Barbados is particularly well-known in the Caribbean for sports tourism. The locals have a proud and timeless reputation for being avid sportsmen and sportswomen and the island itself is known for providing world class facilities and a wide range of activities. Cricket is probably the sport closest to the heart of Barbadians, but activities of all kinds are enthusiastically supported here.
The temperate climate and lush exotic landscape make Barbados the idyll of many a sports aficionado. Fabulous courses and facilities dot the island, fulfilling every golfer’s fantasy. Offering a range of challenges and sweeping vistas, courses include Royal Westmoreland Golf and Country Club, Sandy Lane Golf and Country Club, Barbados Golf Club and Rockley Golf Course. Barbados also enjoys a long-standing tradition of good horsemanship. And if your pleasure is horseback riding, several stables provide mounts for trail rides through a range of rolling landscapes. For an afternoon of fun and excitement, go for the sport of kings – horseracing. The Garrison Savannah racecourse draws fans to the finish line with all the pageantry that makes a day at the races a memorable occasion.
Take to the waters for even more sporting options. Surfing reigns supreme on our scenic East Coast, and windsurfing remains popular along the South Coast, where a popular option is the Club Mistral Windsurfing Club or Silver Sands Resort. Try water-skiing on our Caribbean West Coast, skimming the water’s surface at high speed. Or harness a parasail for a commanding view of our coastlines. Scuba, snorkelling and skin diving reveal a treasure trove of tropical marine life, viewed along coral reefs and in sunken wrecks. Charter companies offer deep-sea fishing excursions to capture a prized catch, from barracuda to kingfish.
Cricket — A nod to our British heritage, cricket is our national sport, and Barbados is its capital, hosting matches at Kensington Oval. Enjoy an elite inter national Test Match in season, an exciting local club match or a friendly competition played on open fields. Barbados has always contributed a large number of players to the West Indies team, and Sir Garfield Sobers, a Barbadian living legend known as the world’s greatest all-rounder, is one of the few Barbadians knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for a contribution to the sport.
Horse-Racing and Polo — For an afternoon of excitement, go for the sport of kings. The fabled Garrison Savannah hosts quality thoroughbreds. The Barbados Turf Club runs a number of races each year. Another popular sport is polo, attracting skilled players and enthusiastic fans. For pleasurable riding, fine stables offer riding mounts island-wide.
Running/Walking — Several running and walking events are held each year, including the annual Run Barbados International Marathon & 10K Series, and the BET 10K Race. Family events include the 20K Walk and the Children’s Triathlon.
Tennis — Played extensively around Barbados at a range of facilities, tennis can be enjoyed at hotels and public courts, including the acclaimed National Tennis Centre at Wildey, and at Folkestone Park in Holetown.
Golf — Fabulous courses, year-round sunshine and gentle trade winds make Barbados a golfer’s fantasy. Enjoy a range of challenges and sweeping vistas at Sandy Lane, Club Rockley, Almond Beach Village, Royal Westmoreland and Barbados Golf Club. Sandy Lane Golf Course is acclaimed for breathtaking landscapes and magnificent greens. Based at Sandy Lane Hotel in St. James, the par 72, 18-hole championship course beckons players with such features as its famed 7th hole, with a dramatic vista overlooking the Caribbean. Inquire for green fees and schedule. Almond Beach Village Golf Course offers guests a 9-hole, par-3 course with a delightful range of greens. A challenging 9-hole, par-36 course, Club Rockley’s links enjoy a convenient south coast setting. The Barbados World Cup is coming December 7-10, 2006. Click here for details.
Hiking / Walking — Popular pastimes among locals and travellers alike, hikes and long walks provide a fine workout and a fascinating perspective on island flora, fauna and historic attractions. Also enjoy the Barbados National Trust’s series of walks and house tours.
Nature Tours — To experience the “real” Barbados, try an adventure tour: a horseback trek, with a scenic safari hike through the Scotland District; or a plantation tour by horseback. Contact Highland Adventure Centre for details.
