Barbados has been high on my bucket list for years. It looks absolutely gorgeous, and is known for its beautiful sea turtles. When I originally booked our Carnival Cruise, I was especially excited for our stop in Barbados.
**note: our pictures in the caves didn’t turn out so great, for a variety of reasons (cave moisture, brand new camera we hadn’t figured out how to use yet, etc.) but I’m including them anyways, to get a slight picture of our adventures**
As with the other ports of call, there was no shortage of incredible excursions to choose from while in Barbados. Originally I figured we’d do a snorkeling tour here, but when I saw The Harrison’s Cave Eco-Adventure tour, I was immediately intrigued. After reading more about this trip, I was a little wary of the difficulty of this tour, since I usually lead a sedentary lifestyle at home. We signed up for the tour, knowing it might be exhausting, and made sure to plan a more leisurely tour on our next port of call in case we (I) needed time to recover.
Once we got to the caves, we got geared up with elbow/knee pads, helmets, and head lamps. We tried out our gear by crawling on the ground before entering the caves. Once everything was adjusted to our comfort, we made our way to an information center and watched a short video about the caves. Then, our real adventures began….
I wasn’t sure what to expect (as usual), but this trip was AWESOME! Come prepared though, you WILL get soaked in water, and you WILL get muddy. I also should warn you, at least for our tour, there was a fair amount of adult humor (this may change depending on the crowd)
We wandered through some of the caves, then stopped for a nice photo-op, at which point we all got soaked, and had some good laughs.
Then, we came across a large room of the cave that was filled with water (apparently the center of the pit was about 9 feet deep?). There was a large rope strung along the perimeter of the cave, which led to a ladder. Holding onto the rope, we carefully walked in the water close to the edge of the cave.
The ladder led to a small opening, which was the original entry point for the first explorers of the cave. (you can slightly make this out in the photo below) I was pretty nervous about climbing up the ladder, but the guides were great, and made sure to be in areas where people may need an extra bit of help. After that, we were crawling through the caves with varying heights of clearance and pools of water. Every so often we’d stop as a group to recollect, or talk about caves.
As we were crawling along, I assumed the worst was over… climbing that ladder… but nope, we got to a point where we turned around and headed back the same way we came in. But in all reality, the ladder wasn’t that big of a deal. After climbing down the ladder, we swam across the pool of water (rather than slowly walking along the edges while holding the rope). That swim was a bit of a challenge though, being in knee pads, elbow pads, a helmet, clothing, and shoes. Fortunately, we didn’t have to swim far as most of the area was shallow enough to carefully walk.
Next, we walked through some more of the cave, and then came the part of any cave tour I’ve been on where the topic of “total darkness” is brought up. This time was different though…. in the past when I’ve done walking tours in other caves, they turn out the lighting for a while and let you experience the darkness. This time, however, we were led to a small tunnel that had some water flowing out of it. They talked about total darkness, and then said we’d be crawling through the tunnel! I’m not claustrophobic, and I’m not afraid of the dark, but part of me was like, “eek! really?” That experience was so unexpected to me, but it was actually really awesome! After I survived, of course :)
We walked through some more areas of the cave, and then did the steep trek back up to the paved entrance we started on when originally entering the caves. The guides said to take note when returning to the daylight that our senses would be on overload, scents would be stronger, colors would look brighter, it was really cool.
The tour was beyond amazing, and I highly recommend it to those looking for a bit of adventure. It was strenuous at times, and I was exhausted at the end. If you have knee/back/joint/muscle injuries or pain I would caution you against this tour. You are crawling throughout the cave, and there aren’t really areas to “turn back” very easily. There is a lot of walking, and steep inclines involved in the tour as well so beware. If you have any doubt about whether you’d be able to handle the caves, I’d contact the tour company to talk about your situation, as everyone’s case is unique.
Things to bring:
Waterproof camera, closed toed shoes, a complete change of clothing (you WILL be soaked & dirty, they have shower facilities which you can use at the end), wear clothing you don’t care about (my clothes were stained still after washing) They had lockers (with locks they provided) available for us to use while in the caves.
Shout out to our awesome guides: Shaun, Barry, Jason, & Peter! If you’re looking for a more leisurely trip to the caves, there are tram tours of the caves that looked fun too.
Next week’s post will be all about our shore excursion & adventures in St. Lucia! Check out last weeks post about our adventures in St. Thomas too!
(This post may include some affiliate links, all opinions are my own)