Barbuda is that almost deserted desert island you have always dreamed about. 62 square miles and about 900 residents post Hurricane Irma. Columbus paid a fleeting visit in 1493 and likely interacted with the Carib Indians who made the island home. The Spanish and French tried to set up settlements but it was the Brits who formed the first colony in 1666. By 1685 it was leased to the Codrington brothers. They were major slave traders and plantation owners. Their possibly very evil descendants were rumoured to have set up a breeding farm on Barbuda to supply the rest of the West Indies with the strongest slaves. No wonder there were numerous rebellions until slavery was abolished in 1834. Barbuda is not an obvious place to live…the land is rocky, flat and mostly coral limestone. It is regularly battered by hurricanes. Yet surprisingly it has been occupied since the stone age. Perhaps, like me, they found it a paradise. The beaches are pristine, long and pink, the snorkeling sublime and you’ll see wild donkeys nibbling at the scrubby plants.
Stay: Barbuda Belle – 7 raised luxurious air conditioned (if you want it) bungalows, a wonderful great house with a restaurant, bar and lounge, complementary beach toys on a small island with miles of pristine pink beach make this one of Small Luxury Hotel’s most delightful properties.
Other places to stay: Barbuda Cottages -one three bedroom and 3 one bedroom simple solar powered cottages right on the beach. Delightful owners & Uncle Roddy’s restaurant on the same property.
Eat: Nobu Barbuda- a deluxe pop-up with many of your traditional favorites (miso cod, yellowtail with jalapeño) and some Nobu magic applied to local delicacies… we had a red snapper served as 10 different divine dishes. Not on the menu, it depends what they have, but well worth asking about! The Nobu Cooler was the perfect cocktail and the staff are friendly yet incredibly professional. An amazing glam addition to the Caribbean.
Other places to eat: Uncle Roddy’s – one of Princess Diana’s favorites, her picture with Roddy hangs behind the bar, serves casual local food. The sweet potato fries are to die for.
See: The Frigate Birds in Codrington Lagoon National Park. One of the largest colonies in the world, a visit during mating season (September until April so a nice big window) is a must. The males puff out a bright red throat pouch to attract females. Once she has decided on her man they mate, he builds the nest, she produces a single egg and they take turns guarding it for the next seven weeks. Six months later the baby leaves the nest and the parents relationship is over. The most aerodynamic of all birds, they have long wingspans and can glide for weeks without touching land.
I had Solomon pick me up and take me to the birds in his water taxi. He can be reached on What’s App at 1-268-728-8418
Barbuda is a kite surfers dream with long flat stretches of protected water and steady wind.