48. Robert and Irma

We just spent a week in Barbuda. Quite possibly our favourite Caribbean island so far. Together with Antigua, it forms the sovereign nation of Antigua and Barbuda. Barbuda is clearly the poorer island, at least in monetary and infrastructural terms. But certainly not when it comes to natural beauty and wildlife. With pristine, almost pink beaches that go on for miles, mangrove and palm trees and one of the world’s largest frigate bird colonies, it is a cruisers paradise. But it is also a potential paradise for the rich and famous. There have been a few smaller resorts around the island, including the K Club, which was Princess Diana’s favourite retreat. But the island has also attracted investors with grander development plans. Something that has been eagerly encouraged by the government in Antigua but resisted by the local community. The roughly 1,600 Barbudans claim that they own the island communally and that land therefore cannot be acquired by anyone.

One of these investors is the Hollywood actor Robert De Niro. His plans for a $250 million luxury resort were reportedly blocked until the island was struck by Hurricane Irma four years ago and 95% of all buildings were destroyed. The capital injection needed following the disaster appears to have given Robert and his Paradise Found project the kickstart it needed and the construction was in full swing when we were there. He had already built a private airport and a Nobu sushi restaurant on the beach. I don’t for a second want to stick my neck into what must be a locally toxic debate, but it would be a shame to see this unspoilt gem develop too much. I really hope Robert’s post Irma investments will aid the disaster struck community but also that he doesn’t destroy the paradise he claims to have ‘found’ in the process.

We decided to give Robert’s New York style sushi restaurant a miss and settled for Shack-A-Kai instead. A beach bar where Enac will barbecue freshly caught lobster for you as long as you bring your own cutlery.

Cocoa Point
Shack-A-Kai. Enac’s beach bar
Hurricane damage
No trespassing!
Party on a German boat

5 thoughts on “48. Robert and Irma

  1. Ah!!!! Looks like the drone is back in action — awesome!!! All of the pics are absolutely stunning!!! I do recall you mentioning Robert De Niro’s interest in Barbuda, before, in a prior post — I, too, hope that the development won’t undermine the pristine nature of the environment. Were you able to swim with the sea turtles? I have heard that, in Hawai’i, people do this off the western coast of Oahu. The horse in the photo — were there other horses nearby? Do herds run freely on the island? Fantastic post and — again, such incredible pics — looks like there is much enjoyment and celebration going on — so happy for you all!


    1. Hi Chelle. Yes. A fantastic place. Lots of wildlife. Wild donkeys and horses, turtles, frigate birds, crabs… And you can indeed swim with the turtles. Bonfires on the beach… I’m pretty sure I’ll be back there again before leaving Antigua and Barbuda. Best Tomas

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, amazing pictures, especially those taken by the drone. It gives you a magnificent over view. It must be a great feeling to spend the days in such a paradise. (Right now it is minus 6 degrees in Stockholm, just for your info) The colour of the water is fantastic. The guys by the fire, are they inhabitants of the island😆 ?
    Looking forward to see more photos
    Take care


    1. Thanks Martin. Yep. They were locals that we met on the beach! Promise to post more pics from the drone. It’s well into the 30’s here. And at least 20 at nigh. Best. Tomas. Ps. I’ll get your son to respond as well…


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