Of all the Atlantic and Caribbean islands, Barbados is one of the most developed ones that have managed to retain some of its British roots, including high tea and cricket. Having gained independence in 1966 from Britain, many relics from the colonial years still stand with some sites named as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you are traveling to this exciting destination, here are some top travel highlights in Barbados:
Andromeda Botanic Gardens
This botanic garden is famous for a number of reasons the top ones being a collection of tropical plants from all over the world and its strategic location on a hill overlooking Atlantic Ocean. The highlights of the garden include a breadfruit trees collected by Captain Bligh, and a few species of palm and succulent plants that happen to be rare. The garden is also famous for bearded fig trees, which probably motivated the name Barbados. Also of interest is how enjoyable bird watching can be at the gardens.
Welchman Hall Gully
Home to over 200 species of tropical plants, Welchman Hall Gulley was formed after a series of caves collapsed. The gully is now protected by the Barbados National Trust and attracts thousands of visitors every year. You have to take the stairs to the overlook to get a glimpse of the beautiful, pristine landscape. If you are lucky, you may see monkeys frolicking in the gully.
St. Nicholas Abbey
In all its glory, St. Nicholas Abbey was once at the heart of a small refinery and a large sugar cane plantation. Today, it’s one of the few buildings of its kind in Western Hampshire. The gardens are well maintained and encompass ruins of an old windmill as well as rustic farmhouses. St. Nicholas Abbey was built in the 1600’s with plans that were imported from Britain. The ground floor of the building is filled with various furniture, most of them made from mahogany and cane and as old as 200 years. Visitors are treated to a film about a part of Barbados’ history made in 1930.
Many would quickly dismiss this 17th century museum as simply a plantation. The Sunbury Plantation is one of the most popular museums in Barbados, intricately decorated with Victorian antiques. Most of the mahogany trees planted on this plantation in the late 1700’s still exist today. Moreover, a tour around the plantation includes a detailed explanation of the island’s farm life. Of course, there are horse drawn carriages to top it all up.
Folkestone Marine Park and Museum
Located in Holetown, Folkestone was formed after a freighter ship was deliberately sunk in 1976. This led to the formation of a reef and with time, the ship was covered in coral. For experienced snorkelers, this makes for a good exploratory pastime while in Barbados. There’s also a reef interpretation center as well as a marine life museum.
The gardens were crafted by one of the most famous horticulturists, Antony Hyde. The gardens lie on ten acres of land in the St. Joseph Parish and consist of various species of tropical plants including crotons, palms, orchids and papyrus. The experience is pretty relaxing if you sit on one the benches that are strategically placed throughout the gardens and listen to classic music.
Barbados Wildlife Reserve
The reserve is located opposite Farley Hill and offers visitors the chance to walk among varied wild animals. There are a number of paths crisscrossing the mahogany laden forest. Among the animals living here include tortoises, iguanas, agoutis and a number of birds’ species. If you visit at dusk, you could be lucky enough to see a number of wild green monkeys which were apparently imported from Africa.
Farley National Park
Also a treat for nature lovers, Farley National Park is a lush garden nested on 17 acres of land on a hilltop. Given the aesthetics of the park, it’s no wonder many couples prefer it as their wedding venue. It’s a popular spot for picnics. This is despite the fact that the house was consumed by a fire that left it a bare shell of stone walls. The view of the surroundings couldn’t get any better than from behind the house.
The Flower Forest sits on 53 acres of land that was once the site of a sugar plantation. There’s a vast number of trails where visitors can walk as well as sitting and relaxing areas. In addition to a cafe its highlights include orchids, gingers and palm trees.
This is a crystallized limestone cave which features waterfalls, streams and pools. The tour of the cave starts with a short film after which visitors tour the place via an electric tram. Along the way, they get to stop and take a walk to a waterfall.
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