s always something going on in the city center. Coastal sightseeing tours are another great option, as is a tour of Needham’s Point, home to a 19th-century naval base and lighthouse rich with history.
Insider tip: Want to know what else makes Barbados stand out? Here are 15 things Barbados is known for!
Barbados, located in the eastern Caribbean near Saint Lucia and Grenada, is known for great hiking and local adventure tours. The island is largely made of limestone and was formed by a combination of volcanic action and coral accumulation. This makes the island geologically unique, with a plethora of landscapes and natural formations that vary greatly from what you’ll find on some of the other islands of the Caribbean.
One of the attractions in Barbados that focuses on exploring these landscapes and rock formations is the tour of Harrison’s Cave, which is located on a half hour drive from Carlisle Bay. This is a natural cave in the uplands of Barbados (St. Thomas Parish). On the tour, you’ll be able to hop on a tram and explore the cave, which has many prominent features, such as stalactites and stalagmites, crystal-clear streams, natural pools, and waterfalls. This attraction is definitely worth checking out while in Barbados. Other tours can include opportunities to see Barbados’ green monkeys, most often found in the parishes of St. John, St. Joseph, St. Andrew, and St. Thomas.
Insider tip: Don’t want to run out of activities while in Barbados? Here are 56 adventurous things to do in Barbados. Add some of them to your vacation to-do list to make the most of your stay!
Now that you know what fun awaits you at Carlisle Bay, Barbados, you’ll want to know how to get there! Luckily, Carlisle Bay is very conveniently located in Bridgetown, just 25 minutes away from the Grantley Adams International Airport by car.
The benefits of visiting a small island like Barbados include ease of transportation. When you need to get around, you have the options of taking a public bus or a taxi, renting a car or arranging a water taxi. A public bus is the most affordable way to get around the island, but the bus schedule can be somewhat unpredictable. To make things easier for guests, some all-inclusive resorts, like Sandals in Barbados, include complimentary transfers to and from the various attractions with any tours booked through the resort.
The best time to visit Barbados is between mid-December and mid-April. This time of year is considered peak season and is preferred by visitors for a variety of reasons. The island records the least amount of rainfall during this period and temperatures stay around the mid-80s. This is ideal weather if you want to soak in the warmth of the Caribbean without it being overly hot. Although mid-December to mid-April offers the best chance for optimal weather conditions, Barbados is generally known for sunny temperatures and impeccable beaches which make it a great destination to visit year-round.
Picture: Sandals Royal Barbados offers undeniable luxury with innovative accommodations. Food and (alcoholic) drinks are always unlimited, always included at this resort. Guests can enjoy each of the 20 excellent restaurants on-property, get free access to the resort's bowling alley and can partake in as many water sports as they like - it's all included!
Carlisle Bay truly stands out as one of the best places to stay in Barbados! The area offers exhilarating activities that can appeal to any taste. Whether you want to explore shipwrecks teeming with sea life, hike geologically diverse terrain, shop for souvenirs in culturally rich towns, enjoy some rum punch on a picturesque beach, or eat amazing seafood at a beachfront restaurant, Carlisle Bay will satisfy your every desire!
If you’re traveling as a couple, you should consider staying at all-inclusive luxury resorts like Sandals Barbados or Sandals Royal Barbados, which will improve the convenience and quality of your stay on the island. Both beautiful resorts offer incredible inclusions you won’t find anywhere else in Barbados, such as a bowling alley, suites with private infinity pools, Millionaire Suites with butler service, unlimited dining at 20 restaurants, and so much more.
At the end of the day, where you choose to stay depends on how memorable you want your vacation to be, and how much you are really yearning for the beach vacation of your dreams!