"Our guests get to see places that some visitors never even knew existed"
- Edwin Harper
Edwin Harper, a tour guide at Island Safari, takes us on a journey off the beaten track where most tourists haven't explored. Not only does he open up about his entertaining tour but emphasises how cultural and historical elements in Barbados are usually lost and forgotten about to sandy beaches.
TTG: Where did you grow up?
EH: I grew up in Brandons, St Michael, on Spring Garden beach. It’s changed a lot since I was a boy. It’s now known as Spring Garden Highway and Brandon’s beach, but back when I was growing up it was all white sand and blue water.
TTG: How did you come to live in Barbados?
EH: I was born and bred on the island - a proud Bajan. Every year to celebrate our Independence my car is decorated with the Barbados flag for the whole month of November.
TTG: How did you come to work at Island Safari and then become the Tour Guide of the Year?
EH: I started at Island Safari in June 2017. I used to see the Island Safari Jeeps on the road all the time because they are hard to miss! The Jeeps have cool stripes on the side and the people always looked like they were having a great time. I would say to myself, “one of these days I’m going to work there. I’m funny and entertaining. I can do that, I can show people a good time!”
A few years later I met the supervisor at the time who invited me in, I don’t remember why but I didn’t take the opportunity then. It wasn’t until a little later that I finally came in for the interview and got the job. If I knew how much I was going to love this job, I would have come in for the interview long ago!
I became Tour Guide of the Year by being myself and doing what I love; smiling, laughing and making other people laugh. That’s just me.
TTG: Tell us about your role at Island Safari
EH: As a tour guide I do everything! I am a driver, a comedian, a historian, an expert in everything Barbados! I like to share the history and culture of Barbados, show different spots on the island that tourists usually don’t get a chance to see and of course, do what I’m good at – entertain people.
TTG: What do you think makes Island Safari popular on social media?
EH: Everyone likes to take pictures on their vacations and then post them to Instagram and Facebook. Well, our guests get the BEST pictures. The routes and the stops that we take during our island tours are different and our guests get to see places that some visitors never even knew existed on the island.
One of our picture stops is at a place called Edge Cliff. Edge Cliff is the top of a ridge in the parish of St. Joseph which gives you an almost 180 degree view of the whole east coast of the island. You can’t get that view from anywhere else. Pictures from the cliff are so cool and don’t even capture half of what it’s like to be there in real life.
"I like to share the history and culture of Barbados, show different spots on the island that tourists usually don’t get a chance to see"
- Edwin Harper
Another great stop is to see the blow holes at Little Bay. Little Bay is on the east coast where the sea is a little rough. It’s fun to see the waves come up through the blow holes. It makes an impressive noise and the water shoots a couple feet into the air. Videos are the best at Little Bay and I tell my guests to jump in time with the waves.
When people post their pictures and videos, it makes people want to join the tour and have the experience themselves.
TTG: What’s your favourite part of the tour?
EH: I like giving the whole tour, but if I have to pick my favorite part it might be introducing my guests to Angelica. To explain Angelica, I have to explain one of the things that makes my tour different! I like wearing wigs; blond, rainbow colored, purple, you name it! Angelica is the personality that I turn into when I put on my blonde wig. She comes out to help me describe to my guests the history of sugar cane as she shows them how it’s grown and harvested and all that we use it for. I’ll jump out the jeep in the middle of a cane field and surprise the guests when the wig appears out of nowhere and Angelica introduces herself. It something that a lot of people don’t expect and they get a good laugh out of it.
TTG: What has been your most exciting experience so far since working at Island Safari?
EH: Every day is exciting when I get to meet new people and give them a great tour. Achieving employee of the year was definitely the most exciting though. I was really happy that day. The tour guides that trained me and the men I work with are all such great guides. To be picked as the best was very special.
TTG: Sum up Island Safari in three words.
EH: Unique, Adventurous, Entertaining
"Barbados is so much more than white sand and blue water"
- Edwin Harper
TTG: Tell us one thing that tourists don’t really know about the island.
EH: There are two things I’d like tourists to know. First, Barbados is so much more than white sand and blue water! The beaches are great and you can’t come to Barbados without going to at least one, but we have history and culture and some unexpected sites. If you only go to the beach you miss out on a lot that we have to offer.
Second, the hospitality of the Bajans is the best. We love to show off our island and include everyone. By the end of their stay, we like to make all tourists honorary Bajans!
Come join our tour and I can show you more of both!
TTG: When you're not at work, where on the island would you be most likely be found?
EH: I like spending time with my friends and watching TV with my mother.
TTG: If you could only recommend one thing for visitors to do on Barbados during their stay, what would it be?
EH: That’s easy - Island Safari!