Barbados in January – Here’s What to See and Do

Melt away the January blues and jump-start the year in glorious style with a visit to the sun-drenched, vibrant Caribbean island of Barbados.

Barbados is synonymous with idyllic, blissful beaches, stunning nature, famous sporting activities, world-renowned stars and a bubbling nightlife. Combine this with hidden gems and impressive architecture and you have a destination adaptable to any dream.

A small, tropical island in the south-east of the Caribbean, Barbados has two distinct seasons: the dry season (November to May) and the wet season (June to October). 

It is a hugely popular destination among Britons and easily accessible. Direct flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester mean you can fly in hassle-free.

Despite its small size, Barbados accommodates all tastes. Its west coast generally experiences calm waters perfect for swimming and relaxing on a plethora of white-sand beaches. Those searching for more of an adrenaline boost can head over to the east coast where massive waves are beyond the wildest dreams of any surfer. 

The rest of the island has every other angle covered. Enviable golf-courses, rich historical sites, unique wildlife experiences and weekly celebrations of freshly caught and cooked food help you to create a mouthwatering itinerary perfect for you.

Barbados Palm Tree Road

Barbados Weather in January

A number of weather factors make January the best month to travel to Barbados. Highs of 29°celsius and an expected 9 hours of sunshine each day gives a blank canvas when planning activities.

Low humidity means that the heat won’t be stifling, and January is clear of the hurricane season (June to November) meaning extreme weather is of no concern. 

January is in the dry season for Barbados and over half of the month is typically crystal clear, blue skies, so you can anticipate fine weather. 

Nighttime temperatures will be much more pleasant than at other times in the year, leaving you free to dress up comfortably, or simply to rest easy through the night.

Festivals and Events in Barbados During January

As with many nations around the world, Barbadians enjoy welcoming in the New Year and with a nightlife and joyous spirit such as that of the locals, it promises to be a truly unforgettable conversation-starter for years to come. 

Visiting in January gives you an opportunity to join in the celebrations for Errol Barrow Day, a public bank holiday held on the 21st January to honour the first Prime Minister of Barbados. He led the country to independence in 1966. For this, he is known as the ‘Father of Independence’. You may even spot him on the back of a 50 dollar bill!

Round Barbados Sailing Week, the Caribbean race season’s opening regatta. The headline race usually takes place on Errol Barrow Day, meaning the spirits of locals and visitors alike are high. With the possibility of winning their skipper’s weight in rum, the race is extremely popular with the participants as well as the crowds who flock there in high numbers. Be sure not to miss out!

Cricket, the most popular sport in Barbados, is played through January. If you are lucky, the West Indies International team may be playing in Barbados during your visit. If not, be sure to head to one of the local matches being played, where passionate locals will gleefully take you up in discussion and passionately talk about the country’s rich history in the sport they adore.

Things to See and Do

The dry season is settling in, the skies are clear, the country is brimming with excitement and activity. January: the perfect time to visit Barbados.

Best Beaches

Famed for having some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, here are a few of our favourites.

Bathsheba Beach on the east coast is the place to be for stunning views and soothing sounds. Next to a small fishing village of the same name, it is the perfect place to relax at a local restaurant or simply admire the views that rival anywhere in the world. Be wary of strong undercurrents though. If you’re after a swim, one of our other recommendations is preferable.

If sticking to the east coast, head over to Bath Beach for a swim. One of the safest places beaches on the east coast, there is also a waterfall and plenty of Casuarina trees to offer shade for that post-swim downtime. It can be popular and therefore busy, but there’s a reason for that!

If you are close to Bridgetown, Brownes Beach is the perfect spot with ideal waters for swimming and bathing. One of the largest beaches in Barbados, Brownes has a lifeguard on duty and calm waters, making it the spot for families. Be prepared to share, though – with fish! Shipwrecks in the bay have attracted many fish, so snorkelers will have a ball here.

Miami Beach on the south coast is popular with both tourists and locals. Soak in the sun, splash in the blissful waters, then head to one of the local food sellers for a bite to eat. The flying fish sandwiches here are among the best you will find on the island.

For a more intimate experience, head to Shark Hole (don’t worry, the name is from an old fishing tale – there are no sharks!). A truly special place, heading down early morning through the week improves your chances of having the picturesque setting to yourself.

Barbados Coast

Watersports

With great variety and vast experience, Barbados is the perfect Caribbean island for all your watersport desires.

Jet Skiing is growing in popularity around the world. Pristine Caribbean waters are the perfect place to grab this experience for yourself. Rentals are available at most beaches, but be sure to use a reputable seller, such as Edmo jet skis.

For the true explorer, head out on a scuba dive and immerse yourself in the underwater kingdom that Barbados offers. Shipwrecks and blossoming reefs make this an ideal island for scuba diving. Several operators can provide equipment and advice to make this a life-long, treasured deep-sea memory.

A relatively new phenomenon, kitesurfing is dependent on quite specific conditions to be done successfully and safely. Barbados is among the leading nations for this activity, so why not take advantage of that? The best spots for this are on the south-east coast, while January is the perfect month with the best winds for kitesurfing starting at this time.

Head to surfer’s point, rent a kayak and set out into the gorgeous waters for ultimate fun exploring the fascinating waters from a slightly different perspective. If calmer waters are your thing, head to the west coast and have an equally mind-blowing experience searching for the extraordinary underwater life down below.

