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Two Inaguas, One Paradise

The Inaguas are the hottest, driest, and southernmost district of the Bahamas. They consist of the islands of Great Inagua and Little Inagua. A birdwatcher's paradise, the Inaguas are home to the world's largest breeding colony of West Indian flamingos. While both islands are stunningly beautiful, they differ in one aspect - one is inhabited, the other is a national park.

Little Inagua
Inaguas Island Located five miles to the northeast of Great Inagua, Little Inagua is uninhabited and designated a national park by the Bahamas government. It is the largest uninhabited island in the wider Caribbean. It is a protected nesting location for a few species of endangered sea turtles. Its surrounding waters contribute to the supply of fish eggs, larvae, and sub-adults that are swept into the remaining Bahamian marine territory. It is also home to herds of wild donkeys and goats. Little Inagua has a large protective coral reef that prevents boats from coming close to shore.

Great Inagua
The third largest island in The Bahamas, Great Inagua encloses several lakes, the most important being the 12-mile long Lake Windsor (formerly known as Lake Rosa) which occupies nearly one quarter of the interior. The island has some 969 inhabitants, and its capital and only harbor is Matthew Town, named after a 19th century Bahamian governor. The Morton Salt Company has its main facility in Great Inagua. The company is known for seawater salt recovery, and produces about a million pounds of salt per year, making it the second largest operation of its kind in North America. In fact, salt is the Inaguas’ main industry.

Flamingos
A haven for bird-watchers and nature lovers, Great Inagua is home to one of the world's largest colonies of flamingos. There are more than 80,000 West Indian Flamingos (the national bird of the Bahamas) residing in the Inagua National Park, a large bird sanctuary in the middle of the island. Other exotic birds found on Great Inagua include roseate spoonbills, pelicans, herons, Bahama parrots, egrets, and Bahama pintail ducks.

What’s in a name?
Contrary to popular belief, Inagua is not an anagram for iguana. Its name originates from ‘henagua,’ a Spanish word that stood for ‘full’ (lleno) and ‘water’ (agua); it well-described the large amount of water found on Great Inagua. The name was eventually adapted for the non-Spanish speaking inhabitants of the island; thus, the Inaguas were born.

The Inaguas are an ideal destination for travelers in search of truly untouched nature in the midst of the Caribbean. This peaceful district is home to friendly locals who enjoy the simplicity of life amongst fauna and flora. These majestic islands are abundant with wildlife. It is no wonder that many visitors fall in love with The Bahamas.

Read about the history of Inagua Island.

 


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