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Unveiling the Best: Your Ultimate Guide to Things to Do in Barbuda

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When you think of the twin island nations of Antiqua and Barbuda, Barbuda may not be the first place that comes to mind. Yet, you should visit this tiny tropical Caribbean island when exploring its more cosmopolitan sister island. Tourism hasn’t made its mark on this unspoiled island – still remains largely undeveloped. Even though a powerful category 5 Hurricane Irma hit the island in 2017 and damaged 95% of it, the island recovered. Since then, the frigate birds have returned, Robert De Niro has opened his restaurant and its pink and white sand beaches are as pristine as ever. Let’s dive into the best things to do in Barbuda and unlock the secrets of this stunning island.

Antigua to Barbuda day trip

Surprisingly, this gorgeous island is one of the least visited islands in the Caribbean. This tropical oasis isn’t very high on many travellers’ bucket lists. Their loss is your gain, though.


Why you should visit Barbuda Island

Barbuda Island is not a destination popular with spring breakers and hordes of tourists sunbathing by a swimming pool. It is an eco lovers paradise and offers a chance to experience the Caribbean as it was once. This pretty island has no glitzy shopping malls and no nightlife. It doesn’t even have paved roads. Tourist attractions are limited here, which is fantastic news for everyone who loves peace and quiet. It’s an excellent place for everyone who wants the kind of isolation and stunning scenery.

best Barbuda beaches

This island is perfect if you want to slow down, relax, collect shells on the beach, and make your own entertainment.


Best Things to do in Barbuda

Whether you’re here for a day trip from Antigua or planning to stay for a few days, these are the top things to do in Barbuda.


1. Frigate Bird Sanctuary 

things to do in Barbuda - Frigate Bird Sanctuary

This island is a birder’s paradise. Your visit to the bird sanctuary will be the highlight of your trip.


Did you know Barbuda has one of the largest Frigate Bird colonies outside the Galapagos? Frigate Birds live on mangroves in the precious part of Codrington Lagoon National Park. But they are not the only ones living here. This lagoon is home to marine species like lobster, sea birds and reef fish. It’s also a nesting ground for endangered Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles. Because of that, visiting Frigate Bird Sanctuary is one of the best things to do in Barbuda.

Frigate Bird Sanctuary

Hurricane Irma did not just wipe out homes and infrastructure on the island, but also the winds destroyed the mangroves and this bird colony. 


An estimated population of 100,000 birds (before Hurricane Irma) lived here. Nobody knows (for sure) how many frigatebirds live in the lagoon after this hurricane, but numbers are increasing. However, urban and resort developments, overfishing, and tropical storms threaten their breeding. 



Did you know Frigate Birds cannot walk or swim because they have short legs and tiny feet? The male frigate birds are smaller than the females. They do their best to attract females. They famously inflate their bright red throat pouch like a balloon during courtship. 

Barbuda Frigate bird sanctuary



  • The Frigate Bird Sanctuary in the Codrington Lagoon is a protected conservation area. For that reason, you cannot visit it on your own. Only registered Barbudan boats can take you to the lagoon. Tour prices start at USD 50 per boat (4 people), plus an extra USD 12 for each person above that number. Local guides are knowledgeable and provide insightful information about frigate birds. We loved this tour because we could learn more about the frigate birds and their habitat.
  • Visit the Frigate Bird Sanctuary between September and April. This is the mating season, and December is peak time.
  • Don’t forget to bring your camera.


2. 11 Mile Beach

things to do in Barbuda - 11 Mile Beach

11 Mile Beach is a true paradise on Earth and ticks every box.


It’s easy to see why relaxing at 11 Mile Beach is one of the best things to do in Barbuda. This gorgeous beach near the Codrington Lagoon is one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. It has white powdery sands and calm waters – perfect for sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling. 11 Mile Beach is a popular stop on a day tour from Antigua. And the fantastic part? Because it is on the western side, you can enjoy gorgeous sunset views.

Barbuda beaches


Still relatively unspoilt, 11 Mile Beach is home to the exclusive Barbuda Ocean Club.


3. Pink Sands Beach in Barbuda

If there is one more beach you should visit, make sure it is Pink Sands Beach. As the name suggests, this 13 km (8 miles) undeveloped beach has vibrant colourful sand. Some even claim Pink Sands Beach is one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world, and we could not agree more. That is why seeing Pink Sands Beach is one of the best things to do in Barbuda.


The beach gets its pink hues from the millions of tiny rose shells and crushed corals when the water brings them onto the shore. However, the beach’s pink shade varies, and the pink colour is not always visible. In fact, the pink colour is seasonal – it has the deepest pink depending on when and where the sea deposits these tiny shells. In certain months, the pink sand extends to the northern section of 11 Mile Beach, close to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary.



Pink Sands Beach lies between Spanish Point and Palmetto Point, about 3 km south of Codrington. Pair your trip to Pinks Sand Beach with a visit to Martello Tower – it’s only a short walk from here.


