I visited the beautiful island of Barbados in December 2011. With only 6 day and 5 nights to take advantage of all the sites, we decided that Harrison’s Cave (claimed to be one of the 7 wonders of the world) would be our first stop on our Caribbean adventures.
Harrison’s Cave is located in the central uplands of the island 700 feet above sea level. The crystallized limestone cavern will amaze you as you gaze among the incredible stalacities and stalagmites (mineral formations/dripstones), crystal clear streams and gorgeous waterfalls and pools.
The cost of the 45 minute tour is about $31 and well worth every penny. A tram takes you through the cave and you’re allowed to get off a couple of times to take pictures and get up close to the formations. One great way to ensure that you get the best pictures is to make friends with the tram driver like we did, so they can direct you to which angles in the cave will work best for pictures. Also they can serve as your “photographer”. We were fortunate to catch the very last tour of the day at 3:30pm after our long journey just getting there by taxi van and bus.
It took us about 2 hours each way to get to Harrison’s Cave from our hotel in the West Indies and back-20 minutes to Bridgetown (the capital), a 15 minute walk to the next bus stop and the 1.5 hour bus ride to Harrison’s.
If you really want to get the true local experience and save on cab fare, riding the local taxi van is a must. You’ll feel like you’re in a cramped ragae club with seats as music blasts loudly and people enter and exit the van in a very organized fashion. You pay your fare of 2 Barbados dollars (equivalent to about $1 US) to the taxi van collector either before, during or after your ride. Bajans drivers love to speed and the streets are narrow so a word to the wise…if you decide to walk along the streets, “don’t drink and walk” or you may just get run over!
After getting back to Bridetown from Harrison’s Cave, we were starving so we decided to give “Chefette”, their famous fast food resturant equivalent to a KFC, a try and continue our local experience.
We opted for a chicken roti, fries and a drink. The bread is made with stoneground wholemeal flour and your ingredient (chicken, meat or fish) is wrapped like a tortilla/burrito. Neither of us was overly impressed and it was very filling and heavy.
We decided it would be a good idea to walk around town and shop to work off our meal. Barbados is known for their duty free shopping…completely up my alley. Again, I have to say we were pretty disappointed with the selection at the stores. There was nothing impressive we wouldn’t be able to find in the US and the quality was definitely lacking. Maybe we just happened to walk into the wrong stores and perhaps we missed the “happening area”, but being the shop-a-holic that I am, I can usually “sniff” out where the nearest mall or boutique that has the best selection without a map or any direction. It’s just what I call my shopper’s intuition.
Since there was no shopping (great for my wallet that day), we decided to get a sweet treat instead. We went back to Chefette for ice cream. We tried the coconut calypso and rum raisin flavors. YUM! Finally a hit and something local and different. As we ate our ice cream in the two story Chefette, it was perfect time for us to people watch also even though the majority of the people there were young teenagers.
After we finished our ice cream, we walked around some more to the park and to the boat docks to watch the sunset and then headed back to our hotel in the “ragaae club” taxi van!!! We decided we would rest up that evening so we could wake up at the crack of dawn the next day to go to the beach before our early morning boating/sailing/snorkeling excurison at 9am!
Our first full day gave us a good taste of the local feel immediately and submerged us in the culture.