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Thread: Barbuda-a belated/non resort trip report

  1. #1
    Erma is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Posts: 779
    Thanks to a dear friend, and fellow SBHonline poster, Peter who encouraged a trip to Barbuda. We will always be thankful that we acted on your wise advice!

    So on to a trip report of the anti-resort kind. Please note that this trip was in 2006 (yeah, I procrastinate) :blush: but I wanted to put this information out to balance the resort reports with a town based one for proper comparison shopping of Barbuda . Plus, not much changes on Barbuda...

    Transportation: Non stop Delta, ATL-ANU; Carib Aviation to BBQ. No one at the airport to hold our hands but it was not an ordeal - just usual Caribbean airport traffic when trans-Atlantic flights combine with US routes....

    Lodging: I realize that not everyone is willing to hang at Nedd's...heck we even moved out of "town" after a few nights...but then I did end up missing Jicky's morning wake up call! Hard to believe at first - but that is where you find out what eating (not dining) options are available that day. You also hear who is celebrating a birthday or special anniversary, weather, and of course Jicky's take on politics. It is the actual wake up call to many Barbudans from the speakers in town. Of course it has been a few years since our trip and I wonder if Jicky is still broadcasting in the morning?

    We were lucky to spend part of our week at Palm Tree Guest House. Cerene also has a wonderful restaurant in town where you will be amongst Barbudans and visitors. *plan ahead for dinner so that she knows how much to cook. Cerene's guest house was more than comfortable for us and having her around to chat with on occasion - well you really got the scoop on the island! Dinner is a pretty laid back affair but the fun is down at Byrons (Green Door which is not very easy to access from the other side of the lagoon (Lighthouse) or out on the point (NB)...both locations that require a boat to get back to town). The Green Door is the official center of the island it seemed. We noted that the people in town were pretty equally split...those that were in church at night and those that were at the bar. We were on island during a very serious shortage...of beer. Of course they still had Guinness...but that didn't count apparently. No matter - everyone still hung out at Byrons every night....and waited for the ferry to bring in the golden nectar. A celebration did in fact occur when the shipment arrived!

    The island is not geared towards entertaining visitors but we were not bored for the week. On the contrary we met some wonderful Barbudans and other visitors (shout out to Laura and Dave on "Saudade Au Mar" - wherever in the world you might be by now!) and several nights were spent with a bon fire/drinks/party/dinner on the beach. Years ago (back when Elmer was still supervising the building of Lighthouse) we enjoyed the day on Low Bay - but it was the night on the beach that was most memorable. I bet those parties will be few and far between now that proper guests will be paying a chunk of change for their private beach... One note about beach parties...the ladies that serve up breakfast in town have NO sympathy for hangovers. Second time around I knew better...one has to get up and grab something before they run out or you are out of luck. To make this really clear you have a couple of choices for breakfast - a nice chunk of bread pudding and maybe one other 'breakfast friendly' item and then you have shark or chicken. Food on Barbuda is not necessarily served at our normal meal time limits (i.e. how many people could stomach shark in the morning after a night of partying). On a little island like Barbuda you end up after a week getting into the swing of their life and you conform out of necessity. Why fix what is not broken?

    The beach down by the closed down K Club has to be one of the best in the world. Driving down towards Spanish Point is a fun excursion - bring water and make sure your 4 x 4 is good on gas (we rented a Toyota Highlander from Mr. Thomas (who we enjoyed chatting with at ANU on our return from Marie Galante :)) but via Mr. Nedd...not sure if there is a price difference vs direct). *like Ouvéa...Barbuda can and does run out of gas ~ plan accordingly. About rental cars....yeah, they cost a FORTUNE on Barbuda. The import tax is out of this world and combined with the wear and tear from the sand roads well you can imagine how expensive it is for upkeep. Oh, and be prepared to have guests in your car just like the old days on other islands. Most islanders walk everywhere and it is polite to oblige a request. After a few days you will not be a stranger to them and visa versa. Be sure to head out Highland Road and if possible find a guide for the caves. We ran out of time but did explore for a few hours. What a stark contract with the Atlantic crashing in compared to the calm waters on the Caribbean side. Here you will find the highest point on the island..100 feet I think

    School children are polite and often times shy - but when they see you a few times they will usually warm up a tad and tell you about a field trip to a neighboring island for a debate club event or what they are working on in school, etc. It took a while to just figure out their school level's and such which are defined quite differently from here in the States. Barbudans are pretty curious about visitors that stay for more than a night or two and will generally engage you in conversation. They like to know what brought you to their island and always want to know what you think about their home! Lot's of animals share the island ~ wild horses and donkeys are quite common in addition to goats and outside of town (Codrington) there are wild pigs and deer. Lobster is still plentiful but maybe not as much as after Luis (I think) when the entire lagoon was wall to wall lobsters that had been washed over Low Bay. They said that lobster was on the menu for everyone for most meals :-) Friday night was a cool time - a street party but in an informal way. Everyone walked around grabbing a drink here, a bite to eat there, socializing.

    We were not sad leaving Barbuda after a week ~ but that was only because we were headed to our love, Marie Galante. Had we been headed home...well I would have probably extended the trip a bit. One day we will make it back to Barbuda and hopefully get to see the same wonderful people that we met a few years ago.

    *I am not totally anti resort ... just not a fan of resorts that isolate their guests from the host country/island. If one wants a more comfortable experience in a resort atmosphere then check out Coco Point . Here you would be on the main island, on a beautiful stretch of beach but with just a quick car ride you could be in town. Coco Point is one of the original Caribbean hideaways and gives back to Barbuda via the "Coco Point Fund" established by William Cody Kelly who has been called a "model foreign investor". Coco Point has a loyal following of families spanning many generations so back a few years ago space was limited for newcomers.

    Barbudans have a very interesting story to tell and I hope some of you will have the opportunity to hear these stories first hand from some of the most gentle, yet strong, people I have met.


    Here are a few casual pictures of the island of Barbuda.
    Barbuda, 2006

    and Barbudaful

    For just about anything from cars to lodging to Frigate tours ~ contact Byron Askie anywhere on 783 7243 and at the Green Door on 268 460 0065 (from the Barbudaful website!) Byron was our guide to the Frigate conservation area with a drop off/pick up at Low Bay


    Safe travels,

    Erma

  2. #2
    tim is offline
    Moderator Joined: Jun 2003 Vélo, Virginia Posts: 16,823
    Erma,

    Wonderful report!
    The best moderation is the least moderation.

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