Activities and Attractions in Barbados
The warm sun, gentle turquoise waters and white sandy beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see make the perfect holiday destination which is why Barbados is such a popular spot.
But if you can drag yourself away from lazing under a palm tree you'll find that this island has much more to offer than the idyllic beaches.
With fascinating architecture, incredible inland scenery and exotic wildlife, there are lots of attractions and activities you could enjoy on Barbados.
Here are a few suggestions of what you might like to do during your stay.
Find Your Perfect Holiday
The waters around Barbados are home to some very special types of marine life but unless you're a scuba diver, you'll miss this incredible underwater world.
Opting for a catamaran trip and snorkelling will provide you with a glimpse of what's below the surface, and you could see some of the giant sea turtles which are common visitors to Bajan shores.
However, for a better view of ocean life, take a trip on the Atlantis submarine, an underwater trip suitable for the whole family.
Lifelong memories when you take a trip on the Atlantis submarine, Barbados
Big, round windows provide the perfect viewing experience as plunging deep below the surface you'll get a wonderful view of the weird and unusual creatures and plants which live in the water, including the beautiful coral reefs.
A typical voyage on Atlantis dives to a depth of 150 feet, visiting a submerged wreck which is home to lots of exotic fish and marine life. Enjoy seeing the creatures flitting in and out of rocks and holes, peaking at your submarine as you make your way through the crystal clear waters with help from a professional and crew, in air-conditioned surroundings.
The coral nature of the island means there's a network of caves and caverns which have a fascinating array of natural features.
Harrison's Cave is perhaps the most spectacular of them all, a crystallised limestone cavern which was fully opened to the public in 1981.
Harrison's Cave, Barbados
A cave system stretching out over 2.3km, Harrison's Cave has a number of different caverns, the tallest of which is 15 metres tall. It's an active cave, which means there's a series of streams flowing through the depths, as well as eerie glass-smooth pools. Towering columns of rock plus sparkling stalagmites and stalactites create a magical underground world.
Visitors are transported via an electric tram to the deepest point below the surface at which point they can disembark and walk alongside a stunning subterranean waterfall. Glistening, emerald pools and fresh, crystal-clear tumbling streams of water can be seen around every twist and turn of the cave network.
Outside there's a Visitor's Centre carved from the limestone bedrock, along with handicraft vendors and a refreshment area.
The inner parts of Barbados are grassy and rolling, with lush tropical gardens and green vegetation. Although the outer parts of the island are flat, creating the perfect terrain for cyclists, the central parts of Barbados are far more hilly, or in some parts, almost mountainous.
Mount Hillaby is the highest point on Barbados, lying 343 metres above sea level, providing simply incredible views of the surrounding area.
Mount Hillaby, Barbados
The peak is easily accessible, through the tiny village of Hillaby, via the narrow road which winds its way ever higher. It's completely free of charge and provides an unparalleled viewpoint over particularly the north and eastern parts of the island.
Barbados Wildlife Reserve
Set in the northern part of the island in the parish of St Peter, Barbados Wildlife Reserve lies in close proximity to Farley Hill National Park, another popular tourist spot.
In the reserve, most animals are free to wander around without cages, with visitors able to move among them observing them in a natural environment.
The Barbados Green Monkeys are one of the most popular animals in the reserve; they're not actually permanent residents and are free to come and go as they choose. Nevertheless, afternoon feeding time is always a popular time with a huge number of monkeys returning for their free food…and anything else they can grab! The monkeys are renowned for their light fingers and have often taken belongings from visitors without being noticed!
Other birds and animals include snakes, caiman, flamingoes, armadillo, agouti, Brocket Deer and tortoises, to name but a few. The more potentially dangerous animals such as snakes are enclosed.
In the heart of Barbados, there's a tropical botanical garden which showcases some of the most exotic shrubs, plants and flowers on the island.
Regal palm fringes gently sway above delights such as Torch Ginger Lilies, creating an explosion of colour, fragrance and greenery.
Explore the Flower Forest in Barbados
Pathways gently meander through the landscaped gardens but there's towering trees which provide welcome shade. As well as a wide variety of palm trees, there are also many fruit trees including mango, avocado and plum.
The biggest garden in Barbados, the Flower Forest is also home to some tropical animals, such as a number of species of humming bird which can often be found hovering in the air.
Mount Gay Rum Visitor Centre
Rum plays a very special role in Barbados, with hundreds of rum shops dotted around the island. Mount Gay rum is one of the best known brands and there's a visitor centre open for tours.
Visiting the distillery and learning about how the rum is aged, blended and distilled is a fascinating process and you'll get to sample the spirit too. There are different tours available but children aren't allowed on all of them, notably the Cocktail Tour, so if you have youngsters it's worth checking before setting off.
As well as the tours of the distillery, there's a souvenir shop plus a Mount Gay Bar & Lounge where you can sit and relax over rum-based cocktails and mixers. There are special mixologists on hand who can either create one of the recipes from the menu or you can challenge them to make up something just for you!
Pelican Village Craft Centre Estate
An island such as Barbados has its own unique skills and crafts, and being able to buy locally made products is something that's much sought after to visitors to the island.
Pelican Village was set up in 1964 and is the largest facility on Barbados dedicated to the arts and crafts.
Just outside the capital of Bridgetown, Pelican Village is conveniently located and offers a wide variety of one-of-a-kind makes, created by artisans from both Barbados and the Caribbean.
The land on which the village is located has a fascinating history, being originally uninhabited by anyone other than pelicans. It was also used as a quarantine facility for sick crew and passengers arriving from ships and boats visiting Barbados. The island became joined to Barbados when the harbour at Bridgetown was built.
The range of items available for sale include confectionary, ceramics, jewellery, home decorations, fashion wear and clothing, sculptures, paintings and general souvenirs.
As well as purchasing items for sale, visitors can also watch demonstrations of craft or join in a workshop. Some of the skills being taught include basket weaving, batik, glass blowing, cigar making, pottery and wood carving.
Alongside the craft and workshop areas are places to purchase refreshments as well as an entertainment arena where steel bands, stilt walkers and other performers carry out shows.
Much more besides
The above list is just a brief snapshot of things to do in Barbados, and if you have the time, you'll find there's a whole host of other activities and attractions to enjoy.
There's an almost endless list of reasons to visit Barbados, so why not come along and see for yourself just what this beautiful coral island has to offer?