Whether it's a day trip or romantic weekend getaway, if you have time, try and visit Barbuda. Barbuda is Antigua's smaller sister island, There is a large lagoon which encompasses roughly half of the isle. This lagoon is actually a bird sanctuary, home to over 170 species and most importantly, the rare frigate bird. Barbuda is one of the least developed main islands in the caribbean, with a population of approximately 1500. Most of the population reside in the main town of Codrington, named after the family who established it. The town has only one main educational facility, The Holy Trinity School and does not yet have a local hospital. Badly injured or sick persons must be airlifted by helicopters to the Mount St. John Medical Centre in Antigua.
Barbuda has serveral beaches, the most famous being their 11 mile long beach. The sand has a distinctive pink tinge to it, and the waters are the bluest of blues. Many honeymooners choose Barbuda as their destination, mainly due to the fact that the island is never crowded, leaving beaches almost always empty. There are only two major hotels on the island, the Lighthouse Bay Resort and Coco Point Lodge. Both are all inclusive and carry hefty price tags of US$800 upwards per night. More affordable accomodation options include the Palm Tree Guest House and Nedd's Guest House with prices around US$50.
If you are only visiting for the day, the bird sanctuary is a must. The tour is a 40 minute boat ride in the Codrington Lagoon and is heaven for the active birdwatcher. The birds really are beatiful, and it's quite an experience to see them in their natural habit. For the more adventurous visitor, there are several huge caves to explore, with one of them containing ancient cave drawings. The diving is also spectacular, with many wrecks submerged beneath the local waters. Whether it's for relaxation or to go birdwatching, Barbuda will give you an idea of exactly how beautiful nature can be.
Barbuda is not directly accessible to international visitors, but instead a stopover in Antigua is necessary. The Barbuda Express is a ferry service which operates 5 days a week, bridging the distance between the two islands. Presently, fares are quoted at US $40 for a one way journey for adults, children ages 2-12 pay $29 and children under 2 years of age are charged $18. A full day tour is offered which includes the boat trip to and from Barbuda, a taxi ride to the pier, where a tour boat will take visitors to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary. Afterwards, a taxi will give a land based tour of the island, making stops at the caves and the ruins of the Codrington Family Home, before finally ending the day with an included lobster lunch on the beach. This excursion costs US $159 and provides quite a bit of value for the price.
Regardless of how short your stay will be, a visit is definitely recommended.