Deciding on a destination to spend your vacation goes through several factors until you choose the one that interests you the most, right? And it was no different with me when I decided on this Caribbean island called Barbados!
Today, the island of Barbados is rightly counted among the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean. It is the ideal destination for those who want to spend a stay in the name of peace and tranquility, immersing themselves in a natural setting of fairy tales and a whole story to discover.
During my two weeks trip, I explored this island and discovered interesting places worth visiting. In this post, I will share with you the 14 most popular tourist attractions in Barbados you can’t miss during your visit.
The capital of Barbados recently joined the UNESCO list of heritage sites and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Barbados. Some companies offer guided tours around the city’s streets, but as everything is relatively close, you can do this on your own. So I ended up just driving myself.
The parliament building has a super cute style and is by far the most photographed attraction in the city. I saw several people there in the square taking a picture of the parliament. In the same area, I visited the George Washington House (George Washington visited Barbados in 1751, before becoming the first American president, and spent two months there. The house contains period articles and information from Barbados over 200 years ago) and the Barbados Museum.
The city also has many squares, fountains, churches, parks, sculptures, beaches, etc. Its white beaches are very popular, with palm trees growing on the beach, and an underwater park on the seashore, allowing visitors to enjoy the fun of the beach and explore the wonders of the underwater world.
2. Harrison Cave
A tour that caught my attention since the first time I read about attractions in Barbados was precisely the visit to Harrison’s Cave. This is a system of underground caves made up basically of stalactites and stalagmites, as well as waterfalls and some natural pools. I was impressed with the photos I saw on the internet, and I thought it would be very interesting to visit.
Harrison’s cave is located right in the center of the northern part of the country, which is opposite to where I was staying. I had already read that it was difficult to go there using public transport and right there at the hotel I asked for a suggestion from a tourist agency to do this tour, and the girls at the reception recommended me one agency. The only “problem” with this company is that the tours don’t happen every day, so the option I had left was to book for a Friday.
As agreed, the staff came to pick me up at the hotel about 30 minutes before the tour started. From there, we went straight to the company’s office, where we made the payments (they only accept cash and credit card payments, a debit card is not accepted). On this tour, we took a road that cuts through the interior of the country. The landscapes along the way are fields and more fields with sugar cane plantations, heritage from the period of slavery on the island.
We soon arrived at the main attraction of the tour, Harrison’s Cave. The structure was very well thought out, and the tour is super organized. The tour took about 1 hour on an electric cart that runs through some of its tunnels and galleries/halls). Particularly impressive is the “Great Hall,” which measures about fifteen meters in height.
The cave, whose internal temperature reaches 27 degrees Celsius, still carries water and is very active as the stalagmites that characterize its walls continue to grow.
3. Bathsheba Bay
It is a blend of ingredients that makes Bathsheba a charming place. Located along the east coast of Barbados, the city has about 5,000 inhabitants and has developed into a fishing village. I admired the charming churches present in the center of the city. Among them, the Anglican Church of Sao Jose, built in 1600, but rebuilt in 1800 after a hurricane, stands out.
The city is also appreciated internationally for other attractions, such as the “Forest of Flowers” and the “Tower of Cotton,” from which it is possible to admire the District of Scotland from above.
On the outskirts of the city, I explored the totally untouched rainforest, which occupies an area of 340,000 square meters and is home to extraordinary plant species. Equally enchanting is the beach around Bathsheba, where annual surfing competitions are held.
4. Atlantis submarine
Another tour that I enjoyed in Barbados was the Atlantis submarine. The same semi-submarine company that operates in Aruba, Curaçao, and St. Maarten is also present in Barbados. It’s a way to dive without getting wet and without having to snorkel.
Passengers descend to a depth of around 55 meters below sea level. And for an hour, I was dazzled by marine life and wrecked ships. The trip on the southeast coast of the country can be done during the day, to see the fish better, or at night, when the show is on account of the corals.
5. Catamaran Tour
For me, taking a boat ride is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to get to know the country. On the west coast of the Caribbean island, there are places only accessible by sea. Therefore, the catamarans tour is one of the things to do in Barbados that I recommend.
This tour is a little expensive (about US$80 per person), but it’s worth it! What I did was a half-day trip, which took me for a swim with the giant sea turtles. They can usually be seen at Carlisle Bay. They provide the snorkel and life jacket. However, to swim with them, you will need to dive into deeper water. But if you are afraid, you can look at the turtles from the surface just by dipping your head in the sea. A buffet lunch is also included. Incidentally, the transfer from the hotel to the port is also included, and you can usually book directly with the hotel.
6. Andromeda Garden
Being in love with nature, I decided to visit the Andromeda Garden. It covers an area of 6 acres and is a picturesque landscape garden. The flowering plants, tropical vegetation, and flower forest in the garden are a fascinating landscape that makes Andromeda. Today, the garden has become one of the most popular attractions in Barbados.
The Umbrella palm tree in the Andromeda Garden is one of the largest palm trees in the world. In addition, there are orchids, ferns, hibiscus, bougainvillea, begonias, and cacti. The fragrance in the garden is pervasive, and the fragrance of the flowers also attracts the dancing of butterflies in the garden, which is harmonious. The colorful flowers and plants in the garden attract children to explore, love, and protect nature.
