Beautiful Caribbean Beaches Barbuda
By Candyce H. Stapen
Barbudaís beaches are the stuff of dreams, especially 17-mile long Palmetto, where millions of rosy shells brought by the tides lace the shores with ribbons of pink. With little development and a small population, Barbuda is as close to an unspoiled Caribbean island as youíre likely to find.
Wild donkeys graze along the roadside and most of the islandís tight knit community of 1200 people fish for a living. Codrington, the major town, is more authentic than picturesque. Still itís interesting to watch the local fishing boats, painted pink on the inside, come back in the late morning. Seagulls swarm above the fishermen as they sort their catches of grouper, tiger fish, lobster and, sometimes, local shark.
Barbuda is also known for its bird-watching and bonefishing. Since the island is so small, itís wise to arrange for a tour guide or a rental car in advance. Codringtonís Magnificent Frigate Bird Sanctuary shelters the largest frigatebird colony in the Caribbean.
Located on the northwest side of the island, the sanctuary lies on the far side of the flats--a mangrove lagoon seven miles long and two miles wide that is popular for catching lobster and hooking bonefish. One May we watched as frigatebirds--giants whose wingspans can measure up to eight feet--circled their nests before swooping down to land in dense mangroves to feed their screeching young.
Barbudaís beaches are amazing, especially those on the Caribbean side. Most of the time you will have long stretches of powder soft sand to yourself--no footprints, no snack bars and no hotels. Because there are few facilities, be sure to pack a lunch and take plenty of water. Two other beaches to check out are River Beach and White Bay Beach.
Also, be careful. Many of Barbudaís beaches have strong currents that make swimming dangerous. Check with your guide and with locals before swimming. And never swim alone.
Barbuda has a handful of lodgings, including Coco Point Lodge, an upmarket property, as well as a few guesthouses. Check with the Barbuda Tourist Office. Itís an 18-minute flight to Barbuda from Antigua, its sister island. Visitors can also arrive by ferry, but most who do are on daytrips to see the frigatebird sanctuary.