4. River Fort Martello Tower

If you want to learn more about the island’s rich colonial past, add the River Fort Martello Tower to your list of the best things to do in Barbuda. This 17 metre (56 ft) tall tower was once a part of a fort which protected the island’s first harbour – River Landing. The British built it in the 19th century on the site of the previous Spanish fort, which guarded Barbuda’s original quay.

Today, the River Fort Martello Tower is the island’s tallest building. It is also the only landmark that has helped to navigate for more than 200 years. Explore Martello Tower – it has thick walls and a raised gun platform that once held 3 cannons. Even though it is missing the floors, you can climb the back section and enjoy the views of the island’s southern shores.


The Martello Tower lies on the island’s south coast, about 5 km south of Codrington town. This historical fort is not just a relic of the past. It has become a popular site for weddings, adding a touch of romance to its historical significance.


5. Caves of Barbuda

things to do in Barbuda - explore its caves

©Simply Antigua Barbuda 


Did you know Barbuda has many underground caves and sinkholes? This small limestone Caribbean island has large caverns scattered under its surface. And here’s where it gets juicy: some even have ancient petroglyphs, which Arawak Indians carved in the caves. 

One of the most famous caves is Two Foot Bay Cave, which you can visit on most day tours. This cave is the closest to the village and runs along the sea cliff. Not only do these caves have evidence of flora and fauna, but also drawings of the island’s original inhabitants. Apart from Two Foot Bay Cave, the other famous caves are are Darby’s Cave (a collapsed sinkhole) and Harrison Caves. Darby Cave requires a 45-minute walk, which brings you to a huge deep hole with vegetation which resembles the rainforest. If lucky, you can even spot deer or land turtles on the way. 



  • The caves are mainly on the easter side of the island, around the area called Highlands. It’s the wildest and least developed part of the area.
  • Visit the caves in an organised group with a local for safety purposes. They require a little hiking, so don’t wear flip-flops. Also, bring a bottle of water with you.
  • The caves are popular among the locals for camping, holiday events and activities like daily hunting. 


6. Palaster Reef

things to do in Barbuda - Palaster Reef

Did you know Antigua’s sister island has coral reefs? Palaster Reef lies just off the island’s southernmost point, about 2 km from the land. This marine reserve is a stunning underwater attraction – perfect for diving and snorkelling enthusiasts. A long barrier reef follows along the bay, which locals call the Highlands. You can spot Caribbean Reef Lobsters, Green turtles and lively schools of fish in these crystal-clear waters. But Palaster Reef is not the only site which offers perfect diving opportunities. There is also Palmetto Point, which is popular with free divers and advanced scuba divers. Because of that, snorkelling and diving are some of the best things to do in Barbuda.

things to do in Barbuda - snorkeling

The island’s gently sloping sands make it an ideal spot for those who want to learn the art of snorkelling.



The Ocean-Shot project brings hope for collar reefs. It focuses on rebuilding the reef with more resilient coral species. The project has achieved an impressive over 95% survival rate for transplanted corals. This new coral reef near the Barbuda coast gives hope to save coral reefs, which are crucial to marine ecosystems.


7. Princess Diana Beach, Barbuda

Princess Diana Beach

If you have time to visit one more beach, find Princess Diana Beach. This secluded haven on the south coast got its name after the Princes of Wales due to her holidaying on the island often. The locals previously referred to this long beach as Coco Point Beach.

Why you should come here? Because Princess Diana Beach has crystal-clear turquoise waters and powdery white sands, which seasonally transform to pink sands. Plus, green turtles and wild horses occasionally visit this pretty beach.


Find the charming shack at the end of the beach and buy refreshments or fresh lobster for your lunch. Feel free to rent chairs here to enhance your beach experience.


8. Robert De Niro’s restaurant

If you can afford to splash cash, visit Nobu Restaurant. The famous Hollywood legend and hotelier Rober De Niro has opened his fancy restaurant on the island. In fact, Nobu Restaurant stands out as one of the trendiest spots in the Caribbean. It offers a culinary experience like no other restaurant on the island.

As you could expect, the food is exceptional and prices are high. Guests flock here to sample the exclusive menu with Nobu-style dishes. Those with a well-padded wallet can spot the chefs swimming in the sea. They have basket traps in the sea, which they use to catch the famous Barbudan lobster.

things to do in Barbuda - Nobu Restaurant Robert de Niro




You can find Robert De Niro’s restaurant on the same site that once housed the late Princess Diana’s favourite The K Club. Note, this fancy restaurant is open only from 12 pm until 6 pm Wednesday-Sunday. Nobu Barbuda has its own Nobu Helipad. It’s a convenient option if you arrive by helicopter.


