Libby is a coordinator for our teams here at Virgin Holidays. With a passion for travel and a background in service and group bookings, Libby is an expert in how to get the most out of a holiday, dealing with large parties and their different holiday styles while abroad. Libby loves exploring the world, and tries to take a sneaky trip to Australia when she can to have some wine along Margaret River. Oh, her sister lives there too…
Barbados isn’t just all about the beaches. The sandy shores are reason enough to come here, but on one of our trips to the island recently, Libby found a few gems in and around the island that’ll take you beyond the beaches.
Go horse riding
I’d recommend this one to everyone! It’s a unique way to see the island —lead by a competent guide on horseback over an hour and a half trek that took us through hills, woods and finished up along the coast. The scenery was beautiful, especially at the top of the hill.
Starting from the northeast of the island, this excursion is perfect for horse-lovers and for those seeking something a little different. You’ll probably need a degree of fitness to be comfortable on the ride, but it’s well worth it to see a side of Barbados that you wouldn’t normally see on a ‘standard’ holiday. Your leader is also around to help and made us all feel really confident about the ride as well. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!
Take a cruise with Tiami Catamaran Cruises
Departing from Bridgetown, this excursion lasts around five hours and is probably one of the best ways to take in the west coast of the island. You’ll stop three times to take a snorkel and even swim to a gorgeous deserted beach for a real Robinson Crusoe vibe. However, what really makes this catamaran cruise so special is the chance at swimming with the amazing hawksbill turtles. Naturally, this isn’t guaranteed, but if you’re lucky enough, this’ll be the highlight of your afternoon.
The cruise is all-inclusive; so all your alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are all covered, as well as some snacks and a very hearty lunch. You’ll need it too, in order to dance the day away to all the reggae tunes on the trip as well. All in all, this would be a great experience for anyone, whether travelling as a family, couple or just a group of friends.
Explore Harrison’s Caves
In the heart of Barbados lies one of its greatest wonders — Harrison’s Caves. These caves formed millions of years ago, forming the stunning surroundings of crystallised limestone and deep pools of crystal clear water you can explore today. The caves were set up for public tours in 1981, but they were discovered all the way back in the 1700s. You’ll find all this out through a brief video at the start of the tour, before you venture off through tunnels into different parts of the caves via tram.
Your tour guide will be there to answer any questions and narrate the 35-minute tour, but you should allow about an hour for the whole experience. It’s great for travellers who are into discovering the history of the places they go to, but everyone can appreciate the experience. Just make sure to check mobility access should you need it, and if there’s anyone in the party that doesn’t appreciate dark spaces or has a little claustrophobia… this isn’t an experience for them.
Explore the Nature Park
It’s only natural to pair this one up with a tour of Harrison’s Caves. In fact, I’d recommend doing these two combined for a great day out on the island. You can wander round these woodland areas at your leisure. There aren’t any fences, so the animals (and there’s a lot of them) roam around with you. Get up close to green monkeys, peacocks, small deer, parrots and more tortoises than you can shake a stick at!
I’d recommend this excursion to couples and families with older children (smaller kids might try and pick up or touch the animals, which isn’t permitted). Speaking from experience, I’d say watch out for the tortoises on the path — they’re surprisingly fast when you’re looking the other way. Oh, and July is mating season!
An evening out on the island
And to round off these jam-packed days, why not have a jammin’ evening at either St Lawrence Gap or Oistins Fish Market. They’re the perfect way to wind down with some dinner and drinks, party all night, and enjoy all the music and entertainment the island has to offer with the friendly locals!
Is Barbados calling out to you? Why not have a browse through our Barbados holidays or even talk to our experts on how to create that perfect island getaway for yourself.