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. They consider this to be a charter flight and so 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 round trip flights a day – 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 sending them an e mail at the end of the page as there is no link for Barbuda bookings on there. Or try their local numbers (268) 562-7183 or (268) 484-1416 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 approx $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 put it on the ferry who can 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 currently three passenger boats operating to Barbuda – the Barbuda Express, and a cargo/passenger boat Typhoon Express; both run by the same company. Recently the PLH sponsored Island Escape ferry has returned, offering seats on Mondays and Fridays only.
This mode of transport is 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 sometimes only selling 26 in order to socially distance) and costs EC$220 return.There are local shopping days when there are two trips (Wednesdays/Fridays) so that we can go and come back without staying overnight. There is music to take your mind off the waves and friendly helpful staff. 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. It arrives in Barbuda at River Wharf, which is a fifteen minute drive into the village (book a taxi in advance). 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) 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.
Typhoon Express is a larger boat with a crane for off-loading that can carry passengers, vehicles and other large items. They mostly leave from Crabbes Peninsula but occassionally from St John’s. For info on their schedule and to book by what’s app, visit the Typhoon Express page or contact Greg on (268) 764-2689
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, on various days, depending on the weather. They arrive at River Wharf above. Barbudans drop off their goods to the boats as they are being loaded at Point Wharf or at Crabbes 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 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.
Barges also come every few weeks to collect sand, bringing with them even larger items such as building supplies, the island’s fuel supply, animals, 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.