Harrison’s Cave – The cave got its name from the old owner of the land back in the 1700’s, Thomas Harrison. It wasn’t until 1974 that the cave was finally mapped and the Bajan government realised its potential as a touristic attraction. They did a really good job excavating tunnels for the tram and preparing it to the public. It finally opened in 1981.
It wasn’t in our plans to go to the cave (actually our plans only included going to the beach), and we even joked about why bother going to a cave when the sun is shining outside? But one day Laura wasn’t too keen to go to the beach and we were actually trying to run away from the strong midday sun (isn’t it ironic?). We read some reviews and the place was highly recommended. We weren’t disappointed, the place is really cool! It cost 60 Barbados Dollars per adult, and Laura didn’t pay. We struggled to get there though, missing the entrance a few times (the cave is not on the GPS and the road signs are quite hard to read if you are checking a map, a GPS and paying attention to the road).
The tour starts in a room with facts and figures, images and videos telling the geological history of Barbados and the history of the cave. Then the visitor goes to a small cinema where to watch a short video (less than 10 minutes long) about the formation of Barbados, the only non-volcanic island in that area, and finally there is the tram tour. The whole tour lasts less than 2 hours and Laura really enjoyed. She kept asking where the bats were, but the bats were moved to the main entrance of the caves, which we don’t have access to.
Welchman Hall Gully – very close to the Harrison’s Cave and the Flower Florest, in the middle of the island, it’s a place for nature lovers, but most of all, plant lovers. We went there on our last day in the island, we had to be at the airport by 3pm, we got there around 1pm – the whole walk takes about an hour, but with a toddler it takes longer. There are some monkeys in the area, but we only saw them from the distance. Some fact about Barbados and it’s native (and alien) flora can be read with a little numbered guide they give at the entrance. The gully was formed by collapsed roof of caves and it is connected to the Harrison’s cave. It got it’s name from its Welsh owner, 200 years ago. There is a new section in the gully, but it is through the mud – since we had to go to the airport and weren’t sure about the muddy path, we skipped this one. We also didn’t know about the times to feed the monkeys, so we missed it.
Entrance is 12 Barbados dollars per adult and kids under 5 don’t pay.
Barbados Wildlife Reserve – Laura loved it! It is some sort of zoo-farm open space, where you walk with the animals. Ok, the alligators, snakes, parrots and iguanas were caged, but everything else – monkeys (loads of them), deers, tortoises, a weird animal I just found out is called agouti, and others walk freely with the visitors. Laura was simply fascinated. She didn’t want to leave the place. Hubby and I actually quite enjoyed as well – the place is small enough to be explored in a couple of hours (perfect for the pregnant lady that can’t walk for too long), but interesting enough to keep us there for longer if needed. There a little “canteen” that sells drinks, not sure about food.
The place is divided into three sections: the Wildlife Reserve, the Grenade Hall Forest, which is a very educational tour in the forest, with interesting facts about nature and Barbados wildlife, and the Grenade Hall Signal Station, a communication tower where we can learn a bit more about Barbados communication network in the 1800’s.
Entrance is 23.50 Barbados Dollars per adult and kids under 3 go free.
P.S.: The battery of my camera died in the middle of the walk in the wildlife reserve. 😦
Bridgetown / Garrison / Barbados museum – this is an interesting one. I won’t be able to recommend much, because we went to Bridgetown (the capital of Barbados) only by car and we didn’t actually stopped. We were told that it was a bit hard to park and we would have to find a private parking and… we were a bit lazy (and I was very hot). I found the sidewalks very narrow as well and couldn’t see myself walking with Laura around it. But there are some interesting spots to visit, including the Parliament Museum (it doesn’t open on Tuesdays and Sundays). We also tried to see the change of the guard at the Garrison, but the little guide we had (Barbados in a Nutshell) had the wrong date printed (apparently we were in the winter cruise season and they change the dates to match the cruise dates). Bridgetown and the Garrison were included in Unesco’s World Heritage List in 2011 and if you have time and don’t want to spend all your holidays in the beach (why not?), go for a visit. 🙂
These are the stuff we managed to do, but there are loads more if you have time. For us, coming from the UK, where we have winter at least 8 months a year, one week in the Caribbean is just a taster. And we wanted to see it all, go to all the beaches, but also relax.