Friday, November 30, 2007

Accommodation in Barbuda


If you are planning to visit the country of Antigua and Barbuda, chances are that you will be tempted to visit or even stay in Barbuda at some stage of your trip. Currently it isn't easy to find accommodation in Barbuda as there simply isn't that much of it. This summer two of the three big hotels closed down due to various issues leaving Coco Point as the only large accommodation source on the 62 square mile sandy island. The good news is that The Beach House says that they are reopening and there are still other smaller places to stay. In Barbuda's one and only village, Codrington, there are several inexpensive guest houses that offer very nice and simple accommodation, but at the moment there is only one other place apart from Coco Point Lodge where you can stay on the beach.
North Beach Cottages (http://www.antiguanice.com/north_beach_cottages/index.html) is the place. As the link above will tell you, there are few places on the planet as beautiful or as serene and my family and i have been enjoying its enchanting allure since since i was a little kid.
In the "old days" we would just camp there, but back in 1996 after the last big hurricane a small cluster of cottages was built by a local Barbudan. We have selfishly tried to keep it secret for years, but with the arrival of the Internet as well as changing times the secret has gotten out and is being spread.
We are good friends with the owner and when he lost his one and only contract with Coco Point we had to help him attract more people to his lovely place.
There are several ways to get to Barbuda. The most simple way is to
fly commercial from Antigua’s VC Bird airport using Carib Aviation. Book and pay for your flight online at http://www.carib-aviation.com/. Their flights usually leave Antigua at 8 am and 6 pm and from Barbuda at 8:30 am and 6:30 pm. Flights take 15 minutes. Of course there are more fancy ways to get there with Xtreme's private charter service being a cool option by sea and Caribbean Helicopters being another by air. There is always the option of coming under your own steam as Jimmy Buffet did with his sea plane when he stayed at North Beach Cottages.

If you are coming with Carib then the only way to get to North Beach is by the owner's boat, making it the most secluded and private resting place in our twin island nation.
Reuben, the owner of the property is dedicated to making this endeavor work and work well. There is no doubt that if you understand and appreciate all that NB has to offer that you will return to stay there on your next holiday to the islands.
There are currently three cottages making it the least populated accommodation area in our country and probably in the Caribbean. The property is an unfenced 23 acres with no neighbors or other structures at all within 10 miles. It’s isolated!
You won’t be walking down to the next beach bar for an afternoon sundowner as there isn’t such a thing unless you walk about 17 miles up the beach. All food and drinks are included during your stay and you must order your meals the day before.
Choices for dinner which are served inside the pavillion are seafood pasta, baked chicken, fish, lobster, steak, or ribs all with choices of the usual suspects like rice, potatoes, macaroni, veg, corn, beans etc…… the meals are large and hearty and all prepared by the owner or his helper, both local Barbudans. Mark the photo guy stayed there earlier in the year after making a deal with the owner to bring most of his own food. Mark isn't just a photo guy... he is the food guy too. See his pics here:
Choices for lunch are be similar to dinner as well as things like seafood soup, locally known as “fishwater”, curried conch, salads and or sandwiches. Eating well is a guarantee there, but don’t expect the frilly euro stuff that you will get at most of Antigua’s hotels. This is eating local and very well. I am hungry just writing this. Here is one happy customer (uncle Jim) after a bit too much dinner as you can see quite easily in the bright moonlight.
Reuben says that for b’fast you can pick more traditional dishes like pancakes, eggs, toast and jam, and some fruit but he’ll also have some of the local specialties on offer like conch fritters too. Here my uncle Jim and Alan at breakfast discus where we will fish later in the day.

