Barbuda is an island in the Caribbean Sea lying due north of Antigua, an island with which it has been intimately linked for centuries. It has absolutely beautiful and completely deserted beaches, and remains so unspoiled that there are only a handful of tourist resorts and a native population of about 1,500, most of whom occupy the only town, Codrington.
There is a beautiful lagoon in the north-western area of the island, home to a fine colony of Frigatebirds – Fregata magnificens – and sometimes known as ‘Man of War’ due to their piratical behavior.
Discovering the beauty of Barbuda
US Airways flights to Antigua land at the VC Bird International Airport, which is a 15-minute drive from the capital, St. John’s. It’s possible to fly to Barbuda from Antigua but an approach by sea makes for a much more interesting journey. Although there is a ferry, which docks at River Wharf, sailing a chartered yacht across the crystal clear blue water until the pink and white sands of one of Barbuda’s beaches comes into view is a truly memorable experience.
Spending a little time on Barbuda is rewarding because it is so peaceful and relaxed. The island is home to luxurious resorts including Coco Point Lodge, K-Club, Lighthouse Bay and Hotel Palmetto, as well as to a number of other guest house accommodations and hotels. North Beach has four cottages and a pavilion and is accessible by boat only; Barbuda Cottage is on the south-western coast – a three bedroom, two bathroom cottage built in 2009, which is solar powered, and with a marvelous ocean view from every room. The town of Codrington also has a few guest houses.
What to do and see
Top favorites for the laid back lifestyle include sunbathing, beachcombing, fishing or simply strolling along the strand. The resorts also provide golf, tennis, diving and snorkeling.
There are a few sites related to Barbuda’s slave-trade history. Codrington is named for one of the principal families, who for much of the 18th century produced food and supplied additional slave labor for their sugar plantations on Antigua. At the highest point in Barbuda (124 feet above sea level) is Highland House, the ruins of the former Codrington estate.
On the south coast of the island the 56-feet high Martello castle and tower is a fine example of a fortress that was used both for defense and as the perfect vantage point from which to spot valuable shipwrecks, of which there were many, on the outlying reefs.
The Frigatebird Sanctuary can only be reached by boat and as well as Frigatebirds has more than 170 species of other birds, so well worth a visit to get a good view close up.
Caribbean cuisine is delectable and fish plays a major role in many of the dishes served up in Barbudan restaurants and diners. Right on the beach is Uncle Roddy’s casual restaurant, dishing up good, fresh, simple food including grilled lobster, hogfish and BBQ chicken often served with salad, rice or grilled bananas. Barbuda Outback is also on the beach at Low Bay and It’s a Bit Fishy is in Codrington. Both have chicken, fish and lobster on the menu. Street food is plentiful, including homemade bread, patties and meatballs.