A First Time Visitor's Guide To 10 Must-See Places In Barbados
Visiting Barbados for the first time can be an overwhelming experience; with so much to see and do it can be a challenge to fit everything in.
From attractions and wildlife to historical sites and excursions, there are so many exciting activities and locations to tick off your Barbados bucket list, making for a very healthy itinerary.
Sadly, it’s unlikely that you’ll manage to tick everything there is to do off your list on your first visit, so here’s a guide to the 10 must-see places in Barbados for your first time on the island.
No trip to Barbados would be complete without a visit to one of its wonders: Harrison’s Cave.
This cavern is comprised of crystallised limestone, streams, and pools of clear water. It has taken thousands of years for the cave’s stalagmites and stalactites to form, making it one of Barbados’ oldest attractions.
Tour guides take visitors around Harrison’s Cave every day of the week in electronic trams and are they taken through the cave system until they reach the lowest point, which is when they’re invited to walk alongside the cave’s waterfall.
As one of Barbados’ most famous and popular tourist attractions, the awe-inspiring Harrison’s Cave should be at the top of every tourist’s itinerary.
The Flower Forest
The 53.6 acre Flower Forest is a paradise of horticultural gardens. A perfect location for a relaxing walk or a picnic, The Flower Forest is teeming with tropical plants and trees which make it a scenic and tranquil location.
Being 750 ft above sea level, you’ll also find panoramic views of Chalky Mount and the East Coast of the island.
Nature lovers delight in Hunte’s Gardens which were created by Anthony Hunte. Situated in the rainforest, the gardens feature an easy to follow pathway which takes visitors through the picturesque foliage.
Only adding to the ambiance of the gardens is the classical music which plays as you walk through and, not only is this a gardener’s paradise, wildlife enthusiasts will also appreciate Hunte’s Gardens as they attract a vast array of birds, animals, and insects.
Barbados Wildlife Reserve
If you want to experience Barbados’ wildlife, then a visit to the Barbados Wildlife Reserve is essential.
There is no zoo in Barbados, instead you can observe the animals in their natural environment, where cages are scarce and they are free to interact with each other.
At the reserve, you’ll come across such animals as green monkeys, iguanas, tortoises, and flamingos.
Animal Flower Cave
Animal Flower Cave is situated in St. Lucy and is named as such due to the sea anemones (which, locally, are referred to as animal flowers) which are found in its pools.
The cave itself is a fantastic viewing point for the Atlantic Ocean and, when the water is calm, visitors can swim in its many pools.
The oldest part of the coral floor of the cave is estimated to be around 500,000 years old and the youngest part of the coral floor is estimated to be around 126,000 years old.
Harry Bayley Observatory
Due to Barbados’ location, at Harry Bayley Observatory you’ll be able to view stars and space objects which aren’t visible from Europe and North America - because of this, stargazing in Barbados is an absolute must.
Visits to this informative attraction begin with a 30 minute long presentation which goes into detail about what you can expect to see at the observatory and you will then be taken into the telescope room where you can begin your stargazing.
The Harry Bayley Observatory truly is one of Barbados’ hidden gems and is not an attraction to miss out on when you visit the island.
St. Nicholas Abbey
St. Nicholas Abbey was built in 1658 and it makes up one of only three Jacobean mansions in the Western Hemisphere.
The site is comprised of a mansion, a plantation house, a museum, and a rum distillery (which is where St. Nicholas Abbey Rum is made), all of which are open to visitors.
Calm and picturesque, this location is ideal for any first time visitors of Barbados as it provides you with a deeper understanding of the history of the island, as well as being an utterly relaxing environment, giving you a real holiday vibe.
Alleynes Bay is one of Barbados’ most tranquil beaches and is a great place for first time visitors to the island to explore its waters through activities such as snorkelling and swimming - you might even be able to see a turtle, depending on how far out you swim!
For the full experience, spend a day at Alleynes Bay exploring the waters and sunbathing, strolling, or picnicking on the beach.
Welchman Hall Gully
You’ll find Welchman Hall Gully sat in the heart of Barbados and, not only is this must-see location endlessly beautiful, it’s a great place to visit if you have little ones in tow.
The Gully calls itself home to a whole host of Barbadian wildlife, especially wild green monkeys which are fed between 10.30 am and midday every day. You can get up close with the monkeys (up to 5m), or simply admire their natural beauty from afar.
Welchman Hall Gully also boasts an Adventure Park, which features a zip wire, a tightrope, and a swing rope and it is the ideal place for children to blow off some steam.
For a first time Barbados visitor, there’s no better way to explore the island than going on the Island Safari.
On the safari, you can choose to explore Barbados via land or sea in either a 4x4 vehicle or a powerboat - there’s even a surf and turf option available for those who want to experience the best of both worlds.
These off-road tours show you some truly scenic locations around the island and your charismatic tour guide will tell you everything you need to know about the places you visit.
For information on the best eateries on the island, check out our post on 10 of the best restaurants in Barbados.