Barbuda is one of the 2 major islands that make up the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda.
While many of your clients are familiar with, or have been to, Antigua, Barbuda is not as well known. Located 25 miles north of Antigua, it’s known for its secluded pink- and white-sand beaches like reef-lined Spanish Point, and North Beach, backed by palm trees. In the large Codrington Lagoon, the Frigate Bird Sanctuary is a habitat for huge frigate birds. Nearby is laid-back Codrington, the only village on the island.
Things to Do
Barbuda is perhaps best known for its Frigate Bird Sanctuary which is located in the island’s north-western lagoon and is accessible only by boat. The sanctuary contains over 170 species of birds and is home to over 5,000 frigate birds. Fregata magnificens, the most aerial of water-birds, possesses the largest wingspan (four to five feet) in proportion to its body size of any bird in the world.
It is also known as the man o’ war bird, and the comparison to warships is a particularly apt one–with its superior size and flight capabilities, the frigate bird harasses less agile flyers like pelicans, egrets, and cormorants until they drop their catch. The male frigate is marked by its red throat pouch, which it can inflate as part of its courtship behavior and as a defensive display. Courting takes place in the fall, and chicks hatch late in the year.
Two unique historic structures can be found on Barbuda. Martello Towers is 32 feet high, and a fort of 3 guns that was used as a look-out along the south coast and for sighting in-coming or wrecked ships. This information was then signaled onward to the village of Codrington, several miles north. The fort is located near a small river and guarded the main anchorage on the south-western side of Barbuda. The name ‘Martello’ is derived from a tower at Cape Mortella in Corsica that the British had difficulty in taking in 1794.
The other historic structure is the former Codrington House, the historic ruins are locally known as ‘Willy Bob” or Highland House and is the starting point to the Darby Cave. The highest point on the island, a visit to ‘Willy Bob’ provides a scenic view of Barbuda’s stunning coastline. Historians can also explore the area which served as the family home for the Codrington family, for which Barbuda’s town is named.
Three and a half miles northeast of Codrington Village is Darby’s Cave, a spectacular vertical sinkhole in the middle of the bush. It is well worth a visit to see the huge deep hole suddenly appear in front of you and wonder how it got there – the tops of tall palm trees are suddenly at eye level! Darby Sink Hole is over 100 meters in diameter and around 70 feet deep. One side of the hole has been greatly undercut and stalagmites up to 8 feet high have formed under the overhang. The vegetation resembles a mini rainforest with palms, ferns, and lianas. It is well worth a visit but a local guide is essential for this trip.
The Beach Life
Barbuda is well known for its pristine pink and white sand beaches. Princess Diana Beach, a southwest-facing beach, is home to several ultra-exclusive resorts and housing developments under construction, but anyone is free to enjoy the often footprint-free sands lapped by the crystal-clear sea. Previously known as Coco Point Beach, it was renamed in honor of Princess Diana, who loved vacationing here.
Luis Beach is a perfect choice for those seeking seclusion. This picturesque beach is as tranquil as it comes in Barbuda. A strip of pillow-soft pink sand runs parallel to the calm turquoise, crystal-clear lagoon. Beginning at Palmetto Point, at the southeasternmost tip of the island, and separating the rough Atlantic waters from the quiet tranquillity that is Codrington Lagoon, is a narrow swath of barrier land that runs north for 11-miles, and on one side includes one of the most stunning and isolated beaches in the Caribbean. Lay out and soak in the sun, walk along the soft sand or jump in the refreshing clear waters of Luis Beach for a swim or snorkel adventure.
Accessible via boat, and situated on the Northern end of the Lagoon, the tranquil North Beach with sparkling waters offers amazing snorkeling and is a well-known camping ground.
Pillows of white and pink sand welcome you at Cedar Tree Point, while the sparkling water leaves you mesmerised. Take a trip across the famous Codrington Lagoon by boat to access this wonderful, remote beach, which is also home to Barbuda’s luxury hotel, Barbuda Belle.
Caves, ancient petroglyphs from the arawaks and lush greenery are just a few highlights of the great Two-foot Bay. Go camping on this beach and be adventurous by exploring the depth of the caves. Birdwatching is popular in this area, and a visit to the nearby pond will reward you with sightings of the West Indian Whistling Duck and other birding species.
An exquisite stretch of pink sand beach, with warm, calm, blue waters making River Beach great for swimming. River Beach is the location of the previously mentioned Martello Tower.
Barbuda’s pink sand beaches are covered with an abundance of pink shells from October – May.
Robert DeNiro’s Nobu Barbuda
Nobu Barbuda has unveiled its first beach club equipped with private cabanas. Conceived by Robert De Niro, the restaurant debuted on the island in 2021. As the latest addition to Nobu Barbuda, the beach club is an all-day Nobu experience, with five private cabanas. One of these is dedicated to a VIP experience with a lounge and private dining, and offers personal hosts for the day, exclusive cabana menu items, beverage service, snacks, towel service and beachfront massages available upon request. The beach club also offers a Caribbean-style lounge bar, where guests can enjoy displays of Nobu-style dishes, caught fresh from the sea.
Following the restaurant and beach club, Robert DeNiro and partners will continue to build out the project in Barbuda, with the Nobu Beach Inn, which will add a resort hotel, spa and wellness retreat, private residences, an organic farm and nursery to the property over the years. The property will be designed and developed with the island’s ecosystems in mind.
Getting to Barbuda
The most popular way to get to Barbuda is a high-speed ferry. It takes about 90 minutes to get from Antigua to Barbuda on a pleasant day. There are currently two ferry services available, The Barbuda Express (www.barbudaexpress.com) and The Island Escape (www.islandescapeferry.com).
Flying to Barbuda from Antigua is an another option. SVG Air (www.flysvgair.com) operates scheduled and chartered flights throughout the Caribbean. Another alternative is Fly Montserrat (www.flymontserrat.com) which operates twice daily, chartered flights between Antigua and Barbuda. CalvinAir Helicopters (www.calvinair.com) offers charter flights to Barbuda. These flights last for 15 minutes.
The majority of Barbuda’s over 1,500 inhabitants live in the town of Codrington. Visitors to Barbuda will find the best way to get around the island is by taxi or rental. Taxis are a very good way to find out about the island because you get a friendly local guide as well as the transport, and they operate with standard fares that are set by Barbuda Council. Taxis are available through hotels or contacting taxi/tour services. They are a few cars available for rental on the island for those wishing to discover more of the island.
For more information please visit: www.visitantiguabarbuda.com