[tweetmeme]Anguilla (rhymes with va-NILL-a) is the Eastern Caribbean, 146 miles east of Puerto Rico, and 11 miles north of St. Martin/ St. Maarten. This little “eel” shaped island (its name is derived from the Spanish and French words) is long and narrow, and only 16×3 miles in size, but despite being small, it packs a powerful punch.
Being in the Leeward Islands brings the island almost constant breeze, with little rainfall or humidity. Temperatures hover around 80 degrees Farenheit year round. Christmas time is peak season, as northerners escape their winter, which makes summer time discount season for all – so if you haven’t sorted your summer vacation yet, give me a call: there are terrific deals to be had.
The island has more than 40 miles of coastline with spectacular beaches that have been ranked as the world’s best. As written by Conde Nast Traveller: “Many Caribbean islands would be grateful for just one of Anguilla’s estimated 33 powder-white beaches.”
Anguilla’s beaches really pack a wallop with a “1,2” punch – the nothern shore beaches offers the “1” punch (see earlier blog post), and the southern shore offers the “2” punch.
Some highlights of the southern shore beaches:
* Shoal Bay West offers a wide, sandy, and gently sloping beach that is secluded and private. Gentle breaks make good for swimming and excellent snorkelling. It is home to several highend, luxurious villas. Many celebrities own property at Cove Castles (Denzel Washington, the Bronfman family), and some smaller units are available for public rental. I toured another luxurious villa called Altamer in this bay (and it’s become infamous as the locale where Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston broke up).
* Maunday’s Bay is home to award-winning Cap Juluca resort (which is perenially on Conde Nast’s Gold List, and was again in 2010). The beach itself is long, wide, and calm; and excellent for long romantic strolls. Cap Juluca is one of the only spots on Anguilla that serves dinner right on the beach, and the Friday Beach Buffet Dinner I had at Blue was fabulous.
*Cove Bay is between Maunday’s Bay and Rendezvous Bay. It offers a mile long, peaceful beach with moderate surf. It is perfect for walking, sunning, and swimming; and is a favourite with children. Smokey’s restaurant serves local cuisine, and we spent a terrific Saturday afternoon eating Anguillian lobster (which is quite strange to this Newfoundland, as the Anguillian lobster has no claws), drinking Red Stripe, and listening to a local band.
*Merrywing Bay is narrow beach with small swim area with gentle surf, perfect for sunning and swimming. It offers spectacular views, and is the location of the Temenos Golf Club designed by Greg Norman. The golf club is being managed by Cap Juluca.
*Rendezvous Bay is the longest beach on Anguilla. It is perfect for romantic strolls, has gentle sandy curves, and an easy surf and coral that is perfecting for swimming, floating, and snorkelling. This bay is home to Anguilla Great House, CuisinArt, and Bankie Banks. The Saturday afternoon I was at RendezVous, there were just 4 people on the beach.
CuisinArt on RendezVous also perenially makes the Conde Nast’s gold list, and did as well in 2010. It even nosed out Cap Juluca in points this year, and I may give it a slight edge in my rankings too – although it’s pretty close! Like Cap Juluca, CuisinArt has the beach, fine dining, and amenities – as well as a hydroponic farm, and world class spa. But I think I had the best meal of my tour at CuisinArt’s Santorini’s, and that left a lingering mouth-watering impression.
*Other notable spots: Blowing point is home to ferry port to/from St. Martin with ferries every 30 minutes. Little Harbour is very serene, with a tiny narrow short beach and almost no surf – it is perfect for swimming and beginning sunfish sailing. And Sandy Hill Bay is good for an early morning swim, with shoal protection giving it almost no surf.
So, come check out Anguilla. Its Southern Shore beaches give it the “2” punch – and I’m sure will knock you out!