Getting to Know Barbados: Bathsheba and the Soup Bowl

Royal Westmoreland

Bathsheba is different. Its beaches are different, the ocean here is different and so are the tourists who come to stay. And it’s these differences that make it the unique place that everyone who comes to Barbados should visit.

The reason for Bathsheba’s difference lies in its geography. While most of the island’s towns are on the calm west and south coasts, Bathsheba looks eastward, face first into the Trade Winds and rugged Atlantic seas. It is these two great forces of nature that have shaped this place.

Together, the wind and ocean have created a breathtakingly beautiful landscape where dramatic rock formations, made from giant boulders of ancient, washed up coral reef present striking views along the white sandy beaches that stretch down this coastline.

Bathsheba Town

Bathsheba is not a typical tourist town, rather it is the home to the local fishing community. This is the real Barbados. And while you’ll find quaint fishing boats, guest houses, local rum shacks and restaurants, most of the tourists who visit here stay elsewhere on the island. Most – but not all. The ones who are staying are usually here for one reason – the surf. What you’ll also find is that this is a place where the well-to-do Bajans come to get away from it all, many of whom spend their weekends here at their seaside cottages.

While in the town, a visit to its two old churches is recommended. Bathsheba is in the Saint Joseph Parish and here you’ll find the St Joseph Anglican Church which was originally built in 1640 and the 1837, Little Saint Joseph Chapel is located close-by.

Bathsheba Beach

The beach at Bathsheba is the perfect place for taking memorable photographs or shooting holiday video. The stunning rock formations, the beautiful, palm-fringed sands and the awesome waves make it highly photogenic and a great place to enjoy the majesty of nature.

While this is a great place for beachcombers to find unusual rocks, shells and driftwood, it’s not good for swimming. With powerful waves, rip tides and undercurrents, the water can be dangerous. Even the experienced surfers here find themselves being pulled under and thrust against the coral seabed. Instead, do your bathing in the onshore Bathsheba Pools which have been carved out of the ancient coral. If you’re lucky, you might find there’s a rum punch party going on when you get there.

Bathsheba Park

After spending time wandering along the beach, this nearby beachfront park is the ideal place to rest your feet, down a cool drink and enjoy a delicious picnic. You’ll still be able to watch the waves out at sea or spectate as the locals play cricket on the green.

Nearby, you’ll find a number of small, local restaurants where you can buy a tasty lunch with many dishes made using the freshly caught fish that the townsfolk bring home each day. You’ll also find clothing, craft and jewellery stalls where you can purchase souvenirs.

The Soup Bowl

Undoubtedly Bathsheba’s biggest attraction and claim to fame is the Soup Bowl. This is part of the coast, just off Bathsheba Beach, where the mighty Atlantic produces some of the world’s best surfing waves. Here you’ll find surfers from all over the world flocking to ride the fantastic rollers that constantly hit the shore. If you fancy the challenge and exhilaration of surfing a right-hand, barrelling reef wave, the Soup Bowl is the place to come. A little further along the shore, Bathsheba also has the Parlours, where you can take on right and left reef breakers. Alternatively, you can sit back with a cocktail at one of the rum shacks and watch the talented surfers doing their thing.

Andromeda Botanic Gardens

Another great reason to visit Bathsheba is the Andromeda Botanic Gardens. Founded by Iris Bannochie in the 1950s on land which had been part of her family’s estate since the 1740s, the gardens are now owned by the Barbadian National Trust. 

Today, this 6-acre site is considered to be one of the world’s finest post-war gardens, offering visitors the opportunity to see over 600 species of flowering plants and tropical trees, some of which are unique to the island and have been exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show. There are also wild hummingbirds, tropical dragonflies, a palm garden with over 60 species of palm tree and green monkeys, which, if you wait until dusk, you’ll see coming out to eat and play. 

Summing up

A visit to Bathsheba opens up another side of Barbados, one of Atlantic winds, rolling waves and dramatic, rugged coastlines. Being away from the tourist areas of the island, you get to see Barbados in its natural glory and its people in their everyday communities. It is also the island’s surfing paradise, with its barrelling waves attracting surfers from all over the world.
If you are looking for luxury accommodation on your visit to Barbados, check out the stunning villas and apartments here at the Royal Westmorland.