Bathsheba

Bathsheba is in the parish of St Joseph, about halfway up the east coast, and 19 km northeast of Bridgetown via Highway 3. It has a double bay with wave-eroded rocks and boulders at each end and in the middle. The beach is sandy but at the water’s edge it turns to flat rocks, platforms interspersed with rock pools where you can cool off at low tide.

Windswept and with pounding surf, swimmers confine themselves to these pools, best in the shelter of the enormous boulders (watch out for sea urchins), but Bathsheba is one of Barbados’ top surfing beaches. The bay seems to be almost white as the surf trails out behind the Atlantic rollers. The popular surf spots are Soup Bowl and Parlour, where waves break consistently year-round but are best between September and November. Surfing championships are often held here.

Bathsheba is known for its rock formations © evenfh, Shutterstock

Bathsheba village is home to a small community of fishing folk and their families and is effectively just one long beach road, dotted with the odd rum shop; it’s just about as laid-back as it gets in Barbados. If you’re neither a surfer nor a tidal pool-paddler, then there are plenty of walks in the area. Low-key accommodation is available, and this is also where some Barbadians spend their weekends, with many owning holiday homes in the area.

Just south of Bathsheba (a suburb really), picturesque Tent Bay is home to a small fish market, and colourful local fishing boats can be seen making their way in and out of the bay in the morning and evening. Like the other beaches, there are strong currents and swimming is not recommended.

The landmark Atlantis Hotel opened here in 1884 when the old railway between Bridgetown and Belleplaine ran directly in front of the hotel and made a stop at the bottom of the steps. The Atlantis is still a great place for lunch on a tour of the island and is well known for its Bajan buffets.