accommodation on Barbuda click
is one of those very few islands in the Caribbean that remains--and
probably will remain for some time--so undeveloped as to seem
positively deserted at times. With the exception of the guests
of the island's small number of hotels, the population seems
largely to consist of the graceful Fregata
magnificens, or frigate bird. As the birds possess
a marked preference for the northwest lagoon, Barbuda's seemingly
endless white and pink sand beaches are left to the peaceful
wanderings of those lucky enough to sojourn here.
Activities on Barbuda are appropriately relaxed,
including beachcombing (on the northeastern Atlantic coast), fishing
and hunting and, at the island's resorts, golf, tennis, snorkeling,
diving, or simply soaking up the sun and the calm. Points of interest
include the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, the truly noteworthy pink and
white sand beaches, and an abundance of shipwrecks and beautiful
reefs. Barbuda can be reached easily from Antigua, either by air
(a 20-minute flight, twice daily) or by boat (in three hours).
The island is home to the luxurious K-Club, Coco Point Lodge and
Hotel Palmetto resorts, as well as to a number of other hotels
and comfortable guest houses.
history has been intimately tied to that of Antigua for centuries.
The first early attempts to settle Barbuda (by both the British
and French) were failures, and it wasn't until 1666 that the British
established a colony strong enough to survive the ravages of both
nature and the Caribs. In 1680, four years before he began cultivating
sugar on Antigua, Christopher Codrington was granted (with his
brother John) a lease to land in Barbuda. With subsequent leases
that granted them additional rights to the substantial wreckage
along Barbuda's reefs, they became the island's preeminent family.
For much of the eighteenth century the Codrington land on Barbuda
was used to produce food and to supply additional slave labour
for the Codrington sugar plantations on Antigua, and so the Barbuda's
fortunes rose and fell with those of its larger neighbour. Testament
to the influence of the Codringtons remains today, both in the
island's place names and in its architectural remains. On Barbuda's
highest point (124 feet) are the ruins of the Codrington estate,
Highland House, and on the island's south coast still sits the
56-foot high Martello castle and tower, a fortress that was used
both for defense and as a vantage from which to spot valuable shipwrecks
on the outlying reefs.
Barbuda's Frigate Bird
Sanctuary is located in the island's northwestern 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 waterbirds, 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 inflates as part of its courtship
behaviour and as a defensive display. Courting takes place in the
fall, and chicks hatch late in the year.
For more information on Barbuda please visit www.barbudaful.net