Best time to visit Barbados

Barbados Rum

Visit Barbados rum distilleries to sample the world's best rum and learn its history

Best time: mid-January–mid-April

Barbados Rum
Mount Gay Tiki Cocktail on the Beach

Did you know that Barbados is the birthplace of rum? The history of the Caribbean elixir dates back to the 17th century. Over the years, the Bajans refined the distilled spirit to absolute perfection. Not surprisingly, the island teems with lively rum shops and small bars with vivid exteriors, so you've got plenty of places to enjoy a cold rum cocktail or a popular Barbados rum punch. Still, the best way to cognize the iconic drink is taking a rum distillery tour.

Sugar & rum season

Even though rum is available year-round, most of the rum distillery tours run during the sugar and rum season from mid-January to mid-April. In addition to guided trips, you can also join a series of culinary and cultural activities dedicated to the shared history of sugar and rum production on the island. The options include rum cooking classes, plantation tours, a rum expo, and other special events.

Barbados rum tours

Mount Gay Rum Distillery

Mount Gay is a large rum brand in Barbados and the world's oldest continuously operating rum distillery. Bridgetown has a Mount Gay visitor center that hosts rum tastings. Yet, we recommend taking a tour of their rum-making headquarters in St. Lucy, north of the island. The famed Mount Gay Distillery, established in 1703, must be on the top of your bucket list of things to do in Barbados.

West Indies Rum Distillery

If you choose to remain in Bridgetown, there is an opportunity to join a rum tour at the lesser-known West Indies Rum Distillery. It started in the late 19th century, much later than Mount Gay Distillery, but still offers some of the best rum you can hardly find elsewhere.

St. Nicholas Abbey Rum Distillery

St. Nicholas Abbey and Steam Railway in St. Peters is an ideal destination to learn Barbados' sugar and rum production history. Originally it was a private Jacobean mansion with a sugar cane plantation dating back to the 1700s. Yet, today, the site works as a museum and rum distillery, drawing thousands of tourists annually.

If you plan on visiting St. Nicholas Abbey, note that November through March are the busiest months, and Tuesday through Thursday are the most crowded days, especially in the mornings. Weekends are quieter, but the syrup factory and distillery may be closed. Also, you can pair your St. Nicholas Abbey adventure with a visit to the nearby Morgan Lewis Windmill or sugar mill, which was constructed in 1727 and is still functional between December and April.

Foursquare Rum Distillery

Southeastern Barbados offers tours to Foursquare Rum Distillery in Four Roads, close to the airport. Unlike other famous distilleries, this one is more modern and computerized, so you'll have a somewhat different experience here. But local award-winning rums promise to be invariably excellent. Besides, you can explore the Heritage Park with well-groomed gardens, craft shops, and food stalls.

Barbados rum map

Lastly, explore the Barbados rum map below with all locations listed in this short article. You can find the best accommodations nearby and book your stay in advance.

Practical info

When is the best time to take a rum distillery tour in Barbados?

Barbados rum distillery tours are mostly available during the sugar and rum season from mid-January to mid-April. This period is when culinary and cultural activities about sugar and rum production on the island are organized. Despite this, rum is generally available all year round, and tours can be undertaken outside of the sugar and rum season. Show more

Where can I join sugar and rum culinary and cultural activities in Barbados?

If you're looking to join sugar and rum culinary and cultural activities in Barbados, the sugar and rum season is the perfect time to do just that. You can participate in a series of dedicated activities focused on the history of sugar and rum production on the island. Locations for these activities are spread across the island, so you can choose the closest one to your area. Show more

Which is the world's oldest continuously operating rum distillery in Barbados?

The world's oldest rum distillery that is still in operation today is the Mount Gay Distillery in Barbados. They have been producing rum since 1703 and are located in the St. Lucy region of the island. Taking a tour of the distillery provides visitors with an excellent opportunity to learn about the history of Barbados rum from the days when the island was known as the 'Land of the Flying Fish' back in the 17th century. Show more

When is the busiest and most crowded time to visit St. Nicholas Abbey in Barbados?

St. Nicholas Abbey in Barbados sees the most activity from November to March, and Tuesdays through Thursdays are the busiest. During this period, the mornings are especially hectic. Pre-booking your visit is highly recommended if you plan to visit St. Nicholas Abbey during this time. Visiting during the weekend means fewer crowds, but the syrup factory and distillery may be off-limits. The Morgan Lewis Windmill or sugar mill is a nearby attraction that's worth visiting as well. It was built in 1727 and still active between December and April. Show more

What is unique about the Foursquare Rum Distillery tour in Barbados compared to other famous distilleries?

Foursquare Rum Distillery in Four Roads, Barbados is a modern facility that is more computerized than its counterparts. In contrast, their collection of local rums has been consistently exceptional, earning several awards as a result. In addition to the rum tour, the Heritage Park offers a variety of amenities, including gardens, art outlets, and food vendors. This spin on the traditional rum distillery tour provides a one-of-a-kind experience in Barbados. Show more

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Last updated: by Olha Savych