Pretty in Pink: Barbuda’s Most Beautiful Beach…

18th April 2014
Pól Ó Conghaile

How can a beach be pink?

There must be a scientific explanation. As the catamaran drops anchor, the sand on this beautiful strip of Barbuda blushes like a schoolgirl. It’s an extraordinary sight.

We sailed from Antigua. An hour and a half of sparkling ocean brought us to a speck of an island that seems all but deserted. Barbuda is 60km2, about as tall as a basketball hoop and circled by a perfect seal of sand. I felt like Robinson Crusoe.

I wasn’t alone, of course. The deck of our catamaran – the ‘Excellence’ – was brimming with day-trippers, honeymooners and the odd Don Juan in unforgiving Speedos. But stepping off the boat (below) I only had to walk a few hundred yards to secure a swathe of the Pink Beach all to myself.

catamaran, excellence, antigua

Bashful as it seems, Barbuda had a moment in the sun in the 1990s.

Back then, Princess Diana apparently found peace while vacationing among its palm trees. The strand she returned to several times was re-named in her memory on July 1st, 2011 – the date on which she would have turned 50 – although the K-Club resort itself lies sadly derelict.

I laid down my bag, pulled out a snorkel and fins, and waded into the tepid water. The visibility wasn’t great (a hurricane rolled through the Caribbean a few weeks earlier), but once I dove down a few meters, things cleared up. A pick-n’-mix of fish darted about the reef. There were conch shells in the sand. From June to October, you might even see turtles.

Barbuda hosts a handful of exclusive resorts (Coco Point, Lighthouse Bay and North Beach), but it’s also famous for its bird sanctuary. A mangrove swamp in the lagoon teems with frigate birds – whose males inflate their throats like balloons to impress the ladies.

Barbuda, Frigate Bird Sanctuary (3)

That’s about as racy as island life gets. Guests arrive into resorts on eight-seater planes, and they get the peace and quiet they’re looking for. The bars, clubs, festivals, Wi-Fi and jetskis of Antigua are a world away – you need to be prepared for that.

And the Pink Beach? I learn that the coral here is crawling with microscopic animals. Known as forams, their red skeletons mix with sand and shells to give the beaches their pink crush effect.

Details:

Cottages at North Beach start from $200pp per night, all-inclusive. BA flies from London to Antigua from £548. Barbuda can also be visited by daytrip from Antigua. See visitantiguabarbuda.co.uk for more info.

Key words: Barbuda Pink Beach.