The best things to do in Barbuda showcase the island’s stunning natural beauty, including its iconic beaches, unique caves and massive nature preserves. The fact that the island has remained largely undeveloped means that, unlike most Caribbean islands, it can offer a real ‘tropical island escape’ experience.

    As the less popular of the islands that make up Antigua and Barbuda, the choice of manmade attractions on Barbuda is rather limited. However, that’s great news if you’re looking for some peace and quiet. Whether you're visiting as part of a trip from Antigua or planning to stay in Barbuda for the whole duration of your holiday, be sure to check out some of the top spots on our list.

    What are the best things to do in Barbuda?

    1

    11 Mile Beach

    A seemingly endless stretch of unspoilt sand

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    11 Mile Beach is sometimes known as 17 Mile Beach – the exact length of this staggeringly huge strip of sand largely depends on how you measure it. The name has survived the island’s switch to the metric system, perhaps because 17.7 Km Beach (or 27.3 km, if you’re taking the longer measurement) doesn’t have the same ring to it. What helps this particular length of white sand stand out against the many in the Caribbean is just how much of it you can have entirely to yourself.

    The beach forms most of the western shore of Barbuda and the western side of the Codrington Lagoon. It’s mostly undeveloped, with only a couple of luxury resorts and cottages along its length. While you can enjoy stunning sunsets entirely on your own, the walk back to civilisation will be a little more challenging.

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    2

    Pink Sand Beach

    Sink your toes in the colourful sand

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    Pink Sand Beach gets its distinctive colour from the tiny rose shells and crushed corals that make up most of its grains. This comparatively rare sight is often the first thing that visitors to the island see. The jetty for ferries coming from Antigua is on this 12.8-km-long beach, between Spanish Point and Palmetto Point.

    Pink Sand Beach is on Barbuda's southern shore, about 3 km south of Codrington. The beach is almost completely undeveloped. It's also a great spot for snorkelling. It’s worth noting that the beach is pinker after swells have brought fresh shells onto the shore. Visit at the wrong time and it’ll look like any other white-sand beach in the Caribbean.

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    3

    Sailing trip

    Catch the trade winds and explore Barbuda’s coast

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    The Caribbean generally is regarded as a fantastic spot for sailing, but Barbuda and its sister island Antigua are considered among the best specific spots. The same trade winds that once propelled Spanish and English tall ships now bring leisure and competitive sailors.

    While Antigua has far more facilities and boats than Barbuda, you can still find vessels for charter here. It makes for an easy, fun and romantic way of exploring the island and its mostly undeveloped eastern shore. Try to make sure your charter last past sunset – you won’t regret it.

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    Frigate Bird Sanctuary

    The largest in the western hemisphere

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    The Frigate Bird Sanctuary in the Codrington Lagoon National Park is home to over 5,000 of these striking, somewhat weird birds. In fact, the mangrove forests in this protected pond are home to about 100,000 birds from 170 different species, but the frigate birds are definitely the star attraction.

    You can only access the sanctuary on boat tours, with expert guides pointing out the different species for you. It’s very easy to spot the male frigates, especially during mating season (August–October). Just look for their iconic red throat pouch, which they inflate like a balloon to impress the ladies.

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    5

    Princess Diana Beach

    Walk in the footsteps of royalty

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    Princess Diana Beach, on Barbuda’s southern coast, quite obviously takes its name from the iconic British royal. She, along with many other rich and famous folks, have frequented this particular corner of the Caribbean in the past. Along with its relative seclusion, the sheer beauty of this shoreline was obviously a factor, too.

    The beach itself meets all of the essential requirements of a tropical paradise. Smooth, soft, white sands? Check. Crystal-clear waters? Check. Nodding palms? Check. It’s even west-facing, meaning you get stunning sunset views as the day draws to a close. Obviously, Princess Diana Beach’s range of facilities is pretty limited.

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    6

    River Fort Martello Tower

    A striking reminder of Barbuda’s colonial past

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    The River Fort Martello Tower is one of many small forts built by the British during the 19th century. Most follow a very simple yet sturdy design, and a surprising number remain in good condition to this day. This tower is the oldest in the Caribbean, but you can still see the raised gun platform that once held 3 cannons.

    The Martello Tower was built in a strategically important position between the island’s original quay at River Landing and the town of Codrington. However, with the threat of invasion long gone, it now serves mostly as a popular location for destination weddings. Surprisingly, even after all these years, the 17-metre-tall tower is still the tallest building on Barbuda.

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    Underground caves of Barbuda

    Barbuda’s beauty goes deep

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    The underground caves of Barbuda prove that the island is uniquely beautiful right down to the bedrock. Unique among the Caribbean islands, Barbuda is mostly made of limestone, which is highly prone to erosion. The result is a surprising number of large and beautiful caverns under its surface.

    Among these caverns, the most popular is Two Foot Bay Cave, but there’s also Darby’s Cave (which is technically a collapsed sinkhole) and Harrison Caves. All are well worth exploring, though it’s best done with an organised group for safety purposes.

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    Palaster Reef

    Explore a beautiful marine reserve just off Barbuda’s coast

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    Palaster Reef is a stunning underwater attraction just off the southernmost point of Barbuda. Being over 2 km from the nearest land, it’s best visited as part of a diving or snorkelling trip or on a cruise. The marine reserve is very well worth the journey, though.

    Don’t go expecting the vibrance of the Great Barrier Reef – the Caribbean just can’t compete with that. All the same, Palaster Reef is home to an impressive array of underwater life. You might even come across some friendly sea turtles. There are also some old wrecks of ships that didn't spot the reef until it was too late.

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    9

    Codrington

    Barbuda’s main hub

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    Codrington is the extremely small capital of Barbuda. The central part of the city is barely a couple of kilometres across, with a big chunk of that taken up by the Barbuda Codrington Airport. However, as the biggest settlement on the island, it is still worth a visit, not least because it’s where you’ll find the best selection of shops and restaurants.

    A must-visit is Byrons Cafe, which looks out across Codrington Lagoon. Just behind this little beachfront eatery is a supermarket and, further back, Wanda’s Food Palace and Abraham’s Middle Eastern Food. On the outskirts of town, a little way north on the main road, is ArtCafé – one of the most popular restaurants and shops on Barbuda.

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    10

    Highland House Historical Ruins

    Enjoy the fantastic view of the Barbuda coastline

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    The Highland House Historical Ruins are all that remains of the buildings that once belonged to people Codrington Village is still named after. It’s also known as “Willy Bob” by locals, but is correctly named Codrington House. It gets the name “Highland” from the simple fact that its location is the highest point on Barbuda, providing a vantage point from which you can see most of the island.

    The ruins themselves, while interesting, are not especially remarkable. There are plenty of other, far better preserved historical buildings around the island. All that remains of Codrington House is a few collapsed stone walls. However, the view makes it well worth the visit.

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