Close your eyes and visualize an enclosed rainforest hidden within the cavity of a sunken cave… space where the air is refreshing and the temperature remains perfectly cool. A canopy of elevated Palmetto Palms, bushy ferns and climbing vines all thrive here, amidst acres and acres of dry bushlands. First begin your journey (either 20 minutes by air or 3 hours by boat) from Antigua, to the charming and very interesting island of Barbuda.
At just 62-square miles… 15 miles long, and 8 miles wide, this very flat and tiny island is the sister island of Antigua and is certainly worth a visit for your discovery. Barbuda is one of the most underdeveloped islands in the Caribbean, providing nature lovers or anyone in search of experiencing adventure or wanting tranquility, a range of unique outdoor activities.
One of these must-have adventures is most certainly Darby Cave – a fascinating sunken cavern of approximately 70-ft in depth and 300-ft in diameter. The cave is located three and a half miles North East of Codrington Village, and requires an easy 45-minutes trek through dry lands, along with a beaten track of distinct red soil. (I strongly advise that hikers seek being accompanied by a certified guide). Along the way, enjoy possible sightings of the island’s interesting wildlife, such as land turtles, wild boars, guinea fowls, the Antiguan Racer (one of the rarest snakes in the world), and Barbuda’s Fallow Deer’s (not seen on any other Caribbean island). So be sure to keep your camera ready to capture these amazing sightings.
Once at your destination, you can’t help but marvel at the vast contrast between the vegetation growing within the sunken hole and the landscape of the rest of the island. The coolness and shade within the cave act as a welcoming reward to hikers, after having to trek through hot conditions under the direct exposure of the tropical sun. On further exploration of the cave, come face to face with 8 ft long stalactites, a bat colony, an abundance of Hermit Crabs, a variety of local birds, and much other wildlife. Darby Cave is certainly worth adding to your itinerary whenever you set foot on the island of Antigua and Barbuda.