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West Coast

Gentle Caribbean waves lap the west coast, and leafy mahogany trees shade its stunning coves and sandy beaches. The water is perfect for swimming and water sports. An almost unbroken chain of beaches stretches between Bridgetown and Speightstown. Elegant homes and luxury hotels face much of the beachfront property in this area, dubbed Barbados’s “Platinum Coast,” although all beaches are open to the public.

West-coast beaches are considerably smaller and narrower than those on the south coast. Also, prolonged stormy weather in September and October may cause sand erosion, temporarily making the beaches even narrower. Even so, west-coast beaches are seldom crowded. Vendors stroll by with handmade baskets, hats, dolls, jewelry, even original watercolors; owners of private boats offer waterskiing, parasailing, and snorkeling excursions. Hotels and beachside restaurants welcome non-guests for terrace lunches (wear a cover-up), and you can buy picnic items at supermarkets in Holetown.

POINTS OF INTEREST

RED CLAY POTTERY AND FAIRFIELD GALLERY

This workshop and gallery has been operated by potter Denis Bell all his life, “save a little time spent doing some engineering and raising a family.” Visitors are welcome to watch the potters at work in the studio, which is in an old sugar-boiling house, and, in the adjacent shop, purchase plates, platters, bowls, place settings, and fine decorative items designed by Bell’s daughter, Maggie. Call ahead if you’d like a tour.

GALLERY OF CARIBBEAN ART

This gallery is committed to promoting Caribbean art from Haiti and Cuba in the north to Curaçao and Guyana in the south—and, particularly, the works of Barbadian artists.

ON THE WALL ART GALLERY

Artist and gallery owner Vanita Comissiong offers an array of original paintings by Barbadian artists, along with handmade arts and crafts and jewelry products. An additional gallery is located in a dedicated space at Champers restaurant in Rockley on the south coast.

BRIGHTON BEACH

Calm as a lake, this is where you can find locals taking a quick dip on hot days—particularly weekends. Just north of Bridgetown, Brighton Beach is also home to the Cockspur Beach Club. Amenities: food and drink; parking (no fee). Best for: swimming; walking.

MULLINS BEACH

At this lovely beach just south of Speightstown, the water is safe for swimming and snorkeling. There’s easy parking on the main road, and Mullins Restaurant serves snacks, meals, and drinks—and rents chairs and umbrellas. Amenities: food and drink; toilets. Best for: sunset; swimming; walking.