7. Bridgetown Synagogue
This synagogue is located in Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados. Bridgetown Synagogue is known as one of the Seven Wonders of Barbados. It was built in the 17th century, destroyed by a hurricane in 1831, and then rebuilt in 1929.
This is a beautiful Gothic architecture, which is characterized by high spires, pointed arches, large windows, and stained glass painted with biblical stories. The design of the synagogue has pointed vaults, flying buttresses, and slender.
In addition, this synagogue includes a cemetery where Jews who immigrated here in the 1630s are buried. This synagogue is considered the oldest church in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barbados.
8. Farley National Park
A few acres of mahogany woods surround an old manor, which is the Farley Hills National Park. Initially, this was a retreat for the British royal family and nobles. However, it was converted into a national park after Barbados’ independence. The lush trees and luxuriant flowers and plants in the garden are a good choice for rest and travel.
I enjoyed and admired the ruins of the palace built by the British prince in 1861. Although it was a long time ago, the ruins are fairly well preserved and full of historical beauty.
Because the Farley Hills National Park is located 900 feet above sea level on Farley Mountain, it can be seen from a distance, and the eastern side has a panoramic view of the rivers and mountains and the rough sea, which is refreshing.
9. Barbados Wildlife Sanctuary
This tour is great for families with children, as there it is possible to meet many species of animals, which are loose around the zoo. This zoo is actually an animal preservation sanctuary. The best-known animal on the island, the green monkey, which came from the ships that colonized the island, is what attracts the most attention from visitors.
Some of the animals I saw here were deer, agoutis, turtles, and other small animals. Despite being loose, you’re not allowed to interact with them, nor to give food, as they are wild and can attack. The tour was very smooth, I managed to take several photos up close, and I found it amusing, especially at mealtime, when all species ate together. This is definitely one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barbados that I recommend.
Visiting the coast in the northwest, I stopped at Speightstown, one of the best-known Barbados attractions and most appreciated centers. The city owes its charm mainly to the architectural features that distinguish it. In particular, there is an alternation between historic buildings, dating from approximately the time of the island’s first settlements, and more modern buildings.
The vendors along the center of the avenues offering customers fresh fruit and vegetables are also a distinctive feature of the city. There are also fishermen with fresh fish.
Finally, there are numerous opportunities the city offers to relax. Among these, the beautiful beaches certainly stand out, which are never crowded, making this corner of Barbados an authentic gem.
11. Animal Flower Cave
The Animal Flower Cave is located in the Parish of St. Lucy, formed by the continuous impact of seawater on the hills and the rocks out of an alley. The Animal Flower Cave was discovered in 1780 by two British explorers who were sailing in the area.
There are sea anemones in the animal flower cave, which is called “animal flower” by the locals, and the cave is named “animal flower cave.”
The cave features a coral floor, which is about 400,000-500,000 years old, and there is also a large pool where people can swim. I really loved this place, and I recommend it.
12. Gun Hill Signal Station
Visiting the island of Barbados, you cannot fail to notice the “signal stations” equipped with a turret set up to locate any approaching ships and organize defense operations in case of imminent enemy attacks.
It is located in an excellent panoramic point that offers a breathtaking view of the entire island. Here, I was surrounded by wonderful green areas and gardens enriched with colorful plant species typical of tropical areas.
To reach the “signal station,” I had to follow a winding path, very romantic, as it is characterized by the presence of historic lamps and charming benches. There are also spots to admire the fantastic landscape.
In addition to seeing the main attractions in Barbados, you can admire cruise ships and other large boats on the horizon. The “signal station” also houses a collection of military relics and a little restaurant. On the outside is a splendid statue representing a lion, made by working on the rock. All these features make this area one of the most suggestive and charming in Barbados.
13. Oistin fish fry
The bases of Barbados cuisine are fish, seafood, lobster, and crabs. A very typical dish is the flying fish, which is usually served breaded. But for those who like red meat, there is a typical Caribbean barbecue, where different types of meat are grilled. I was even able to taste it when I went to one of the night food fairs, the famous Oistins Fish Fry, which takes place every night. On Fridays, there is live music, and it’s quite busy (so be sure to get there early). There are several stalls where you buy the dish and then sit at one of the outdoor tables. Its delight!
14. Mount Gay Tour
Another of the most popular attractions in Barbados is the Mount Gay tour, a small museum with photos and videos showing all the steps in the process of distilling the rum drink. Afterward, it’s time to go underground to discover the place where rum is made. There, some types of rums are tasted.
Finally, comes the most fun part: a competition between teams (in my case it was between couples), who makes the best cocktail with rum. They go behind the counter and use all the bartender’s ingredients. In the end, a vote is taken to see who wins. Of course, everything was in a very relaxed atmosphere, and the competition was really fun. I highly recommend it!
If you prefer, it is also possible to do just the visit, without the tasting. There is also an option that includes dinner at the end of the tour.
Anyway, these were my top 14 most popular tourist attractions in Barbados. It’s hard not to appreciate its beautiful crystal blue waters and its tourist-friendly environment. I guarantee it will be an unforgettable tour!!