Also known as Caribbean’s best kept secret, Barbuda island enchants its visitors with dreamlike sights, warm waters, and exquisitely fine sand. Just like many Caribbean islands, its flora and fauna are something out of this world. But unlike most tropical destinations, Barbuda also has a long and diverse history which left plenty of marks we can still observe today. No wonder it was the favorite holiday destination of Princess Diana.
When to Visit Barbuda Island
Unlike most destinations, Barbuda’s 2 seasons have nothing to do with the temperatures, but more with rainfall. And with a yearly average of 45 inches of precipitation, it is one of the driest tropical islands.
An average of 6 inches of rainfall can be experienced from September through December, the minimum of only 1 inch being registered in February. However, the showers are always short and the weather reverts back to its sunny self in just a few minutes.
Traveling to Barbuda Island
The only way to get to Barbuda is from Antigua, either by air or by water. You can choose to travel by ferry, which is the least expensive option, roam the Caribbean seas in a speedboat, or admire the landscapes and turquoise waters from high up in the air. The average price of a plane ticket from Antigua to Barbuda is $65 per person.
If your flight to Antigua arrives at or after dawn, chances are you will need to spend a night in Antigua so take this into account when planning your trip.
Accommodation in Barbuda Island
The Barbuda hotels are some of the best rated worldwide, but they do come with a price. Accommodation will cost a few thousand dollars for a trip if you choose the All Inclusive option. And if you want to dine or drink outside the resort, this might cost you another few hundreds per person per night.
Among all the Barbuda resorts, Coco Point Lodge is definitely the most luxurious. It is an American-style resort which provides every luxury and amenity you can think of. It even has its own landing strip for small planes that carry tourists who reserve a room in this resort.
And if you want to stay simple and green, the Barbuda cottages are just the thing. They are completely solar powered and just a few steps away from the beach. You can choose between 1 or 3 bedroom self-contained cottages and simply enjoy the southwestern coast of the Barbuda island.
Every beach on the Barbuda Island is natural, covered with fine sand and has clear waters gently brushing the shores. However, if you find your way to Barbuda you need to visit these 2:
Pink Sand Beach
This long and wide beach has pink-colored sand because of the coral and seashells fragments that were washed ashore by the gentle waves. The Pink Sand beach is among the breeziest in Barbuda, so you will not get too hot in between swimming sessions while enjoying the tropical sun.
By far the most famous beach of Barbuda island, the 17-mile beach is only accessible by boat or helicopter. It is rarely visited and since it is rather extensive, you will get all the privacy you ache for after a few solid months or years in a packed city. You will not want to leave this secluded paradise.
What to Do on Barbuda Island
The great thing about Barbuda is you can do a bunch of other things to clear out your mind apart from laying on the beach. Here are some activities that will make your tropical holiday memorable:
Visiting the Frigate Bird Sanctuary
Located in the Codrington Lagoon, the Frigate sanctuary is the main tourist attraction of Barbuda. You can only get to and visit the sanctuary by boat. You will instantly know you arrived at the destination when you enter the mangroves. The water will turn from turquoise to a dark nuance, typical to this microclimate.
And then, the frigates will appear out of nowhere and go about their business like you are not even there. Hundreds of them between the clumps of the mangroves or flying well above the tree line. That is if you are quiet. Locals are very respectful towards and knowledgeable about the island’s wildlife and will provide as much info as possible.
Exploring the Neolithic Caves
If you are an adventurer, this will be the highlight of your holiday on Barbuda island. And if you decide to do so, you simply have to hike into the Darby cave. The unique ecosystem inside the cave is something more than just a simple tropical rain forest. The palmetto palm, which can surpass 50 feet in height, perfectly blends into the biodiversity of the cave.
If you want to visit the Darby Cave, you will spend at least 45 minutes hiking – but they will be worth it. Suddenly, the cave will open up into a large sinkhole with a miniature rainforest inside. We have to warn you, though, that these amazing natural settings also have permanent dwellers that are not willing to give up their habitat. Bats, large iguanas, crabs, and tropical birds live and breed between the palms, ferns, and lianas or inside the tunnels.
The Indian Cave is another must see. A look at the Amerindian petroglyphs will take you back thousands of years when the Arawaks and Siboneys inhabited the island. The Dark Cave is another interest point if you want to see how Amerindians lived in the past.
Exploring the Nearby Shipwrecks
If you are a good swimmer, you can snorkel around or dive into the abandoned ships that are just a few hundred feet from the shore. Although your chances of finding a treasure are basically inexistent since the locals handled this, you can still observe how the marina life adapted to these artificial additions to their habitat.
Visiting the Island’s Historical Sites
The Indian Cave is not the only window towards the past in Barbuda. Plenty of fossils have been discovered here in the past, including a Carcharodon Megalodon tooth, the now-extinct Great White that roamed these seas at the same time dinosaurs lived on land.
The Codrington house, which belonged to an English family who occupied the island in the late 16th century, is one of the oldest constructions that can still be observed today. Although now in ruins, it is easy to understand how life was in those times on the island. The Martello tower is another local attraction, and so is the Ginnery which exists since the early 19th century.