Latest News from Antigua and Barbuda
HEAVEN AND BACK IN JUST A DAY:
BARBUDA, West Indies -- Just 27 miles north of Antigua, is the best kept secret of the Caribbean—beautiful Barbuda (pronounced Bar-byew-dah). As the sister island of Antigua, this unspoiled Caribbean island offers visitors miles of spectacular beaches and the most photographic, crystal clear turquoise waters. A sparse resident population, limited visitors, simple infrastructure and rich tropical wildlife allow this island to remain one of the few untouched Caribbean destinations perfect for those seeking an “unplugged” getaway.
Barbuda is a quick 15-minute flight from Antigua or, a more leisurely 90-minute ferry boat crossing. This 62-square-mile oasis -- where diving, snorkeling, fishing, bird watching, caving and beachcombing are most often the activities of choice -- is surrounded by coral reefs, and is home to a remarkable variety of marine life and several centuries worth of shipwrecks. In fact, there are over 200 documented wrecks to entice divers to explore the maritime treasures long left undisturbed. The local waters also support an abundance of fish and lobsters, providing a natural livelihood for the locals, who supply many restaurants and resorts on surrounding islands, and mouth-watering culinary opportunities for fresh seafood-lovers.
Most of Barbuda’s 1,500 inhabitants live in the capital, the small village of Codrington, named for Christopher Codrington, a sugar plantation owner and early governor of the Leeward Islands.
The charm of this small island is further embodied by the friendliness and welcoming ways of the locals, along with their appreciation for the simpler way of life. It’s easy to meet and become quite fond of the Barbudans, who all seem to know one another, honking horns and waving as they pass through the streets. The island’s charm is also enhanced by frequent glimpses of horses, donkeys, sheep and goats who roam freely…all in greater abundance than the native population.
Home too, to the only Frigate Bird Sanctuary in the Caribbean, Barbuda provides a unique experience for nature-lovers and ornithologists. After a short motorboat ride
through the Codrington Lagoon by a local guide, he’ll deftly maneuver the boat through the mangrove narrows to within feet of the nests. There, visitors can observe the glossy black water birds known as the Magnificent Frigate Birds (Fregata magnificens) and approximately 170 other bird species including pelicans, kingfishers and tropical mockingbirds. The Frigates are quite a spectacular sight to behold. With a wing span of up to eight feet, they are strikingly large and majestic, soaring up to 22 miles per hour. And the mangroves, supporting the world’s largest nesting colony of Frigates, remain environmentally intact and unpolluted, spreading for miles within the Codrington Lagoon.
Dark Cave is yet another point of interest to check out when visiting Barbuda. Here, a low, boulder-hung passage leads 400 feet underground to (almost) fresh-water pools teeming with rare blind shrimp and certain species of crustacean found nowhere else in the world. A trip to Barbuda would not be complete without seeing this most extraordinary natural feature. And don’t leave the island without a visit to Darby’s Cave where a large sink hole, about 350 feet in diameter and 70 feet deep, is home to a small but lush rainforest.
Three luxurious resort hotels offer a private haven for those seeking to enjoy the beauty of Barbuda in a peaceful and relaxing environment for days or weeks on end. However, only The Beach House – an oasis whose beauty is matched only by the level of attentive service -- is open November through end of September; while the island’s other two resorts serve their world class clientele seasonally.
The Beach House
For more information go to www.barbudaful.net or www.antigua-barbuda.org.
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