What to do on your Anguilla Vacation

Anguilla is a British/European Union territory in the Caribbean, a small island east of the Virgin Islands. Discovered by the French and Spanish, its name is derived from the word eel, perhaps because it is shaped like one.

History aside, visitors when planning a trip to Anguilla are most often interested in Anguilla beach activities both on the island as well as on a few offshore cays such as Prickly Pear where day visits allow the fulfillment of the deserted island dream. On the main island, tourists must locate beaches open to the public since more and more of the beaches are the possessions of upscale resorts. Many of the good ones are on the island’s west end along with the expensive hotels; therefore, access must occur near the Anguilla Great House or Bankie Banx’s Dune Preserve. These could be blocked in the future. However, on the northeast side of the island, there is Shoal Bay which is a classic beach for a Caribbean holiday with white silver sand and sea grapes. The water is clear and blue, a snorkeler’s paradise. On the northwest coast is Sandy Isle surrounded by its own coral reef; here also is a restaurant and a rental outlet for snorkeling gear. While on the northwest side, Anguilla beach activities should include Barnes Bay and Little Bay Beach, both located well in view of steep cliffs. Here is the usual selection of snorkelers, windsurfers and scuba divers in addition to another type of Anguilla visitor, the serious bird watcher.

Birders, on Caribbean holiday, can find a total of 159 species on Anguilla, some on the threatened list such as the West Indian Whistling duck. However, there is a wide range of grebes, herons, egrets, flamingos, ducks, geese, gulls, terns, sandpipers, pelicans, osprey and so forth. Bird watching has now become part of the new Heritage Tour Program run in conjunction with Anguilla tourist management.

The Heritage Tour Program, begun in 2010, offers visitors planning a trip to Anguilla an excursion on its Heritage Trail. Promoting historical and archaeological explanations about indigenous people of the West Indies or an 18th century plantation house on this island settled by migrants from South America perhaps as early as 1300 BCE, this provides fascinating insight into the past.

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