8 Fun Things To Do In Anegada

Anegada Anchorage

The only coral island amid the Virgin Islands’ volcanic chain, Anegada is a hidden gem worth of every bit of your wanderlust attention. The name “anegada” comes from the Spanish term, "tierra anegada," or flooded land but rest easy ocean dwellersthis island sanctuary has not sunk beneath the beautiful blues. Even as the second largest island in the BVI, Anegada stands at nearly nine metres above sea level at its highest point. And we’re thrilled to give you eight reasons to crank your BVI charter up a notch and chase the horizon to this picturesque low-lying atoll…

1.    Take on a navigational challenge

BVI Sailing adventure

Novice and seasoned voyagers alike are eager to push off on the 15-mile journey to Anegada from the North Sound. Ready your compass because contrary to the majority of the British Virgin Islands’ refreshing line-of-sight navigation, the island of Anegada is hidden from view from a skipper’s likely starting point—Virgin Gorda. Anegada undoubtedly proves itself to be well worth the extra navigational effort and offers an opportunity to execute best heading practices.

Course-plotting is key to a favorable voyage, especially due to the light current that pushes vessels west. To understand your bearings pre-departure, fundamental resources (charts, cruising guides, etc.) are available for support onboard each Sunsail yacht charter.  

On approach to Anegada, hiding from the naked eye is a robust 18-mile long horseshoe reef that nearly envelopes the 11-mile island. The reef is said to have claimed over 150 vessels so far, and we’re keen on keeping your craft far from its clutches. Let the winds guide you to Setting Point’s mooring field, which provides a marked channel entrance. In an effort to protect the reef from further vessel damage, the BVI government has made Horseshoe Reef a marine conservation area, therefore anchoring is prohibited. 

2.    Stroll Setting Point ashore

Once secured on a ball, get your crew ready for a day’s romp about paradise. Launch into an adventurous island itinerary that only Anegada can deliver. With fewer travelers comfortable with the above-average challenge of the passage, one of the most rewarding elements to Anegada is the exclusive glory for those who reach its pristine shorelines. Visitors are welcomed by a variety of comforts ashore including exceptional dining, colorful hotels, and charming local shops, all of which have established themselves near Setting Point’s welcome dock. Just a short skip away, the island’s open-air nature continues to a small main street that offers opportunities for gift shopping, but not before savoring an island libation at the animated ‘Wonky Dog’ bar. 

3.    Land cruisin’ in every form 

People exploring Anegada

Safari taxis will take visitors anywhere their adventure compass points. Local taxi drivers are happy to help arrange tours to the main attractions of the laid-back island. If your crew cares to adventure off the beaten path, play by your own rules while joy-riding the island’s routes via motorized scooter. A true fan-favorite, scooter rentals are available from vendors on the island’s brief main street.

4.    Fresh-caught cuisine

freshly caught lobsters

All of the island’s dining opportunities and dishes offer a full spectrum of delectability, but it’s no secret that one meal among them all makes even the mightiest of sailors swoon. No visit to Anegada would be complete without enjoying freshly caught Caribbean (Spiny) “Anegada” lobster offered at all local restaurants. Be it mouthwatering lobster fettuccine from Potter’s By The Sea, world-famous grilled lobster from the Anegada Reef Hotel, or tasty lobster pizza adorned with onions and pineapple from Hotel Neptune's Treasure, the opportunities for lobster overload are a-plenty.

5.    The northern beaches

Loblolly anegada beach

Loblolly Bay, ranked as one of the world’s top beaches, is the place for crystal white sand, striking vistas, and absolutely no agenda. Savor something sweet? Indulge in tasty ice-cream scoops and fruity drinks at Big Bamboo. Rest and relaxation? Tuck under the canopies of nearby sea grape trees to find shady hammocks for dreamy recuperation.

Heading west on the northern coast of the island, Cow Wreck Beach is equally as breathtaking and an ideal place for wading and swimming. Famous for its wealth of conch shell decoration, Cow Wreck Beach Bar is another delightful destination to enjoy a “Wreck Punch”, rejuvenating under the Caribbean sun. 

cow wreck beach sign

Prolong your island escape at close by Anegada Beach Club, which offers everything from stunning hotel suites to beachfront luxury tents, delicious dining, and a spacious pool to get lost in.

