Best known for its laid-back lifestyle, tranquillity, pink sandy beaches and the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, there’s also lots to see for visitors wishing to explore Barbuda’s 62 square miles.
The Frigate Bird Sanctuary
Barbuda’s Frigate Bird Sanctuary is located in the island’s north-western lagoon and is accessible only by boat. The sanctuary contains over 170 species of birds and is home to over 5,000 frigate birds. Fregata magnificens, the most aerial of water-birds, possesses the largest wingspan (four to five feet) in proportion to its body size of any bird in the world.
It is also known as the man o’ war bird, and the comparison to warships is a particularly apt one–with its superior size and flight capabilities, the frigate bird harasses less agile flyers like pelicans, egrets, and cormorants until they drop their catch. The male frigate is marked by its red throat pouch, which it can inflate as part of its courtship behaviour and as a defensive display. Courting takes place in the fall, and chicks hatch late in the year.
Find more information on the Frigate Bird Sanctuary here.
This tower, 32 feet high, and fort of 3 guns was used as a look-out along the south coast and for sighting in-coming or wrecked ships. This information was then signalled onward to the village of Codrington, several miles north.
The fort, once with 3 guns, is placed near a small river which only appears in times of wet weather. This small stream is caused by the drainage of swamps that lie inland behind the beach. The fort guarded the main anchorage on the south-western side of Barbuda. The name ‘Martello’ is derived from a tower at Cape Mortella in Corsica that the British, had difficulty in taking in 1794. The south coast of England was defended by Martello Towers against Napoleon’s intended invasion of England in 1803.
The former Codrington House, the historic ruins are locally known as ‘Willy Bob” or Highland House and is the starting point to the Darby Cave. The highest point on the island, a visit to ‘Willy Bob’ provides a scenic view of Barbuda’s stunning coastline. Historians can also explore the area which served as the family home for the Codrington family, of which Barbuda’s town is named.
Three and a half miles north-east of Codrington Village is Darby’s Cave, a spectacular vertical sinkhole in the middle of the bush. It is well worth a visit to see the huge deep hole suddenly appear in front of you and wonder how it got there – the tops of tall palm trees are suddenly at eye level! Darby Sink Hole is over 100 metres in diameter and around 70 feet deep. One side of the hole has been greatly undercut and stalagmites up to 8 feet high have formed under the overhang. The vegetation resembles a mini rainforest with palms, ferns, and lianas. It is well worth a visit but a local guide is essential for this trip. Find more information on Darby’s Cave here.
Two Foot Bay
Explore the unique caves at Two Foot Bay where the only finding of Amerindian petroglyphs in Antigua and Barbuda can be found. Two Foot Bay is located northeast of the main town of Codrington on cliffs overlooking the ocean.
Princess Diana Beach
This sublime southwest-facing beach is home to several ultra-exclusive resorts and housing developments under construction, but anyone is free to enjoy the often footprint-free sands lapped by the crystal-clear sea. Previously known as Coco Point Beach, it was renamed in honour of Princess Diana, who loved vacationing here, to mark what would have been her 50th birthday in 2011 see here.
Luis Beach Also Known As Low Bay
Luis Beach is a perfect choice for those seeking seclusion. This picturesque beach is as tranquil as it comes in Barbuda. A strip of pillow-soft pink sand runs parallel to the calm turquoise, crystal-clear lagoon. Beginning at Palmetto Point, at the southeasternmost tip of the island, and separating the rough Atlantic waters from the quiet tranquillity that is Codrington Lagoon, is a narrow swath of barrier land that runs north for 11-miles, and on one side includes one of the most stunning and isolated beaches in the Caribbean. The beach formerly 17 miles long, gets its name Luis Beach following the storm ‘Luis’ that resulted in a break in the stretch of beach. Layout and soak in the sun, walk along the soft sand or jump in the refreshing clear waters of Luis Beach for a swim or snorkel adventure. For more information on Low Bay see here.
Accessible via boat, and situated on the Northern end of the Lagoon, the tranquil North Beach with sparkling waters offers amazing snorkeling and is a well-known camping ground.
Cedar Tree Point
Pillows of white and pink sand welcome you at Cedar Tree Point, while the sparkling water leaves you mesmerised. Take a trip across the famous Codrington Lagoon by boat to access this wonderful, remote beach, which is also home to Barbuda’s luxury hotel, Barbuda Belle.
Two Foot Bay
Caves, ancient petroglyphs from the arawaks and lush greenery are just a few highlights of the great Two-foot Bay within the sister isle Barbuda. Dazzle in amazement when encountering the views from this beach. Go camping on this beach and be adventurous by exploring the depth of the caves. Or just take in the lush nature around you. Birdwatching is popular in this area, and a visit to the nearby pond will reward you with sightings of the West Indian Whistling Duck and other birding species.
An exquisite stretch of pink sand beach, with warm, calm, blue waters making River Beach great for swimming. On River beach, history lovers can also be enthralled by the 56 foot, Martello Tower, a fort and fortress built in the 1800s by the British to defend Barbuda against invasion.
Barbuda’s pink sand beaches are covered with an abundance of pink shells from October – May.