When my husband mentioned last year around July that his next consulting project from his company was in Barbados, I knew instantly that one wish right out of my must-visit-before-I-die-list was coming true. His work has taken us to various exotic destinations across the globe, and I have loved exploring each one of them, however, this one I particularly have a massive crush on. Like any other travel enthusiast, I started doing research on this small, but power packed east Caribbean island. Since we have two kids under 10 years, our travel choices, starting from choosing the destination to activities during the stay are kids centric, therefore, from must-do to what NOT to-do, I had my list ready. Barbados, I’d say is the poster child of all travel destinations.
Visually stunning with typical vibrancy of Caribbean, the place has something for everyone, all demographics, millennial solo travelers, couples, couples with kids, honeymooners, baby boomers et all.
Why Barbados is so appealing is because it is still considered an off the beaten path sort of destination in the Caribbean as opposed to other commercially famous done-to-death Caribbean destinations. If you love nature, beaches with crystal clear waters, white & pink sand, surfing, snorkeling with turtles, flora & fauna, caves (Barbados btw has a world heritage site to its credit) and Mount Gay, the world-famous rum that originated in Barbados, then this is the place hands down!
21 miles long and 14 miles wide, one can cover this entire island in a day. Apart from the usual kids’ friendly activities of snorkeling with turtles and beach fun, on top of my must-do list was visiting the Animal Flower cave.
Animal Flower Cave
Though I had read not-so- good reviews on some travel sites, I still wanted to cover this site so went ahead with my gut (as always) and thankfully was supported by many locals saying that it is a must visit specially for kids. Animal Flower Cave is located under the cliffs at the Northern tip of the island and is island’s lone sea cave. Please don’t expect an aquarium.In the cave are some sea anemones, which are locally called animal flowers, whence the cave obtained its name.
The flower consists of tentacles that retract when they come in contact with an object like a stick/hand. The flower then waits a while before coming out of the stalk again to allow danger to pass. Now this right there was something my kids took fancy to. Just watching their reaction made this whole effort worth its while. The cave’s biggest surprise is a swimming pool, as the guides call it and is in a chamber all by itself. The totally transparent and absolutely still water does not reveal its depth but looks deceptively shallow. The cave has some magical quality about it. We took a dip in the pool, scary yet satisfying, not short of any adrenalin pumping adventure!!
More than the formations what was awe inspiring was the stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean through the cave openings.
We were shown all the rock formations diligently by one super enthusiastic Bajan.
A dip in the pool and a million photos later we came outside the caves. Once outside the cave and a 2-minute walk towards the northern tip what surrounded us simply blew my mind. A view so stunning and surreal that you get completely lost in the moment. There was a time when my daughters, for the first time, went completely silent, with their eyes and mouth wide open, just admiring the beauty that our planet earth is. I have not seen a cave with so much to offer, flower that retracts and stings (completely safe otherwise) a deceptive swimming pool, animal shaped rock formations, beautiful view of Atlantic Ocean.
Animal Flower cave was one awesome experience out of our 9 days stay. Everyday brought a newness, the place somehow doesn’t say mundane at all. My biggest tip to experience Barbados is to go local/be local. More than travelers with a tan, we came back as bajans with a tan and a tattoo!!
Magical sea cave of Barbados that’ll leave you mesmerized and wide eyed. Visually stunning, this destination is every photographer’s delight and every travelers haven. Meditate on nature when it serves you the best!