10 Unique Barbados Experiences That Will Make for a Remarkable Family Vacation
I’ll go ahead and say it. Barbados is my new favorite Caribbean island for families.
If you’ve followed us along on our adventures, you know that we’re on a never-ending quest to find the perfect family-friendly vacation spots. Preferably with white sand, warm sun, and turquoise beaches. But to pass the test, a great destination also has to provide ample opportunity to create one-of-a-kind experiences with each other. Adventures that we’ll remember for a lifetime.
And this island nation has it all! So I’m here to prove it to you. Here are ten unique Barbados experiences that make this destination worthy of a spot on your family’s vacation bucket list.
1. Explore Harrison’s Cave
The kids will have an unforgettable time traveling down into Harrison’s Cave on the underground tram following a quick 15-minute educational video. This massive stream cave system contains deep pools of water, stalagmites, flowstone, and the show-stopping Great Hall, which measures 15 meters high. I could’ve skipped the part where they turn all the lights out for dramatic effect, but indeed not the 112 fantastic photographic moments we captured throughout the ride.
2. Swim with Green Turtles
Sail away on a catamaran charter with Good Times. They offer a lunch cruise for $100 per adult/$60 per child, which includes a stop to swim with the green turtles and snorkel a shipwreck, along with a home-cooked lunch. This was some of the best snorkeling we’ve experienced throughout the Caribbean. Plus, the Captain and crew were excellent in guiding us through. In fact, the Captain took our nine-year-old around on a flotation device to help calm her nerves.
Tripbound Traveler Tip: You can spot the turtles at an old fishing installation where the crew lures them over with a lunchtime snack.
3. Get Up-Close and Personal with Green Monkeys
The Barbados Wildlife Reserve is bound to be your kids’ favorite attraction in Barbados. Make sure you arrive for feeding time! You’ll experience dozens of monkeys, tortoises, and animals you’ve never even heard of dining on the world’s most gigantic garden salad. The best part? The monkeys roam free, giving you an up-close and personal experience that is truly not to be missed. And because you’ll ask why I didn’t warn you, prepare for the hundreds of tortoises that are literally multiplying right in front of your eyes.
4. Taste the Rum
An educational, family-friendly, unique Barbados experience that also includes rum tasting and pineapple upside-down cake? Yes, please! Check out St. Nicholas Abbey – an old sugar plantation turned rum distillery. Tours take you throughout the old Plantation house followed by a complimentary rum punch, rum tasting, or fruit punch for the kids. There are plenty of outdoor areas for kids to burn off energy, and the tour takes just under 15 minutes.
Oh, and they recently opened a railway, which takes you on a steam locomotive through the grounds and up to Cherry Hill lookout. Make sure to book in advance online!
5. Splurge on a True Oceanside Dining Experience
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises about Barbados was the dining scene! Having traveled throughout the Caribbean islands, we can say that Barbados may just be the pièce de résistance! Best of all, some of the islands best restaurants come with some seriously spectacular oceanside locations.
We liked The Lone Star best for food and ambiance that still catered to families. This old gas station turned upscale dining was just the right mix of casual fun and luxury. If you want to go ALL THE WAY, visit The Cliff or the neighboring The Cliff Beach Club for a table that literally hangs over the sea. These restaurants are world-renowned with the price tag to prove it. Just don’t forget your camera to capture the enormous terrapins swimming below.
6. Watch the Racehorses Swim
If you can drag the kids out of bed early enough, go down to Pebbles Beach at sunrise to watch the racehorses take a dip in the ocean. Their trainers walk them straight through town from the nearby race track to the sea each morning for their routine swim. It’s believed to be therapeutic for the horses. And it’s quite a beautiful and exciting site, especially if you’re staying at the nearby Hilton.
7. Relax and Play on Barbados’ West Coast Beaches
Barbados is surrounded by both the Atlantic and Caribbean Oceans, creating two very different experiences depending on which side of the island you’re on. The West Coast (Caribbean) beaches offer spectacular serene turquoise blue waters that are perfect for swimming, chilling, and all things water sport related. You’ll find rafting, water skiing, jet skiing, kayaks, SUPs and everything in between on just about any beach or resort you visit.
It was here that our nine-year-old Mallory Grace gained the courage to ride “Big Mable” and became a “big kid” right in front of our eyes.
8. Try the Flying Fish Cutter
One of the best parts of traveling is trying native food and meeting the local people. For that reason, make sure you stop at Cuz’s Fish Stand at Pebbles Beach for the Flying Fish Cutter, where customers start lining up before the “shack” even opens. You’ll quickly see why this fish stand has earned a Certificate of Excellence on Tripadvisor with over 1,600 reviews!
What exactly is a flying fish cutter? A fillet of fried flying fish in a salt bread bun. Flying fish is Barbados’ national fish, but you can also find it on other Caribbean islands. The flying fish is scaled, soaked in lime and salt, then seasoned with Barbados’ seasoning before being fried. You can fancy up your cutter by adding lettuce, tomato, or even cucumbers. Or, toast the bread and add a dressing.
Can’t make it to Cuz’s? Not to worry. You can find a fish cutter on nearly every casual dining menu on the island.
9. Check Out the Stunning and Rugged East Coast
Because the East Coast is so different from the West Coast, it’s worth it to take a drive and explore. We arranged a driver for the morning through our resort so we could hit the high points (pun intended). There are some breathtaking views at Cherry Tree Hill, Bathsheba, and Animal Flower Cave at the North Point that are not to be missed during your Barbados vacation.
Liming is spending time with people indoors or outdoors or enjoying any activity together. It is doing something different from the day-to-day routine of life to relieve stress. I can’t think of a better reason to visit Barbados than spending time with the people you love, doing something different from the everyday routine.
The people of Barbados are some of the friendliest islanders you’ll ever meet, and they’ve mastered the art of liming. So what are you waiting for? Book your vacation and let them teach you a thing or two while you enjoy these unique Barbados experiences!