Island Hopping: Barbuda

Two for the price of one. Antigua has stolen the spotlight for years and for good reason, but what few realize is that just next door on its own island is the other half of the country. Barbuda. The two halves of this one country have such wildly differing ecosystems that they can hardly even be compared to one another.

Beach island sand trees ocean at the Island of Barbuda in the Caribbean

I’ve been to Barbuda a handful of times but major change has been coming to Barbuda since it was hit by a hurricane just a few years ago. Developments and hotels are revamping the beach fronts, and Robert DeNiro has brought the fabulous Nobu restaurant to the island. Here’s how we spent our day hoppping to Barbuda. (Plus I threw in a few extra excursions to round out your trip).

Helicopter pad in the island of Barbuda in the Caribbean
Helicopter ride from Antigua to Barbuda islands in the Caribbean

Although there are several ways to head from Antigua to Barbuda (ferry, boat, or seaplane) my family and I opted for a helicopter, shaving the commute down from three hours to twenty minutes. As we took flight, we said goodbye to the mountains, rain forest, and white beaches of Antigua and said hello to the flat as a pancake landscape and pale pink colored beaches of Barbuda. We dined at Nobu for lunch, where no matter what dish you order it will be the best meal you’ve ever had. Cozied right up on the beach, the restaurant pairs the rustic touch of worn wood with the creams and blues of nautical decor. The menu is expansive and the seafood so fresh it’s like it swam right up to you from the very sea your table is overlooking.

Nobu Restaurant on the island of Barbuda in the Caribbean
Nobu Restaurant on the island of Barbuda in the Caribbean
Ala and Ralph Isham and family at Nobu Restaurant on the island of Barbuda in the Caribbean wearing mesh printed toppers by Ala von Auersperg

Once we were full and quite sure there would be no Robert DeNiro sighting for the day, we headed to the beach. The beaches of Antigua will always have my heart being that it’s what my home sits on, but the sand of Barbuda is like a fairytale. The clear blue ocean crashes onto the pale pink sand making the whole shoreline look like a watercolor painting. And who knows maybe soon enough it will be the subject of one of my own paintings.

We soaked in the sun and shore for the rest of our day trip to Barbuda before heading back to Antigua, but the island is filled with some thrilling pit-stops if you’re looking to fill up your trip just a bit more.

Barbuda is home to the largest Frigate Bird Colony in the western hemisphere. Join an intimate boat tour to the sanctuary where you’ll see over a 100,000 birds from over 170 species including 5,000 Frigate birds.

For history lovers, seeing the island's Amerindian Petroglyphs is a must. These prehistoric drawings can be found in Two Foot Bay which is on cliffs overlooking the ocean in the main town of Codringon.

I hope you enjoy your trip to Barbuda. And when it’s time to hunt for the perfect Barbuda outfit look no further than Ava von Auersperg.