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Anegada, British Virgin Islands Travel Guide
Last Updated: Jun-05-2012, Hits: 6,156, Rating: 0, Reviews: 0, Votes: 0 Bookmark and Share
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Anegada, British Virgin Islands Travel Guide Hotels and Lodging (7)
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Tortola, British Virgin Islands Travel Guide
Location: Caribbean
Geography: Island, Beach
Vacation Type: Relaxation
Popularity: Off-the-Beaten Path
Costs: Moderate
Attractions: Scenery, Boating, Fishing, Scuba & Snorkeling

Facts and Stats:
Population: Approximately 200
Land Area: 14.9 square miles
Elevation: Sea level
Country Dialing Code: 284
Languages: English
Electricity: 110V
Currency: US Dollar
Time Zone: AST - UTC-4
Current Time:

Anegada is known as a quiet, isolated island with some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the British Virgin Islands. It is one of the few places in the world with beaches this nice that you can be alone on. Anegada is also a snorkeling and diving paradise.

The island of Anegada is located approximately 15 miles northeast of Virgin Gorda and is the northermost of the British Virgin Islands. Unlike the rest of the British Virgin Islands which are volcanic in origin, Anegada is a flat island made up of coral and limestone. In fact, the highest point on the island is only 28 feet above sea level which led to its nickname, "Drowned Island". This unique geography makes it home to a variety of wildlife including the endangered rock iguana, green turtles, pink flamingos, wild orchids, and the loblolly tree.

The island is the 2nd largest in BVI at about 11 miles long by 2.5 miles wide, although nearly 25% of that area is made up of inland salt ponds. Despite its size, it has the lowest population density of the main islands.

Horseshoe Reef is located off the northern shore of Anegada and is the largest coral barrier reef in the Caribbean, and the 4th largest in the world. This 18 mile long reef has always made it a difficult island to get to, and there are hundreds of shipwrecks around it.

The eastern side of the island is unpopulated and unpassable. As you head from the eastern end of the island toward the center, you come across the main town called "The Settlement" on the south side. This small town has few amenities for tourists. If you head north of The Settlement to the north shore at Loblolly Bay, you will find a couple of restaurants and accomodation options. Most of the tourist activity (which isn't saying much) occurs at Setting Point to the west of The Settlement. Setting Point has the largest concentration of restaurants, bars, hotels, and other services including the ferry dock.

Brief History:
The Virgin Islands were inhabited as early as 300 BC by the Ciboney tribe from Venezuela. They were conquered by the Arawaks (Taino) around 200 AD. Arawak artifacts have been found on Anegada including pottery and conch shell platforms believed to be burial grounds that carbon date to 1250. Offshore, at the eastern end of the island are discarded conch shell deposits so large they have created islands. A short time later, the fierce Caribs enslaved the Arawaks.

In 1493, Christopher Columbus discovered Virgin Gorda and the other British Virgin Islands naming them "St Ursula and 11,000 Virgins". Following this discovery, the Spanish nearly wiped out the Carib people, and many more died of disease while enslaved.

The first white settlement in BVI was established by the Dutch in 1648, however, British planters took over the islands in 1672 and they became a British Colony.

After the removal of the Caribs, Anegada was likely uninhabited again until being settled by 3 families and their slaves in 1776. This number grew to 82 people by 1796. The Settlement was established during these years and its location was chosen because it was far away from the northwestern point of the island which was the easiest landing spot for pirates.

In 1885, the British Crown agreed to grant land ownership to the islanders with the condition that they allow their property to be surveyed. For some reason, not a single resident took the offer. The land outside of The Settlement was divided by a system of 4 foot high stone walls which were designed to keep the animals and the crops separate. Unfortunately, the British government took over the administration of their lands in 1961. In 1968, the government gave a Canadian developer named Kenneth Bates a lease to develop portions of the island. He built the airport, however, he bulldozed the stone walls and placed it in the middle of the livestock and crop lands. The farmers quit farming for more lucrative jobs working on Bates' development, and the livestock ate all of the crops. The rock iguana became endangered as the island was stripped by the livestock of all edible vegetation. In 1971, the government purchased Bates' corporation and shut the development down. At this point, the farming system was broken and there were no development jobs which resulted in 40% of the island's population relocating elsewhere. Remnants of the stone walls can still be seen today.

The construction of the airport did provide a boost to the tourism industry which continues to be the primary industry.

People & Culture:
The few permanent residents on Anegada are described as friendly, and most of them work in the tourism trade. While Anegada mainly survives on tourism, there are still a number of traditional local fishermen who supply the island (and other islands) with fresh seafood.

Anegada probably isn't for everyone. It operates on extreme island time, and there are inconveniences that come with a lack of facilities and supplies. Those who like to operate at this pace often describe Anegada as infectious, and many of them who first visited on a sailing stopover, return year after year increasing the length of their stay each time.

Food & Nightlife:
Anegada has a number of good restaurants, but very little variety. Most of them focus on seafood, particularly lobster with each restaurant claiming to have the best. In fact, many say that Anegada has some of the best lobster in the Caribbean. Other common dishes include conch, fish, chicken, and steak. The tap water is desalinated sea water and is considered safe to drink, however, bottled water is available.

