Visit the small island of Barbuda on your Antigua Yacht Charter. You will find it in the Leeward Islands of the West Indies. Barbuda, together with Antigua, forms the commonwealth nation of Antigua and Barbuda. It is an archipelago of dozens of islands. Most of Barbuda’s residents, now only about 1000, live in Codrington. The island is famous for its world-class pristine white-sand beaches. Even though it offers so much natural beauty, the island remains virtually untouched by tourism. Barrier reefs protect the island and keep the sea tranquil. On the southwestern shore, you can walk uninterrupted and undisturbed on the soft sand for almost 10 miles. Beaches on the Atlantic shore are wilder but they are ideal for collecting driftwood and seashells. If you are a diehard nature lover, this island is for you.
2017 Hurricane Season
Hurricane Irma was a category 5 storm when the storm’s eye passed directly over Barbuda, on September 6, 2017. In an instant, the 62-square miles island was demolished. Then on September 18, 2017 hurricane Maria, another category 5 storm hit the small island. The storms damaged or destroyed 95% of the island’s buildings, landscape, and infrastructure making Barbuda uninhabitable. The entire population had to be evacuated to neighboring Antigua. As a result, Barbuda became a deserted island. However, by the beginning of 2019, about 900 residents had returned.
Now, even more, this charming island nation relies on tourism to regain its delightful and alluring attraction.
The best time for you to explore Barbuda is from December to April. The average daily high temperature is about 82°F in January and February and around 86°F from June to September. The climate in Barbuda is tropical, all year round. For the most part, a cooler, relatively dry season can be found from January to the end of April. The water temperature is warm enough for swimming all year round. It seldom falls below the average of 75°F.
Places to See
Princess Diana Beach and Pink Sand Beach – Stunningly beautiful beaches. Walk on white sand that is seasonal pink in appearance. You will have a good chance to see it pink from October through January. The beaches are at their “pinkest” just after groundswells, when crushed fragments of pink shells are churned up by the ocean then deposited on the western and southern coast. Both beaches offer ultra seclusion and a feeling of being close to nature.
Frigate Bird Sanctuary – Codrington Lagoon. This is in fact home to one of the largest frigate bird colonies in the world and a must-see while in Barbuda. The area is only accessible with a local guide. Ideally, visit the sanctuary during mating season which takes place September through April.
Codrington Dividing Wall – A reminder of one of the darkest chapters in Caribbean history. Slavery was central to the island’s economy for a long time. Sir Christopher Codrington was the most powerful man in Barbuda during colonial times. He leased the entire island of Barbuda from England. During that time he built a huge “Dividing Wall” that separated the Codrington family from the slaves who worked for them. Remnants of this wall are still a reminder of this period.
Things to Do
Birding– Barbuda is a birder’s paradise. It is home to some 170 avian species including one of the largest frigate bird colonies in the world. More than 5000 of these black-feathered birds roost here in the mangroves. Also look for pelicans, herons, and tropical mockingbirds. The Frigate Bird Sanctuary is a nature reserve. You are only allowed to enter it with a local guide.
Look for wildlife – You can find deer, land turtles, and guinea fowl as well as wild roaming donkeys. Horses or sheep freely roam but most have owners.
Shop local art – ArtCafe Gallery and Crafts. Located about one mile from Codrington. This small cafe and craft shop is home to artist Claire Frank. She paints on silk, makes hand-painted t-shirts and other crafts. You can also find cards and extensive information about Barbuda here.
Walk on pink sand beaches – Altogether, the pink sand beaches are the biggest attraction in Barbuda. On this quiet island, you have a good chance of walking on the beaches without seeing another soul. Step on the silky sand on Pink Sand Beach, Princess Diana Beach, or 17 mile Beach. Bring plenty of water to drink and wear sunscreen.
More Things to Do
Hiking – To Indian Cave often referred to as “The Caves at Two Foot Bay”. We highly recommend arranging the services of a local guide. At about 143 feet above sea level, you will find nature at its best. This gorgeous cave winds its way underground for about a mile. It has three chambers, and one is named the Bat Chamber for obvious reasons. Ancient petroglyphs carved by Arawak Indians can be seen among the stalagmites and stalactites. Then from the top of the cave, you will have a magnificent view of the rougher Atlantic side. You might also enjoy a hike to Darby Cave/Sinkhole. It is about 100 yards in diameter and 100 feet deep. Venture down in the sinkhole and you will experience a rainforest-type ecosystem. See many iguanas, hermit crabs, and land turtles.
