nature and tourism
our spectacular beaches
Barbuda was once one of the best and most natural beach destinations in the Caribbean, if not the world. Famous for our seasonal pink sand, we had unspoilt beaches on all sides of the island only threatened by hurricanes but now by over-development on the South coast. In spite of this, usually you will be alone on the beach, except for day tours and a few guests at the hotel beaches. ALL BEACHES on Antigua AND BARBUDA are open to ALL VISITORS as long as you keep to the foreshore – the area between the high and the low waterline.
Most of the beaches have no facilities at all so it’s important to remember to take plenty of water and find a place to keep out of the sun for some of the time. Barbuda’s beaches are often windy with strong swells and currents but there are also beautifully calm areas that are perfect for children or non-swimmers,with shallow water and rock pools filled with tiny fish and crabs. The beaches closest to the village are River on the south (Caribbean) side, or Two Foot Bay on the north (Atlantic) side and a short boat ride takes you over to Low Bay on the west.. However, the best, most visited of all is not too far from the village and that’s Princess Diana (Access) beach.
In some places when you have seen one beach you have seen them all, but in Barbuda each one is different, better than the last, and interesting enough to keep even the most cynical holidaymaker happy for hours. If you are looking for pink sand you can find it mostly on any of the Caribbean-side beaches but it’s seasonal, so not always there you when you are! You will find all kinds of interesting rubbish on the beaches here if you are a beach-comber, and you are likely to see sharks, turtles, sea birds and other wildlife close up too. There are usually aerial displays provided by pelicans diving close to you on these beaches and everywhere you swim you will see fish darting about in the water.
The beaches further afield also have great names – Fishing Creek, Rubbish Bay, Goat Island, Castle Hill, Pelican Point but you will need a local guide to get to these and they are a long way out often over difficult roads. If you would like someone to take you, look at our tours page.
frigate bird sanctuary
One of the main attractions on Barbuda is the Magnificent Frigate Bird Sanctuary, situated in Codrington Lagoon. It is a forty-minute boat ride into the mangroves (you MUST stay on the boat) leaving from the village wharf by the Fisheries building.This is a spectacular sight even for non-bird watchers. They have few predators here and this nesting site on Barbuda has become the most important in the world for these endangered birds. Note – this area is a protected conservation area-of-special-interest and as such all visitors must comply with local regulations and must use a Barbudan boat to visit the birds. It is an offence to use your own dinghy or boat to go into the sanctuary at any time and no one should visit the bird sanctuary after 6pm or enter the roped off areas. Anyone found breaching these regulations will be reported to the police, removed from the sanctuary and is likely to be prosecuted. The local cost of a visit in a Barbudan boat is currently only US$50 per boat of four people, plus US$12 for each person above that number, and the information you will receive from the wonderful local guides is worth the cost alone. More information on this and other birds under bird-watching.
exploring the island – a barbuda safari
Darby Cave sink-hole is a popular 40 minute walk from Codrington House at Highland, both are worth a visit if only for the view of Barbuda. It’s also easy to explore our history just by walking to look for artefacts in the dust in certain areas. In very dry weather the salt ponds at Spanish Point sparkle with crystalline sea-salt that we collect and sell, and use in our cooking, and in wet weather the same ponds are full of sea birds and fish.
village life and liming – the art of doing nothing
It’s easy to meet local people in Barbuda, mostly through everyday tasks like shopping, or by liming at the village wharf or at basketball. There are several small shops that sell groceries and fresh or frozen food. All supplies have to come by boat or by plane via Antigua, so Barbuda is expensive for Barbudans and visitors alike. The best time to look for fruit and vegetables is when the boat comes in on Thursday night or on Saturday morning. You will see the shops become busy as soon as it arrives – and it sells out fast. We list some of the shops here.
Many people also grow and sell their own produce at different times throughout the year so buy it where you see it as it’s all organically grown and the very best fresh local produce. Fish is brought in at the Lagoon Wharf nearly every day in good weather and look out for people selling out of a cool-box or vehicle. Our business page lists some suppliers. Locally produced meat is sometimes for sale from a table on the street; there are no butchers shops. The meat is very good and has none of the additives or hormones in mass-produced meat, but you have to clean and prepare it yourself. It helps to remember those posters showing where the fillet steak is on an animal before you buy it!
There are a few variety stores selling essential household items and clothes, some of them have gifts and T-shirts. In the village there are a couple of snack shops and several bars ranging from rum shops to bars with TV or pool table. Most cater for local people so enjoy their lively atmosphere and if you are staying in a village guest house you might want to go out for a beer or two and find out about the island from Barbudans themselves. Visit Byron at the Green Door, see the moon come up or have a night under the stars at Frangipani Glamping, do Karaoke at Purple Haze, look at the old village houses, go horse racing, go to a church fund-raising breakfast – there is plenty to do on Barbuda.
The best way to buy our delicious, locally made, freshly cooked food is to go out early to a food fair or to a street barbecue or fish-fry at the weekend, as there are always people cooking on the street and the fish is straight from the sea. Local specialities include various soups, stews made of deer meat, land turtle, lobster, crab, conch, locally raised beef, pork, lamb or goat, with side dishes of rice, fungi, dumplings and salads. Local drinks include soursop, ginger beer, sea moss, and tamarind juices. These sell out early on Barbuda so if you miss them, there are also several cafe’s and local restaurants to try listed here, all selling lovely food in different surroundings. If you are a foodie you will love Barbuda; fresh produce and good cooks.