Bridgetown, the charming capital of Barbados is an architectural beauty, gleaming with an electrifying blend of modernity and antiquity. With a façade pointed towards the Carlisle Bay, the city looks to the future while honoring the footprints of its forefathers with preservations of colonial landmarks, authentic cuisine, as well as generational treasures.
Only earshot away, the colorful rhythms of calypso and the Barbadian dialect graces the atmosphere, spellbinding visitors with their melodious sounds. Bridgetown, Barbados is a vibrant city, echoing the hustle of its natives (Bajans) and embracing the traditions of its past. Recently dubbed a UNESCO Heritage Site, the town remains a cultural phenomenon bringing Barbadian customs to the forefront of its narrow cobblestone streets with style and grace.
The story of Bridgetown (affectionately known as Town) began in the 1600s when British settlers stumbled across a wooden bridge that was constructed by the Arawaks. During this time “Town” was known as Indian Bridge until the British recreated a new bridge (Careenage), and later called the city the “town of St. Michael” before it officially achieved its current name. The settlement of the British encouraged the need for slaves as Barbados’ economic status thrived in the sugar trade, which transformed Bridgetown into the vibrant seafaring and commercial hub that exists today.
A stroll along Bridgetown’s narrow trails will seem as though you have entered a time capsule as emblematic statues and ancient buildings emerge before your eyes. Bridgetown is an ideal location to recharge your batteries under the orange sunset while watching monolithic vessels dock along its marina or for discovering the riches of the Bajan culture.
From museums honoring Barbados’ heritage to the well-preserved George Washington House and Parliament Building, Bridgetown also serves as an open history book unveiling ancient legends and events. The Garrison is the perfect thrill on a Saturday morning to experience equestrian fun, while the city’s nearby beaches beckon swimmers to enjoy their barefoot luxuries.
The manicured lawns of Kensington Oval are host to world-class cricket matches, and Mount Gay Rum Visitors Center takes spectators on a journey through the aromatic vintages of good ole “Bajan” rum. Bridgetown effortlessly thrusts tourists into its different faces of culture, showering them with timeless adventures amid the Caribbean breeze.
Bridgetown is also a shopper’s paradise uniquely speckled with international stores and picturesque boutiques bursting at the seams with treasures fit for every pocket. Shopping in town means rubbing elbows with locals when visiting the lively Broad Street for duty free souvenirs or Cheapside Market, which is radiantly filled to the brim with a colorful array of fruits, vegetables, and “made in Barbados” handicrafts. The shops and eccentric-dressed venders of Roebuck Street, Swan Street, and Tudor Street also entice shopaholics with authentic Barbadian knickknacks.
As the sun fades behind the ocean the nightlife calls for all socialites to head to Bay Street for an electric mix of clubs in addition to live entertainment spots. Here, the boisterous harmonies of local music and international hits ricochet throughout the atmosphere.
Boasting a harbor full of seafood Bridgetown is intoxicated by the scents flowing from the bottom of its crystal waters. Restaurants offer a plethora of authentic Barbadian delicacies like cou cou and flying fish, rice, cassava, yams, breadfruit okra, and potato cooked with West Indian spices. Chefette is the country’s local fast food chain, whose menu is filled with delicious temptations like chicken, pizza, and roti prepared in Bajan style. With a glass of mauby, coconut water or other signature beverages, the gastronomy of Bridgetown will marvel any pallet.
Bridgetown is characterized by a savanna tropical climate. From July to October (warm season) the temperature averages from a high of 90°F to a low of 75°F. During December to March (cold season) the weather fluctuates between 85°F and 75°F.
Barbados offers extensive bus transportation throughout the island. Taxis are relatively expensive and you should negotiate a price before commencing your journey. However, Bridgetown is best explored on foot.