Getting to Know Barbados: Awesome Oistins
Nestled along the south of Barbados’ west coast, you’ll find one of the island’s most popular towns, Oistins. A site of historical importance, its Mermaid Inn was the place where, in 1652, the Treaty of Oistins was signed between Roundhead and Cavalier forces, guaranteeing islanders important civil rights. Since then it has become the island’s main fishing port and, today, both tourists and locals flock to the town to enjoy its laid back vibe and sample the freshly caught seafood being cooked up. Here are some of the things you can look forward to when you visit.
1. Friday and Saturday Night Fish Fry
Seafood lovers should not miss the opportunity to visit Oistins’ famous Friday Fish Fry – which is so popular, it happens on Saturday nights, too. Starting at around 6 pm, everyone turns up to feast on freshly cooked fish, such a marlin, mahi mahi, kingfish and flying fish, and to soak up the party atmosphere. There’s a fantastic choice of seafood dishes available from the many street food shacks as well as other traditional Bajan specialities, like macaroni pie and rum cocktails.
The Fish Fry is a dress down, no-frills experience, where the emphasis is on fantastic food, good fun and a warm and welcoming atmosphere – and with low prices and free entertainment, it makes for a fantastic night out.
2. Handmade souvenir shopping
With Friday and Saturday nights being so popular in Oistins, it is no surprise that among the many Fish Fry stalls at Oistin Bay Gardens, you’ll also find a good selection of craftspeople selling wonderful souvenirs and trinkets to take home. You’ll find, handcrafted pottery, jewellery, wood carvings and even paintings to remind you of your holiday or to buy as gifts.
If you visit at other times, check out the souvenir shops at the town’s Southern Plaza, located behind the seafront.
3. Feeding turtles
The Barbados coast is blessed with an abundance of turtles and one of the most recommended activities while staying on the island is to snorkel with them. However, if you’re visiting Oistins, you can get up close while staying on dry land. The clever creatures know that when the fishing boats bring in their daily catch, just before sunset, there will usually be a few titbits to enjoy and so you can find them swimming between the boats moored along the jetty.
For the best experience, ask one of the fish vendors for a few scraps of fish and then head for the fishing boats. When you throw the scraps into the water, you’ll find you attract quite a gathering of turtles. It’s the Barbadian equivalent of feeding ducks.
Being close to the south, the waves at Oistins are bigger than on the rest of the west coast and some beaches are ideal for surfing. One of the best places to head is Miami Beach, beautiful in itself and an excellent spot for catching a wave.
Oistins has a number of surfing shops where you’ll be able to hire or buy a board for the day. You’ll also find a good selection of surfing instructors in and around the town who will take you out and show you the ropes. If you’ve surfed before, they’ll even show you some new tricks.
5. Oistins Fish Festival
If you’re lucky enough to be in Barbados during the Easter weekend, you’ve got to visit the annual Oistins Fish Festival. This gastronomic event celebrates the island’s fishing heritage and the wonderful seafood dishes that have become an established part of the local culture.
Visitors can indulge themselves on the fish cakes, fried fish, pudding and souse, and various other authentic Bajan seafoods being sold by local vendors. At the same time, enjoy a cold beer, chill to the sounds of calypso and reggae music and watch traditional competitions, such as fish-boning and grease-pole climbing.
Barbados is famous for its beautiful beaches and the stretch of coastline by Oistins is no exception. Right on the doorstep of the town, you’ll find Oistins Beach: a delightful and tranquil little cove that’s lined with tropical shrubs and has a soft, sandy shore that leads out to warm, crystal clear waters.
Further west is Welches Beach, considered by many as one of the best along this part of the coastline. Check out the Surfer’s Cafe to grab a bite to eat and to enjoy the stunning panoramic views.
To the east of Oistins you’ll find Barbados’ own Miami Beach. With golden sands, perfect surf and plenty of shade, it’s a great place to spend the day. You’ll find you’re well catered for at Miami, with facilities such as washrooms, beach catering and sun shades available.
Oistins is one of the island’s little gems. It may look like a sleepy little village, but it is actually a bustling town whose fishermen bring home the food that makes this a remarkable place to visit. Its renowned seafood dishes make its annual Fish Festival and Friday Fish Fry events must-do activities. Add to this the handmade souvenirs, glorious beaches and exceptional surfing and you can see why it’s such a popular attraction.
If Oistins is on your list of must-see places in Barbados, the Royal Westmoreland Resort is the ideal place to stay. Our luxury villas and apartments are just a few miles up the west coast.