how to get to barbuda
There are officially two flights every day on a very small 7 seater plane to Barbuda from Antigua. One in the early morning at around 7.30am (plus return) and one in the late afternoon at around 4.30pm (plus return) although currently there may be more flights as some of their charters to and from Barbuda have empty seats, so it’s always worth asking about other times or extra flights on the day.
You can visit the Barbuda office at the airport here when flights are checking in or leaving, and the number to call for Barbuda info is 268 729-3906.
Always double check your reservation a few days before in case there are any time changes or cancellations.The flight cost has recently increased to a prohibitive $396+ec return (even children have to pay over $350ec) and Barbudans have to pay this on a regular basis just to get essential services to and from our ‘sister’ island Antigua.
A very exciting way to see Barbuda from the sky, this is a popular service for visitors to Nobu and Barbuda Ocean Club. Calvin Air have also assisted Barbudans when other options to transport medical emergencies are unavailable.
There are currently three passenger boats operating to Barbuda. The Barbuda Express ferry, cargo/passenger boat Typhoon Express and the Island Escape ferry (although this is currently undergoing inspection). It’s important that you know the name of the boat you have booked as they have different days and schedules. All three boats arrive in Barbuda at River Wharf, which is a fifteen minute drive into the village (so maybe you will want to book a taxi in advance – there is no public transport on Barbuda).
The ferries are often preferred by Barbudans because of the greater capacity to carry shopping and luggage back over to Barbuda in one go, and the larger number of seats available – allowing for last minute travel – although booking is advised and social-distancing may now limit the number of seats.
The crossing can be rough but most of the people who complain about the trip may be better off on the flight, or should have lived in Barbuda when we didn’t have a ferry at all. The ferries do not run in risky conditions so safety is a priority and if the weather is bad it will be cancelled. The journey takes about 90 minutes although it passes quickly in good weather and we have sometimes even seen whales on the crossing – but so far we haven’t hit one.
Island Escape (aka the PLH ferry) is a high-speed, luxury catamaran ferry which usually travels on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays bringing essential workers to PLH and other travellers to and from Barbuda. Island Escape ferry is based in Antigua and operates from the Ferry Dock in downtown St John’s close to Heritage Quay. At present they are running a reduced schedule departing to Barbuda at 0700 hrs on those days, and returning from Barbuda at 15.45 from the River Wharf.
Barbuda Express has 56 seats and costs EC$255/$95USD return. It’s much better to book in advance and you will then be contacted if anything (such as the weather) changes. There are occasional local shopping days when there are two trips per day so that we can go and come back in one day, without having to stay overnight. The ferry leaves from the dock in the centre of St. Johns, Antigua. For an up-to-date schedule and price list visit the Barbuda Express web site at www.barbudaexpress.com or look at their Facebook page for last minute info. For reservations call (+268) 764-2291 or e-mail [email protected]
The ferry also offers a day tour package that includes lunch, the caves and the Frigate Bird Sanctuary.
The Barbuda Express sometimes substitutes the Typhoon Express – see below – so make sure you know which boat it is on the day.
Typhoon Express is primarily a cargo boat with some seating for passengers. It can carry vehicles and other large items and off-load by crane.They may leave from Crabbes Peninsula and/or from St John’s. For info on their schedule and to book by what’s app, visit the Typhoon Express page or for larger cargo contact Greg on (268) 764-2689
sending cargo or freight
All other village supplies including everything we buy in Antigua for our shops and homes comes to Barbuda on small privately owned cargo boats that make the return trip to Antigua, on various days, depending on the weather. Barbudans travel to shop in Antigua or work with agents who drop off their goods to the boats as they are being loaded at Point Wharf or at Crabbes. We collect it from the boat when it arrives in Barbuda later in the week and our friendly truck delivery drivers bring it to us: altogether an amazing local service that keeps Barbuda thriving, but adds considerably to the cost of living here.
Silver Seal is run by Fabian Jones on (268) 772-5028 or go to Point Wharf in Antigua and speak with Captain Baptiste. This freight usually loads on Wednesday morning in Antigua and arrives on Barbuda on Wednesday evening, then goes back to load Thursday and Friday, returning Friday evening or early on Saturday morning.