Beach Lover's Guide to Anguilla - Page 2
There are two notable beaches at the far end of the 16-mile long island: Captain's Bay on the Atlantic side, and Windward Point Bay just around the corner on the Caribbean coast. Both are prone to rough water and strong currents and have no facilities, but they're spectacular walking beaches if you're willing to make the trek. From Windward, you can hike on the ironshore at the very tip of the island, with views of offshore Scrub Island and its leeward-side beach, as well as St. Martin and St. Barts beyond.
Hot Stuff : If you plan on spending a lot of time exploring these and other remote beaches, rent a four-wheel drive.
Driving out to Savannah Bay on a series of sand and gravel paths that wind through lonely scrub, you're sure that by the time the search party finds you, you'll be nothing but a pile of bleached bones. Then suddenly you round a corner and come upon a colorful shack, Palm Grove Beach Bar & Grill (264-497-4224), the only manmade structure for miles. Park here and walk between the dunes past a single raggedy palapa onto a slender arc of sand nearly a mile long, backed by sea grapes and fronted by excellent snorkeling.
Hot Stuff : For total privacy, simply carry your cooler and walk south until your legs give out. The best snorkeling, though, is close to the beach bar, which is conveniently located so you can fuel up on fresh lobster or fish and chill out with a rum punch between forays to the reef.
Heading west from Savannah Bay along the main road, there are several off-the-beaten-path bays with worthwhile beaches. Mimi's, Sea Feathers and Little Harbour are all found at the very end of rough, same-named roads. Mimi's is remote, and the seas and currents can be strong and its beach strewn with seagrass, but it's wildly beautiful. Sea FeathersSandy Hill Bay offers a long stretch of beach you can usually have to yourself, with interesting snorkeling around the north-side rocks. Little Harbour is a sheltered bay; its ironshore (rough limestone) coastline is softened by one large and several small sandy beaches.
The Caribbean side's endless beach, Rendezvous Bay, lays out a stunning 2 1 2 - mile arc of sand facing St. Martin. One of the world's great walking strands--with Dune Preserve, the region's most artistically eclectic beach bar, conveniently located at the midpoint--Rendezvous is also a superb swimming beach when the water is calm.
The buzz on the bay is the sound of construction equipment pounding a large chunk of real estate behind the beach into what will become a golf course, villa community and Anguilla's largest resort--all under the Tenemos Estates moniker. Though the new development will eat up the western end of the bay, Rendezvous Bay (like all of Anguilla's coastline) is a public beach and its entire length will remain open to all.
Where to Stay: Opened in 1962 by a local hero, the late Jeremiah Gumbs, and still owned and operated by the Gumbs family, Rendezvous Bay Hotel and Villas (800-274-4893; www.rendezvousbay.com) attracts a loyal following to its 60-acre setting and waterfront Cedar Grove Café. Anguilla Great House (800-583-9247; www.anguillagreathouse.com) is another modestly priced (for Anguilla), family-run beachfront resort. Its alfresco Old Caribe restaurant is open daily and hosts weekly poolside barbecues. Until Tenemos comes online, Mediterranean-style Cuisinart Resort & Spa (800-943-3210; www.cuisinartresort.com) is the big fish of the bay--its 93 rooms and suites range from 900 to 7,500 square feet, and it's the world's first resort to have its own hydroponic garden growing fresh produce.
Where to Play: Bankie Banx's Dune Preserve is the artistic expression of one man and the chosen place to chill for many. Bankie keeps it real in the kitchen ("No burgers or fries, just genuine beach-bar barbecued chicken and ribs") and onstage, where he performs three times a week (there's live music most other nights as well).
Hot Stuff : Find Dune Preserve by driving past Cuisinart's gated entry and taking the first left. New this season, Bankie and his bartender Elvis have beached a boat in front of the Dune in order to add bar service right on the sand.
There are two beaches on Cove Bay. Upper Maunday's Point is accessed from the Cap Juluca parking lot (walk east through a break in the sea grapes). Cove Bay is at the end of Cove Road and borders the western edge of Tenemos Estates. Both are ungroomed and so will hold beach wrack after rough seas, but Upper Maunday's, especially, has ideal sand and few people. Cove Bay is a popular anchorage and local fishermen use the dock. Day-trippers stop in the cove for a swim and a big plate of barbecue at Smokey's at the Cove (264-497-6582). A rock and coral reef at the east end makes for good snorkeling in calm weather.
The recent Today show wedding event showered even more publicity on the sole resort on Maunday's Bay: Cap Juluca (888-858-5822; www.capjuluca.com), where superlatives roll in like the tide. The sand is silkier, the bay somehow seems warmer, and the view from Pimm's restaurant (264-497-6666) looking down the length of the beach--backed by the resort's 18 Moorish-style villas--is sublime.
Ironically, the only complaint heard from Cap Juluca guests is that there are too many obtrusive weddings held there.
Hot Stuff : Cap Juluca's summer rates are about half the high-season tariffs.