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A Caribbean Vacation in Anegada

Anegada offers the chance to escape to absolute solitude and anonymity. Anegada, while not exactly the 'missing Virgin Island', is one of those amazing "forgotten" spots we have here on earth. Seafarers of old however, seemed to have had a hard time missing it - with the Horseshoe Reef extending several miles south of the island, and the island itself rising little more than 30' above the sea, it claimed more than its share of shipwrecks.

In fact, several hundred ships lie wrecked around this quaint island. Because of Park protections of the reef and the archeological value of the 300+ shipwrecks, this area is closed to diving. Anegada offers a unique chance to truly escape the pressures of everyday life.

Anegada General Information

Anegada is the northernmost of the British Virgin Islands, a group of islands which form part of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands. It lies approximately 15 miles north of Virgin Gorda. Anegada is the only one of the British Virgin Islands formed from coral and limestone, rather than being of volcanic origin. While the other islands are mountainous, Anegada is flat and low. Its highest point is only about 28 feet above sea level, earning it the name which translates as "the drowned land."

At about 15 square miles (38 square kilometers), Anegada is one of the larger British Virgin Islands, but it is also the most sparsely populated of the main islands (population roughly 200). Most of the population lives in The Settlement, the main town on Anegada.

The primary business on Anegada is tourism. On a typical day, the island will have an additional 200 or so visitors. Commercial fishing is also a substantial business on Anegada, with local fishermen providing the majority of the fresh fish and lobster catch for the rest of the British Virgin Islands. Be sure to experience a sunset lobster feast on one of the beautiful sandy beaches!

The remoteness of Anegada is one of its main attractions. Most visitors come to Anegada to "lime", spending their days on Anegada's beautiful but relatively deserted north shore beaches. Its miles of south shore flats has a large population of bonefish, making Anegada a popular destination for flyfishing.

Anegada Fishing and Diving (Water Sports)

A Sailor's Paradise
The British Virgin Islands has the consistency of the Caribbean trade winds, clear blue water, islands close enough for a day sail, and sunshine every day. Winds generally blow northeast to southeast at 10-25 knots, and are sometimes stronger in the winter months. A sailing vacation gives you the freedom to create your own itinerary amid the sixty islands and cays that form the BVI. Host to many yacht clubs, the BVI Spring Regatta features three days of exciting festivities and competition.

Diving and Snorkeling
The British Virgin Islands are volcanic outcrops of a vast underwater plateau that stretches for more than 70 miles where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic. Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, Anegada, and more than 60 other smaller islands form a protective ring around the crystal-clear aquamarine water known as the Sir Francis Drake Channel. They create a sheltered paradise of secluded coves, calm shores and sweeping beaches. This extraordinary setting provides outstanding underwater visibility, healthy coral and a wide variety of exotic dive sites, with air temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. Countless reefs, towering coral pinnacles, underwater caves, lava tunnels, canyons, massive boulders and grottoes are strewn across this vast submerged shelf, creating a choice of dive sites that range from shallows for the novice snorkeler to dramatic sea caverns and extraordinary shipwrecks for the experienced scuba diver.

Diving around Anegada provides an opportunity to see butterfly fish, turtles and huge groupers. Also explore the wreck of the Parmatta, which ran aground in 1853 on her maiden voyage.

Fishing
Anegada is known for some of the finest shallow water (especially bone fishing) and deep sea fishing in the world. For those interested in fly-fishing, Anegada's waters offer a wide variety of game fish. Fishermen can spend hours in water eight inches to two feet deep casting into schools of silver bonefish visible below. Although these fish typically weigh between three and ten pounds, they are, pound for pound, the strongest fighting fish in the world. Fisherman can also rent a classic wooden boat or a newer ocean kayak and cruise the mangroves or flats where they will find bonefish, tarpon, snooke, jacks, and of course, the barracuda.

The Northern drop-off of the island borders the Atlantic Ocean making deep-sea fishing plentiful. Charters are available with knowledgeable local guides. Using ballyhoo, small baitfish and feather hoochies, fishermen will cast for trophy-sized game fish such as yellow fin and black fin tuna, wahoo, dolphin (dorado) and the most popular game fish in the world, the blue marlin. A truly exciting fishing adventure!

