The beaches of Barbados: The West Coast

Barbados is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean, and, for those who visit, it isn’t hard to see why. The country enjoys a nice climate, not as uncomfortably humid as some of its neighbors, and moderated by sea breezes. There is political stability, low crime rates and good public infrastructure. For many visitors, however, one of Barbados’ main attraction are its many beautiful beaches.

Barbados lies a few miles east of the main Caribbean island chain, out in the Atlantic Ocean. Its east coast bears the full brunt of the Atlantic Ocean’s waves. The west coast, on the other hand, faces the Caribbean Sea and has the most tranquil waters on the island. Roughly speaking, the coastline of Barbados can be divided into a few sections. The west coast, from Bridgetown to St. Lucy Parish, is home to the calmest waters on the island.

The southwest coast, from Bridgetown to South Point in Christchurch Parish, is home to some of the island’s busiest beaches. The southeast coast, from South Point to Ragged Point (in St. Philip Parish) has rougher waters, but is partially protected by Cobbler’s Reef offshore. Then there is the northeast coast, from Ragged Point to St. Lucy. The beaches along this stretch of coastline are ravaged by the full force of the open ocean. Barbados’ northernmost parish, St. Lucy, is hilly and rocky, with cliffs overlooking the sea. There are few good beaches there.

The West Coast:

The west coast is home to some of Barbados’ prime seaside real estate, with some big resorts and luxury hotels. Many of the beaches here are relatively narrow, but the water is typically warm, calm, and often shallow. Payne’s Bay Beach, is located between Holetown and Bridgetown in St. James Parish. The beach is lined with luxury hotels but there are public access points to the beach from the main coastal highway. Brighton Beach, a few miles north of Bridgetown in St. Michael, has the kind of calm water that is characteristic of west coast beaches. Beaches on the west coast are generally not as busy as their south coast counterparts and their warm, calm, shallow water is inviting. One of the main downsides is that the shallow water may facilitate the growth of rocky coral in the water, making wading offshore in bare feet uncomfortable.