Antigua and Barbuda, an independent Commonwealth country located in the Eastern Caribbean islands, lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Antigua, in particular, has been nicknamed the “Land of 365 Beaches”.
The country consists of two major islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands including Great Bird, Green, Guiana, Long, Maiden and York Island, and Redonda.
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Antigua has about 365 beaches, lagoons, natural harbors which are rimmed by reefs and shoals. Antigua’s beaches are known to have calm waters, making them the perfect destination for swimming and water sports such as parasailing and banana and jet boating. Barbuda has pink and white sand beaches and coves from once volcanic craters.
In addition to the beach highlights, the country also has rich vegetation and wildlife. About 150 species of birds have been recorded in Antigua and Barbuda’s game reserve which has a variety of wildlife: deer, wild pigs, duck, guinea-fowl, and a large colony of frigate birds.
The island of Antigua was originally called Wa’ladli by Arawaks, the indigenous people of the land, and is today called Wa’omoni by locals and Wadadli by Caribs.
The name Antigua, which means “ancient” in Spanish, may have been given to the island by Christopher Columbus while sailing by in 1493 after Santa Maria la Antigua. Barbuda is Spanish for “bearded”. The islands have a complex mix of history from their indigenous West Indians – the Caribs and the Arawaks, Spaniard colonizers, and once enslaved African inhabitants.
The island’s main economic stay was sugar cane, at one point having housed large sugar cane plantations which were abolished in 1834.
Although the island of Barbuda was severely damaged by Hurricane Irma last year, it is bound to experience a resurgence as a tourist mainstay.