Traditional local fishermen typically use small skiffs to catch snapper and triggerfish in fish traps to sell to island restaurants. Anegada lobster, famous throughout the islands, are caught in pots and fishermen dive for conch off the beaches north of the salt ponds.

Anegada Nightlife

When it comes to actual dance clubs and venues, it would be most accurate to say that, overall, this island is pretty sleepy. The club scene is found in Tortola because raucous partying is a little bit more rare on the silent of Anegada. But nevertheless, you'll have a good time here.

Here are some suggested bars in Anegada:

  • Cow Wreck Beach Bar - West Indian: Located at Lower Cow Wreck Beach, the grill is open for lunch and dinner and serves West Indian specialties including lobster, conch, and shell fish, as well as burgers and ribs.
  • Neptune's Treasure The owners catch, cook, and serve the seafood (lobster is a specialty and so is garlic-studded shark, in season) at this casual bar and restaurant in the Neptune's Treasure guest house.

Anegada Beaches and Activities

Flamingos and discarded conch shells come close to outnumbering the human population on this destination. Miles of uncrowded beaches, abundant snorkel-friendly coral reefs, and hundreds of scuba-diving-viewed shipwrecks ring this ten-mile long, ocean-level strip of coral and limestone based land whose names simply means "drowned land."

Anegada Beach Selections

  • Loblolly Bay Beach: Comprised of miles of secluded pristine beach, Loblolly Bay Beach is ranked as one of the world's best beaches. With a 360 degree lookout and a 50 foot walk out into the ocean, Loblolly Bay Beach features two beach bars and restaurants, as well as sun shelters and hammocks within the seagrapes.
  • Cow Wreck Bay Beach: Anegadians offer many stories as to how this beach got its name. Found on the northwestern end of Anegada, Cow Wreck Bay Beach is a pristine beach that features a small beach bar and restaurant.
  • Flash of Beauty Beach: With coral sand and crystal clear water, Flash of Beauty Beach features a unique trail of conch shells leading from the beach bar to the shoreline. In addition to the beachcombing and sunbathing, excellent snorkeling is also found here.

Anegada History

Anegada, an island 10 miles long by 2½ miles wide with extensive salt ponds, reaches its highest point at 28 feet, hence its name which means the "drowned land." Of coral reef origins, Anegada has "extruded" sixteen miles of sandy beaches with a primeval quality. Anegada is "guarded" by the famous Horseshoe Reef which, at eighteen miles long, is one of the world's largest coral reefs.

Due to its remote geography, sparse population (a couple of hundred people now) and indigenous culture, Anegada is truly a world apart. On the East End of Anegada, large piles of conch shells, some even forming islands, attest to the presence of aboriginal people. Later, pirates hid in the maze of reefs, with legends of pirate treasure. In modern times, earlier generations of Anegadans practiced agriculture, of which The Walls at The Settlement are unique artifacts. Subsisting in close harmony with nature, its rich marine environment was harvested as well. Contemporary Anegadans are skilled fishermen supplying BVI markets. Today, Anegada attracts people from around the world as friendly modern Anegadans apply their talents to creating interesting business places and activities.

Anegada Shopping

  • Faulkner's Country Store (The Settlement): Located across from Pal's, go through the white picket fence gate into a nice little garden, for everything a small country store would have.
  • Pal's General Store (The Settlement): Popular with residents, Pal's is billed as the world's smallest "department store," with a large assortment of things in a small space.
  • Sue's Gift Shop (Setting Point): Located at the Anegada Reef Hotel, this shop carries island dresses and wraps, including Indonesian batik sarongs, matching hats and shirts, kid's sweatshirts, t-shirts, and hats and other clothing. Music tapes, books of pirates and treasure tales, Haitian sculptures, local arts and crafts, including cards of local scenes, Flukes items, Sunny Caribbee spices and relishes, scented candles wrapped in seagrape leaves and other gifts are also available. Soaps and lotions from Lowell's Soap Factory are also sold.
  • Shipwrecks and conch shells, fishermen and lobster pots, beaches, flamingos and wild orchids -- this is Anegada!

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