Caribbean islands conjure up wistful thoughts, Barbados and Grenada are no exception! Both have the iconic and picturesque white sands, turquoise waters, and that dreamy laid-back island vibe. But what happens when you put these two Caribbean paradises head to head? What lays beneath the palm trees and coconuts when we ask, Barbados or Grenada?
To make the decision on which Caribbean island to choose for your ultimate once-in-a-lifetime vacay, you need all the information. We have done the research for you, from what the beautiful beaches offer to other activities available on the islands.
Whether you are planning a romantic honeymoon or simply a holiday under the sun, here is all you need to know about these two islands in Central America. Start packing your bags! It is guaranteed you will be jet-setting off to either Grenada or Barbados after reading this guide.
Table of Contents
Barbados or Grenada: Overall Vibe
The Caribbean is known for its island life with a certain vibe radiating throughout all of the islands. Both Grenada and Barbados are no exception to this. However, the vibe on each island is unique, each having its own special flair to draw in visitors.
Let’s face it, anywhere that hails Rhianna as its National Hero is going to be an awesome destination. Barbados is vibrant and bold, bustling and full of life. It is also extremely commercialized and geared up for tourism, which has its good points and bad points. Infrastructure is more reliable than other islands, but the trade-off is crowded beaches and less authentic experiences.
Grenada, on the other hand, offers a truly authentic Caribbean atmosphere. It is more rural and rustic than Barbados, making it the perfect place for anyone who wants to see an unspoiled Caribbean island.
Barbados is the larger of the two islands covering 439 square miles, almost 100 square miles more than Grenada. However, despite the smaller size, Grenada has a more mountainous interior than Barbados which lends itself to visitors wishing to explore the nature of the Caribbean islands. Just beware of the dangerous animals in Barbados and Grenada that you could encounter.
Winner: Grenada – if you want to experience authentic vibes and an unspoiled atmosphere then Grenada is the place to go.
Barbados or Grenada: The Beaches
Surrounded by turquoise water and fringed with golden sand, it’s a guarantee for Caribbean islands to have breathtakingly beautiful beaches. Both Grenada and Barbados have stunning coastlines with a mix of secluded and popular beaches. But which one has it best for what you are looking for?
With over 45 beaches in Grenada and 80 in Barbados, it’s safe to say you will be able to find a suitable sandy spot to throw out a towel and soak up some rays. If beaches are a top priority for your vacation essentials list, then you can’t go wrong with either Grenada or Barbados.
|Oistins – good for swimming and sunsets
|Grand Anse – good for swimming on a big long beach
|Miami Beach – good for swimming and sunsets
|Morne Rouge – good for swimming and snorkeling
|Bottom Bay – secluded and romantic
|Sandy Island – snorkeling and extremely remote
|Accra Beach – diving and snorkeling
|Magazine Beach – picturesque and secluded
Winner: Both – Grenada and Barbados both have insane beaches with a good mix of secluded and popular, some suitable for swimming and others for snorkeling.
Barbados or Grenada: Food
Caribbean food is bursting with vibrant flavors to match the bright culture across these islands. Despite being less than 200 miles apart, Barbados and Grenada have two very different food scenes to explore. Both islands have a strong influence from overseas including West Africa, Britain, and even India.
Barbadian cuisine revolves around fish, so much so that this island is often referred to as “The Land of The Flying Fish”, which is a must-try national dish when visiting. The fish is steamed with onions, lime juice, spices, and vegetables and served over CouCou – a cornmeal, okra, and coconut mix. It’s a mellow yet aromatic dish.
Grenada, affectionately known as “The Isle of Spice”, on the other hand, packs more of a punch when it comes to spice. The national dish is Oil Down: a hotpot with salted meat, chicken stock, breadfruit, and local vegetables, along with a good mix of local herbs and spices.
The Spice Isle is one of the world’s biggest producers of cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, ginger, bay leaves, and more. As you explore the food throughout Grenada you will be able to taste the warmth and vibrancy of these flavors coursing through the dishes.
Winner: Grenada – with a colloquial name of “The Isle of Spice”, how can Grenada not win?
