Anegada is the second largest of the British Virgin Islands, and the northernmost in the archipelago. About 15 miles north of Virgin Gorda, Anegada is made from coral and limestone. The other inhabited islands are volcanic, so this makes Anegada unique in the area. The name comes from the Spanish word for “flooded,” because of it’s flat landscape.
The Island’s Landscape
Anegada is a low and flat island, with the highest point only 28 feet above sea level. Unlike the volcanic islands in the British Virgin Islands, Anegada has no mountains or hills. This can lead to huge dangers during hurricane season, and Anegada has seen major damage from hurricanes in recent decades.
Around the island lies the Horseshoe Reef, an 18 mile long barrier reef. It’s the largest barrier coral reef in the Caribbean, and the fourth largest on the planet. This makes for wonderful snorkeling and diving, and difficult navigation for boats. There have been numerous shipwrecks over the years around Anegada as a result. However, it is a premier destination in the BVI for seeing local coral and sea life.
Anegada also contains large salt ponds on the western side of the island. These ponds are a protected wetland, and are host for many unique animals and fauna. Perhaps most notable are the few hundred flamingos that live in the salt ponds. Iguanas, turtles, conch, and lobster are known to live on Anegada and in the surrounding waters. The island is also home to wild cattle, donkeys, goats, cows, and sheep.
Navigation around the island can be difficult, and there are hundreds of shipwrecks on record. However, many captains have mastered the passage to this beautiful island. With modern charts and years of expertise, getting to Anegada has become much easier when the conditions allow it. It is illegal to anchor on the reef, but boats can anchor in the waters outside the reef or around other parts of the island.
There are ferries to Anegada from Tortola and Virgin Gorda. There also is a small airport offering flights to and from the island from various islands in the BVI and elswehere.
Visiting Anegada is a great opportunity during your stay in the BVI. You can walk through the beautiful wildlife, snorkel on the reef, and interact with the few hundred people who live on the island. The long white sand beaches offer the perfect place to lay back and relax.
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