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Barbados, The Jewel Of The Caribbean

Barbados is one of those islands that is situated perfectly in the Caribbean. It is far enough south to avoid hurricanes yet still enjoys the year-round warm tropical breezes. For 2020, Time + Leisure Magazine has named Barbados one of their top destinations. It’s no wonder with their beautiful white sand beaches, friendly people, natural landscape and amazing culture, this island has it all. The Minister has asked all Bajans to return to Barbados in 2020 for a year-long celebration of events. This is why you should book your visit to Barbados this year.

My family visited Barbados a few years ago but the island is still right here with us. We’re lucky enough to have family who live on the island. So not only did we get to enjoy this wonderful island but we got to enjoy visiting family as well. My family escorted us on a few private tours of their favorite spots. Plus we were able to spend some much-needed downtime at the wonderful beaches around the island.

sunset in Barbados
Beautiful weather and sunsets year-round

Since Barbados has wonderful weather you can visit any time and know you will enjoy the beaches. A huge plus for me. I have been to several tropical locations but the west side of Barbados surprised me. The waters are really calm and the beaches are ideal for kids.

The natural side of Barbados

The island of Barbados certainly has a very rugged and natural side to it. There are lush tropical gardens, forests you can hike and explore and also amazing natural landscapes like cliffs. We enjoyed seeing the animals around the island as well as the many flowers and fruit trees. My favorite fruit, the Ataulfo mango was ripe and hanging from so many trees as we drove around the island. I honestly wanted to stop and pick them off the trees in people’s yards.

Barbados’ Welchman Hall Gully

Welchman Hall Gully is located in the center of Barbados and at the highest level which gives great views. The gully is the result of the roofs of limestone caves collapsing. You can see this as you walk through this three-quarter of a mile lush forest. There are stalagmites and stalactites in the gully that you will be able to touch. The gully is geologically connected to Harrison’s Caves which is right next door.

Barbados tourism
Picture from Barbados Tourism

The gully is home to some tropical trees and amazing flowers. In fact, it is the oldest part of Barbados planted with medicinal plants. We love seeing all the different flowers and insects in the gully. The green monkies are typically fed each morning which would be a good time to visit.

green monkey in the trees
Green Monkey
Barbados tourism
Picture from Barbados Tourism

Hunte’s Gardens

To see more lush gardens and rain forest similar to that in Welchman’s Gully stop by Hunte’s Gardens. This garden is part of the same rain forest as Welchman’s Gully so you will see plants that love the shade but also open sunny areas. Walking through the garden is any garden lover’s dream.

Hunte's Garden in Barbados
Picture from Hunte’s Garden

Harrison’s Caves

Harrison’s Caves was explored throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. However, with the natural entrance being difficult to manage the cave wasn’t fully explored until 1974. At that time Ole Sorensen, Tony Mason, and Allison Thornhill rediscovered the cave and were finally able to map it.

Harrison’s cave opened to the public in 1981 after the Barbados government excavated the shafts and tunnels to accommodate trams. Beyond the natural entrance, the cave becomes a massive stream cave system. It is more than one and a half miles long. Great Hall is the largest of the caverns and measures 50 feet high and has an average temperature of 80 degrees!

Harriosn's caves in Barbados
The lighting is challenging inside the caves

The water of Harrison’s cave still runs which tells scientists the cave is alive. The stalagmites are continuing to grown which is amazing. So, if you visit twice the cave will have changed, although probably not that much since it’s adding less than the thickness of paper each year to the stalagmites.

To explore the caves you ride on the tram along the roadway. You are able to get out and walk around in the Great Hall which the girls loved. The lighting is low so my photos aren’t the best but the experience was well worth the admission fee.

Gardens of Barbados

The Graeme Hall Sanctuary with its beautiful gardens and pond makes an ideal setting to have an afternoon tea. The natural pond (swamp mangroves) has fish and ducks swimming within and has lush trees around it. The grounds are immaculate and the girls loved running up and down the little hill.

Graeme Hall Sanctuary Barbados
The girls playing around

Calling for the monkeys

Feeding the fish and ducks

On the grounds are some enormous turtles as well as peacocks and green monkeys. My cousin told us the monkeys would come out and run around on the lawn for us. The girls were a bit loud for the monkeys though and we didn’t see them until we were leaving. The monkeys were in the trees and on the ground in the parking lot.

land turtles in Barbados
Can you see the 4 turtles in the photo?
Monkey in the parking lot

Due to contaminated waters, the sanctuary is presently closed. As you can see from our photos this is a beautiful sanctuary. Hopefully, the government of Barbados can work to clean up the area since it is the last of the mangroves on the island.


