things to do with the family
With a summer climate timed perfectly for school holidays and Atlantic breezes that help keep the temperatures manageable, Barbados boasts a host of attractions that make it perfect for a family escape
swimming with sea turtles
Once endangered by overfishing, sea turtles now enjoy a position of respect in Barbados and the island hosts a healthy population of these graceful Caribbean icons. The leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles are a beautiful attraction for snorkelers and scuba divers and, as many of the turtles have become quite used to the presence of humans, you can really get up close to enjoy watching them glide effortlessly through the water. While at times it seems as though they welcome the attention, divers are encouraged to keep their distance and refrain from touching them.
During the breeding season, moonlight cruises are excellent ways to see turtle hatchlings make their first journey from the nest to the sea. As one of the most ancient creatures on Earth, at least seven species are thought to be as old as the dinosaurs, Barbados takes the protection of the turtles very seriously. In 1987, the Barbados Sea Turtle Project (BSTP) was started to conserve the seas and preserve their nesting sites and today their protection is shared across the community. In a twist of fate, many fishermen care for the turtles by feeding them, assisting with tagging programmes, scraping barnacles from their shells and helping to ensure their nests are kept safe.
4X4 off-road island tours make a great change of pace from the beach and allow visitors to experience views of Barbados that they otherwise would not get to see. Most local tours accept children between the ages of 5 and 12 and offer trips to the beautiful north and north-eastern side of the island. Edge Cliff, Bathsheba, Joe’s River Forest are big highlights of the tour.
Tours often include trips to the beach as well so don’t forget to wear swimming shorts under your clothes, so you can hit the occasional deserted stretch of pristine sand. A light lunch is often provided and with space for up to 10 or 11 guests,
4X4 tours are great days out for the whole family and our agents, Sotheby's International – West Coast Villas, will be happy to help you arrange one.
Horses and Pony Trekking
If 4X4s aren’t your thing, try a different kind of off-roading at one of the horse riding centres on Barbados. It’s a good experience for both couples and families and offers a chance to trek up into the hills and through the beautiful interior landscape of the island, such as at the Flower Forest or other areas of outstanding natural beauty.
Your expert tour guide will help you choose the right horse for your experience level and age. The Caribbean International Riding Centre also offers lessons in dressage and show jumping for more confident riders.
Once you are settled into your horse, you can move out to the coast and cool down riding through the surf on the beach in a safe environment, perfect whether you’re an experienced rider or not…
Moonlight rides and picnics for all the family, as well as getting picked up if you don't fancy the ride back, can all be arranged at competitive prices.
Click here for more information.
Accra Beach is the most popular on the South Coast for small children, thanks to a man-made groyne that helps keep the waves small.
Although it sits on the Atlantic Ocean side of the south-east coast, Crane Beach is generally considered one of the best beaches on Barbados with a vast stretch of palm-fringed, white sand and medium-sized waves for anyone who fancies a go at surfing or body boarding, but it's a favourite with all the family, see our other page of beaches
Waves can sometimes be a little high for very young children but it is generally a great beach for families and picnics.
Sandy Lane is a hidden stretch of full, beautiful sand ideal for walks in the evening. A rocky end generates medium waves, popular with intermediate surfers and water sports enthusiasts. Water sports can be booked directly from one of the beach vendors.
Ju Ju's is a wide, safe beach located on the west coast of Barbados and is perfect for swimming. A reef close to the shore encourages sea turtles and other marine life, making it ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving. You can rent umbrellas at the big Ju Ju's Beach Bar or just settle down into a lounger with a cocktail.
Younger Kids’ Clubs and Ideas
Sothebys office is a font of information ( tel +1 246-432-5050 )but Barbados boasts some amazing kids’ clubs that offer a range of activities to keep both young and older children entertained during their holiday, allowing mum and dad to enjoy theirs as well. The Colony Club has a paddleboarding clinic that is sure to be a hit with teenagers and older children looking to try something new. The snorkelling at Mango Bay is some of the best on Barbados and the beach is a relaxing curve of beautiful white sand, safe and ideal for children.
You should also try the Atlantis Submarine, a must-do underwater voyage that lets you experience Barbados' marine life and coral reefs as you have never seen them before. You will capture the beauty of a sunken shipwreck at depths of 115 to 150 feet, and capture the beauty of exotic fish, all from the view ports and air-conditioned comfort of the submarine. It's a magical and unforgettable family adventure.
Animal Flower Caves at St Lucy
The Animal Flower Cave is located under the cliffs at North Point, St. Lucy, Barbados. It is the island's lone accessible sea cave. It was discovered by its seaward entrance in 1750 by a Welsh naturalist and author, the Reverend Griffith Hughes.
The cave stands six feet above the high water mark although it was formed at sea level.
This has occurred because Barbados is rising at 1 inch every 1000 years.
There are coral steps which lead down through an opening in the roof (former blowhole) into the cave, these steps were built in 1912.
Inside the cave there still are found some sea anemones which are locally called animal flowers from whence the cave obtained its name. These are seasonal and at some times of the year there will not be many to see, however, the cave itself is still worth visiting!
The Cave's Floor
The Cave has a coral floor which is estimated to be about 400,000 to 500,000 years old. Whereas the younger coral section above the main floor is about 126,000 years old. This dating was carried out by the German Geological Institute.
The swimming pool is in a chamber all by itself. The totally transparent and absolutely still water does not reveal its depth but looks deceptively shallow.
The smooth floor of the cave worn down by the water and the rubbing action of the coral rocks over time has an undulating formation and the light lends a magical quality to this chamber.
Here they run guided tours of the cave manned by local guys who have been working with there for many years. A bunch of real Bajan characters! The tours are not at set times so just go along and enjoy the experience.
Inside the last cave chamber there is a natural rock pool that is around 8ft deep at the lowest point. Absolutely perfect and tranquil, closed off from the rest of the world around you you can be at one with nature. Just you and the sea outside.
Come prepared with your swim suits and towels!
Swimming is sometimes not possible on certain days depending on the height and strength of the waves, this is generally during the winter months.