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You don’t often see Batts Rock on top ten lists of Barbados beaches, but that’s just because there are so many amazing beaches to choose from. It is a worthy contender, though, even if it is a bit off the tourist trail. Local residents in-the-know can often be spotted having a morning stroll or an evening sea bath here. It’s a hit with the surfing set, a hangout for nearby UWI students and a draw for families with young children. Even the green monkeys are in on the secret and are frequent visitors to this secluded slice of heaven.
Centrally located not far from Bridgetown, Batts Rock is one of the first notable beaches along the island’s famous west coast. Driving north on the Spring Garden Highway, you’ll see the expanse of Brighton Beach on your left and pass by the stalled Four Seasons development. Keep heading north up the west coast at the Frank Worrell roundabout, and just past the Esso gas station be on the look out for the Public Access to Beach sign at the first left turn. Follow this hairpin turn veering south down the hill, and at the end of the road you’ll come to the Batts Rock parking area.
The National Conservation Commission has put a little effort into beach amenities here. There are decent washroom, shower and changing facilities, including a convenient foot rinse to get the sand off your toes before getting back in the car. There’s a lifeguard station and a security detail on patrol (sometimes). A small playground with a swing, slide and see-saw adds to the kid appeal. While there are no food stalls, trinket-hawkers or watersport pitchmen, there are a few picnic tables under the shady trees and a vending machine if you need a cold drink. It has just the right amount of conveniences to make for a comfortable yet peaceful day at the beach.
The beach itself has some soft and sandy areas to the north plus some rocky patches to the south. It’s worth bringing snorkel gear, as you can sometimes spot turtles, small fish and coral around the reef. The waters tend to be calm and good for swimming, but it can also be choppy and offer good swells for surfers. It depends on nature’s whims for the day. Saunter down the beach and you’ll find the ruins of an old beachfront dance hall which must have been a stunning venue back in the day.
Watch out for any spiky urchins that may be clinging to the rocks, and stay clear of manchineel fruit. They look like little green apples lying on the sand but can cause nasty skin blisters when touched. The manchineel trees, which are clearly marked with a red circle around the trunk, give some shade to the beach but avoid taking shelter under them in the rain as the drips might sting you.
Other than these minor caveats, Batts Rock is a pleasant, crowd-free place to while away the day, take a dip and/or view the setting sun.