This really has 2 parts: sightseeing on Anguilla, and going to visit nearby islands…
|On Anguilla There are all sorts of little places to visit in Anguilla. There are some fascinating old churches, the Heritage Collection Museum and some delightful art galleries, to name a few. Anguilla’s natural beauty is all around you and from the west to the east you can see the birdlife, the stunning beaches, and just soak it all in (and glimpse the odd goat or two wandering about!). Taking a tour around Anguilla is the best way to appreciate the laid-back tranquility of the island whether it be by car, bike or on horseback.||
Bethel Methodist Church
|Visiting nearby islands…Nearby islands offer a range of different things to see. St.Martin/St.Maarten, for example, offers a unique juxtaposition of French and Dutch cultures visible through their restaurants, cafés, architecture and shops. Both sides of the island have quite a different feel. Day trips are available to St. Barthelemy, a small island with a unique French/Swedish influence. Despite its diminutive size it has a very cosmopolitan air and the idyllic main town of Gustavia has a number of excellent restaurants and luxury item shops.Other off-island trips from Anguilla include day trips to nearby islands (Sandy Cay, Dog Island, Prickly Pear and Scilly Cay in Island Harbour) and cays. Luxury powerboats or catamarans offer all-inclusive cruises as well as an informal ferry service and these trips are the ultimate in peaceful isolation.
Blowing Point Ferry
|You can explore Anguilla in a number of different ways. You can hire a car, a bike or even go on horseback. All offer their own rewards and will allow you to take in Anguilla’s sleepy villages, art galleries, curious old buildings and beautiful coastline and bird life. You may find the odd goat wandering about too..|
|A Video TourThis video gives you a good idea of what touring Anguilla is like. It gives you a feel for just how quiet and peaceful a place it is. The ocean views, the old buildings, the fishing boats, the beaches, the birds, the ever-present wandering goats, the distinctive plant life, and the sunsets all reveal why people come to Anguilla. So, make a coffee, sit back, relax and enjoy.And if you prefer, there is an short article below giving a written account of a tour of Anguilla, spelling out some of the places you should stop and look at and an explanation what there is to see on this quiet, unique island.|
|Maunday’s Bay, Gull Pond (rt)
St. Martin in distance
|A Tour – In Words!The West At the western tip of Anguilla you can see the island of St. Martin clearly to the south and to the west the small island of Anguillita. Looking south you can also see Blowing Rock, a small outcrop and when seas are rough you’ll see a spout of water shooting high up from it – hence its name. Inland, there are a couple of ponds down at West End (West End Pond, Gull Pond, Cove Pond) where you will find several bird species including ‘waders’, small and large, and a few different types of duck depending on the season. Heading east along Albert Hughes Drive and Rendezvous Road you reach a major fork in the road at Lower South Hill. Turn left and left again on to Isaac’s Cliff Road and on the right you will find Le Petit Art Gallery. The standard of art in Anguilla is unusually high so popping your head in is a rewarding experience.|
Bethel Methodist Church
|On Salty Ponds and Sandy Ground If you head on towards South Hill Village on the right side of the road you will find the Bethel Methodist Church. The church was built in 1878 and has changed little. Of note is its distinctly Gothic windows, the sloping buttresses supporting all the walls and the large white star above the two front doors. Its commands a good view of Sandy Ground and Road Bay to the north. Heading into Sandy Ground you will see behind it lies Road Salt Pond. In the past it used to be a salt production area and alot of the salt crushing machinery can still be seen dotted about Sandy Ground. There’s alot of birdlife on the pond, so those of you will a keen eye and a camera may be able to snap a few more bird species.|
|The view from Bethel Methodist Church over Road Bay & Road Salt Pond||Towards The Valley… Back to the main intersection along Sir Emile Gumbs Drive and towards The Valley you will see the Governor’s house towards the end of a road on the left. If you go up this turning you can park in the field at the end of the road just past the house. Walk north for 200 yards (185 metres) to the edge of the bush line and then head west about 200 yards (185 metres) until you see a clear path heading north.
Follow this path for ten minutes until you have passed some grey rocks on your left and continue down into Gavannagh Cave. This cave was mined in the 19th century for phosphate and in 1868 fossilised remains were found of a huge rodent in a phosphate shipment to the U.S.A. It was like a large agouti or guinea pig. Very large, in fact. Further remains discovered at Pitchapple Cave further north confirmed it was about 3 feet (1 metre) tall and weighed in at 350 pounds (160 kilos) ! The extinct rodent was exclusive to Anguilla and nearby St. Martin and St. Barthelemy. Don’t worry, it’s definitely extinct.