Barbados’ surf game is on all year round. January comfortably sits within the prime surf time of November to June. An abundance of white sand beaches and turquoise waters leave you spoilt for choice when choosing where to head, but early morning tends to be the best time to head out.

Sea Turtle Barbados

Nature and Wildlife

Abundantly blessed with stunning life forms, Barbados has exotic plants and animals whichever way you look.

Harrison’s Cave, a crystallised, limestone cave is open for tours and full of adventure. Deep pools and streams of brilliantly clear waters characterise this stunning wonder, a must for any visitor to the island. Marvel at the power and splendour of nature on a variety of tours. The cave is a great outing for all the family.

Guaranteed to give you a remarkable snorkelling experience are the marine parks of Barbados, particularly Carlisle Bay Marine Park. Dazzling fish and sea turtles are the highlights, but the variety and volume of sea life you can expect to encounter means your expectations however high will be comfortably surpassed. 

The sights, sounds and smells of the Andromeda Botanic Gardens, which vary depending on the time of day you go, are certain to leave you with a unique experience and appreciation of the beauty of the world. Children are free with a paying adult and can feed the fish, while those travelling as a couple may be enticed by a later visit to see the resident monkeys playing, feeding and sometimes even fighting!

Witness animals roaming freely through a reserve dedicated to celebrating the beauty of nature at The Barbados Wildlife Reserve. Caiman, iguanas, maras and green monkeys are among the residents you can expect to see here, with the added bonus of knowing you are supporting the conservation of such beautiful creatures. 

Board the Atlantis Submarine for a trouble-free dive into the depths of Barbados’ natural reef life. This unique experience is perfect for all, is among the most recommended activities in the country and leaves you with stories few friends are able to rival. Mix it up further by taking the night dive with high powered spotlights giving you a whole new perspective.

Can’t decide between sea life and the sun? Have both. Cruise the waters on a catamaran with all add-ons and extras a possibility. Various tours of differing lengths offer extras such as lunch, sunset departures, snorkelling and added luxury options to personalise your perfect trip.

Monkey-in-Barbados

Culture

With so many activities to fill your dream January trip, be sure to set aside time to soak up the marvellous culture and interact with the fascinating locals.

Celebrate and sample Barbados’ oldest and greatest export: rum! Visit one of the island’s famous distilleries, or go one step further and take a trip to the Mount Gay distillery where visits can incorporate cocktail making classes or a traditional Bajan lunch on top of a history and heritage experience.

Discover more of the island’s history by visiting the Arlington House Museum. Interactive features mean that learning about some of the first settlers on the island is both easy and engaging, and suitable for the young to the old.

Grab some delicious fresh fruit at Cheapside Street Market while taking in the latter week atmosphere. More than what you buy to eat, this experience is all about feeling immersed in true Bajan life. See different generations of families working their stalls and providing you with fresh produce to satisfy all tastes in the bustling market street.

Visit the most stunning and largely untouched parts of the island with an Island Safari trip. Designed to help you explore deeper than is possible on your own, you will gain a great understanding of the life of a true Bajan while seeing many of the most stunning aspects of the island’s physical geography.

Mix old and new with the restored Bajan Bus, taking a step back in time to travel in the style of the “olden days”. Packages can be adapted to your liking, but you can rely on the experienced and passionate tour guides who will be sure to point out the most striking parts of the island and the hidden gems it possesses. 

For a free, but enriching time, head to Bridgetown and spend a few hours embracing daily life. Visit historical sites such as St. Mary’s Church, St Michael’s Cathedral or Lord Nelson’s statue, before settling down for a tasty bite of authentic local cuisine.

Mount-Gay-Rum Barbados

Sport

A huge part of Barbados’ culture, history and pride, it would be hard to visit and not check out the sporting scene this island has to offer.

With ideal Caribbean golfing trip conditions and dream-worthy courses, Barbados can offer something to everyone from the inexperienced starter to the fully-fledged professional. Bask in glorious sunshine, relax and let your talent run free on one of the many stunning, immaculately kept courses throughout the island. Masterfully designed, few can claim to have played in such paradisiacal conditions.

An avid cricket fan or not, it’s nearly impossible to escape the sport in Barbados with such passionate locals who are rightfully proud of their internationally renowned contribution to the game. Birthplace of the famous trio Weekes, Worrell and Walcott, as well as one of the greatest players of all time, Sir Garfield Sobers, cricket is a huge part of Barbadian life. 

If there’s no game taking place during your visit, head on over to the Kensington Oval to learn of its rich history and visit the setting for England’s 2010 World Twenty20 triumph.

Barbados-Golf

A stunning location at any time of year, Barbados is a must-visit destination. January is the perfect month to escape to paradise, with ideal weather, superb access to activities and cultural experiences that other months miss out on. Gift yourself memories for life by kicking off your year in style. 

FAQs

How long should I spend in Barbados?

This really is down to your preference and the purpose for your trip. The island is only small, so travelling around is relatively straightforward. If you only have a few days, you can catch the highlights you want, but a longer visit gives you plentiful opportunities to relax on the stunning, pristine beaches. After all, that is what it’s known for!

Can I travel to other islands?

Flying is the best option if you want to visit other Caribbean islands. It will take some planning and careful consideration about how long you spend on each island, but it is possible.

What currency is used in Barbados?

They use the Barbados Dollar (also known as the Bajan Dollar). You can use US Dollars in most places too, and banks will exchange other currencies too. It’s always important to check for any charges you may incur from doing this, including from your own bank.

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