The Best Things to Do in Barbados to Pay Homage to Its Rich Black History

This guide is part of a mini series dedicated to spotlighting Black history and culture in destinations around the globe, and the best ways to experience them the next time you visit.

Barbados is known as one of the Caribbean’s most picturesque gems—and it has a connection to the United States that many people might not know. About one half of all the earliest enslaved African laborers sent to South Carolina arrived via Barbados, instead of directly from West Africa, according to The Lowcountry Digital History Initiative

That close link between Barbados and the state of South Carolina drew Martinique Lewis to this island nation of 281,000 nestled in the eastern Caribbean. Lewis is a diversity in travel consultant and the president of the Black Travel Alliance, a non-profit that encourages diversity and equity in the tourism space, and hosts the TV show Black Travel Across America, which will premiere this month on National Geographic.

“Barbados was eye-opening because of its direct relationship between Black people who were brought [there] from Africa, and Black Americans,” she says.

Barbados holds a special piece of Lewis’s heart—literally: She met her boyfriend there during a previous trip to the island. Here are some of her recommendations on what to eat, the best things to do, and where to stay for a Black history experience in Barbados.

The ocean view from Champers Restaurant

Courtesy Champers Restaurant

Fresh lobster with rice and vegetables at Champers

Roberto Moiola/Sysaworld/Getty

Where to eat in Barbados

Travelers headed to Barbados can expect to see lots of seafood on the menu, and many of Lewis’s Black-owned dining recommendations are based on her love of seafood. The Seafood Shack, located along Worthing Beach, shouldn’t disappoint travelers looking for fresh, locally sourced seafood. The restaurant offers a myriad of dishes, from a build-your-own seafood broil to salmon bites to lobster tails. 

At Cuz’s Fish Shack the menu is simple, consisting of sandwiches known as cutters. Even though these are fairly simple—freshly grilled fish with cheese, lettuce, and tomato on a Hawaiian roll—Lewis describes them as “one of the best fish sandwiches I’ve ever had in my life.” While the shack is located in a popular tourist area between resorts, it’s an eatery for which locals and foreigners alike head to the beach area when they’re hungry.

And no trip to Barbados is complete without a stop at Champers Restaurant, a seafood spot with panoramic views of the ocean. Grab a seat on the outdoor terrace, or inside in the dining room, which features an art gallery with local and Caribbean artists. Signature dishes include shrimp and fish pasta, Cajun Atlantic Salmon, and barracuda.

La Maison Michelle’s poolside gazebo

Passionne/La Maison Michelle

Where to stay

Tourism investments in Barbados have seen an influx of U.S. hotel chains in close proximity to each other in Bridgetown, the island’s capital city. Travelers in search of a vibe that doesn’t feel like a chain resort may consider Sunset Lane, a small B&B located just a stone’s throw from the beach—and where Lewis herself stays during trips to the island. 

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