Barbados or Grenada: Nightlife
Grenada has the Spicemas festival every early August. This is a colorful celebration to mark the end of slavery. You can expect vibrant clothing and decorations, piles of energy, and a booming street party atmosphere.
However, besides this mega-party, Grenada tends to have a more subdued atmosphere with a slower pace to it than Barbados. Sure, there is a small selection of restaurants and bars. But this is limited, which is part of the charm of this more authentic island.
If you are after a Caribbean party and next-level nightlife scene, Barbados is the place to be. Once the sunset on this palm tree fringed island, the steel drums begin to thrum and jazz clubs light up the dance parties. The south side of the island has a range of restaurants, bars, clubs, and even casinos to keep you entertained until the sun comes up.
Winner: Barbados – Barbados is a bigger and more developed island than Grenada, so it makes sense that there is more to its night scene.
Barbados or Grenada: Things To Do
Both islands are abundant with natural beauty. So, besides beaches and food, what else is there to do in Barbados and Grenada? And more importantly, which does it better?
Both Barbados and Grenada have fantastic diving and snorkeling sites all around the island. From old shipwrecks to thriving coral reefs, there is so much to see here under the turquoise water. Regardless of which island you choose, you are pretty much guaranteed to be satisfied in this department. So what else?
Grenada’s hilly interior means there is a whole array of hiking trails to explore. Amongst the mountains is the Belvedere Plantation – one of the island’s largest spice plantations where you can see, smell, and taste the historic Grenadan exports – and chocolate manufacturers that are also available for tasters. Also in the mountains, you can explore the Grand Etang Forest Reserve which offers wildlife, lakes, waterfalls, and an abundance of natural beauty.
Grenada also has an Underwater Sculpture Park off the coast at Molinere. This is a fun place for scuba divers and snorkelers to explore. If you’d rather stay above water, then there are a great number of volcanic lakes on the island that are great for a day trip alternative to laying on the beaches.
Even though Barbados is the bigger island, that doesn’t mean it has more unique and quirky things to do. There is Bridgetown to explore, filled with historic buildings and Garrison architecture. And also be sure to check out the Harrison Caves; there is a tour that takes you into the heart of the cave to show you the stalagmites, just take a change of clothes for after because you will get wet!
Winner: Grenada – size isn’t everything, Grenada is a small island that has a lot to offer.
Barbados or Grenada: Places To Stay
It is no secret that the hotels and resorts in the Caribbean ooze opulence. Beachfront properties with divine swimming pools and swim-up bars, luxurious rooms and suites perfect for honeymoons and anniversaries, what is not to love?
Overall, Barbados has more of a choice for hotels and places to stay than Grenada, six times more! This is simply due to it being a busier island for tourism, therefore more accommodation is needed. With more choice comes more availability for dates, budget, and facilities.
That’s not to say that Grenada’s accommodation is of poor quality. Quite the opposite in fact. After all, the Caribbean does luxury the right way.
Winner: Barbados – with more range of hotels, you are bound to find somewhere perfect for your bucket list vacation in Barbados.
Barbados or Grenada: Price
Cheap vacations in the Caribbean are just about as rare as a unicorn! Everything from flights to get there to the hotels and drinks are pricey. However, Grenada is a cheaper destination when compared to Barbados!
Beer is always a good universal price comparison for destinations across the globe:
- Barbados – $2.50-3.00 per beer (on average)
- Grenada – $1.50-2.00 per beer (on average)
While this isn’t a massive difference, it does show that Grenada is the cheaper place. And this is more and more apparent if you choose to explore restaurants outside resorts and hotels.
Winne: Grenada – the smaller island is ever so slightly cheaper despite there being less competition or choice available.
Barbados or Grenada: How To Choose The Best Caribbean Island
So there you have it, the battle of the West Indies to find the best vacay destination! It’s a hard decision to make and to be honest, both are absolutely stunning places and you would probably be happy with either Barbados or Grenada.
However, overall, we have to Grenada comes up trumps for us! This island shows off the truly authentic side of the Caribbean with its remote and secluded beaches, delicious and aromatic food, and slower pace of life.
That being said, if you want to be in more of a bustling place with energetic nightlife, then Barbados may just be your island of choice.