Monday, 13 August 2012 2:34 PM
If you are hoping to cruise around the Caribbean for your next holiday, Barbados is one destination you should definitely look out for on your itinerary. If your ship is set to stop on this beautiful sun-soaked island, read on to find out about the local attractions.
The only city in Barbados, Bridgetown is a must-see. As well as being the nation's capital, it has a fantastic, vibrant atmosphere and some excellent places to shop - particularly Broad Street.
When visiting Barbados, you can take guided tours to help introduce you to some of the main sights. For example, if you opt for a coast-to-coast excursion, you could begin your adventure in Bridgetown, seeing its bustling shopping districts before heading out into its suburbs and experiencing Barbados's more rural side.
On this kind of tour, you will have the chance to see culturally-important sites, such as the Emancipation Statue, which commemorates the end of slavery, and Barclays Park, which was given to the local government by the bank of the same name to celebrate the island's new-found independence achieved in 1966.
If you are eager to get to know Barbados a little better during your time here, it is a good idea to visit one or two of its plantation-era houses. These are fascinating slices of local history and can give you a real insight into what life was once like.
One of the best to visit is Sunbury Plantation House, which was built between 1660 and 1670 - although it was restored in the 1990s following fire damage. Take a tour and a knowledgeable guide will tell you all about the building's past, while you browse the rooms which hark back to another era, displaying antique furnishings.
Barbados is also home to some wonderful natural wonders, such as Harrison's Cave. A 2.5 km long stream cave system situated in the central uplands area, this is among the island's most exciting natural sights. Make your way inside and you will discover a vast limestone cavern, complete with underground waterfalls, deep pools, streams and huge columns.
While not a natural wonder in itself, the Highland Adventure Centre is also well worth a visit. Located near the centre of the island, it is situated some 300 m above sea level and offers fantastic views over the east coast and Mount Hillaby, the highest point in Barbados at 347 m.
Of course, no visit to Barbados would be complete without a trip to the beach, whether you want to simply sunbathe, admire the scenic coastline or try your hand at a water sport. The island certainly has an impressive selection of shores to choose from, but, as a general rule, you are likely to find those in the south the most appealing, as these are the most sheltered and therefore the calmest.
However, if you are keen to try some water sports, the east coast beaches might pique your interest, since their rougher seas are very popular among surfers. The only area of the island where you won't find lots of great beaches is in the north, where the coastal landscape is dominated by cliffs.
Before you return to your cruise ship, make sure you try a little of the local cuisine, whether this is one of the Bajan specialities - such as fish - or a drop of rum.