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At first thought, you might not put hiking and Barbados together, but since the island is relatively flat in comparison to other Caribbean islands, Barbados has become more known for eco friendly holidays, and in particular hiking vacations.Barbados has a well subscribed hiking association which has been around since 1983, and offers weekly hikes all over the island. The hikes are FREE, and enthusiasts can choose from many different types and difficulty levels.
The Barbados Hiking Association hikes available are:
- Morning hikes starting at 6:00 AM
- Afternoon hikes starting at 3:30 PM
- Moonlight hikes starting at 5:30 PM
There are generally four difficulty levels offered:
- Grade 1: Stop ‘n Stare (6 mile hike)
- Grade 2: Medium (6 plus mile hike)
- Grade 3: Brisk medium (9 plus mile hike)
- Grade 4: Grin ‘n Bear (12 plus mile hike)
In addition to the Barbados Hiking Association, the Barbados National Trust also organizes free hikes and walks on Sundays, with a duration of about three hours. All of these hikes start at 6:00 AM, with three difficulty levels offered: ‘Stop ‘n Stare’ (12 miles) , ‘Medium & Fast Medium’ (9 miles) and ‘Grin ‘n Bear’ (12 miles).
Some of the hikes being offered in April by the Barbados National Trust include:
- Barclays Park on the East coast
- Brighton Farmers Market which is a moonlight hike
- Gun Hill Signal Station in St. George, also a moonlight hike
- Archers Bay in St. Lucy
- Rock Hall in St. Lucy
Hikes with either of these groups offers participants a chance to take in the natural beauty of Barbados in a way that you can’t do when driving around the island.
Depending on the location, hikers will be taken through local villages, cane fields, plantations and cart roads, to “tropical forests” and gullies. Enthusiasts can also take part in hikes and walks that mirror the coast where the old train line from the 1800’s once ran.
A few things to keep in mind when you go on your next hike or walk:
- One litre of water per person per hour of hiking is the rule of thumb.
- Remember that there is NO substitute for actual water, so forget about taking sugary drinks.
Wear the right gear
- Shoes are the first priority here! Invest in a good pair of hiking boots or walking shoes with a tread.
- Wear a shoe that is about half a size over your regular foot size.
- Hiking shoes should also have supportive souls.
- Wear socks and take an extra pair so that your feet are kept dry.
- Loose fitting and layered clothing is key. Barbados is hot and humid, and visitors to the island who are not used to these conditions may well be overwhelmed.
- Light coloured cotton fabrics are the most recommended for walks and hikes in Barbados.
- And, of course a hat is a must!
- Don’t forget to take any medication that you are currently administered, no matter how long or short your hike is, especially if you are asthmatic.
Sunblock and bug spray
- No matter if it’s overcast, you can still get a major sunburn! SPF sunblock of 30 and over with both UVA and UVB protection is recommended by most doctors. This should give you about 97 percent protection.
- Sunblock should be reapplied every four hours or so.
- Also, make sure to spray with a bug repellant before and during your hike.
A few other handy items you may want to consider taking on your Barbados hike:
- Toilet paper
- Cell phone
- Basic med kit (with plaster and antiseptic lotion)
If you want to organize a private hike, Hike Barbados charges a fee depending on how long you want to go out for. Transport can be also be arranged for an additional cost of about $80.00 BBD. Contact Hike Barbados here for more information.
Prices for hikes are below (per hike NOT per person):
- 2-mile hike is $300.00 BBD
- 4-mile hike is $300.00 BBD
- 6-mile hike is $400.00 BBD
- 8-mile hike is $450.00 BBD
- 10-mile hike is $500.00 BBD
Many thanks to The Barbados Hiking Association for the use of photos from their Facebook page.