Exploring Barbados

We rented a car for a few days to explore Barbados and do some shopping. We spent the first day at the south end of the island in the area of the capitol, Bridgetown, starting with a trip to the Mount Gay Barbados Rum factory. Then we explored other parts of Barbados, including a tour through Harrison’s Cave, an underground limestone cavern near the center of the island, and a visit to the rugged and beautiful east coast.

Trip highlights from Feb 16th through 18th follow. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps


Jones Car Rental dropped a car off right at our boat, and after filling out some paperwork, we were set to go.
Mount Gay

Our first stop for the day was at the Mount Gay Barbados Rum factory in Bridgetown. On a guided tour through the plant, we learned about the history of rum-making in Barbados and Mount Gay in particular. Our guide said there are 180 countries in the world and they ship Mount Gay to 120 of them. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the plant, but every bottle of Mount Gay ever shipped came from here. 85% of their production is exported. 15% seems surprisingly high to be consumed locally, but we’re told rum is extremely popular with locals and visitors alike.

Our tour included a tasting of four rums. We were surprised to notice quite a difference in taste and smoothness between them. We also tasted a couple more later in the bar. This must have really helped Jennifer’s shoulder–it was feeling much better by that evening.
Constitution River

Walking along the Constitution River in downtown Bridgetown. Given the large stone breakwater, a surprising amount of swell enters the channel. Several of the moored boats were rocking substantially.
Marina Bar and Restaurant

We had a good lunch overlooking the river at the Marina Bar and Restaurant with a great view to the action of the sportsfisher boats below. The sportsfishers come and go frequently and efficiently. This video (1:41) shows med mooring done about as quickly as it can be done: https://youtu.be/55wNnBnhsL8.

The moorage area along the river is called the Careenage and is mostly filled with local boats. But a couple of foreign boats were moored upriver. The restaurant we ate lunch at is visible in the background on the left.

We saw plenty of rastacaps in Barbados, but only one this big.

We walked around Bridgetown a bit after lunch. The town is a real mix of old and new buildings and busy with street vendors, pedestrians and cars.
Scotia Bank

At the bank machine to get some local cash. US cash also is accepted locally at a rate of 2:1. This is one of several Canadian banks we saw throughout Barbados.

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) had a big presence in Barbados.

The Royal Bank of Canada also was throughout Barbados. We were surprised to see so many Canadian banks here. And this is not a new presence. RBC got started in the Caribbean in 1882, Scotia Bank in 1889 and CIBC is the relative newcomer starting in 1920. The three are by far the largest lenders in the Caribbean.
St. Mary’s

St. Mary’s Anglican Church was completed in 1827. It stands on the site of Barbados’ first church, St. Michael’s Cathedral, built in 1641 and later relocated. St. Mary’s is airy and large inside, with in impressive modern pipe organ. The original floor tiles, shipped from England, still are in place and are in remarkably good conditions.
St. Michael’s Cathedral

St. Michael’s Cathedral was completed in 1784 and seats 3,000. The interior was quite ornate and full of light and the beautiful Barbados mahogany glowed. The church was at one time considered to have the widest ceiling in the world.

This Boabab tree at Queen’s Park is estimated to be 1,000 years old and is the oldest tree in Barbados. At 90ft tall with a girth of 81ft, it’s also the largest tree in the country.
George Washington House

Jennifer at George Washington House sporting the new sling we picked up in Bridgetown. The original one from the emergency clinic was getting a little worn. 19-year-old George Washington lived on this site for two months in 1751 with his brother and guardian Laurence, who suffered from tuberculosis. We’d arrived just as they were closing for the day, so couldn’t do a full tour, but checked out the grounds a bit.

While we were out, Spitfire had been busy unravelling the toilet paper roll into his water dish. He occasionally does this, we’ve no idea why.
Harrison’s Cave

Barbados is unique amongst the Caribbean islands in not being volcanically formed. Instead, the island is made of limestone coral. Here we are on a tram to take a tour through Harrison’s Cave, an underground limestone cavern near the center of the island.
Cave Tour

The caves are at least three miles long, with several large caverns, one 50 feet high. This video shows a selection of the spectacular and extensive limestone formations inside: https://youtu.be/LiYxBTmQCaU.

The gulley adjacent to Harrison’s Cave is packed with vegetation. Jennifer, being height-challenged, tends to make things look large by standing beside them. But this palm would look huge regardless.

After Harrison’s Cave, we drove to nearby Welchman Hall Gully. We were lucky to arrive during the daily Green Monkey feeding. The video at https://youtu.be/baj9ON1f0rs shows the monkeys dexterously peeling the bananas and just gorging on them. With small fights breaking out, a few of the monkeys grabbed as much as they could carry and run off to a corner to eat undisturbed.
Welchman Hall Gully

Welchman Hall Gully was formed by the collapsed roofs of caves and is one of the few accessible tropical forests in Barbados. It was incredibly lush and felt far removed from the civilization. The gulley also is connected to Harrisons Cave and was the entrance used by locals before Harrisons Cave was developed.

Looking out to the east coast of Barbados from the viewpoint at Welchman Hall Gully.
Wild waves

From Welchman Hall Gully we drove to the rugged east coast of the island to take in the surf-created rock formations. This wasn’t a particularly rough day, but the waves were really pounding in.
Bathsheba Pools

The east coast of Barbados is generally not safe for swimming or even paddling due to the high surf and strong currents. But several sheltered spots, called the Bathsheba Pools, provide reasonably safe water access. The large rock in the background is undercut and you can see clear through to the other side at one part of the base.
Soup Bowl

The Soup Bowl is a prime surfing area in Barbados where regular international and local surfing competitions are held. Only one surfer was out while we were there. He spent a long time picking his wave, but eventually did get a nice ride.
Mushroom Rock

Mushroom Rock is a huge offshore rock that the pounding surf has eroded into a mushroom shape.
Flat tire

Barbadian roads are interesting, some with potholes the size of small cars. One got us and ate a tire.
Super Center

We did a big grocery shop yesterday at Cost U Less, a Costco-like superstore near Bridgetown. Today we stopped in at the Super Center in Holetown to pickup some non-bulk-sized items and a some products we couldn’t find at Cost U Less.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps.


If your comment doesn't show up right away, send us email and we'll dredge it out of the spam filter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.