— By Sea —
Watersports reign supreme on scenic coasts, as scuba, snorkelling and skin diving afford a treasure trove of marine life and underwater sights. Or set sail aboard a deep-sea fishing charter. Steady tradewinds offer excellent sailing conditions; charter a yacht or catamaran for a guided cruise, or rent a smaller craft. The ever powerful Atlantic waves of the east coast provide one of the world’s finest surfing arenas, while the south coast is a popular windsurfing haven. Steady trade winds and breezes offer unparalleled conditions, bringing surfers back, year after year.
Diving — Scuba, snorkelling and skin diving afford a stunning array of underwater sights surrounding Barbados. Marine life can be viewed along coral reefs and in sunken wrecks. Catch a glimpse of the Berwyn, a French tug resting in shallow waters; the Friar’s Craig, a small steamer southeast of Bridgetown Harbour; or Stavronikita, a vast Greek freighter sunk off the St. James coast, offering clear access to divers with all doors and hatches removed. Diving gear and instructions can be found at the Sandy Lane Hotel, Coral Reef Club, Dive Boat Safari, the Dive Shop by the Barbados Hilton, Willie’s Water Sports, Divi Southwinds and the Sandy Beach Hotel. Explore our underwater ecology and marine life at Folkestone Under water Park, a re creational park and marine reserve. Or enjoy the under water world from drier quarters; cruise aboard the Atlantis Submarine.
Waterskiing and Parasailing — The west coast’s placid waters are ideal for water-skiing. For the more adventurous, harness a parasail to fly sky-high.
Surfing — The Atlantic East Coast provides a challenge to the world’s best surfers, and the waves of the “Soup Bowl” at Bathsheba have been host to The Caribbean Cup. A favourite surfers’ retreat is Bathsheba’s Edgewater Inn.
Windsurfing — As ideal conditions prevail between November and June, the Windsurfing World Cup Championships are held at Silver Rock Beach, on the southeast coast. Intermediate and skilled windsurfers enjoy activities at Silver Sands Resort, at the onsite facility, Club Mistral.
Yachting / Sailing — Steady tradewinds make for excellent yachting conditions on all coasts. Catamarans and yachts are available for charter or guided cruises at Bridgetown Harbour, and a selection of smaller craft such as Hobie Cats can be rented on the beach.
— Facilities —
Barbados boasts a selection of first-class facilities for sports and recreation.
The Wildey Gymnasium — Among the eastern Caribbean’s newest sporting facilities, this gymnasium is part of the Sir Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, conveniently located near accommodations, shopping, banking and communications facilities. The modern facility seats 4,000 fans and caters to 12 sporting disciplines, including bodybuilding, boxing, basketball, gymnastics, karate, volleyball and weightlifting.
Port St. Charles — This facility boasts a marina facility which is available for use with the purchase or rental of its villas or apartments.
Barbados Aquatic Centre — This swimming complex is host to competitive water sports, from water polo to synchronised swimming. The facility features a 10×25 metre pool ideal for instruction and pre-event warm-ups. A 25×50 metre pool is available for both short-course (20-lane) and long-course (10-lane), and can also accommodate a full-sized water polo field. A covered stand seats 800 spectators alongside a 50-metre pool. On the mezzanine floor are recreational facilities, two dormitories and a canteen.
Also available are office facilities, meeting room and storage areas. The Barbados Aquatic Centre offers packages with team dorm accommodations and dining. Host to a range of national and global competitions, the Centre houses the distinguished Masters Swimming Team, and attracts swim clubs and university teams.
National Stadium — Minutes from Bridgetown, the National Stadium accommodates some 13,000 fans with five covered stands and surrounding grounds. Featuring a flood-light regulation football field and cycle track, the stadium is host to sporting, cultural and religious events.
Kensington Oval — One of the West Indies’ most popular cricket venues, the legendary Kensington Oval is home to countless matches, attracting visitors from around the world; a guided tour is available.
Island-wide Action — By Land or by Sea
A day of walking, hiking or touring offers insights into our cultural heritage and ecology, while running and jogging can be enjoyed on scenic coastal routes and within our interior. Barbados makes a day at the races memorable with all the regalia of the Garrison Savannah racetrack. Horseback riding offers inspiration along trails through varied landscapes. Choose from golf, tennis, cricket, polo, and rugby among other sports. Enjoy international polo matches attracting top players, or take in a game of rugby at the Barbados Rugby Club.