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Oistins is the largest fishing town in Barbados. Oistins originally got its name from a early settler named Austin (which people pronounced Oistin.) For generations, the local Bajans have travelled to Oistins bay on foot or by bus, to buy a wide selection of fish caught out at sea. However, it has undergone quite a change over the past 25 years. The drastic transformation began in the early 1970s when the local cinema was torn down in order to make way for a modern shopping plaza. The plaza included a variety of modern features including: a laundrette, supermarket, disco, electronics shop, video club, and a Barclays bank. However, competition in the form of the Southern Plaza, sprang up at the Western end of town. The Southern plaza’s lure is that it is a one stop shop and has always been a branch of Super Centre. The government then up-hauled the fishing industry by building a $10million fisheries terminal occupying over 4 acres of land. Fishing boats were also equip with cold storage so fishermen could stay out at sea longer. The building has not added to the quirky charm of Ostins, however, the change was necessary for economic purposes. The amount of fish that is available at Barbados is quite sublime it must be said. Fish such as: Dolphin, barracuda, shark, kingfish, flying fish, and snapper’s all can be found being sold in Oistins. Many different shoppers can find old wives selling succulent fish. The visitors will be able to see the vast array of fish available as the vendors approach you. The best time to visit Oistins is at 4pm when the catch of the day is being brought in and the filleting is taking place. This a fascinating watch for any holiday maker. Ostins is one of the most popular destinations to visit in Barbados with many tourists and visitors travelling to Oistins for the “Fish-fry.” The “Fish-fry” is an amazing opportunity to try the local delicacies. Bajan treats such as sweet potatoes, macaroni pie, and of course grilled fish, is available to visitors and locals during the Fish Fry.

On of the main events that takes place in Oistins is the Oistins fish festival. The Oistins fish festival highlights the importance and contribution made by the local bajans towards fishing. Arts and crafts are displayed and food and drink is also in plenty supply. Many different competitions also take place at the Ostins fish festival that revolve around fishing. Competitions such as fish boning, net throwing, and boat racing takes place over the course of the festival. The festival started in 1977 and includes some of Barbados’s top fish delicacies. The festival takes place on Easter week which is a fitting time to host the festival. Te festival was initially set up to improve the economic fortunes and entrepreneurship of the “Fisher folk” of Oistins. Set up by Stella, Lady St John and the local communities the Oistins fishing festival. The festival has attracted thousands of patron’s over the years both locally and nationally. However, it is the winner of the fish boning competition that takes the most plaudits. The fish boning competition is fiercely competitive with participants battling against each other for the coveted crown. Fish boning is an art form and anyone who can perform the tasks is well respected in the fishing community.

Another wonderful site to behold is the Christ Church Parish Church. The Christ Church Parish Church is part of the wonderful Barbados churches with many of the tourists that visit becoming breath-taken by the churches wonderful attributes and scenery. However the church is most know for its “Great Coffin Mystery” which appeared in the Churches graveyard. The mystery was first discovered in 1816 where Mary Ann Chase’s coffin had moved form one corner to another. This caused confusion as the coffin was located in a vault that was locked. It was reported that the coffin moved twice in 1816 and again in 1817. The governor of Barbados at that time (Viscount Combermere) was made aware of this and in 1819 made workers seal the vault with cement. Nine months later the governor sent a man to go inside the vault. The coffin was found upright against the middle of the stone door and Mary Ann Chase’s was “Thrown with so much force it had damaged the vaults door.” The coffins were later removed and the vaults remain empty.

Ostins is a truly marvelous town bursting with bajan heritage and culture. The town is definitely worth visiting providing the tourist with the authentic Barbados experience.


Name: Oistins
Location: Oistins, Christchurch

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