Picture the crystal blue ocean, colorful cuisine, yellow sunrises and purple sunsets. Lose yourself in the rain forest and when you emerge from your hike make your way to Bridgetown to discover some of the best rum anywhere. That’s Barbados and the list of excursions to enjoy on this Caribbean Island is endless. Below are four suggestions for outings to make your trip memorable.
HARRISON’S CAVE AND BEACH DAY
One of the most-well-loved excursions available in Barbados takes you to the central uplands of the island to Harrison’s Cave, named after Thomas Harrison who was a wealthy landowner during the 1700’s. No one knows for sure if Mr. Harrison, himself, explored the cave. Nonetheless, it has his namesake.
The cave is limestone with exquisite stalagmites, stalactites and crystal formations that form a beautiful, natural cathedral. Reviews from past visitors suggest that the best thing about a visit are the tour guides whose knowledge helps one to gain an appreciation for a creation carved from the stone by the island’s warm waters. The cost for a one hour tour by tram is $30 USD for adults and $15 USD for children.
Combine a visit to Harrison’s Cave with a day on Bathsheba Beach, one of the most popular beaches on the island located only five miles from the cave.
AGAPEY CHOCOLATE FACTORY TOUR
If you love chocolate, a visit to the Agapey Chocolate Factory may be the perfect excursion for you. You don’t need street signs to find this place. Simply follow your nose. As you near the factory the smell of cocoa in the air tells you you’ve reached your destination.
The first thing you have to do is book a 90-minute tour in advance. Then upon arrival, you’ll begin the day learning about the different beans used and the processes involved from beginning to end that include growing the beans to making the actual products.
Now for the best part, tasting the cocoa of which you will have the opportunity to taste several different types, each with unique qualities and one-of-a-kind flavor. Agapey chocolate creations can include Caribbean rum, cinnamon and nutmeg spice in the mix, just to name a few examples, and of course, it doesn’t get any better than going directly into your mouth without leaving the factory.
TURTLE SWIM AND SHIPWRECK SNORKELING
This one’s a good addition to anyone’s bucket list. Swimming around sea turtles with a 300-year old shipwreck just below is a surreal experience. Leatherback and Hawksbill species call these waters home and there are a wide variety of companies offering day excursions to see and interact with them.
Hop aboard a catamaran and set out on the Caribbean Sea. Tours usually include great local cuisine, and of course, a selection of drinks made with island rum (non-alcoholic drinks and water are available also). Sizes of catamarans vary to accommodate individuals to large groups. Prices fluctuate with the package that may include a stop at a popular beach or chance to snorkel while exploring a shipwreck. The equipment along with instructions on how to snorkel safely is included.
MOUNT GAY RUM REFINERY TOUR
If spirits (and I’m not referring to ghosts) are your interest, a visit to the Mount Gay Rum Refinery will make for an interesting day. Mount Gay is one of only two refineries in Barbados and offers tours to visitors who have a passion for rum.
Tours are divided into two parts. First, guests will see how the rum is bottled followed with a chance to savor a variety of rums. It should be noted that this is not the location of the distillery so you will not see the entire process for how the rum is actually made. This tour is more for sampling the spirits. For that reason, it is recommended that visitors book the “lunch tour” that combines local dishes with fine rum to enjoy on a shaded deck with a cool breeze and the peaceful sound of the ocean to complete the experience. The lunch tour also includes roundtrip transportation from your hotel to the refinery.