Anguilla Points of Interest

ANGUILLA POINTS OF INTEREST

WHY CHOOSING ANGUILLA?

A little off the beaten track, Anguilla has become a luxury destination for the jet set, who sometimes preferres it over St.Barth. With fewer people and fewer cars, it is a more discreet and serene island. Its principal attraction includes its beaches and deserted little outlying islands, under strict environment protection. Five marine parks have been created: Dog Island, Prickly Pear, Sandy Island, Little Bay as well as the east coast between Shoal Bay and Island Harbour. Fishing is forbidden in these zones and the fish population has increased, adding to the appeal of underwater diving, with or without tanks. Jet ski is forbidden.

SIGHTSEEING:

Sightseeing tours can be arranged through Bennie’s Travel & Tours at Blowing Point and Malliouhana Travel & Tours in The Valley. Bennie’s offers tours of the island and half and full day trips to Prickly Pear, Marigot (St. Martin) and Philipsburg (St. Maarten). SandyIsland Enterprises offers fishing trips and excursions to offshore cays, nearby islands and secluded harbors. Tha Anguilla National Trust offers guided tours of the island, including stops at Fort Hill, the East End Pond Bird Sanctuary and the Big Spring Heritage Site; phone (264) 497-5297 for informations and reservation. Fountain cavern in Shoal Bay, considered the most significant archeological site on the island, is being developed as a national park and is currently closed to the public. The Arawaks used this cave for ritual purposes, carving a 12 foot stalagmite statue of the Taìno god Jocahu beside a freshwater pool. Other petroglyphs depict the solar chieftain and the rainbow god Juluca.

EAST END

The tombstone of Gov. John Richardson, who was buried in the Sandy Hill Cemetery in1742, is thought to be the oldest on the island. Southwest along the coast are the ruins of Sandy Hill Fort. Here the Anguilla militia held off the second French inasion in 1796.

HERITAGE COLLECTION MUSEUM is next to East End Pond Bird Sanctuary. Artifacts, photographs and archeological relics span the island’s history from the Arawak culture to the 1967 revolution. Exhibits hightlight Anguilla’s fishing and boatbuilding trades, as well as the salt industry that collapsed in the 1980s. Time: one hour minimum. Hours: Mon-Sat 10.5. Closed major holidays. Cost: $5; $3 (ages 5-11). Phone: (264) 497-4092.

THE VALLEY

Anguilla’s tiny capital sits at the center of the coral limestone island. The Valley’s oldest building is Wallblake House, the only surviving plantation manor from the 18th century. Other historic structures are found on the road to Crocus Hill, including Ebenezer Methodist Church, built by slaves in 1830. The Warden’s Place, former quarters of the magistrate, is now home to the Koal Keel Restaurant. The limestone blocks used to build its high foundation  were carved from the cliffs of nearby Crocus Bay.

Farther west at Sandy Ground is the Manse, a three-gabled house recently restored as a center forart studios and shops. The Old Salt Factory and Pumphouse preserves the history of the oncethriving salt industry in Anguilla.

WALLBLAKE HOUSE is on Carter Rey Blvd, next to St. Gerard Catholic Church. Thought to have been built by sugar planter William Blake in th 1780s, tis is the oldest house on the island and one of the last survivors of 18th century plantation life. The mansion was set ablaze by French soldiers during the 1796 invasion, but the stone walls with stood the fire. Later used as a Catholic rectory, the plantation complex was restored in 2004. It is one of the few in the Caribbean to retain all of its original outbuildings, including a bakery, a stone cistern, stables and workers’ quarters.

Hours:guided tours are offered Mon, Wed and Fri 10-2. Cost: $5.

RENDEZVOUS BAY

It is officially forbidden in this magnificent bay with its long, fine sand beach, but it appears as if some tolerance is allowed as more and more boats seem to frequent this area. Yet it is always important to anchor on the sandy bottom closer to the beach, and never in the underwater plant beds so as not to cause damage to the flora and fauna and especially the conch, a protected species. Rendezvous Bay is known for its beach bar/restaurant, the Dune Preserve and one of its owners, reggae singer Bankie Banks, sometimes referred to as the “Anguillian Bob Dylan”.

COVE BAY

It is preferable to anchor on the east side of this bay for better protection behind the reef. Anchoring in the sand works nicely and the reef here is a very pretty spot for snorkeling. Watch out for the propellers of fishing boats, which sometimes pass close to the point. It is very easy to land on the beach, right in front of Smokey’s restaurant, where you can leave your dinghy.

