Anguilla is home to fabulous beaches, friendly people, and wonderful dining. Quiet and laid back, Anguilla attracts those looking for a relaxing vacation in the sun.
By Lisa Mullins Bishop,
Caribbean Edge Staff Writer
One of Anguilla's loveliest beaches is Shoal Bay East. Here you'll find white sand beaches bordered by sea grape and coconut trees and sparkling turquoise waters. Shoal Bay East is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With its white talcum sand and exquisite crystal blue waters, Shoal Bay East's natural beauty holds visitors spellbound. The long, wide beach accommodates plenty of sunbathers. Calm waters prevail here--thanks to a barrier reef that runs along the beach. Those wanting to explore the blue waters and its underwater denizens can snorkel right off the beach, where iridescent fish, stingrays, lobster, crayfish, and eels congregate. The reef lies in 15-18 feet of water and tapers off to 30 feet at the east end and 85 feet at the west end. Those wanting to delve deeper into the waters can make arrangements with the numerours dive shops offering scuba diving trips to the reefs, walls, canyons, boulders, and sunken wrecks that have earned Anguilla a reputation as a great place for scuba diving.
Shoal Beach East plays host to a number of beachfront eateries that offer a relaxing place to take a breaek from the sun. The best known is Uncle Ernie's BBQ, a colorful beach shack famous for its ribs, rum punch, and fun atmosphere. To the east of Ernie's are La Bar and Elodia's Bar and Grill. Around the bend on Upper Shoal Beach is Gwen's Reggae Bar.
Another famous beach bar is Johnno's Beach Stop in Sandy Ground, Anguilla's most developed beachfront. Everyone winds up on Johnno's open-air wooden deck to enjoy the potent drinks, celebrity-sprinkled crowd, and the live entertainment. Sandy Ground's other happening spot is The Pump House. Housed in an old rocksalt factory, The Pump House features 30 different rums as well as reggae and merengue music.
While in Sandy Ground, stop by the Pyrat Rum Distillery to tour the rum factory and taste their Pyrat Rum. For a truly memorable experience, take a swim with the dolphins at Dolphin Fantaseas. Birdwatchers will delight in spotting some of Anguilla's 136 different species.
Anguilla's most famous entertainer, Bankie Banx often performs at his Bankie Banx's Dune Preserve. This bar looks like a mock galleon adrift on the dunes of Rendezvous Bay.
Those wanting to explore nearby islands often take a day trip to Gorgeous Scilly Cay for a lunch of grilled lobster or chicken marinated in a special orange-honey concoction. Prickly Pear Cay also attracts daytrippers to its shores.
Serious pampering occurs at the island's three world-class resorts, each with its own signature spa treatments. Cap Juluca on Maundays Bay sits on one of the island's best white-sand beaches and is known for its plush accommodations. The 15,000-square-foot oceanfront spa at the Malliouhana Hotel on Meads Bay Beach has all the amenities found in world-class spa resorts. The futuristic-looking CuisinArt overlooks the pristine white beach of Rendezvous Bay and offers its guests a host of activities, even a cooking school.
Gourmets delight in Anguilla's lively food scene. With more than 70 restaurants, there's plenty of places to enjoy a wonderful meal. Blanchard's, Kemia at Cap Juluca, Malliouhana, KoalKeel, and Straw Hat are a few of the Anguilla's popular restaurants.
Golfers are eagerly awaiting the opening of the golf course at Temenos in Rendezvous Bay West scheduled for late 2005. Greg Norman designed the course, which features stunning water views and challenging holes. Angulla also hopes to attract international tennis matches at the Anguilla Tennis Academy. The facility presently under construction features stadium seating and a design by Myron Foldginger.
If you are looking for a vacation on a relaxed and laid-back island, Anguilla may be just the place for you.