Barbados has a rich history for you to explore. With 30 UNESCO Sites, you can learn about Barbados’ independence, Geroge Washington’s stay, and even about the British Colony. There are plenty of tours to enjoy and learn all about these wonderful historical sites.

Garrison in Barbados
Wating for the changing of the sentry

The girls enjoyed the changing of the sentry (guards) at the Garrison the most. It’s fun to watch soldiers march in formation and play their drums. The Garrison is on the same grounds as the race track. Unfortunately, there weren’t any races going on that day.

the sentry of Barbados
The procession of guards
Barbados Sentry
The Sentry

Two of Barbados’ main exports are rum and sugar, even to this day. Clint was loving the old-time distillery equipment on display.

Bridgetown is a fun city to explore with street vendors, the harbor and all the historic sites. Independence Arch honors the first twenty-one years of independence from Britain.

Independence Arch
This is the pledge on the inside of the Independence Arch
Barbados tourism
Picture from Barbados Tourism – Independence Arch

Oistins Fish Fry

If you’re traveling with kids get a babysitter. This is a must!! The fish fry is an open-air food market on Friday nights and I can assure you you won’t go hungry here. Walk around and enjoy the atmosphere before you decide on what food to buy.

Oistin's fish fry in Barbados
He can’t wait to get dinner

There are many stages with different bands playing and dancing going on. It’s a huge street party with everyone enjoying themselves. Let go and be wrapped up in the dancing, you are on vacation after all. There are also shops at the back of the fish fry to buy authentic Bajan goods.

Beaches of Barbados

Ok, you’ve come to Barbados for the beaches. Who doesn’t? With the Atlantic to the east and the Caribbean to the west, you have the best of both worlds. Barbados is a coral island which means there is always a surf somewhere. The west side of the island does tend to be calmer since it’s the Caribbean side. However, we had very calm waters on the southwest side of the island as well. Honestly, I don’t think you will have a bad day lying on the beach and enjoying the warm turquoise waters.

sandy beach in Barbados
Beautiful sandy beaches
This crab meant business
Another lovely beach

Batts Rock beach on the west side is a great location for snorkeling. Accra beach is popular with sunbathers and is close to public transportation which can make it a bit crowded. Fitts River beach is quiet and popular with couples. As you can see there is a beach for everyone.

beaches of Barbados
Clint playing with Evelyn on the beach

If you love beaches you will also love my post on Isla Mujeres, Mexico.

playing on the beach in Barbados
Clint and Ainsley playing on the beach

Adventure Activities

Catamaran boat trip in Barbados
Catamaran boat cruise – that’s my brother in the water

If you’re looking for adventure Barbados has you covered. You can go snorkeling, scuba diving or surfing. There are also catamaran boat cruises and evening sunset cruises or jungle tours. You can watch horse racing, cricket or international surfing competitions. And if you plan your trip right you may be able to enjoy a festival on this small but amazing island.

Pin for Later

Since Travel + Leisure magazine named Barbados one of their top 20 picks, what are you waiting for? Would you go to Barbados just to lie on the beach or would you take in the history, culture, and sites?

This Post Has 53 Comments

  1. Ashley

    This looks like a great place to go with our kids. Your girls are adorable.

    1. Leeanne

      Thanks, Ashley, they are pretty cute kiddos who love to travel.

  2. Pam

    What a beautiful place to visit! I have never been but based on your pictures I’d love to go!

    1. Leeanne

      Thanks, Pam. I’m sure you will love it.

  3. Flo C

    Very interesting! Looks like a really good family-friendly vacation destination in the Caribbean.

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, Barbados is very family-friendly. We really had a great time.

  4. LaurenGlobe

    The pictures you took are beautiful! I hope to get down there with my husband some day <3

    1. Leeanne

      It is a lovely island and I’m sure you will love it, Lauren.

  5. Cindy

    I have not been to Barbados yet but your gorgeous pictures make me want to!

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, Barbados is truly worth a visit.