MEADS BAY

This anchorage, bordered by a long white sand beach, provides a delightful opportunity for a lunch stop, swells permitting. The white building at the eastern end of the beach is Malliouhana hotel. Boats can anchor in 7 to 10 metres of water in pure sand. Getting ashore in a dinghy can be tricky! The restaurant Straw Hat, on the beach is open from breakfast through dinner.

ROAD BAY

Road Bay bordered by the beach at Sandy Ground is a “must” for all sailboats and motor yachts stopping in Anguilla, as this is the place to take care of all entry and departure formalities.A single office, the “marine base”, on the edge of the beach, combines custom and immigration.It is open daily from 8:30 a.m.-noon and from 1:00-4:00 p.m.Skippers must present the papers for the boat as well as the passports of all passengers aboard. A tax is applicable according to the lenght of your stay, as well as the tonnage of the boat and the anchoages visited. VHF watch is on channel 16, during the opening hours of the office – Tel: (264) 497- 5461. Important information: boats must spend the night anchored in Roads Bay or in Crocus Bay. Boats that infringe this rule and anchor elsewhere overnight can be given fines. Not complying with clearance formalities or spending the night anchored in the Marine Park is subject to a fine of 5.000 EC$ and/or six months in prison. Ashore, several restaurants are open in the evening and a few local night clubs welcome boaters until the wee hours. The grocery store, 3C, locaed behind the large commercial dock, sells a little bit of everything.

LITTLE BAY and CROCUS BAY

At the north point of Crocus Bay, Little Bay is an anchorage with special characteristics. Protected by its status as a Marine Park, the bay is equipped with mooring buoys and it is prohibited to anchor at the bottom, as it is to spend the night here. Ocher cliffs that drop straight into the water create a remarkably interesting snorkeling site. There often entire schools of fish, which make it a good feeding ground for marine birds and especially pelicans. It is forbidden to stay overnight in Little Bay, but it is possible to drop the anchor next to it, at Crocus Bay, one of the only two moorings where it’s possible to spend the night, then other being Road Bay. It is preferrable to anchor a good distance from the beach, as the wind has a tendency to frequently change direction here. The large white building on the north end of the beach is Da Vida, a restaurant which serves delicious, innovative cuisine in a fusion of Asian an Caribbean.

SANDY ISLAND

Destroyed by hurricane Luis in September 1995, Sandy Island now has a fringe of new palme trees that delineates this pretty little islet of sand. A zone for anchoring was defined by the Marine Park and equipped with buoys and concrete mooring blocks. It is better to approach Sandy Island in good day light, as there are many coral out croppings close to the surface.

Ashore, a little bar restaurant serves rum drinks and prepares fresh lobsters and fish, caught the same day by the anguillian fishermen. No boat? Take the sea shuttle “Happiness” from the pier next to Johnnos in Sandy Ground.

SHOAL BAY EAST

The beach at Shoal Bay East – which should not be confused with Shoal Bay West – ranks among the ten most beautiful beaches in the world. The water is pure turquoise and the powder white strand stretches for almost two kilometres. The Bay is classed as a Marine Park and therefore is fully protected. It is forbidden to fish there; the coral reef is magnificent and easily accessible. For motorboats there is a 1.8 metre channel in the middle of the reef, reserved exclusively for those who know it.

PRICKLY PEAR

Prickly Pear East lagoon is the perfect image of paradise on earth, yet there are days when there are too many day charter catamarans, only boats to be allowed to use this anchorage. Other boaters will use one of the moorings provided by the Marine Park, in the lee of Prickly Pear East and enter the lagoon with their dinghy. Myriads of multi-colored fish can be found near the long coral reef of Seal Island, where the current can be quiet strong. Remember that Prickly Pear is a Marine Park and it is forbidden to spend the night.

DOG ISLAND

The waters of Great Bay are often rough, making mooring around Dog Island difficult especially when there are swells from the north. Even in normal conditions, reaching the beach by dinghy may be dangerous and it is advised to wear palms and mask and swim to the fabulous beach instead. Uninhabited, Dog Island is private and offers a true paradise for birds and bird watchers. Brown boobies and frigates reproduce here and defend their nests with loud cries if curious visitors get too close. A few goats gambol amongst the Turk’s cap cactus ( Melocactus intortus) and wild lilies add a bit of charm to this deserted island that is worth a detour. Those who enjoy snorkeling should head to the south of West Cay. Remember that Dog Island is a Marine Park and it is forbidden to spend the night.

SCRUB ISLAND

The beach on Scrub Island is without a doubt one of the most beautiful in Anguilla. It is a shame that the anchorage is only possible and confortable in good weather. A trip to the interior of the island, right behind the beach and a hedge of sea grapes, reveals a pond where crabs and wading birds live in perfect harmony.

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