how to get to barbuda
There are no international flights straight to Barbuda, all visitors must travel to Antigua first. A large number of international carriers from the US, the UK, Canada and the wider Caribbean had flights to Antigua before the Covid crisis.
In most cases you will need to stay at least one night in Antigua until you can get on a local flight or one of the ferries to Barbuda. You can also charter a plane or even a helicopter, which is sometimes cost effective if there are five or more people with luggage and if there is a charter readily available.
SVG (St Vincent and the Grenadines) airlines operate the BMN (Barbuda Montserrat Nevis Air) flight to Barbuda. Changes to their flight schedules may be made every day and often without notice, so make sure they have your contact number. They generally do two flights a week now – coming to Barbuda (and then returning to Antigua) at around 7.30am, and the same journey at 4.30pm. You can book via the SVG website – by e mail, what’s app or try their local number (+268) 484-1324 in Antigua, bearing in mind that they may be on the ground with a plane and not in their office.
In Barbuda it’s best to go to the airport when staff are there at flight times, for booking or information.
The ticket price is $65 USD or EC$175 one way. Re-confirm your flight with them before the date and be advised that if you are late checking in they will re-allocate your seat. The plane will be a small 7 seater so luggage space is restricted and everything (including you) will be weighed. The allowance is 1 hand baggage not exceeding 10lbs and one checked-in baggage not exceeding 50lbs. Additional or overweight bags will be charged and may be delayed overnight until a flight is able to carry them.The flight takes about fifteen minutes, and if all the above goes well, it can be a great service. The airport is in the village so it is a short walk to the centre of Codrington.
If you have very heavy or large luggage the ferry may be able to assist with this for a small charge, or it will have to go on one of the cargo boats, see below for info on both.
There are three ferries currently operating to Barbuda. They 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 preferred and social-distancing now limits 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.
Barbuda Express has 56 seats (currently selling 26) and costs EC$220 return.There is a local shopping day when there are two trips (usually Wednesdays/Fridays).There is music to take your mind off the waves, friendly helpful staff and you can often get a travel sickness tablet on board if you think you might need one. It’s better to book in advance and you will then be contacted if anything, such as the weather, changes. The ferry leaves from the dock in the centre of St. Johns, Antigua and before Covid also picked up at Jolly Beach, arriving in Barbuda at River Wharf, a fifteen minute taxi ride into the village. For an up-to-date schedule visit the Barbuda Express web site at www.barbudaexpress.com or look at their Facebook page for last minute info. For reservations call (+268) 560-7989 or e-mail [email protected] .The ferry also offers a great value day tour package that includes lunch, the caves and the Frigate bird sanctuary.
Island Escape is a luxury high speed catamaran passenger ferry that has partnered with PLH (Barbuda Ocean Club) to offer another service to Barbuda from Antigua. It departs its terminal at Barnacle Point (Shell Beach) which is behind the airport in Antigua and where parking is free of charge. It runs six days a week (currently reduced) Monday through Saturday, leaving Antigua at 7:00am and arrives to Barbuda at 8:10am. The ferry returns from Barbuda at 4:30pm and arrives back at Barnacle Point at 5:40pm. Check-in times are no later than 30 minutes before sailing. Reservations are recommended. Call Frederique (268) 736-6607
Caribe Breeze is a 24.5ft ferry that can transport up to 195 passengers with five crew between Antigua and Barbuda. The website is awaiting updates on this one.
sending cargo freight
All other village supplies including everything we buy in Antigua for our shops and homes comes to Barbuda on two or three small cargo boats that make the return trip to Antigua twice a week, usually leaving on Wednesday and Friday very late. Depending on the weather, it arrives at dawn at River Wharf above. Barbudans drop off their goods to the boat as it’s being loaded at Point Wharf in Antigua, and collect it again when it arrives in Barbuda later in the week.
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 arrives on Barbuda on Thursday and Saturday morning.
Barges also come every few weeks to collect sand, bringing with them even larger items such as building supplies, our fuel supply, vehicles and containers.
by private yacht or plane
On arrival on your own private boat or private plane into Barbuda, you are required to complete clearance immediately through the Port Authority, Customs and Immigration, with very specific requirements under Covid regulations. Updated information with contact details for clearing in and out of Barbuda, along with the most popular places to anchor are given on our other pages.