  6. Lori Nielsen

    All of these activities look super fun! I stopped at Barbados on a cruise once, but it was pouring rain, so we didn’t get to do much of anything. Love the beach, and caves, and snorkeling, and eating fish!

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sorry to hear it rained on your day in Barbados. It sounds like the perfect reason to go back, then.

  7. Jennifer

    I like the seascape views. It looks like a great place to do some nature photography.

    1. Leeanne

      That it is Jennifer. I’m sure you would take some amazing photos there.

  8. kmf

    Why have I not been here? Barbados is definitely my kind of place so will consider on one of my future beach, book, beverage getaways.

    1. Leeanne

      Make sure you are there for Friday night and go to Oistins Fish Fry. You will love it. It’s such a great party.

  9. Brianna Creef

    This looks like my kind of island! Can’t wait to visit all these spots when I go!

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sure you will love it, Brianna.

  10. Tricia Snow

    I have been dying to get to Barbados! I love the Caribbean and I love all of the wildlife you were able to see!

    1. Leeanne

      We couldn’t get over who wild the island’s animals are. We saw goats roaming around plus the turtles and the green monkeys were the best.

  11. Jordan

    I am now craving a nice warm beach trip after this post. I’d particularly love the gardens and the water activities. Anything outdoors activities are my favorite.

    1. Leeanne

      The gardens are really beautiful. I am with you on the water activities too. I can’t get enough of them.

  12. Shirley

    I would LOVE to visit Barbados! I’m bookmarking for future travel plans. Thanks!

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sure you will love it.

  13. Lisa Manderino

    This looks so fun! I would love to be on those beaches right now!

    1. Leeanne

      I would love to join you there.

  14. Stacey Billingsley

    Cool post! I didn’t know that these types of activities were available in Barbados. I mean, I knew about the beach, but I didn’t know about the caves and history. I would love to visit!

    1. Leeanne

      I agree and yes, Barbados is a very unique and historic island.

  15. Hera

    We keep missing Barbados in the Carribean, need to change that. That is a large crab, he needs to hide or end up on someone’s plate. My hubby loves crab cakes!

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sure he would be a tasty treat we can both enjoy.

  16. Courtney

    I went to Barbados once. It does have beautiful beaches and luscious foliage!

  17. Jordin

    These beaches look SO inviting! I would love to soak up the sun & swim with the sea turtles.

    1. Leeanne

      One of the things I loved so much was how quiet the beaches were. There really wasn’t anyone there and we went in June.

  18. Taci- Life Beyond Zebra

    Barbados looks so awesome! I hope to make it some day.

    1. Leeanne

      It’s definitely worth the effort to get there.

  19. John

    It’s a remarkable island. So much to do. And I’m sure the year ahead is the one to visit. Great guide.

    1. Leeanne

      It sure is and this is going to be a great year for Barbados.

  20. Manisha Raj

    Caribbean has always been on top of our list. There is so much to do! Very useful article. Thank you for sharing. And your girls are adorable 🙂

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, Barbados has a ton of activities, culture, and history to enjoy along with the beaches.

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sure you will love it when you go. If you can stay on island til around 9 pm on a Friday you should definitely check out Oistins Fish Fry. I’m sure you will love it.

  21. Amanda

    Barbados looks amazing! What great memories you made. It’s on our travel list for sure. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Leeanne

      I’d love to go back to Barbados to have even more fun and great memories.

  22. Wendy Robinson

    We’ve been to a lot of the Caribbean islands but somehow always miss Barbados. Looks like a beautiful island and a great time.

    1. Leeanne

      Barbados is beautiful, Wendy. I’m sure you will love it and the calm waves of the ocean will be great for your toddler.

  23. Missy

    We visited Barbados many years ago. I enjoyed laying out at the beach and reading a book.

    1. Leeanne

      They have the best beaches for doing just that Missy.

  24. Roselyn Franke

    You have an awesome blog site and this article was very interesting and informative. It was easy to read and held my interest. Your pictures and videos are very good as well.

    1. Leeanne

      Thanks Roselyn, I’m glad you liked the post.

  25. Beth Shields

    What a great trip and so many things to do. Your pics were great and certainly tell the story – even the one in the cave. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

    1. Leeanne

      Thanks, we really enjoyed our time in Barbados. I miss it quite a lot and since we have family there I see her pictures often on Facebook. They always seem to make me jealous.

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