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Bridgetown, Barbados
Bridgetown, Barbados

Originally Spanish and Portuguese, Barbados became British in 1625 and is part of the Commonwealth of Nations.  It is 21 miles long and 14 miles wide.  The island is located at the extreme southeast of the Caribbean islands and is east of the main Windward Island chain.  Being so far south, it is outside the main hurricane belt.  The cruise ship port, capital and largest city is Bridgetown.  The population is around 300,000 and nearly one third live in Bridgetown.  


Year round temperatures rarely fall below 23 C (73 F)  and rarely exceed 30 C (86 F).  The combination of consitently pleasant temperatures and more than 70 miles of beaches that cannot be privately owned have made Barbados one of the most popular Caribbean destinations.  The beaches of the South Coast are protected by a reef and they draw more tourists and water sports.  The West or Gold Coast has protected bays and swimming locations.  The East Coast is rocky and has strong currents that attracts surfers.

Attractions in Barbados:

Things to see and do:

  • Harrison’s Cave – This site is a massive cave system featuring 50 foot high caverns, rushing streams, glassy pools and a 40-foot waterfall that cascades into an emerald lake.  An electric tram transport visitors over a mile through the cave.

  • Andromeda Botanical Gardens – Nestled on a cliff overlooking the ocean, this six-acre botanical garden is renowned for its excellent collection of tropical flora including many varieties of ferns, orchids, and one of the world’s largest palm trees.

  • Mount Gay Rum Tours – For 300 years Mount Gay Rum, located on the Mount Gay plantation, has produced one of the worlds’ finest and most celebrated spirits in the world.

  • Carlisle Bay - one of the best swimming bays on the island with a sandy beach and several shipwrecks for snorkelers and divers.  There's a sandy beach, change facilities, shops, bars and restaurants. 

  • Turtle Encounter – Swim with amazing sea turtles in their natural habitat.

Turtle Encounter, Bridgetown, Barbados

Bridgetown, Barbados

  • Gun Hill Signal Station – Built in 1818 to warn the island about approaching ships, this restored signal station features sweeping 360-degree views of the island as well as a fascinating collection of military memorabilia.

  • Farley Hill National Park - site of the abandoned plantation known at the Farley Hill GreatHouse, plus 17 acres of grounds with tree cover providing cool shade.

  • Sunbury Plantation House – Built in 1650, this beautifully renovated and maintained sugar estate house is a superb example of plantation life of a bygone era and features an amazing collection of antique carriages and memorabilia.

  • Tour Bridgetown - Visit National Heroes Square (formerly Trafalgar Square) - a tribute to influential individuals in the history of Barbados.  Spend time at a harbor front restaurant.  Look for duty free merchandise on Broad Street. Enjoy the night life at various bars and dance clubs - an activing known as "liming".

  • Cab around Barbados - One way to save money on shore excursions in Bridgetown is to exit the cruise terminal and walk over to the registered cabs that are lined up within the secure terminal area.  Prices are standardized and will run about $30 for a 2.5 hour tour of the island.  A trip to various beaches will cost from $5 to $15, while a trip downtown costs $2.

Turtle Encounter, Bridgetown, Barbados

Bridgetown, Barbados

Hotels in Barbados:

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Turtle Encounter Excursion

Tiami Tours, Barbados

Tiami Tours

Bardbados Visit with Tim Anderson
We experienced the Turtle Encounter on a Princess excursion with Tiami Excursions.  This was an excellent tour.  It was overcast and rainy in Bridgetown that day, but it was still fun.  The tour starts with a 5 minute bus ride to the vessel.  The catamaran proceeds very slowly from the harbor in order to lengthen the tour, as it’s only a couple of miles to the site.  Once there, I saw a turtle immediately upon entering the 15 foot deep, murky waters.  The guides feed fish to the turtles, so that the everyone gets a good view.  There were about 5 or 6 turtles that swept through the tangle of legs to reach the fish.  I was bumped into by turtles, accidently gently stepped on one and also got to touch their backs.  It was chaotic and great fun. 

When the turtle encounter was over, the no charge bar was open.  A number of variations using Mount Gay Rum were available, as well as soft drinks and cold beer.  Tourists weren’t shy about the number of drinks they would have.  Next we pulled up at a beach beside the Sandy Lane, an exclusive beachfront hotel where Tiger Woods got married.  Lodging there starts at $2,500 a night.  The beaches are all public in Barbados, which means you can walk between all the hotel lounge chairs and the ocean.  I would find it strange to pay high rates like that only to have a boat full of tourists wandering the beach holding glasses of rum while reggae music blasts from the catamaran.  We enjoyed the beach.  On the way back to the harbor, watching the continual flow of liquor was interesting if not baffling.  I’m sure some people had around 10 drinks a piece.  When they were docking the boat at the end of the tour, people were still ordering rum and fruit punch.

My only criticism of the Princess tour is the number of people.  It’s difficult to experience the turtles when there are 60 – 80 people all trying to get a view at the same time.  I’d recommend a smaller group, such as that offered by Cool Runnings.  When the turtles come up to eat fish from their guide, it’s a much more personal experience for a slightly lower cost.

Turtle Encounter, Bridgetown, Barbados

Bridgetown, Barbados

Barbados with Carolina on the Caribbean Princess

Originally Portuguese, this island became British and is now part of the Commonwealth of Nations.  It has an area of to 431 sq km (166 sq mi).  I went on the Sail, Turtles & Beach excursion which was great.  There were lots of turtles and they came close enough that you could actually touch them.

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