A secret paradise surrounded by warm turquoise waters at the heart of the Caribbean awaits for you. Meet Barbuda – an unspoiled sister island of Antigua. A tropical island is located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, just about 28 miles to the north of Antigua.
View of the blue waters and white sand
WHY VISIT BARBUDA
Surprisingly, this tropical oasis is one of the least visited islands in the Caribbean. An eco-lovers dream is not very high up on many traveller’s wish lists. Their loss is your gain during your visit at this tropical sanctuary, though. For a lot of visitors, Barbuda is an excellent escape with a possibility to see how the Caribbean used to be. Long pink and white powdery sand beaches protected by coral barrier reef are, without a doubt, the perfect getaway from the more cosmopolitan Antigua. It’s an unspoiled island where you can enjoy the stunning scenery without hordes of tourists.
Barbuda is definitely not for travellers who are looking for a lot of tourist attractions. Also, the island doesn’t have fine-dining restaurants and shopping malls. It’s an excellent escape for somebody who is looking for the kind of isolation and stunning scenery. A great place where you can relax and meet local people.
BEST TIME TO VISIT BARBUDA
While Antigua and Barbuda are warm basically all year round, the best time to visit islands is in the winter season (between mid-December and mid-April). The hurricane season runs from June to November. From August until October is the peak season for hurricanes. Besides, it is also very muggy and hot during these months.
If you are willing to take a risk and planning a trip during Caribbean hurricane season, accommodation rates and airfare are generally lower. Besides, beaches are less crowded, and with a bit of luck you can end up with a sunny and affordable tropical holiday.
THINGS TO DO IN BARBUDA
1. FRIGATE BIRD SANCTUARY
Barbuda is home to the enormous frigate bird colony in the western hemisphere. With an estimated population of 100, 000 birds (before the hurricane Irma), this unspoiled island is a birder’s paradise. Besides, a visit to the bird sanctuary is the highlight of a visit to Barbuda.
GOOD TO KNOW:
- The Frigate bird sanctuary, located at the Codrington lagoon, can be only visited by licensed sea taxi with a knowledgeable tour guide. Also, it must be book at least a day in advance through a hotel or the tourist office. You can expect to pay about the US $50 per boat (4 people). Local guides provide insightful information about frigate birds.
- The most popular time to visit is during the mating seasons (from September to April, December is peak time).
Barbuda is blessed with beautiful pink and powdery white sand beaches and spectacular blue sea. The island’s deserted beaches are excellent for long walks. And relax. Moreover, miles of empty, photogenic beaches allow you an entire stretch of beach to yourself. And the perfect ocean landscape mesmerizes your senses. For this reason, Barbuda`s beaches are drawing day-trippers from the sister island of Antigua.
3. SNORKELLING AND SWIMMING
Caribbean sea, with its sparkling turquoise waters and crystal clear visibility, is ideal for swimming. Barbuda’s sands slope gently into clear waters, and for this reason, the island is perfect for learning to snorkel.
HOW TO GET THERE
After catastrophic environmental damage caused by one of the strongest Atlantic Hurricanes in September 2017, Barbuda was no accessible by a charter plane. Nowadays, visitors can again charter a plane or a helicopter from Antigua. BMN (Barbuda Montserrat Nevis Air) generally flies to Barbuda twice a day. The one-way ticket is USD 65 (EC $175).
GOOD TO KNOW:
There are no direct international flights to Barbuda. All visitors must travel to a sister island of Antigua first.
Secondly, one of the most untouched islands in the Caribbean with abundant wildlife can be visited by the public ferry (the cheaper option) or on the Excellence or Island Escape high-speed catamarans. The crossing takes approximately 90 minutes (depending on the weather conditions).
How to get to Barbuda:
- The Excellence
If you would love to spend the day on a luxury power catamaran sailing and drinking, there is no better way than on The Excellence. The crew were excellent, very professional and made the trip from Antigua to Barbuda a delight. It is a unique way to see the island, though. 86 ft long double-decker power catamaran handles well in rough seas. It should be noted that some days are rougher than others. The Atlantic Ocean can be very rough, more than the Caribbean Sea. With this in mind, the Excellence catamaran can be boarded at the ferry dock in St. John’s Harbour in Antigua. The ferry dock is located at the bottom of High Street.
- Barbuda Express
Additionally, Barbuda Express leaves from the same dock in St. John’s Harbour in Antigua or from Jolly Harbor Marina, behind the Casino. The return ticket costs approximately $70 per person (USD), one way $40 per person (USD). This public ferry runs 6 days a week between the twin islands (effective June 2020). It should be noted that the company also offers a day tour to Barbuda (Princess Diana & Bird Sanctuary tour USD 159).
- Island Escape
The last, but not least is Island Escape. A luxury high-speed catamaran passenger ferry offer service from Antigua to Barbuda. Island Escape runs six days a week (except on Sunday) and departs from Barnacle Point (Shell Beach). The return ticket is $195 EC (USD 70.00) with discounts available.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION ABOUT BARBUDA
- Currency: The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC), fixed to the US dollar. Credit cards are not commonly accepted on the island, vendors prefer EC dollars.
- Language: English is the official language on both sister islands
- 90 per cent of Barbuda was destroyed by one of the most powerful hurricanes in the Caribbean (Irma’s Category 5 Hurricane in November 2017). As a result, all of its inhabitants were evacuated and relocated to the sister island of Antigua. Nowadays, the island is slowly getting back on its feet.
If Barbuda is on your bucket list and you would love to experience this pristine piece of paradise in the Caribbean, do go ASAP. The massive new developments will completely transform this stunning island.
Have you been to Barbuda before? Or is it somewhere you’d love to go? We would love to hear all your thoughts in the comments!
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