From Barbados to Barbuda: Easy Living in the Eastern Caribbean

There are over 7,000 islands in the Caribbean, and around 100 of them are populated. With a few weeks left in our year of exploring South America, we decided to finish off in the Caribbean. Of the 13 independent countries in the area, I needed to catch up on the last six, while Chris had a few select islands he wanted to not miss.

It’s not always easy to find direct flights between islands, so we used a combination of ferries, flights, and a cruise to get us to where we needed to be. You can read more about our quest for last-minute cruise tickets here. To find out which islands are connected via ferry, this ferry website turned out very useful. And to see which islands had direct flights to other islands, this Flight Connections website was our pal. The smaller airlines don’t always show up on Skyscanner or Expedia searches, so it’s sometimes worth taking a look to see which airlines fly to lesser-known cities.


From its crystal clear waters, to its sandy white beaches, Barbados is a great first stop in the Caribbean. We flew direct from Guyana to Barbados, kicked around for a week in Bridgetown and in Holetown, and then jumped on a cruise ship for a week.

Caribbean- Barbados
The Barbados Historical Museum; Deah at Holetown Beach, and the Bajan flag featuring Poseidon’s trident


From Barbados, it’s easy to find a direct flight to many of the other Caribbean islands. In under 40 minutes, we were landing in Grenada, “the spice island”, named for its many nutmeg plantations. The tri-island nation boasts 40 sand beaches, 15 waterfalls, 5 chocolate factories, and 3 rum distilleries. That’s a lot for such a tiny nation! We stayed in the capital city of Saint George’s, then moved over to Grand Anse beach for some fun in the sun. Home of the first underwater sculpture garden, a dive or snorkel excursion is highly recommended here. We spent a week here, and it was not enough!

Grand Anse Beach; Grenada’s flag, featuring a nutmeg; Christ of the Deep statue in St George’s Harbor, and the Molinere Underwater Sculpture Garden in Dragon’s Bay

St Vincent and the Grenadines

This was one of the islands we visited on our Marella cruise, so it was just a quick one day stop. If we were to visit St Vincent again, it would definitely include some time to ferry or sail to some of the smaller 32 islands that make up the Grenadines. As it was, we had time to visit the botanical garden, which is the oldest one in the western hemisphere! Visible from the capital city are the islands of Mustique and Bequia.

The capital city of Kingstown; Deah and Chris at the cruise terminal; the flag of St Vincent and the Grenadines, with blue for the sea, gold for the beaches, and green for the vegetation of the island.

St Lucia

Famous for its dramatically tapered mountains (the Pitons), volcanic beaches, and luxury resorts, St Lucia is definitely an island not to be skipped. We flew in to the airport on the southern coast, stayed in the village of Soufriere on the western side, and later left from the ferry terminal out of the capital city, Castries. This small island nation is the only country in the world to be named after a woman- St Lucy of Syracuse.

The flag of St Lucia reflects its famous Grand Piton mountain; Chris waiting for breakfast in the village of Soufriere; the Freedom Monument in Soufriere


A department of France, Martinique is an amalgam of culture- 90% of the people living there are a blend of mixed European and African ethnicity. Josephine, once Empress of France, was born there. A volcanic island, Martinique still produces sugarcane, and is in fact the “rum capital of the world”. After taking the ferry from St Lucia to Martinique, we visited the capital city of Fort-de-France, and the smaller village of Trois-Ilets, then relocated to the beach.

We spent our time in the small town of Diamante, with a view of the famous “Green Diamond” in the distance. Bottom right: Fort-de-France


Dominica’s tagline is “the nature island”, and I can attest, this island is full of nature! It boasts of 365 rivers, amazing reefs, dizzying waterfalls, and an eco-resort every time you turn around. This was my second visit to this island, and I still have not managed to see even a fraction of it. We found ourselves at the Hibiscus Valley Inn, near Marigot, and basically laid in a hammock and waited for nature to come to us. We were not disapointed. Dominica us the home of Liat airlines, so be sure to check their site for great inter-island flights.

Caribbean- Dominica
I could say that we went on nature hikes and visited waterfalls and swam, but honestly, we just laid around in the hammocks and took an occasional picture. My kind of vacation!


Another department of France, Guadeloupe has a rich historical blend of Caribbean, Creole, and Europe. In August of each year, they celebrate a “Festival of the Cooks”- an event I would love to volunteer for! We visited Guadelupe while on our cruise, so we only had time to visit Fort Delgres, which began construction in 1650. With non-stop flights from Miami, JFK, or a ferry from Dominica, Guadeloupe appeals to foodies, beach lovers, eco-tourists, and history buffs.

Antigua and Barbuda

From Dominica, it’s a quick 40 minute flight on Liat airways to Antigua. The English Harbor was home base to Admiral Horatio Nelson in the 1780s, and the deep water harbor hosts a week-long sailing regatta every year. The island is ringed with coral reefs, so diving is some of the best in the Caribbean. Although the ferry to neighboring island Montserrat is not currently operating, you can take a ferry and a day tour to Antigua’s sister island of Barbuda, where you can view the frigate bird sanctuary, bask in the pink sand beach, and enjoy a Barbuda lobster lunch. The island was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irma, so it is a work in progress.

Diving at Hangman’s Rock; frigate bird sanctuary; Barbuda’s rugged eastern coastline, and Deah st the Pink Sand Beach

St Kitts and Nevis

Since we visited St Kitts via our Marella cruise, we only spent one day on the “island of a thousand treasures”. The twin islands were both formed from volcanic eruptions, thankfully now extinct. We took a local bus and went to the massive Brimstone Hill Fortress, a UNESCO heritage site dating back to 1690. Only two miles apart, you can ferry to Nevis in under an hour from St Kitts (formally named St Christopher).

Sint Maarten/St Martin

This single island is home to two overseas territories: Sint Maarten, belonging to the Netherlands, and St Martin, belonging to France. Our cruise shipped docked at Philipsburg, the capital on the Dutch side. The French capital of Marigot is just a short bus ride away. Dubbed “the sun soaked island” for its many golden beaches, this island offers plenty of villages and beach resorts perfect for a week away.

British Virgin Islands

We only spent one day on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, but it was enough to definitely want to visit again. We took a bus from Road Town to Brandywine Beach, and relaxed in the calm waters. A lot of Tortola is still devastated by 2017’s Hurricane Irma, with several resorts awaiting demolition. However, BVI boasts 50 islands, cays, and islets, so the best thing to do is gather up some friends, and charter a boat for a week and visit a few! Be sure to stop by The Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke island to indulge in a Painkiller.

There’s nothing not to love about the British Virgin Islands

Of course, the eastern islands are not the only ones in the Caribbean. We haven’t made it to Aruba, Bonaire, or Curacao yet, but we did enjoy Trinidad and Tobago a few years ago. We’ve been to Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Cuba, but there are more islands to explore in the US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Nevis, Monserrat, and others. We certainly hope to spend more time in the Caribbean in the next few years. Drop us a note in the comments below and tell us your favorite Caribbean island!

One thought on “From Barbados to Barbuda: Easy Living in the Eastern Caribbean

  1. Superb synopsis–you should sell it to tour companies. Even without the tempting pictures–anyone would want to make sure their next vacation, weekend getaway, or escape. “Been there, done that” doesn’t begin to cover all the island delights.


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