Caribbean Island Guides: Antigua

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About Antigua
365 beautiful beaches in Antigua ( one for each day of the year) will give you an indication of the popularity of this island for a vacation. Swimming with the dolphins, scuba diving , sailing—these are just a few of the activities to be enjoyed. The world famous English Harbor and Nelson’s Dockyard are of great historic interest and should be visited if possible. Cricket plays an important part in the lives of Antiguans, watch a game being played if possible. Enjoy exploring St. John’s –the capital of Antigua.
Antigua is blessed with beautiful beaches. In fact there are 365 beaches –one for each day of the year!!! All are open to the public. Eco tourism is becoming increasingly important Mangrove swamps are well worth visit and try to watch the many variety of birds. Take an eco tour off the beaten track. The beautiful ocean around the island makes yachting and many other water related activities popular. Antigua has several beautiful natural habors.
Lots to see and do in Antigua. Visting places of historical significance is a “ must do” for those interested in the country’s exciting past. For military buildings be sure to visit Shirley Heights, where in addition there is a magnificent view to be had. Go to the Nelson’s Dockyard at English Harbor for a fine experience of the naval history of the area. The old sugar plantations are worth a visit for example the famous Betty’s Hope Plantation. The beaches provide a never ending array of activities, yachting, kayaking, scuba diving etc and a Swim with the Dolphins is highly recommended. Many land based activites include hiking and birdwatching etc. Antigua has many excellent hotels and the after dark entertainment is recommended.
In the beginning Antigua was inhabited by the Ciboney Indians and later by the peaceful Arawaks and then by the war-like Caribs. Christopher Columbus discovered the island in 1493 but met resistance from the Caribs and it was not until 1632 that the first European settlement was established by Sir Christopher Codrington. Sugar then became the mainstay of the island and it was a vitally important sugar colony for the British. Because of it’s strategic position it was considered very important and was thought of as the “Gateway to the Caribbean”. Horatio Nelson became an important figure at this time and Nelson’s Dockyard remains today as a monument to his achievements. Naval battles made him a true heroic figure. Slavery was abolished in 1834 and unlike many of the other islands, the slaves were given immediate full emancipation. Today, the island is an Independent nation within the Commonwealth.

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