The Caribbean mecca for beachcombers, boatmen and birdwatchers alike. Antigua's curving coastline and graceful harbours have lured sailors to Antiguan waters for centuries. Nelson's Dockyard on English Harbour was the hub of British maritime power in the region. Today, barely a week goes by without a world class sailing regatta taking place. Antigua can also boast of 365 soft, white sand beaches – each palm-fringed and amid the most spectacular in the region. Dickenson Bay and Runaway Bay are home to long stretches of white sand, separated by a small promontory. Half Moon Bay's crescent-shaped strand offers two different beach experiences: calm, clear waters ideal for snorkelling at the far eastern end, or surf the choppy waves on the Atlantic side. History buffs will delight in Nelson's Dockyard and English Harbour. Many of the buildings here date back to the 1800s, including the only existing Georgian Naval Yard in the world. Betty's Hope, near the centre of the island, offers an intriguing insight into the sugar industry – the major industry here from 1650 to the 1920's. Visiting Antigua's sister island, Barbuda, is an altogether more laid back experience. Life here is slow and simple – with friendly locals and few paved roads. It is one of the few islands in the region with abundant wildlife, including the largest colony of frigate birds in the world. The sight of 10,000 frigates raising their young is one of the greatest birdwatching sights in the world.
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