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Darby's Sink Cave Tour

Duration: Half Day

Darby's Sink Cave Tour

If you get the chance to visit the beautiful neighbouring island of Barbuda during your holiday in Antigua, don’t miss a tour of Darby’s Sink Cave. This impressive natural feature is actually a sinkhole rather that a cave, and is surprisingly filled with lush vegetation and inhabited by many birds. Not to be missed, this is one of the most interesting sights on the island.

Located in the Eastern Caribbean, the flat coral island of Barbuda lies 26 miles north of its sister island Antigua in the middle of the Leeward Islands. Despite being so close, the pair couldn’t be more different. Whilst Antigua boasts rugged mountain peaks, hills, fields, beaches and natural harbours, the relatively deserted island of Barbuda rises to only 44m (144 ft) at its highest point and is blessed with endless white and pink sand beaches, tranquil lagoons, natural blowholes and National Parks. This unspoiled island is a natural haven for wild deer and exotic birds, so wildlife lovers will be in their element.

One of the most interesting natural attractions in Barbuda is Darby's Sink Cave, located just over three miles north-east of Codrington Village at the south end of the island’s Highlands. Stretching approximately 350 feet in diameter and plunging to a depth of 70 feet, it is not a true cavern but a vertical walled sink hole that formed after the collapse of a cave.

What is most surprising about the sinkhole is the rich vegetation that has grown within the interior walls. Reminiscent of a mini tropical rain forest, this deep shelter seems to have a different micro-climate to the surrounding dry bush land. Lush flora such as palmetto palms, ferns, loblolly trees and sweetwood trees rise up tall from the sinkhole and lianas hang over the cliff’s rim. A rare species of tree called the Marri also grows here. The wood is incredibly hard and durable and has been used for construction on the islands.

You will notice large stalactites and stalagmites of calcium in the sinkhole, which have formed over millions of years. Reaching up to eight feet in height under the overhang, this greenish-white mass of limestone is incredibly smooth. A fossilised shark tooth (Carcharodon megalodon) was reputedly found in the limestone in 1997.

You will also notice that Darby’s Sink Cave is inhabited by bats, frogs and an abundance of birds, many of which can be seen in Barbuda’s Frigate Bird Sanctuary. Your knowledgeable local guide will point out the different species whilst you are there. If you can drag yourself away from Antigua’s paradise beaches, a visit to this unique natural wonder is just one of the fascinating experiences you can enjoy during your Caribbean holiday.

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