Family camping/backpacking trip

Family camping/backpacking trip

Postby Sherman » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:17 pm

I'm contemplating a 2-week trip to Barbuda in June 2012 with my family (dad, mom, 11 year old, 13 year old). Ordinarily we go out to the Rockies or US West Coast for hiking and backpacking vacations, but we are ready for a change of pace. After a lot of internet investigating, (including this forum) it seems like Barbuda may be the place for us. In fact, I've completely fallen in love with Barbuda from a distance.

My plan would be for everyone to carry all belongings in our backpacks, including tents. We are used to this. I would like to spend most nights camped at a beach, but occasionally sleep in some economical lodgings in Codrington to shower, sleep in a bed, and restock supplies. After buying the plane tickets, our budget will not support staying in any of the resorts. Days would be spent beachcombing, snorkeling, swimming, exploring and relaxing around the beach. My plan would be to use a local guide/taxi to drop us off near a beach, and then we would hike until we find a suitable spot. After 2 or 3 nights at a beach, arrange to be picked up and brought back to town for a night, then back to another beach. I would use a couple of collapsible 5 gallon plastic containers for water supply.

Having no experience with Barbuda or the Carribean I am looking for any comment or suggestions from those in the know. Does my plan sound generally practical? Which beaches would work best? Which guides would work best for my plan? Which lodgings? I read that the Barbudans often camp on their beaches themselves. How do they do it? Do they use tents or what? Am I overlooking something that would cause a problem?

Thanks in advance for your posts.
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Re: Family camping/backpacking trip

Postby Mark » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:20 pm

Much as I love Barbuda, I would not even dream of doing what you are thinking of IMHO. 2 weeks is way too long, the question of water may be a problem, you get lots of mozzies there, I think you would find it a real culture shock. I'm sure there are others that can chime in. I don't mean to put a damper on your plans, but it's not what I would do.

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Re: Family camping/backpacking trip

Postby franbanks » Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:16 pm

I tend to agree with Mark, i doubt this is ideal for kids even at their ages,the mozzies would have a field day,
In plain old English i would take a rain check and have a re think,im not sure what you would use to wash with daily but with the amount of sun the place gets it could be quite painfull especially if you have been in the sea a lot.
Ive done some crazy things in my time but not sure i would do this unless i was on my own and certified
I wish you luck with what ever you decide to do


Fran 8-)
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Re: Family camping/backpacking trip

Postby Sherman » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:07 pm

I appreciate the input, even though it's a dash of cold water on my plans. I am certainly taking your advice seriously but I would like to get a little more perspective if possible.

I understand the we will not get the same experience as compared to staying in a resort. Our vacations are never of the resort variety. We are accustomed to living out of our backpacks for days at a time. Most of our trips are into the mountains but we have camped at the beach on the Gulf Coast of Florida for a couple nights without resupplying in a fairly remote location. A lot of my ideas about beach camping are based on that trip.

Are the mosquitoes worse than what you would typically experience in the woods at northern latitudes? I've done a lot of camping in a lot of places and dealt with a lot of mosquitoes. The only place I've ever been where the mosquitoes were just so bad that it ruined the experience was Denali National Park in Alaska. Could you compare the Barbuda mosquitoes to other locations? Here's a good view of Alaska mosquitoes:

Mark - would you elaborate on your "culture shock" comment? Part of the appeal of this trip for me is to get an entirely different experience from the US. I've been to countires like Bulgaria where the culture was quite different and loved the experience. But then what I know about Barbuda is far out-weighed by what I don't know.

One thing I read about Barbuda is how the locals have camping outings, but never really seen them described. I imagine theirs are something different that what I am thinking about, but could you describe what they do?
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Re: Family camping/backpacking trip

Postby sunny » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:14 am

Hi Sherman

My feeling is that backpacking is not accepted in Antigua or elsewhere in the Caribbean. Tourism there is about resorts, villas, taxis, excursions, restaurants etc. Whatever the locals may arrange for themselves is another matter. I believe that as a visitor, you have to give an address of where you are staying and for how long etc. I would definitely not recommend that kind of trip with children - it is a different culture to the outdoor lifestyle of north America.
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Re: Family camping/backpacking trip

Postby HAWLEYJ » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:23 pm

Hi Sherman,

I am also an avid trekker and am looking into camping on Barbuda. Did you ever go? What was your experience?

I'd appreciate any input you could give me!
Justin (and Katie).
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Re: Family camping/backpacking trip

Postby Sherman » Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:47 am

I have not yet made the trip, but I am still interested. I have a lot of uncertainty about how such a trip would work out, but the idea of camping on those beautiful, uncrowded beaches keeps me hooked.

I appreciate the people who have taken the time to contribute their thoughts in this thread, even though obviously their comments were not favorable towards making the trip. Their comments, plus the general difficulty in getting information about camping on Barbuda, had a lot to do with deciding against the trip last summer. Possibly they saved me from a fisaco. However I am still not sure that their unfavorable view of my idea has more to do with their personal standards and perspectives being different from mine. That's difficult to judge.

For example, instead of trying Barbuda we went to Wyoming and backpacked 4 nights in the Wind River Range. During that 5 days, we did not shower, we had to filter all water, we ate only what we carried in our packs, and we dealt with exposure to sun, wind rain, and plenty of mosquitos. And we loved it. However, a lot of people backpack in the Wind River Range, but apparently not many do so in Barbuda.
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Re: Family camping/backpacking trip

Postby Shorelines Tours » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:27 pm

Hi there,

I haven't been on this forum for a long time but I can say:
1- I lived in Barbuda for 15 years
2- I raised my children there
3- they have survived many mosquitoes and sandflies at camp!
4- Yes! Go there and I can hook you up with some locals that might be wiling to help you out with water and other things you might need

Everything is possible with communication and organization.

You can send me emails throu

Will be glad to help you if I can!
Shorelines Tours
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Re: Family camping/backpacking trip

Postby Donna » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:44 pm

That's the best part of this forum, there is always someone out there with the answer or can help you. Camping would be an experience and you should take up the offer for ideas and help from Shoreline Tours.

Camping isn't for everyone but if that's your passion and interest go for it and enjoy!!!!
Cheers Donna

p.s. I'm sitting on my deck enjoying a yummy rum punch enjoying the evening sounds, Freeman's Bay and all the yacht lights, that's what I love so to each his own.
Dancing In The Dining Room, Antigua West Indies
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Re: Family camping/backpacking trip

Postby bubspeed01 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:38 pm

Having stayed at North Beach last February, I will say that if you can get someone to take you out via boat to the pink sand beaches you will be truly amazed! I am not sure what regulations they have regarding camping but I am sure no one will bother you out there.

It is so beautiful and remote. They are located NW of Codrington on the skinny penninsula. However its a long walk around the western and southern edge of the island assuming you can even get that far. There is a resort nearby in case of emergencies and boats do pass by though not very often.

My wife and I would love to go back but we are not nearly as adventurous as you! However, I think you guys will have a blast if you try it out!

Also, if you take another boat around the northern end of the island past North Beach, you will see many signs of what plastic and glass can do to an unmanaged beach. We spent hours and actually found a message in a bottle (Yes - We were looking quite actively having read in a few places that they abound)! We were even able to get in touch with the sender! He was amazed and had completely forgotten about it.

Boat rides can be expensive - ranging from $80.00 and up. We didn't need one to get to the pink sand beaches so maybe you could arrange for a kayak rental... They are doable as long as you stay in the protected bay outside of Codrington and close to shore.

Good luck! You won't be disapoointed.

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