Hiking in Barbados

By Harry S. Pariser
  |  Gorp.com
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Barbados beach
Discover Barbados' wilder side (Photo © Corbis)

Barbados is known as a "beach and sun" destination, but, with a little exploration, it has much more to offer. And, perhaps surprisingly for this beach-fringed paradise, hiking is one of the more adventurous things to do. It offers you a way to get off the beaten track, see local life off the tourist track, and interact with a gorgeous natural environment. Note that a good pair of shoes is essential as the crusty coral coastline can be sharp. Bring a small water bottle to fill at one of the now-antiquated standpipes, which may dispense a refreshing blast of clear, clean coral-filtered water. Barbados is a year-round destination, although you may want to avoid the rainy season from June to November.

The island's Atlantic coast is the best place to go for hiking. The Caribbean side, colonized by hotels and resorts, predominantly consists of those white sandy beaches and translucent water for which Barbados is best known. In contrast, the island's rockier eastern side resembles the craggy coasts of Northern California more than its western flank. Dramatic and relatively unpopulated, it makes an indelible impression.

One favorite short hike of mine is at the northwestern tip of the island at Archers Bay. From the trailhead, it's only a few minutes down to an amazing overlook above crashing surf and ultramarine blue water. Goats will keep you company during your short descent from the trailhead. A moreadventurous hike is up 1,100-ft. Mount Hillaby, taking you up to the summit, through Gregg Farm, and down to the old Spring Plantation en route to Turner Hall Forest. Highland Adventure Centre in St. Thomas offers scheduled trips (tel: 246-431-8928; www.barbados.org/tours/highland/).

Published: 17 Jun 2003 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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