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10 Top Barbados Attractions

Barbados festival
Festivals top the events in Bridgetown. Copyright Barbados Tourism Authority
Barbados has one of the best natural attractions for anyone who wants to go swimming with sea turtles.

If not, Barbados land attractions include massive shopping in Bridgetown and the Flower Forest that combines a botanical garden and nature trail.

Andromeda Natural Gardens has six acres of tropical plants and flowers. Harrison's Cave includes underground streams and a 40-foot waterfall.

1) Swimming with Sea Turtles


One of the best attractions in Barbados and a recommended family excursion is swimming with sea turtles.

Sea turtles that live off the coast of Barbados have learned to come in contact with humans. Excursions offer visitors a chance to go snorkeling with them and view them up close.

We found these gentle creatures willing to swim within a few feet of us in part because tour guides offered food as an incentive. Anyone with a camera that shoots underwater can take some memorable photographs.

As a package shore excursion, this tour may cost $70 to $100 or more including other amenities.

2) Bridgetown


The capital city of Bridgetown is the most popular Barbados tourist attraction because it has the main island cruise terminal.

Visitors can walk right off the boat and immediately start shopping and dining in this bustling city of 100,000 people. But some of the better shopping requires a quick taxi ride to Broad Street. Fit and energetic visitors may walk the 1.5 miles to get there.

Broad Street is the main thoroughfare where many duty-free shopping opportunities exist. Visitors also can wander around to other attractions including Chamberlain Bridge and Independence Square.

Cave Shepherd is a shopping center on Broad and has some of the best variety in duty-free shopping. Anyone looking for local crafts close to the port can walk 10 to 15 minutes on Princess Alice Highway to Pelican Village. It has a wide selection of handcrafts, art and local food is available.

Harrison's Cave
Harrison's Cave; © BigStockPhoto.com

3) Harrison's Cave


Harrison's Cave is a stream cave system that carries water and is more than 2.3 kilometers long.

The largest cave in the system is 50 feet high. The system was discovered in the 1700s, mapped in 1974 and opened to the public in 1981.

It is open seven days a week with the first tour at 9 a.m. and the last one at 4 p.m. Fees are $40 in Barbados Dollars per adult and $20 for children, which is about $20 and $10 U.S. each.

If taking a cruise excursion, expect to pay between $50 and $100 per person or more including entrance fee and transportation plus extra amenities. Extra amenities may or may not include lunch and visits to other attractions.

4) Atlantis Submarine


Several destinations in the Caribbean have the Atlantis Submarine excursion that offers visitors a chance to go as much as 150 feet underwater to view sea creatures and coral reefs. The ride lasts 45 minutes. Prices start at about $100 per adult with discounts for children.


5) Flower Forest


The Flower Forest has more than 50 acres of flowers, trails, monkeys, birds and other plants and animals.

The forest is open seven days a week and has an entrance fee of $7 U.S. It is located close to Harrison's Cave above. I is often part of a package Barbados island tour that includes the cave.

6) Andromeda Botanic Gardens


The gardens managed by the Barbados National Trust cover six acres and have orchids, palms, ferns, heliconia, hibiscus, bougainvillea, begonias and cacti.

In addition to the flora and fauna, the garden has a stream with pools and waterfalls.

Like the Flower Forest, shore excursions often include the gardens along with Harrison Cave and other attractions as part of a Barbados island tour. Otherwise, entry costs $15 for adults and half off for children.

7) Baobab Trees


Two mature Baobab trees live on Barbados, with the one in Queen's Park in Bridgetown measuring more than 51 feet wide. It is a quick walk east of Independence Arch and the nearby Parliament Building.

They reportedly were brought to the island from Guinea in Africa around 1738, making them about 270 years old.

8) Jacobean Mansions


Barbados has two of the three remaining Jacobean Mansions left in the Western Hemisphere.

St. Nicholas Abbey in St. Peter and Drax Hall in St. George were built in the 1650s. They display the distinct Jacobean style of curved Dutch gables, chimney stacks and coral stone finials. They also have a Chinese Chippendale staircase, antiques and fine china.

9) Beaches Near Cruise Port


Bridgetown is located on the southwest coast of the island, so beaches nearby are popular with the many cruise visitors.

Three beaches near Bridgetown include Brandons Beach with watersports, restaurants and calm waters; Batts Rock with picnic areas, playground, facilities, shade trees; and Brownes Beach, which has calm waters and lifeguards.

10) George Washington House


History lovers may want to visit the only house where the first U.S. president ever stayed outside of the country. It was in the Bush Hill House, which has been restored to its former glory.

He spent two months there in 1751 with his brother, contracted smallpox and eventually recovered to return to Virginia.

The house, now a museum, is a little more than two miles south of the cruise docks in Garrison.

11) Heritage Park and Rum Factory


The first rum distillery on Foursquare Plantation opened in 1996 -- the first on Barbados since the 19th century.

It is located on a former molasses and sugar plantation that originates about 350 years ago. Entry is free.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Attractions   

March 05, 2019

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