Barbados - Nature and Scientific Wonders

Barbados - Nature and Scientific Wonders

smithsonian.com

Barbados is known for its beaches, and for good reason. The island is ringed with more than 70 miles of palm-fringed coastline. Crane Beach, on the southeast side of the island, was named one of the Top 10 beaches in the world by Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

The island is mainly flat and neighbored by coral reefs that host a variety of marine life, including turtles, sea horses, Giant Sand Eels, Hawksbill Turtle and Frog Fish. There are also several shipwrecks popular with scuba divers, particularly at Carlisle Bay (which holds more than 200 wrecks) and the Stavronikita, which burned in 1976 and now in 120 feet of water less than half a mile offshore.

Barbados' natural highlights include the Crystal Room in Harrison's Cave. This cavern is replete with stalactites, stalagmites, streams, lakes, and a 40-foot waterfall. It is accessible by six trams, two of which are wheelchair accessible, and it also includes a Cave Interpretive Center. The Welchman Hall Gully was once a mile-long-limestone cave and is now a deep ravine surrounded by 200 species of tropical plants.

The subtropical climate of Barbados fosters the growth of a vast variety of animal and plant life, which are visible throughout the island. Barbados Wildlife Reserve is a mahogany forest that is home to an array of wildlife, including parrots, flamingoes, armadillos and Barbados Green monkeys. Across the street, the Farley Hill National Park includes the ruins of a plantation house along with several exotic trees. Don't miss the stunning collection of orchids lining winding paths in Orchid World. The six acres of the Andromeda Botanic Gardens overlook the east coast of the island and contains an impressive collection of indigenous and exotic flowers and plants. The 35-acre Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary on the South coast features the island's largest inland lake, horticulture exhibits and aviaries.

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