Snorkeling, Sea Turtles, and Shipwrecks With Calabaza Barbados
Barbados is home to some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Barbados catamaran cruises promise dazzling views, delicious food, and adventure. Whether you want to swim with sea turtles, snorkel, or spot shipwrecks, hop aboard a private and luxurious Barbados catamaran and cruise the Caribbean Sea. With Calabaza Barbados, the crew pampers you with unlimited food and premium drinks. Relax on a hammock, or if you’re feeling adventurous, put on snorkeling gear and jump into the warm, crystal-clear water. If this sounds like how you’d like to spend a relaxing day in Barbados, set sail with Calabaza Sailing Cruises.
An Unforgettable Barbados Catamaran Cruise
When planning our trip, a sailing cruise was high on our list of things to do in Barbados.
However, we did not want to cruise with a lot of people. Cramming on a boat did not sound like a good time, so while looking for a small group cruise excursion, we stumbled upon Calabaza Sailing Cruises. After reading their reviews on TripAdvisor (there are over 4,000), we were sold.
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Calabaza offers a variety of excursions, including lunch cruises, adult-only (18+ years old) cruises ($163 USD), and private cruises. At $150 USD per adult and $120 USD per child, the Calabaza cruise was an incredible experience. The price of excursions is in US Dollars.
Helpful Tip: If you’re considering bringing an infant, call ahead and confirm.
The lunch and adult-only cruises are limited to twelve guests, so expect a small, intimate, personalized experience. No matter which cruise you choose, I’m confident you won’t regret it.
Here’s what is included in the 3.5-hour lunch cruise:
- Transportation to/from hotel or port at 8 a.m.
- Light breakfast and snacks
- Open bar with premium drinks, including rum punch
- Snorkel stops – turtles and reefs or shipwrecks
- Snorkel equipment and floatation devices
- Government taxes
Here’s what’s not included:
November 2022 Update: There have been changes since our sailing excursion with Calabaza. The Calabaza sunset cruise, which we had the pleasure of experiencing, is only available upon request.
Aboard the Calabaza Catamaran in Barbados
Calabaza conveniently arranged transportation from our guest house. They picked us up and dropped us back home after the cruise.
At Port of Bridgetown, the crew (Bobby, Keelie, Captain Sean, and Skipper Danny) welcomed us onboard Calabaza II. The crew was friendly, knowledgeable, engaging, and accommodating.
Calabaza II was spacious and in excellent condition.
With plenty of seating areas, relax in the back, on a front hammock, or on the deck.
Find a kitchenette, bathroom, and bedrooms on the lower level.
Carrying only twelve passengers, the catamaran never felt crowded. We shared the hammock with a handful of guests at a time.
About the Crew
With only a dozen guests onboard, we had the crew’s undivided attention (which I loved). Their outstanding service made the private cruise feel exclusive. Also, their easygoing attitude and sense of humor had us laughing the entire time.
Skipper Danny served as our tour guide. He made sure we felt comfortable and safe. He also shared stories about the island and Barbados’ marine life.
Bobby and Keelie served homemade Bajan food and drinks. Drinks included beer, Chardonnay, samosas, soft drinks, coffee, tea, and Bajan rum punch. The food was plentiful. Cocktail shrimp and Bajan fish cakes were my favorites, but there was also fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, Banana bread, quiche, and chicken.
By the end of the cruise, we all felt like old friends.
Swimming with sea turtles
Cursing along the West Coast, Carlisle Bay Marine Park was our first snorkel stop, where Captain Sean instructed first-timers on how to use the snorkel gear. He shared helpful tips and patiently answered all of my questions. Since this was my first time snorkeling, I was nervous.
Although at first I had a hard time breathing underwater, the crew stayed by my side until I felt comfortable enough to snorkel on my own.
Within a few minutes, I (an absolute beginner) was out swimming with the sea turtles, blowfish, and rays.
The crew also took lots of photos of us with the turtles. Their waterproof cameras captured these priceless moments. The water was so clear you could see underwater with nearly perfect visibility!
We spent 40 minutes swimming with the turtles then it was time to head to our next stop. Throughout the tour, I never felt rushed or bored.
After our cruise, Calabaza sent us a link to download the photos. Feel free to bring your own underwater camera, like the GoPro HERO 9 Black.
Barbados Sea Turtle Project
Swimming with sea turtles in Barbados is a unique experience because you can see them in their natural habitat.
Did you know that hawksbill and leatherback turtles were once endangered species?
Through the Barbados Sea Turtle Project’s conservation efforts, sea turtles are now protected in Barbados.
Hunting is not allowed.
The Barbados Sea Turtle Project aims to restore the marine turtle population in Barbados. Training workshops and public awareness campaigns are just a few of their ongoing initiatives.
Today, Barbados has one of the largest nesting hawksbill populations in the Caribbean.
Visit Bajan Queen
At the second snorkel stop, we explored two Barbados shipwrecks only a few feet from the surface.
One of the ships was the Bajan Queen, Barbados’ first tugboat.
Surrounded by colorful fauna and fish, snorkeling was a visually stunning experience. There was so much to see that the crew practically had to drag me back to the boat.
You might see other Carlisle Bay shipwrecks, including Berwyn, a French tug boat sunk by its crew in 1919 after catching fire.
We spent 30 minutes at each shipwreck.
Sailing in Barbados
When our group returned to the catamaran, I relaxed on the hammock and enjoyed the view.
With an ice-cold rum punch in hand, I enjoyed an unforgettable sunset with new friends. I had so much fun with the other guests that some of us met up later that night. Forming friendships doesn’t always happen on group tours; indeed sailing with Calabaza was special.
I wouldn’t change a thing about my Barbados sunset cruise. The crew was attentive and passionate about their country and the ocean. Calabaza’s motto says it all, “We cannot change the wind, but we can adjust our sails.”
With good reason, Calabaza Sailing Cruises makes me want to head back to Barbados. So if you’re still on the fence, take it from me, treat yourself to a catamaran cruise while you’re on the island. From start to finish, a Barbados catamaran cruise with Calabaza Barbados is worth every penny.
We cannot recommend Calabaza enough. Swimming with sea turtles is something you must do!
Watch this video for a recap of Matt James’ experience.
Interested in visiting other Caribbean countries? Read more about planning a trip to Bermuda or Curaçao.
Danielle Desir Corbett paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries, including her favorites, Iceland, China, and Bermuda. Go here to learn Danielle’s incredible story, from struggling financially and in debt to finding creative ways to earn more and live on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast, where Danielle shares how you can creatively travel more and build wealth regardless of your current financial situation. Reach out to Danielle by contacting: thethoughtcard (at) gmail (dot) com.
We took the 5 hour lunch cruise when there in February of this year and it was the highlight of our trip. I do believe Ben was our captain at that time. Would take the same trip on our next visit.
What an experience! I’m with you, I wouldn’t want to be on a cruise with a large group, and how awesome that you had the crew’s undivided attention. I’ve snorkeled before but never with sea turtles. Looks incredible!!
Yay, of course! What an incredible experience to not only see sea turtles that up close and personal, but to also swim alongside them! If I visit Barbados, I’d love to do this.
What a fun experience! And I think it’s great that they stayed by you while you gained confidence in the water. Not everyone takes the time to do that.
I would say if the sea turtles are big, i probably wont swim with them ?
They are very big!
That looks amazing! I love snorkeling and have seen a few turtles, but I’ve never been that close :-D
That’s so cool! I had no idea you could get so close to sea turtles. It really sounds worth it to go over budget for experiences like that.
Absolutely worth it!