Itching to travel to a new Caribbean island? While the Caribbean offers all-around stunning beaches and warm weather, each island is unique and has its own distinct personality. Allow us to introduce you to Antigua, a small island in the West Indies, in the Leeward Islands. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about Antigua:
1) Antigua, meaning ‘ancient’ in Spanish, was named by Christopher Columbus after an icon in Seville Cathedral called Santa Maria de la Antigua (St. Mary of the Old Cathedral).
2) Approximately 80,000 people inhabit the island, with over 31,000 people living in the capital city of St. John’s.
3) Antigua is home to 365 beaches, one for each day of the year.
4) Shirley Heights is where you can get one of the best views of Antigua. It is also the spot where party-goers converge every Sunday evening to witness a beautiful sunset while enjoying the aromas of barbecue and moving to the soca, reggae and calypso beats of a live steel drum band.
5) Stingray City, a popular site on the island, is home to – you guessed it – stingrays. Here you can swim with stingrays, feed them and learn about their natural habitat.
6) Goat water is one of the island’s specialty dishes. While its name may suggest otherwise, the dish is actually a thick, hearty stew made with mutton, cloves, cinnamon and hot peppers.
7) Ziplining through the jungle and mountain hiking are popular outdoor activities on the island.
8) Devil’s Bridge is a natural bridge located in a remote area on the northeastern part of the island. Due to the harsh waters that surround the bridge, legend has it that it is home to the devil.
9) Great Bird Island is a small islet situated 3 km from Antigua that measures only 20 acres (smaller than the average city park!) A variety of endangered species live here, including brown pelicans, red-billed tropicbirds, the Ameiva griswoldi lizard and the Antiguan racer (a type of snake).
10) Antigua Sailing Week is one of the top sailing events in the world and takes place every April at Nelson’s Dockyard in St. John’s. Even if you are no sailing expert, it is a great opportunity to see a variety of yachts and boats.