Now you know what the best things to do in Barbuda are!



how to get to Barbuda

1. Flights from Antigua

After the catastrophic hurricane in 2017, the locals built a new public airport near Codrington. This airport has a very short runway and is not for international flights. Therefore, there are no direct international flights and all visitors must travel to Antigua first.

It is again possible to charter a plane or helicopter from Antigua. There are usually two (sometimes more) flights every day on a small 7-seater plane to the island. One is early in the morning, and the second one is in the late afternoon. You can book a flight to the island from Antigua through BMN Airways. Expect to pay around USD 69 (EC $186) for a one-way ticket.


Don’t forget to double-check your reservation a few days before the fight, as there are often change times, or they sometimes cancel.


2. Ferry from Antigua

Barbuda day trip

If you don’t want to fly, your alternative option is sailing. The crossing takes approximately 90 minutes, depending on the weather conditions. You have a few options: 



A day trip to Barbuda with Excellence company.

A day trip with Excellence company.


If you want to spend the day on a luxury power catamaran sailing and drinking, travel with the Excellence company. Our trip from Antigua was delightful thanks to the amazing and professional crew. The Excellence company has an 86ft long double-decker power catamaran, which handles well even in rough seas. You can board the Excellence catamaran at the ferry dock in St. John’s Harbour in Antigua. This ferry dock is at the bottom of High Street. 



Your second option is to sail from Antigua with the Barbuda Express ferry service. They have 3 types of vessels and leave from Antigua’s St. John’s Harbour, Jolly Harbour or Crabbs (cargo). The return ferry from Antigua costs USD 100 (EC $270) for an adult or one-way USD 55 (EC $150). If you travel with children (3-11 years old), expect to pay USD 65 or (EC $ 175) for a return trip or USD 40 (EC $110) one way. The public ferry runs 7 days a week (effective May 2024).


Barbuda Express Ferry also offers a day tour to the island 5 times a week. 


Barbuda day tours depart from St. John’s Harbour every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. You can also take a day tour from Jolly Harbour (in front of Sea Dream Bar & Restaurant) every Wednesday and Friday. On your day tour, you will visit the Bird Sanctuary, Pink Sands Beach, and Caves at Two Foot Bay National Park and see Martello Tower. Don’t forget, you need to bring your own snorkel. Expect to pay USD 210 for your day trip with lunch.



Remember, their baggage allowance is 1 personal handbag and 2 pieces of baggage per paying customer (surcharge for more). Also, their credit and debit card machine is in Eastern Caribbean Dollars.


You can also explore the island on your own, but you will need to book a taxi. You need to book your taxi driver in advance. Here are a few contact details:

  1. Francis Antonio: +1 (268) 725-8807, fantonio.jjj @
  2. Theodore Desuza: +1 (268) 781-1481, theodoredesuza @
  3. Imran Thomas: +1 (268) 726-0946
  4. Levi John: +1 (268) 788-5378



There is also the Summer Breeze Barbuda ferry, which sails between two sister islands. One way ticket for an adult costs USD 50 (with a suitcase up to 20 kg, 50 lb) or USD 88.50, also with luggage. Their time schedule varies, though.



practical information

  • Currency: The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC), fixed to the US dollar. Vendors don’t accept credit cards on the island very often. Hence, take enough EC dollars with you.
  • Language: English is the official language of both sister islands
  • One of the most powerful hurricanes in the Caribbean (Irma’s Category 5 Hurricane) destroyed 95 % of the island in November 2017. As a result, the government evacuated and relocated all its inhabitants to the sister island of Antigua. Today, the island is steadily recovering. 


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While both sister islands are warm all year round, the best time to visit them is in the winter season between mid-December and mid-April. This timeframe ensures a delightful escape from the hurricane season (which runs from June to November). August until October is the peak season for hurricanes. It is also very muggy and hot during these months.


There are perks if you are willing to risk and plan a trip here during Caribbean hurricane season. Accommodation rates and airfare are more budget-friendly, and the beaches are less crowded. With a bit of luck, you can end up with a sunny and affordable tropical holiday. 



If Barbuda is on your bucket list and you would love to experience this pristine paradise in the Caribbean, do go ASAP. The massive new developments will completely transform this stunning island.


Pin things to do in Barbuda for later!

things to do in Barbuda

Have you been to Barbuda? Or is it somewhere you would love to go? We would love to hear all your thoughts in the comments! If you like our post, save it also to Pinterest.



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13 thoughts on “Unveiling the Best: Your Ultimate Guide to Things to Do in Barbuda”

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  5. Hello, could you tell me the name of the company you use for that trip. I am struggle to get a trip to there, only Saturdays. We arrive and departure on that days. thank you.

    1. Hi there, we visited the island on a day trip to Barbuda on Excellence from Antigua. The name of the company is Excellence ( This Antiguan catamaran offers a day trips to Barbuda. It was a perfect trip, we definitely recommend them. You can also travel to Barbuda with a local ferry called Barbuda Express (they do day trips as well). You can find a link in my post 🙂

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