CODRINGTON LAGOON, Barbuda -- Antigua's little sibling, Barbuda, has a lot to offer visitors, from sightseeing and wading in water to bird watching and spelunking.

The mostly rocky and flat island, at 15 miles long and eight miles wide, is home to a wide variety of wildlife.

The Frigate Bird Sanctuary, one of the largest in the Caribbean, is located in Barbuda's northwestern lagoon and is accessible only by boat.

Guides take visitors through mangrove tree-lined water trails to spot some of the nearly 6,000 frigate birds.

The sanctuary is home to more than 170 species of birds.

Frigate birds also are known locally as the man-o-war bird, as they have been seen harassing other birds until they drop their catch.

While visitors are welcome to view the birds throughout the year, the frigate mating season is from September to April and provides a colorful spectacle.

The male frigate is marked by its red throat pouch, which it can inflate as part of its courtship behavior to attract a mate. On average, one male and three females produce two young every two years.

Other bird species on the island include pelicans, warblers, herons, mockingbirds and cormorants.

If bird watching isn't your preferred activity, Barbuda provides a variety of other attractions as well.

The island features about 10 miles of white-sand beaches that are suitable for just about everyone.

They range from calm waters perfect for children and nonswimmers to rougher waters more appropriate for the advanced swimmer.

Around the coast of Barbuda, are nearly 100 known shipwrecks that can be explored by snorkeling or scuba diving.

On land, the sites to see include the Highland House and the ruins of Martello Tower.

Highland House is the former estate of Sir William Codrington, the first resident of Barbuda.

All that remains are the ruins of the main house, stables, slave quarters and cisterns.

Martello Fort and Tower were built to defend the island from intruders. The remains include the ruins of the 56-foot tower, which guests can ascend to view the seascape.

Barbuda also is home to several caves good for exploring, with the most popular being Dark Cave and Caves at Two Foot Bay.

Dark Cave is an underground cave featuring deep pools of clear water which extend approximately one mile underground.

At Caves at Two Foot Bay, visitors climb down into a circular chamber through a hole in the roof to view faded Arawak drawings on the walls.

Barbuda can be reached from Antigua, either by air or private boat charters.

Most tour operators in Antigua offer day trips to Barbuda, featuring roundtrip air, a sightseeing tour, a visit to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary and lunch.

Antours, a local operator, offers the day trip for $147 per person. To book, call (268) 462-2788; fax (268) 462-4799, or e-mail [email protected].

For a complete listing of tour operators that offer day trips to Barbuda, search the Antigua & Barbuda Department of Tourism Web site at
www.antigua-barbuda.org.

Antigua & Barbuda Department of Tourism
Phone: (888) 268-4227 or (212) 541-4117
Fax: (212) 757-1607

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