Swimming, Snorkeling, Diving– Virtually the entire coast of Barbuda is surrounded by coral shelfs, creating perfect conditions for spectacular swimming, snorkeling and shallow water diving. There is little or no current in most places. Being surrounded by this clear, turquoise water is a delight. The underwater visibility ranges from a spectacular 50 to 140 feet. Tropical marine life is diverse and plentiful. Have the crew of your chartered yacht provide snorkel and diving equipment for you.
Native Foods and Drinks
Fungee – similar to Italian Polenta, made mostly with cornmeal and okra.
Pepperpot – Pepperpot is a stewed meat dish. Strongly seasoned, including hot peppers. Beef, pork, as well as mutton are the meat most often used.
Ducana – Sweet potato dumpling or pudding. Sometimes pumpkin is included. Then placed into a banana leaf and boiled in water.
Saltfish – Salted and dried cod.
Lobster – Freshly caught, grilled, and broiled.
Sugar Cake – Sugar cakes are confections made with grated coconut and sugar. Food coloring is added.
Beverages – Mayby, seamoss, tamarind juice, ginger beer. Wadadli Beer, and of course rum.
Uncle Roddy’s Beach Bar and Grill – Ocean Drive Coral Group Bay. Next to Barbuda Cottages. Caribbean, Seafood, Jamaican. Great food served by a helpful team. Great sunsets on this pristine beach are an added wonderful bonus.
Hillside View Bar and Grill – Nestled within the Two Foot Bay National Park. This beautiful rustic bar and grill opened during Covid lockdown. Hot and cold drinks during the day. Upon reservations fresh lobster will be grilled for you.
The Mangrove – Located at the Barbuda Belle Hotel. The French chef offers locally sourced fresh fish and seafood. An elegant setting with a creative menu. Jelly Tree Bar and Grill is a new addition to the Barbuda Belle Hotel.
Wa’Omoni Restaurant – Local food and burgers. Wa’omoni is open from 6 am to 5:30 pm except Thursdays and Fridays. Try the delicious venison and conch burgers and scrumptious cakes and puddings.
Art Cafe – On Two Foot Bay Road, close to Codrington. A small cafe and craft shop. Home of artist Claire Frank who serves her one-dish lunch on most days. All made with Barbudan produce, including local sea salt. In addition, enjoy fresh juices, local bush teas and freshly brewed coffee. You might be lucky and be there for lively rum tasting evenings. Happy Hour includes cocktails, jazz, soca, and reggae.
Nobu Barbuda – Princess Diana Beach, in what used to be the K Club. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 12-6pm only. Large numbers of visitors are attracted to this amazingly beautiful location for lunch.
Marinas and Anchorages
Antigua, being 25 nautical miles away from Barbuda, has numerous excellent marinas. Barbuda does not have a marina or mooring balls.
All beaches on Barbuda are public. You may use any of them for anchorage, keeping within the high water line. It is important to realize that this region is surrounded by reefs and many shipwrecks. The easiest and safest approach is from the west.
Cocoa Point – This calm anchorage offers miles of pristine creamy pink beach. A favorite among yacht owners who report that the color of the water is magnificent. Good snorkeling with lots of stingrays. Horses and donkeys roam the wild beach in the evening. There is depth for any draft.
Gravenor Bay – Sandy seabed. Easy access. Several beautiful anchorages are protected and secluded. Recommended in the winter months. Walk on the beach and encounter donkeys, pigs then swim in the sea and meet rays and dolphins.
Spanish Point – Approach only in good light. Snorkeling is wonderful around the coral heads and you might see turtles and dolphins.
Boat Harbor – A small harbor about 2 miles east of Palmetto Point.
Eleven Mile Beach – On the westside of Barbuda. Palmetto Point to Low Bay. This anchorage has some of the most intense turquoise blue water you have ever seen.
Low Bay – A wild anchorage with a particularly pretty beach and sandy seabed. It can be a little rolling in a northerly swell.
Low Bay South – Sand and rocks seabed. Anchoring is excellent in the sand here. However, the water is a bit murky and rolly in northerly swells.