 

6.    Exploring the barrier Reef

Snorkellers exploring reefs 

Let the spirit of offshore adventure tempt you towards a deeper dip! Snorkeling Anegada’s surrounding turquoise waters gets you up close and personal with the 18-mile-long Horseshoe Reef, the largest barrier coral reef in the Caribbean, and the third-largest on earth. Snorkelers and scuba divers find delight in the reef’s mazes, tunnels, and drops, which are rich in needle fish, bonefish, stingrays, parrotfish and other marine life.

The invitation to explore comes with a cautionary note, as stronger winds and currents at this windward destination make for more arduous swimming than other BVI destinations. The famed North Drop involves upwelling currents that discourage some beginner swimmers. For those with prior snorkeling experience and true island grit, this exhilarating site offers a spotlight into a gigantic marine nursery.

[Pro tip: There are no dive operators or snorkel gear rentals available on Anegada so be sure to bring along gear to relish in the electrifying underwater fun!] 

7.    Wonderful wildlife

iguana relaxing on a rock 

Sparsely populated and teeming with wildlife, Anegada is an absolute must-see for nature enthusiasts. As you gallivant the distinctively flat island, take in the lush vegetation of loblolly, frangipani, turpentine trees, feathery sea lavender and wild orchids at every twist and turn. Share company with playful dolphins that charm the shorelines and make haste to the western side of the island to witness the large salt pond sporting flocks of resident flamingoes. On the nature trail at Bones Bight, catch a glimpse of the rare rock iguanas native to the island, or discover the exotic birds at Nutmeg Point.

8.    Flora and fauna

Anegada pink flamingos

Anegada is home to the critically endangered Anegada Rock Iguana, whose population has been in serious decline since the 1960s due to predatory feral cats. Growing to six feet long, these harmless iguanas are an intriguing sight to spot as they cuddle within the island’s crater-like coral rock to make a home. An iguana head start facility was created in the center of the island to protect both the iguana population and its unique habitat.

This magnificent coral atoll also offers diverse fish species everything they could want in an underwater playground. The exceptionally lively shallows and deep-sea waters are wildly popular for fishermen. Anegada’s extensive "flats" make it an ideal spot for game fish such as bonefish, tarpon, snook, jacks, and barracuda. Rental fishing boats are available from Neptune's Treasure as well as the Anegada Reef Hotel, which also arranges deep-sea and bonefishing trips for half and full-day adventures.

Anegada Conch Shells 

Bird-watchers, beware—you may fall deeply in love with Anegada, as a wide variety of handsome shorebirds take up residence island-wide. Most notably, Roseate Flamingos were restored to the island's massive salt ponds in 1922, and today, the flock numbers in the hundreds. Catch a stealthy glimpse of this striking spectacle at the observation deck at Flamingo Pond, where these distinctively rosy-tinted, elegant, yet timid birds roam free.

Sit high, relax and take an engaging ride discovering Anegada’s shorelines by way of horses provided by the friendly Francis Family Farm. This novelty attraction allows for leisurely morning and evening excursions, as well as beginner rides for all ages.

On the east end of Anegada, travelers can discover towering island-like piles of discarded conch shells—a native design said to preserve the healthy populations of the region’s sea snails. These conch shell “graveyards” attest to the presence of aboriginal people and their philosophy when sustaining the coveted food source. The humble mollusks remain so plentiful in the BVI today, even after being overfished to the point of extinction elsewhere. Local fishermen continue the timeless strategy of discarding empty shells in one small area (as opposed to scattering through larger fishing grounds) to repel live conch away from a single site of their fallen brethren. Conch, in turn, remain comfortably dwelling in Anegada, instead of fleeing the island’s waters, thus sustaining the local harvest efforts day in and day out. The "artificial" conch reefs also act as a nursery for stingrays, nurse sharks, and other sea life.

An eco-tourist’s paradise, Anegada’s extraordinary beauty, and stunning vistas will continue to impress while offering its visitors an engaging place to lose a sense of time and care. Hurry up and uncover this celebrated island’s flair and natural sanctuaries.

Author Name: 
Ryan Smith
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