Of course if you have special food needs then alternatives can be arranged. Drinks during the day will be fruit punch, passion fruit, tamarind, orange, and pineapple with bottled water too. During lunch and dinner he will also have some sodas. From 5 pm special rum punch will be “on tap” for you to help yourself to. There will also be bottles of scotch, rum, vodka and gin. There will be no other liquors or beer available there, but please bring what you want with you. There is a supermarket near the airport where you will be able to collect some beer and other items from before you take the boat ride to north beach.
There are quite a few books there for you to read and reading is something that you will finally have time for there. There are no TVs there and hopefully never will be. You can get cell phone reception there and wireless internet may be an option by the new year. Reuben will organize snorkeling and fishing trips for you as well as a tour of the bird sanctuary. All of these things are very inexpensive in Barbuda and are done by people whose main income is fishing. The people are lovely and very proud of the wild and natural life that is Barbuda. When I am there I always take my fishing rod and casting from the beach is great fun. Good fly fishing and other light tackle fun is a sure bet. This was my fly rod before American Airlines lost it (boooooo). See the pink sand? Lovely!!!
Kayaks and sunfish are available for your use at NB and there is so much to see from them close by. It is jewel.

The cottages are simple but nice wooden structures with private bathrooms and showers. Hot and cold running water is available with their reverse osmosis system. Windows are screened on the cottages and pavilion for your comfort. You will need to keep the doors closed in the afternoons, night and mornings to keep bugs out. There are bugs there! Be advised that this area is very natural and mosquitoes and other insects will be there. Some people who can’t handle any bugs at all should look elsewhere, but if you can deal with keeping the doors closed and using some repellent from time to time then you will be fine.
Beachcombing, swimming, fishing, snorkeling, kayaking, bird watching, shelling, reading, sailing, are some of the activities you will enjoy. If you are with a group then a good game of dominos will keep you busy during the cool evenings. Here is my bro, Ali and cousin Bel with friends during our last stay there.
Don’t expect to see jet skis, water skiers, excursion boats or much else. This place is out on its own and in my opinion just perfect for a select bunch of people kinda like me. It’s where I go on holiday often. IF you need more specific info and I suggest you get more if you are slightly unsure then you can call me direct on my mobile on +1 725 7263. Otherwise get your credit card out and reserve ASAP. Remember there are only three cottages. That’s 6 people. Of course, you can reserve all three if you want to be even more private, but that’s up to you. The all inclusive cost which includes transport from Barbuda’s airport, all food and drinks, the use of snorkeling gear, kayaks, sunfish, and more relaxation than you can get anywhere else on earth is US $400 per cottage (two people). There is a minimum of two nights at this rate and before you come to stay all of your stay will be billed to your credit card. If this sounds like something you would like to part of, then please email my sister Nell who will be handling all North Beach Cottages, Barbuda bookings. Her email address is: info @ antiguaadventures .com
All of the photos on today's entry were taken by me while on holiday in Barbuda. I hope you enjoy them and Barbuda as much as i have done. Lets hope that while people discover Barbuda they understand what makes it special. Small low impact locally run hotels should be the only way the island is developed.
Edited 1/2/08..... Also look here for more info and photos.

6 comments:

libertyful said...

great blog eli - i, for one, can't wait to go!

Tom said...

Had a chance to meet Rueban last Feb 26 as we were on the same flight to ANU that morning from Newark. At that time he was describing his place on Barbuda.
Eli, Does the 400 US day rate incl all taxes ?

Event said...

Interesting holiday. What about weddings and or other special events? Can I charter out the property?

AdventureAntigua.com said...

Tom, i just commented and it didn't end up on the page. Dunno what happenend to it. Anyway, doing business in the Caribbean is super expensive. Doing it on Barbuda is even more expensive when you have to get to the property by boat miles and miles from the town. At $400 per room inclusive of food and drinks, i personally think NB will have a very very very hard time breaking even. I know it took over 15 years for Jumby Bay to make a profit and that was room prices of over US $1200 per night. Anyway, to answer your question, tax is on top of that. Thanks, eli

Big Dave on Sports said...

Great blog post on Barbuda...thanks for the insight and info!

Anonymous said...

I am booked for two nights in August 2008!

WOOO