Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Harrison's Cave Shore Excursion

Harrison's Cave, Barbados
Harrison’s Cave is a unique natural tourist attraction in Barbados. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

Harrison’s Cave in Barbados is an extensive stream cave system that is about two miles long—at least the parts that have been discovered and explored.

This popular shore excursion is called a stream cave system because it carries water and consists of a series of interconnected caves. Great Hall is the largest cave in the system at 50 feet high. These caves are the largest in the Caribbean.

As a result of the water, the caves have stalagmites growing from the ground up and stalactites growing from the roof down. They develop slowly in human terms but quickly from a geological point of view.

In addition to Great Hall, another highlight is waterfalls that drop into deep pools.

The cave system is named after Thomas Harrison, the original owner of the land back in the early 1700s. There is no record of Harrison himself having entered the caves, but several expeditions entered it in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The expeditions were not able to explore much of it because the natural entrances were mostly inaccessible.

As a result, most of the system was unexplored until the 1970s. An engineer and cave explorer from Denmark rediscovered and mapped the system in 1974.

Then the government started developing Harrison’s Cave as an attraction for both island residents and tourists. It opened to the public in 1981. Harrison’s Cave is one of the few cave systems in the Caribbean that is open to the public and likely the largest. Others include small caves in Belize and Aruba.

The system is in the center of the island in the St. Thomas parish near the town of Allen View. It is accessible from Bridgetown and other major locations by bus, taxi or rental car. Driving time is about 30 minutes from Bridgetown.

Prices and Hours

Harrison’s Cave Location Map

Visitors can take a tram tour or a walking tour. Tour guides provide the background and history of the system for interested visitors.

The tram tour costs $25 for adults and $12.50 for children at the time of this writing. The tram tour lasts one hour.

The walking tour lasts one and a half hours and costs $20 for adults and $10 for children. Note that the walking tour is seasonal, so call in advance to check availability.

Anyone who takes a taxi might pay $40 to $50 for a round trip. For value and convenience, a tour operator may be a better choice.

Cruise Shore Excursions

Many tour operators have trips that include a stop at the caves, which are one of the most popular attractions on the island.

Cruise lines also offer shore excursions that go only to the caves. One major cruise line had a three-hour tour with a guide that cost $80 for anyone 13 years and older and $50 for children ages 4 to 12. Children under 4 are free.

The tour included a 30-minute drive from the cruise docks to the caves, a 90 minute tour and 30 minutes of free time. The visit includes the $30 tram tour.

Another major cruise line had similar prices. Some shore excursions to the cave are more expensive but include a beach visit and swimming with local sea turtles. These tours may cost $100 or more and take a half day to complete.

More Information

A visitor’s shop offers refreshments and local handicrafts.

Harrison’s Cave is open seven days a week. Tours start at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.

Contact information:

Harrison’s Cave
Welchman Hall,
St. Thomas, Barbados
Telephone: (246) 417-3700 | Fax: (246) 417-3709
Email: [email protected]

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
May 23, 2022

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