Barbados Sporting Vacations
Barbados is passionate about sports and the island has a thriving sporting community, making it the ideal destination for a sporting vacation. If you love sport, there’s a wide variety of both water and land sports for you to take part in, or simply enjoy as a spectator, during your vacation to Barbados.
Cricket is without a doubt the most popular sport in Barbados, and this small island boasts its fair share of international cricketing legends.
There are a number of cricket clubs and local ovals where you can play or watch a cricket match, and Barbados’ oldest cricket ground Kensington Oval has hosted numerous international sporting events, including the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup Final. The Oval also provides daily guided tours for those vacationing cricket enthusiasts.
For the diver, Barbados is a an absolute paradise, with its warm tranquil waters and home to an underwater haven of an abundance of colourful tropical fish and beautiful coralsunken shipwrecks for you to explore. At Carlisle Bay, there is an underwater park where they have sunk a number of boats to attract marine life, this has created an excellent dive spot. Book in with our local dive companies for recreational dives and dive courses, ranging from introductory courses to more advanced certifications like PADI Open Water Diver and Dive Master.
If deep water diving isn’t your thing, you can also try snorkelling along Barbados’ shallow reefs to experience the beautiful marine life, instead.
During the Easter holidays, Barbados even hosts an annual Fish Festival, as well as a range of international fishing tournaments (http://barbadosgamefishing.com), usually held between February and April.
Sailing is also a very popular pastime for both locals and visitors alike, and winds in Barbados ranging between 15 to 25 knots, making excellent sailing conditions.
If you’re a keen sailor, why not charter a yacht during your stay on the island? The best place to start is the Barbados Yacht Club (www.barbadosyachtclub.com) which sponsors the busy local racing programme. The annual Mount Gay Rum Regatta (www.mountgayrumroundbarbadosrace.com) is Barbados’ premier regatta and a popular tourist attraction, hosted by the Barbados Sailing Association (www.sailbarbados.com/events_root.html).
You can also sail on one of the many local catamarans, running daily from Bridgetown and offering a variety of cruising styles.
Surfing is another big sport in Barbados, and many international pro surfers often visit the island for the great wave conditions that suit just about every level of surfer. The south coast is best for beginners, whereas the east coast provides the crashing waves of the Atlantic for more seasoned and pro-surfers. The most notorious surfing spot is the Soup Bowl in Bathsheba, which is where the International Reef Surfing Competition is held every November.
There are also plenty of operators who provide surf lessons and board rental to those eager to catch some waves in Barbados.
Wind Surfing and Kite Surfing
Barbados also provides excellent wind and wave conditions for both wind surfing and kite surfing, and there are a number of great instructors on the island no matter what your level of experience. Most also provide equipment hire to save you travelling with your kit.
In August, the annual Banks International Hockey Festival is played at Barbados’ world-class Astroturf hockey field and stadium, attracting clubs from Britain, Europe, USA, South America and Abu Dhabi, and is said to be the biggest single hockey tournament in the hemisphere.
Golf is a sport that is growing every year in Barbados. The golf courses on the island are known for being top quality and some of the best in the Caribbean; even playing host to international golfers like Tiger Woods and the World Golf Championships World Cup.
Some hotels and resorts even offer special Barbados golfing holiday packages! Rest assured, from amateur to professional, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to golf in Barbados.
There are some excellent golf courses in Barbados, which have been played by international golfers such as Tiger Woods. Therefore if you wish to come to Barbados on a golfing holiday then you are spoilt for choice when it comes to stunning courses to play on both the west and south coasts.
What better place to go horse riding than on a tropical island paradise? There are many trail riding companies that you can book a scenic ride on horseback along the beach or through the beautiful countryside of Barbados with. You can also book lessons in show jumping and dressage, with several local riding schools for you to choose from.
Horse racing is also a great spectator sport in Barbados, with excellent facilities at the Garrison Savannah, home to the Barbados Turf Club the island’s main horse racing organisation, the Barbados Turf Club (www.barbadosturfclub.org). They schedule three seasons of racing per year – January to April, May to August, and October to December – so there’s rarely a weekend in Barbados without a horse race to watch and some bets to be placed!
One of the highlights of the Barbadian racing calendar is the prestigious Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup Festival, held in late February/early March.
There is also a very active Barbadian motor sports community. In Barbados, full island rallies, general racing and regular events are held at Bushy Park (www.bushyparkbarbados.com) and Vaucluse Raceway (www.vaucluseraceway.com). One of the most popular is the annual Sol Rally (www.rallybarbados.bb), held at the end of May/early June. For more information, check out the local websites of Barbados Motor Sport (www.barbadosmotorsport.com) and the Barbados Rally Club (www.barbadosrallyclub.com).
Did you know? BBC TV program Top Gear (www.topgearfestivalbarbados.com) also visited the island to host the 2014 Top Gear Festival, an action-packed weekend full of stunts and guest drivers.
Another wonderful great spectator sport in Barbados is polo, which draws a crowd of both locals and international visitors alike.
There are four polo fields in Barbados hosting that hold regular matches, and Barbados is very much part of the touring circuit for some of the world’s top players and their dedicated polo set. If you’ve never been to watch a game of polo, or you’re a touring polo team, Barbados is the ideal place to enjoy all the action!
Rugby is also played in Barbados, with a clubhouse at the Garrison Savannah – home the Barbados Rugby Club (www.rugbybarbados.com). Barbados’ rugby team is world-class and the island regularly welcomes touring teams, including Caribbean national teams and the Canadian national team.
Football is played quite widely on the island, supported by the Barbados Football Association (www.barbadosfa.com/home). The national team competes internationally and Barbados proudly hosts visiting teams at the Barbados National Stadium, where you can watch a game. You can also catch regular local football games at Dover Playing Fields, at the end of St. Lawrence Gap.
The annual Barbados International Masters Football Festival (www.bimff.biz) is held at the end of May and attracts teams from Canada, UK, USA, and other Caribbean islands. A definite ‘must-do’ on any sporting vacation!
Shooting is also a surprisingly popular sport in Barbados. Locals and visitors can head to Kendal Sporting Range (http://gokendal.net/), which offers target practice for archery, pistols, shotguns, and even the fun of paintballing. They have indoor and outdoor ranges, with experienced range officers to assist you with your shooting practice.
Tennis has seen a resurgence in Barbados, and there many tennis courts in hotels and at tennis clubs all over the island for you to book a game on your sporting vacation. Barbados also played host to the 2015 Davis Cup Americas Zone Group 1 competition and secured team Barbados’ place as a team to watch in the future of tennis. If you’re on a tennis vacation, contact the Barbados Tennis Association (www.tennisbarbados.org) to line up some matches against some local Barbadian players.
Did you know? Road tennis is also an extremely popular local sport in Barbados, played on local roads and back streets with a paddle and an old tennis ball. Try it for yourself!
Want to know more?
Visit Sporting Barbados (www.sportingbarbados.com), the Barbados Olympic Association (www.olympic.org.bb), and check out our events calendar (http://events.totallybarbados.com/) for the most up-to-date information on upcoming sporting events in Barbados.
Author: Brett Callaghan