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Paynes Bay Beach is located on the west coast of Barbados (aka the “Platinum Coast”). With extremely calm seas and a nearly flat shoreline, many locals believe it is one of Barbados’ best beaches for swimming. In recent years, the colorful neighborhood surrounding Paynes Bay Beach has experienced significant development, making it a hot spot for tourists to visit and vacation at.
Though the beach itself is flat, Paynes Bay Beach drops off quickly into deeper waters. It is well balanced with both sandy areas for casual swimming and shallow reefs for snorkeling. The water here is usually gentle and crystal-clear with no undertows, making it safe and with good visibility. Some people have reported having turtle encounters, but catamarans often frequent the area and disturb the sea life.
Depending on where you are on Paynes Bay, you can find various vendors offering different types of watersport rentals. This is a popular area for kayaks and jet skis, and a glass bottom boat also makes home in the bay, offering lunch cruises and snorkel tours.
There are many restaurant and bar options along Paynes Bay Beach, catering to budgets of all types. At the southernmost end, you can experience some of Barbados’ finest dining at Quattro Passi at The Cliff. Along the main stretch, options include The Gazebo Bar & Grill, seafood at Daphne’s and quaint beach bar huts serving fish cutters and basic drinks.
At the south end of Paynes Bay, you can find a monument in memory of a 1976 plane bombing, which crashed into the seas off Barbados’ coast. On the opposite end, admire the luxury One Sandy Lane hotel, which Rihanna and Simon Cowell are said to stay at when they visit the island.
Additionally, Paynes Bay Beach is just a short drive away from Holetown, which is a lively place for visitors.
There are a few places you can park to reach Paynes Bay, however they aren’t the most obvious if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The first option is to park across the street from the renowned One Sandy Lane. There is a walkway to the right of the hotel, which will lead you to the beach. Beware, at high tide there often isn’t any sand to step foot on, it just looks like a bunch of tree roots going straight into the sea. But at low tide, there will be a small beach which you can walk down to the left to find the “real” stretch of Paynes Bay.
The second parking option is on the south side of Paynes Bay Beach, where Paynes Bay Fish Market is. There is an unmissable blue picnic table sitting next to a monument on a rocky dirt area. Cars often pull up onto that to park, then walk down a sidewalk to the beach. Again, the tide will determine how long your stretch of beach will be. As long as it’s not peak high tide, you can usually walk to the north to access the main section of Paynes Bay Beach.
Beach chairs and umbrellas are available to rent from local vendors. Supposedly, there are also public toilets and shower facilities, though I haven’t managed to find them myself.
Paynes Bay Beach is a known beach for tourists, so it tends to stay fairly busy. Many, many, many (did I say many?) catamarans frequent the area, dropping dozens of people into the sea. They often blast party music and make a ruckus, disturbing the otherwise serene beach. For a more peaceful day, stick to the south end of Paynes Bay, near the fish market. It tends to be quieter with only a few locals fishing or lounging around and enjoying the beach.
If you manage to catch it at low tide on a quiet day, Paynes Bay is a delightful and stunning beach. I’ve walked on and by it many times, and always stop to relax for a moment or snap a photo along the way.
+ Calm waters, great for swimming
+ Quiet, no crowds
+ Short drive to Holetown
+ Beach chairs available to rent
+ Shaded areas
+ Showers & Bathrooms
– Not many restaurants within short walking distance
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