There are only a couple of small grocery stores on the island and it is a good idea, if possible, to stock up on Tortola before arriving here. Another option is RiteWay's provisioning service. The food has to be transported from Tortola, making already expensive groceries more expensive, but it is a convenient option and offers a much better selection than the local stores.

There is very little nightlife on Anegada other than a couple of beach bars. Nevertheless, you will have no problems finding drinks at the various restaurants including the BVI's own Painkiller. A Painkiller consists of pineapple juice, cream of coconut, orange juice, Pusser's Rum, and fresh nutmeg on top. The legal drinking age is 21.

Money & Costs:
The British Virgin Islands use the US dollar and many places accept credit cards. There are no banks or ATMs on the island, so you will need to plan ahead.

The BVI are fairly expensive. Most of the lodging options on Anegada are over $200 per night during high season, and at the time of this writing, there is a hotel tax of 7%. Some of the accomodations add a 15% service charge as well. Most of the restaurants are above average in price with entrees typically in the $30 range. The saving grace is that other than dining and a couple of gift shops, there really isn't much to spend your money on while here.

Tipping in restaurants is 15%, however, some restaurants may include a 15% service fee in the bill.

There is no sales tax in the BVI.

Entry Requirements:
For an explanation of entry requirements, please visit the Deputy Governor's Office.

Getting There & Around:
It is a trek to get to Anegada. The airport on Anegada does not have any commercial carriers and is for charter flights only. You will first have to fly into either Puerto Rico or St. Thomas, and catch a connecting flight to Beef Island (Tortola), or take a charter flight. Below is a list of charter options:
  • Caribbean Wings - San Juan, Puerto Rico to Anegada. This is the easiest way to get here if coming from outside the Caribbean.
  • Island Birds - Flights from San Juan, St Thomas, Beef Island and other airports to Anegada.
  • VI Airlink - Beef Island, Tortola to Anegada
  • Capitol Air - From St Thomas to Anegada.
  • Fly BVI - From Virgin Gorda, Beef Island and many other islands to Anegada.
The most common method of arrival on Anegada from Tortola is by boat whether it be a private charter or the ferry service. The island is serviced by ferries from Tortola (1.5 hours) and Virgin Gorda (1 hour). The ferries are run by Road Town Fast Ferry and Smith's Ferry Service, and you can view the ferry schedules here. Keep in mind that if arriving by ferry, you may have to spend the night on Tortola if your flight arrives too late to catch the last ferry. Charter flights offer more flexibility in this regard.

Once on the island, you can rent a jeep, minivan, or scooter. Some say the roads are too rough for scooters, but people do rent them. Rentals are available in Setting Point, or your rental company will have your vehicle waiting at the dock. There is also taxi service available as well. You will need some form of transporation in order to see the other beaches and restaurants. For more information about transportation, see the services section of this guide.

Anegada has a tropical climate tempered by trade winds. Temperatures vary little throughout the year or from day to night. Rainfall can be erratic on the island, but generally September to December are the wettest months. Hurricane season is from June through November. High season is December through April.

Below are the current conditions and weather forecast for Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

The table below shows the average high and low temperatures.

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High 82 82 82 84 86 88 88 88 88 86 86 82
Avg Low 72 72 72 73 75 77 77 77 77 75 75 73
Water Temp 79 79 79 79 81 82 82 82 84 84 82 81
Precipitation 2.6" 1.9" 2.0" 1.8" 4.1" 2.3" 2.7" 3.7" 4.0" 5.3" 5.4" 3.9"
Days of Rainfall 19 15 14 13 16 15 18 20 19 19 20 21

Important Contacts:
  • Emergency: 999, 911 or VHF 16
  • Search & Rescue: 284-494-4357 or 284-494-3473
  • Police: 284-495-8057
  • Operator: 0
  • International directory assistance: 110
  • Local directory assistance: 119
Tips & Additional Information:
  • Most charter companies will not allow you to sail to Anegada as passing the reef is too dangerous.
  • There aren't a lot of trees on the island so make sure you have plenty of sunblock and a hat.
  • Anegada is very safe, but theft does occasionally occur. Leave unnecessary valuables like jewelry at home - you don't need them here.
  • There are no dangerous or poisonous land animals in the British Virgin Islands. Oleander, Elephant Ears, and the Manchioneel Tree have poisonous leaves or fruit and should be avoided. In the water, fire coral and sea urchins cause the most problems.
  • There is no hyperbaric chamber in BVI. The closest one is in the US Virgin Islands.
  • Public nudity is illegal, hence, there are no nude beaches.
  • The only hospital is in Road Town on Tortola. There is a small clinic in The Settlement.
  • Cell phone service is available for most major carriers, although international roaming fees can add up quickly. Another option is to rent a cell phone.
  • Spear fishing is not permitted in the BVI.
  • It is against the law to use SCUBA gear to capture or remove any marine animal or coral.
  • Many of the reef fish in the BVI carry a dangerous disease called ciguatera. It is recommended that you do not keep any caught fish unless you are with an experienced guide who knows which fish are safe to eat.
  • Yachters and sailors must pay for a cruising permit while in the BVI.
  • There are no golf courses in the BVI due to the hilly nature of the islands.

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