I am sure you have heard of "Where's Waldo?" Well in Barbados we played "Where's Tyrone".
During my cruise planning the question obviously came up of what to do in Barbados? I had heard of many wonderful independent excursions, but they all involved the water. Since we were cruising in July... and it was in the southern Caribbean, I was worried about too much sun exposure. I love a good tan as much as the next gal, but I didn’t want us to all be well done, burnt to a crisp and miserable by the time we got to day 7. So I tried to rotate water and land excursions. Barbados fell on a land day.
There did not seem to be a lot of “land” reviews. I researched around and finally settled on a dude named Tyrone. Word on the cruise critic street was he was a former police officer and now a travel guide. He had a nice, air conditioned van and would take you anywhere you wanted to go for $40 per person. He had a cooler full of cold water and beer for you and if your group was big enough, he would break out the rum punch. Sounds fine with me.
I really wanted to go to Harrison’s Cave, which is in the center of the island. I emailed Tyrone prior to our trip and he said No problem. We would have to pay for the entrance to Harrison’s Cave and that would be $31 per person. No big deal. So, all in all $71 per person for the whole day.
We received an email prior to leaving for our cruise on what time and where to meet Tyrone. When the ship docks in Barbados it’s like being let out in a shopping mall. We walked and walked our way through… I was worried because he had given us explicit instructions not to go out the yellow gates or we would miss him. We were running about 5 minutes late and I just hate to be late… so I was entering my “frantic mom” state. I finally found where we were supposed to be, but I couldn’t find Tyrone! So I started walking up to people and saying “Hey, do you know Tyrone?” Finally, I was told Tyrone wasn’t there yet and to just have a seat….there were no chairs.
I was a little nervous because we had a reservation at Harrison’s Cave… and if you miss it… well, you miss it. Literally. Tyrone showed up about 20-30 minutes later, which I wasn’t at all happy about. He profusely apologized and assured us it was not his usual standard… as he was putting his shirt on outside the van.
Against my better judgment we all climbed inside. The tour started out well. He was very informative and showed us lots of great things about Barbados. If you are looking for a really pretty island… this isn’t it :/ The sand and ocean surrounding it is by far the best part. I was a little sad we were missing the water. We were able to stop and get out to take a peek. The sand was sooooo soft! It was like nothing I had ever felt before!
We finally arrived at Harrison’s Cave and it was great! They have timed tours so we had to wait for the rest of the group to arrive. (hence the reservation) You watch a video/movie prior to going in on the history of the cave and how everything was formed. Then you all board a train and it takes you through the cave. I love underground caves… I had my first contractions when I was pregnant with Trenton a mile or so below the surface of the Earth. The tour guide and the rest of our group almost had a heart attack. It’s funny now… not so much then. So… I think underground caves are pretty cool and anytime I can give Trenton a little bit of grief I will do it! Oh and … anytime I can squeeze in something historic and educational on our travels I try to do that too. :) Really… this was a win-win.
When Tyrone dropped us off he said we would be done in about 45 minutes and he would meet us by the elevators. We finished the cave tour… came up the elevators... No Tyrone. We took turns getting something to drink and going to the restroom.... No Tyrone. We went into the gift shop... purchased the childs rock excavation kit… that would later get us held up at the airport by testing postive for explosives.... No Tyrone. We walked around outside in the parking lot... No Tyrone. We waited and waited. I was nearing the hysteria part as I didn’t have Tyrone’s number and here my family was stranded somewhere in the middle of Barbados… and it was all my fault. The old group had left. The new group had come. No Tyrone. So finally, I was back to walking up to total strangers saying “Hey, do you know Tyrone?” After I had asked everyone I saw, one guy says “Oh yeah, Tyrone’s van is parked in the back of the parking lot down there. I think he’s in it.”
... No shit? We’ve been standing here for 30 minutes and he’s been here all the time?! So we walked to the back of the parking lot and sure enough… there he was, kicked back in the van on his phone. He says he lost track of time. Hmmph
So afterwards, we saw some more sights and they were nice…. The oldest church and graveyard on the island...
St. Nicholas Abbey was breath taking. The pictures really do it zero justice. As I stood there taking the picture, I thought...this is really pointless... it's never going to look as beautiful as it does right now.
But after that, it got a little boring. Trenton fell asleep. I finally asked Tyrone just to take us back to the ship... so we missed a few sights of Barbados and cut the trip short by a couple of hours.
Was the tour good? Yes. Is Tyrone a nice guy? Yes. Could he have perhaps been having an off day? Yes. Did he know he was giving a tour to a blogger of my caliber? Ha Ha! No.
I do promise to be completely honest with you guys though and I wish I would have booked a catamaran tour on the water. Harrison’s Cave was really, really cool, but I could have done without the rest of it. If you like driving around in a van all day looking at stuff…. This is the tour for you! The next time I return to Barbados… I will stay in the water.