Caribbean's Sandbox - Page 2

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For scuba divers, it's an all-you-can-eat visual buffet. Nine diveable shipwrecks within easy striking distance serve as public housing for angelfish, barracudas, snappers, turtles, and other marine life. Short boat rides from shore rocket to 50 as-good-as-it-gets reef sites and five deep wall dives exposing long-nosed trumpet fish, and stands of elkhorn and fan coral. The water temperature hovers around 82 degrees year round, and the visibility is extraordinary.

"The diving here is fun and varied, with beginner to quite advanced dives," Billington said. "The underwater currents are minimal."

If you're not a scuba diver, Shoal Bay Scuba offers an introductory morning-long course for $85. Full PADI certification takes just three intensive days ($375).

And if you think snorkeling is aquatic adventure enough, you'll find friendly, current-free, bath-temp waters lined with reef and marine life, stretching from here to eternity. This 35-square-mile island touts 33 epic beaches, all of them public lands. It's a big sandbox.

Perhaps the best place to snorkel is Little Bay. To get there head down Anguilla's main road and detour into Crocus Bay. From there, a skiff putters along the shoreline for 15 minutes and drops you off at a reef-protected bay.

Alternatively, you can repel down the 40-foot cliffs that rise from Little Bay's beach via a fixed rope alongside the highway.

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