NATURAL ATTRACTIONS AND PARKS
Barbados is an island filled with beautiful natural wonders, from lush vegetation to underground streams and caves to be found throughout the island. When traversing the island, you can expect to be delighted by the sights, scenes and the rich colors of the islands flora and fauna. The rainbow of color may and have you searching for that pot of gold on your merry adventure. Speaking of adventure, there is no comparing a hike through our beautiful countryside, a great opportunity to take in all the natural beauty and history the island has to offer. Free hikes on island occur regularly brought to you by the Barbados National Trust.
If you stopped to ask any Bajan about the most popular natural attraction they would invariably say Harrisons Cave, St. Thomas, filled with beautiful waterfalls and pools the sparkle like diamonds in the light. They might then direct you to Andromeda Gardens, a wondrous botanical garden, hidden away in the St. Joseph countryside on a site that overlooks the islands picturesque East Coast. It is a site well worth the drive for Nature lovers.
Barbados truly is a geological island gem. There are many great locations across the island that offers spectacular views of Barbados' beautiful tropical environment. Barbados certainly has no lack of natural beauty.
Photo #1 originally from cariwave.com
Photo #2 originally from visitbarbados.co
Located in the capital city of Bridgetown, this national park was once the home of the Commander of the British Troops which used to be stationed in Barbados. The most striking natural feature of Queen's Park is its two baobab trees. Brought to Barbados in 1738 from Guinea, Africa, these trees are among the few which remain on the island, with one being approximately 18 meters in circumference, making it one of the largest trees in Barbados.
This national park is located at a cool 900ft above sea level and sits on approximately 17 acres of lush land. It is a picturesque tree-filled spot which is a mecca for picnickers. There is also the preserved remains of the Farley Hill Mansion against its backdrop. Its height above sea level makes it a very cool place to relax, even on hot days.
Tel: (246) 422-3555
Barbados Wildlife Reserve
Barbados has its very own wildlife reserve, and it's just the place to see animals up close in their natural habitat. From the shy hare, to the mischievous monkeys and the slithery snakes (caged!), you will be in for a treat in this reserve.
There is even a walk-through aviary where one can see an array of birds, including colorful parrots and flamingos. Another interesting tidbit is that all buildings in the Wildlife Reserve were constructed from coral rock which had been excavated from nearby gullies. This is certainly a slice of paradise for nature lovers. READ MORE
Folkestone Marine Park and Visitor Centre
Folkestone Marine Reserve is a marine protected area which falls under the ambit of the National Conservation Commission. Its most striking feature is the artificial reef created by the deliberate sinking of the ship Stavronikita. This reef is located less than half a mile from the shore and is 120ft deep. There is also an inshore reef found in the Recreational Zone of the Reserve. The area is mostly utilised by snorkelers and scuba divers. Inside the Visitors Centre is a small museum which has beautiful photographs and interesting information on coastal marine life on display. There is also an aquarium which is home to lots of interesting sea creatures and life forms.
To facilitate the different activities around the coral reefs, Folkestone is divided into four zones:
- The Scientific Zone
- Northern Water Sports Zone
- Recreational Zone
- Southern Water Sports Zone
Tel: (246) 422-2314
Photo 1 © GoBarbados
Andromeda Botanic Gardens
Tucked away on a cliff in the Parish of St. Joseph are six acres of the greatest collection of tropical and exotic plants on the island. Here you will encounter a wide variety of exotic
blooms, palms, ferns and cacti; and more than six hundred species of plants which have adapted to a tropical environment. This breathtaking scenery is further enhanced by a stream that runs though the property forming serene waterfalls and pools. Tel: (246) 433-9454
Founded in 1985, this botanical garden is 53.6 acres of tropical paradise. Located on the grounds of Richmond Plantation in St. Joseph, the Flower Forest has been beautifully landscaped, and is filled with many exotic and native blooms. Amidst a breathtaking countryside backdrop, the Flower Forest is one of the most visually satisfying nature gems on the island. There are over 100 species of tropical flora found here. There is also a Best of Barbados Gift Shop and a snack bar for light refreshments.
Tel: (246) 433-8152
Orchid World is a six acre exquisitely landscaped orchid garden tucked away among the cane fields of Sweet Bottom and Groves Plantations.
