So undeveloped it often appears completely deserted, the small island of Barbuda in the northeast Caribbean is an unspoilt tropical paradise. Part of a three-island state including Antigua and Redonda, Barbuda is home to only 1,600 people, who dwell mainly in the village of Codrington.
Boasting beautiful beaches all around the island, it is startling that Barbuda hasn’t become a tourist haven like its neighbouring Antigua, instead, only a handful of hotels, and a few small guesthouses have opened here, making Barbuda one of the Caribbean’s most exclusive island retreats.
Perfect for a day or two’s excursion to visit the mesmerising beaches or indulge in a spot of bird-watching or shipwreck diving, Barbuda is easily reached by charter flight or boat from Antigua, where it is probably best to base yourself for the duration of your holiday to benefit from the best amenities.
Life on Barbuda is incredibly relaxed. The calm rhythm of the island and the friendliness of its residents have tourists wanting to return year after year. If you’re looking for a slice of paradise combined with an authentic taste of Caribbean community life, it is definitely worth visiting Barbuda!
Famed for its miles of unspoilt, pink-flecked white sands and crystalline turquoise water, Barbuda is a beach lovers’ dream. With almost year-round perfect weather and impeccable underwater visibility, scuba diving in this region of the Caribbean is particularly special.
Although the majority of the main dive operators are based on Antigua, hiring equipment to take over to Barbuda is easily managed when booked in advance. Explore the centuries-old shipwrecks on the coral reefs and get up close and personal with some of Barbuda’s marine life.
Barbuda’s wildlife is not confined to the seas however, the island is also home to almost 170 species of birds, including 5000 rare Frigate birds which dwell in the Frigate Bird Sanctuary. This fascinating species, known locally as the ‘Man O’ War’ because of its aggressive hunting techniques, draws in crowds of curious tourists each year on guided tours from Antigua to see the birds in their natural habitat.
The island’s history dates back hundreds of years when the prestigious Codrington family built sugar plantations on Antigua and Barbuda. The ruins of the colonial mansion they built for themselves on Barbuda, as well as the Martello Tower fortress they used to spy out valuable shipwrecks, still stand on the island today as cultural landmarks.
Fresh seafood, local game meat, hand-raised beef, lamb and goat and a selection of organic fruit and vegetables that residents grow themselves are the main sources of produce on the island, the rest being imported from Antigua and the USA.
Traditional Barbudan cuisine is very typically Caribbean and the fresh ingredients are used in the making of deliciously flavoured curries and patties. Barbeque is a very popular method of cooking in Barbuda, especially on weekends when the food fair comes to Codrington, cooking up spectacular street food for residents and tourists alike.
As far as restaurants go, Barbuda has a limited choice. If you are planning a stay in Barbuda, it is always best to call ahead to make reservations as a lot of the restaurants and snack bars remain closed if there are no visitors to serve.
There are however a number of small bars in Codrington village open year round for local use, serving imported beers as well as local favourites Carib, Red Stripe and Wadadali. Barbuda produces its own diverse range of fresh fruit punches including mango, soursop, raspberry and coconut milk which are mixed with the local Antiguan rums to create fantastic cocktails.