There’s a hidden world under the surface of the water that has been hogged by scuba divers for all too long. Those who don’t have the skill level or necessary requirements to strap on breathing apparatus have been stuck snorkeling or staring into the smudgy floor of a glass-bottom boat.
But not in Bridgetown… Bring on the submarines.
Located at the southwestern end of Barbados, Bridgetown is the nation’s only city. Unfortunately, since most people don’t visit the Caribbean country for its big city lifestyle, the metropolitan area is often overlooked as a potential destination.
Those who do visit Bridgetown aren’t likely to stay for long. Beyond a few big city amenities and a handful of hotels, there aren’t a great many ways to spend your time. With a day in town, you may find yourself visiting the Barbados Museum, heading out to the race track, or buying stereotypical souvenirs.
It seems that eventually you’ll wind up at the water. And once you do, consider diving into the deep in a tourist submarine.
Credit: David Berkowitz
As a suitable attraction for tourists of all ages, Atlantis Submarines runs tours on a nearly daily basis. For just under $100US, the company offers an underwater experience that’s usually only available for scuba divers.
Boarding the submarine from a boat on the water, the adventure starts just off the shores of Bridgetown. Taking visitors to a total depth of around 150 feet (46m), the vessel cruises above coral reefs, passing an assortment of fish along the way. During the trip, a guide will explain all the sites, giving information about particular species and specific sites.
While the trip is most commonly taken during the day, night tours offer an entirely different perspective. Spotlights outside of the ship light up corals and catch the occasional fish, providing a serene atmosphere for the underwater tourist.
Should you be willing to blow the bank to impress that special someone, VIP tours offer a step up from the regular experience. Rather than sitting down below with the rabble, you’ll be positioned next to the pilot and you’ll have a drink in hand.
Credit: Randy Storey
Mount Gay Rum Distillery
As filler for the rest of day in town, consider taking a tour of the Mount Gay Rum Distillery. The 45 minute trip takes visitors through the process of distillation, the history of Mount Gay Rum, and of course, a sampling of the finished product.
With tours running every hour from 9:30am to 3:30pm, visitors can expect to pay somewhere around $6 for the experience.
Credit: Peter Long
When To Go
There’s no bad time to head underwater on a submarine tour. Keep in mind that there are no tours on Sundays.
Temperatures in Bridgetown are consistent throughout the year with lows of 68°F (20°C) and highs of 86°F (30°C). The island’s rainy season runs from June through to November.
Getting There & Around
Look to fly into the Grantley Adams International Airport, which services flights throughout North America. From the airport, catch a bus eastbound to Bridgetown.
- Mid-range accommodations: $90-130
- Meal: $10-22
- Beer: $2
- Hire the submarine for a party if you’ve got a group to entertain.
- Book ahead during peak season if you’re looking to guarantee a spot on board.
- Leave Bridgetown before you run out of things to do.
- Skip out on scuba diving. The submarine is fun but is no replacement.
- Bring babies or toddlers. Passengers must be at least 3 feet tall.
- Necessarily expect the rum distillery to be running when you tour.
- Established in 1703, Mount Gay Rum is the world’s oldest rum.
- The nation’s official motto is ‘Pride and Industry’.
- Barbados’ literacy rate is around 98%.
Feature Image Credit: ben.ramirez