They have the largest and most extensive orchid collection in the Caribbean. This exotic garden has four orchid houses, a fernery, and two courtyards with several Vandaceous orchids. As you walk through this perfumed garden, you will be captivated by Vandas, Calanthes, Cattlyeas and Dendrobiums. There are over 30,000 orchids in this beautiful garden, in addition to many other tropical plants such as the bougainvillea, heliconia and fern.
Tel: (246) 433-0306
Photo #1 © GoBarbados
Photo #2 originally from flickr.com
Welchman Hall Gully
This venue is perfect for nature lovers! Welchman Hall Gully is rich in history and has a vast and interesting assortment of Barbadian and exotic plants and wildlife.This is also a great location to spot some of the islandâs infamous Green Monkeys.
Among the flora and fauna found in this Gully you can find the Phyllanthus andersonii, or gully shrub- one of the few remaining indigenous plants in Barbados.
Tel: (246) 438-6671
Admission to this foliage-rich gully is free. It is a lush jungle, filled with majestic trees and hundreds of different plant species. As gullies are the home of Barbados' Green Monkey, you may even see a few while exploring this natural wonder.
This stunning natural formation is located in the middle of Barbados. It is a crystallized limestone cavern, unique to the tropical world. This mysterious underground cave is replete with amazing and awe-inspiring stalagmites, stalactites and columns, along with curious waterfalls and sparkling underground pools.
The cool moisture-rich air and the gentle sounds of the water only help to enhance this mystical experience. Tour guides are very knowledgeable, and you are sure to be transformed while in this underground kingdom. A visit to Harrison's Cave is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.
Tel: (246) 417-3700
This beautiful underground cave is perfect for explorers who like a mildly challenging trek. Here in this dark underworld, you can witness stunning Cave formations, and refreshing pools of water. With a descent into this cave by rope, you will be up close and personal in this tranquil environment. There is no vegetation, due to the absence of sunlight, and the only other forms of life spotted here are crayfish, a few insects, and bats. This is certainly a great cave adventure. Be sure to contact your tour operators for any available guided tours. It is not recommended to explore this cave without professional supervision.
Animal Flower Cave
This beautiful sea cave is located under the cliffs at North Point, St. Lucy. The cave's coral floor is estimated to be 400000 to 500000 years old and the 'younger' coral section above the floor
is about 126000 years old. But this is not the main feature of this cave. Animal Flower Cave is home to sea anemones, or 'animal flowers'.
The flower consists of tentacles that can sting and paralyze a passing fish in the larger variety of species. The tentacles retract into the stalk or stump for safety on contact with an alien object like a stick. The flower then waits a while before coming out of the stalk again to allow danger to pass. Tel: (246) 439-8797
There have been two little-known uninhabited islands just off the coast and belonging to Barbados. Today there remains only one of these small islands- Culpepper Island.
Pelican Island, aptly named after the Brown Pelicans who used this small island as a nesting ground, was once off the west coast of Bridgetown and Fontabelle in St. Michael. It was said that during low tide it was possible to wade over to the island, and in the event of high tide, jetties were taken. A quarantine facility was housed on this island specifically for sick crew and passengers from ships, so as to contain communicable / infectious diseases and prevent them from spreading to the mainland. Between 1956 and 1961, the Caribbean Sea between Pelican Island and Barbados was reclaimed and filled in during the time of the construction of the Barbados Port. Pelican Village, a tourist attraction by the Port featuring unique Barbadian arts and craft, was named as a tribute to this lost island.
The remaining island, Culpepper, is located a little over 250 ft off Barbados on the eastern coastline.
It is in the Atlantic Ocean, and it is possible to wade over to this island in low tide. Swimmers are cautioned to be careful as the current here can be very strong. Named after the Culpepper family who once owned this piece of land in the 18th century, this little island is also very close to another tourist attraction and heritage spot- Ragged Point Lighthouse. There is also a claim by members of the region's indigenous Lokono-Arawak and Karifuna-Carib tribes in March 2006 stating that Culpepper Island belongs to them. They were descendants of Princess Marian, daughter of the last Hereditary Lokono Arawak Chief AmorotaheHaubariria (Flying Harpy Eagle) of the Eagle Clan, and the Karifuna-Carib ambassadors from the island of Dominica. Culpepper Island is 220 ft x 75 ft and rises approximately 20 ft out of the water.
Graeme Hall Swamp
Errol Barrow Park
Article © GoBarbados