Is Barbados a great place to take children on holiday? Absolutely. It might be a small island, but it’s incredibly safe and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding fab, child-friendly things to do. So, whether your children are sun-baskers, nature lovers or thrill-seekers, here are some, but certainly not all, of the amazing things they can look forward to in this tropical paradise.
Imagine the kudos your children will have back at school when they tell their friends they’ve been on a submarine. The Atlantis is Barbados’ purpose-built tourist submarine, specially designed with large portholes to view the wonders of the Caribbean depths. Diving to around 30 metres, you’ll get to see the island’s famous shipwrecks and the beautiful coral reefs along the shoreline. There’s also a wide variety of sea life, including tropical fish, turtles, octopi and many other weird and wonderful creatures. For those with a sense of adventure, why not take the illuminated night dive to watch the ocean’s nocturnal predators out hunting their prey. It’s an unforgettable experience.
Snorkel with turtles
Beautiful and graceful, the shores of Barbados are blessed with many turtles and there’s plenty of opportunity to see them on land as they follow the fishing boats back to shore looking for titbits of food. The best experience though is to go snorkelling with them as these inquisitive reptiles are not afraid to swim up close. You’ll be surprised how big some of them are.
There are plenty of organised, child-friendly snorkelling tours available along the west coast of Barbados and this is the easiest, best and safest way to experience the island’s turtles offshore.
Feed green monkeys
Barbados’ green monkeys are indigenous, so you won’t find them anywhere else. Kids find them fascinating to watch and if you go to the Barbados Wildlife Reserve at the right times of the day there are plenty of opportunities to see these playful characters in their natural habitat. The Wildlife Reserve has a special guided tour that lets small groups have the very special experience of feeding the green monkeys.
Animal-loving children will also be awed by the other exotic species roaming free around the reserve, including deer, parrots, peacocks, tortoises and mara.
Visit amazing caves
Kids love exploring caves and there are two amazing ones to visit in Barbados. You can take a subterranean tram ride through the popular Harrison’s Cave and explore its mysterious crystal caverns. Here, you’ll find underground streams, waterfalls, pools and glittering stalagmites and stalactites that have formed over the centuries.
The Animal Flower Cave at the north of the island takes its name from the brightly coloured sea anemones that live inside its tidal pools. The pools can be deep enough to swim in and give an opportunity to get up close with these small, bizarre animals. The giant mouth of the cave, which opens up to the Caribbean, is also the island’s most sought after and famous selfie location.
Pirate ship tour
While the buccaneering pirates of yore have long gone, there’s still plenty of swashbuckling fun to be had aboard the Jolly Roger, the island’s last remaining galley. For a few pieces of eight, the Captain and his crew will take you and the kids on a seafaring adventure you’ll never forget, including snorkelling with the turtles, onboard shenanigans and a BBQ buffet. Fully grown pirates can also have a ration or two of rum.
Go on a Jeep Safari
If your kids are more land lovers than seafarers, then another great way to explore the island is to go on a Jeep Safari. Not only will this take you off the tourist trail to see some of the hidden gems of the island; it’ll also take you off the beaten path, so be prepared for some off-road escapades.
Off-road travelling in an open-sided, 4×4 Jeep, can be a bumpy ride at times, but it’s great fun and the family will get to experience the unspoilt bays, majestical forests, gigantic breaking waves and unique cultural and historical places most visitors never encounter.
Beach and water fun
It doesn’t matter if your kids are at the sandcastle or sun-lounging age, the palm-fringed paradise beaches of the Caribbean are great for both and you’ll find many of them have toilets, baby changing rooms and places to eat or drink close by.
Of course, there’s every type of water activity you could imagine on offer, including paddle boarding, kayaking, windsurfing and parasailing. You can also take a trip on a catamaran or glass-bottom boat, or if you want a bit more excitement, hire a jet ski.
Tour a chocolate factory
With kids in tow, you might have to miss out on the highly popular tours and tasting sessions at Mount Gay Rum Distillery. Thankfully, the family-oriented alternative, a visit to the Agapey Chocolate Factory, offers delicious fun for everyone. Its ‘Bean to Bar’ tour takes you through the entire chocolate-making process – right to the best bit, tasting it. You’ll also be able to stock up on your favourite bars before you leave.
Where to stay
For luxury accommodation in Barbados, Royal Westmoreland is safe with child-friendly surroundings. This private, gated, 750-acre resort overlooks the stunning west coast and offers outstanding villas and apartments, world-class amenities and unrivalled personal service. Amenities include a complimentary housekeeper and concierge, private chef service, championship standard golf course, state of the art gym, floodlit tennis courts, a selection of exceptional eateries and a Beach Club, with seafront terrace dining, at the nearby Mullins Beach.
For more information about Royal Westmoreland, visit its Transferable Deposit page.