|Birds on the beach…||Go East, Young Man… Continuing towards the east end of the island along North Side Road and Brimegin Drive you head over the island’s highest area and up towards Shoal Bay Village. If you head this way going past Cedar Village and Brimegin you go through Anguilla’s first National Park. Nearby Fountain National Park & Cavern is the most significant Arawak archaeological site in Anguilla. It is believed that the Arawaks performed ceremonies to their deities here and it is full of rock carvings; the park and cave will be open once the Anguillan National Trust have finished developing the site. The road gets fairly basic as you approach Shaol Bay Village using this route.|
|Shoal Bay (East)||Bird Magnet If you head out of Shoal Bay using Watkins Hodge Road and Deep Waters Road you will pass by two ponds that are well known for supporting bird life. First, behind Wattices is Caul’s Pond. The small islet in the middle is a designated Bird Sanctuary. Further on your right you will pass Bad Cox Pond known too for its bird life. Not sure how it got its name, but Cox must have had a reputation of some sort. Left down Salt Hill Road and you’re into Island Harbour. The Best Beach In Anguilla
Shoal Bay (East) is reckoned as the best beach on the island and it’s the perfect place to stop off, relax and get something to eat. You can head east on Bay View Road and Rose Hill Road into Island Harbour. Or you could head south out of Shoal Bay for a spot of real birdwatching…
|Sea Feather Bay at dusk,
off Long Path Road
|Island HarbourFurther north is Island Harbour, a fishing village and the centre of local lobster catching. In the middle of the Harbour is the tiny picture-perfect Scilly Cay. Photo opportunities are truly excellent here. Continue east and after a slightly bumpy ride on the track you reach Snake Point. Across the water is Scrub Island. The area is deserted and beautiful.
The Heritage Collection Museum – Is This Where I Find The Bay of Piglets?
Back the way you came and turn left down Liberty Road towards the south coast via Mount Fortune you pass through East End Village. On the right you’ll see East End Salt Pond. On the opposite side of the road lies the Heritage Collection Museum. There you will find Colville Petty OBE. He is an authority on Anguilla’s history. He has written books on the subject and has a fine collection of historical artifacts. Some of these are from ancient settlements of the Arawak Indians. Others are from the time of Anguilla’s Revolution. Definitely worth a visit as it allows an revealing look into both Anguilla’s recent and ancient past.
|Blowing Point ferryport||Getting There
St.Martin/St.Maarten is just 5 minutes by plane or 15 minutes by ferryboat from Blowing Point ferryport in Anguilla.
|St. Martin from Blowing Point||
Background To St.Martin/St.Maarten
St.Martin/St.Maarten is the smallest island in the world to be divided between two sovereign powers: One half is Dutch and the other half is French. The island is quite different from Anguilla and the Dutch and French sides are culturally distinct from each other. Each side has its own charm, and taking each side in turn you can see what they have to offer.
An often repeated story is that the island was divided into two sections through a race; the French-dominated community chose one person for the race and the Dutch-dominated community chose another, a man named Menno Versteeg. The two representatives were put back to back in one extreme of the island, and made to walk along the coast in opposite directions. They were not allowed to run. At the point where they eventually met, a line was drawn across the island, connecting their starting point with their meeting point. This became the frontier which divides Saint-Martin from Sint Maarten, according to the legend. The reason for the difference in size between the two sides was said to be that the French representative moved faster than the Dutch.
In one version, the explanation for the French walker’s quicker pace is that he drank wine beforehand, while the Dutch walker drank beer. This is used to support the claim that wine has restorative effects and that it was the French drink of choice that enabled the French walker to move faster.
Approaching dockside at
|The French SideAbove all, it is decidedly french. The ferryboat arrives at Marigot and the Gallic atmosphere is instantly noticeable; the atmosphere of the cafés and pastry shops is similar to a French market town on the Mediterranean. Marigot has plenty of good restaurants preparing cuisine in the classic french tradition but also offering american, caribbean and international cuisines. The shops in Marigot, located around the Marina Port La Royale in the southwestern portion of the town, offer tropical and designer fashions and accessories at duty-free prices. Nearby, the ‘St. Martin Museum, On the Trail of The Arawaks’documents the Arawak Indian settlement of St. Martin dating back to 1800 BC. As in Anguilla it displays artifacts such as jewellery, beautiful ceramics, rock carvings and even a recreation of a 1500 year old local burial site. It also has more recent historical displays. Tour guides speak both english and french. There is also a gift shop and art gallery upstairs.Pic Paradis (Paradise Peak) & Loterie Farm lies between Marigot and Grand Case and at around 1400 feet (427 metres) offers the best views in St. Martin. You don’t even have to go to the very top for the best views, just go as far as the road lets you. Near the start of the road up to Pic Paradis you will find the entrance to the Loterie farm on your right. It’s a 154-acre private nature preserve at Pic Paradis, designed to preserve the island’s habitat, and is an eco haven with pristine tropical rainforest and mountainous terrain. There’s also a canopy tour on the ‘Flyzone Extreme’ using cables, ropes and suspension bridges. There’s also a good café to unwind at.|
|The Butterfly Farm,
|The Butterfly FarmOn the East of the French side near Galion Beach lies The Butterfly Farm and for nature lovers this is an unexpected treat. A micro-ecosystem has been created with beautiful landscaped gardens, a waterfall, ponds, japanese fish and peaceful music. Butterflies from all over the world populate this environment and go about their life-cycle from courtship dances, laying eggs, emerging from their chrysali to taking their first flight. There are informative guided tours plus a gift shop and a small refreshments bar. Photographers are most welcome. It’s open from 9.00am to 4:30pm.|
|St. Martin Sunset||The Dutch SidePhilipsburg is a good half-hour from Marigot so you will either need to rent a car or grab a taxi. You can also get a ferry service to Juliana from Blowing Port in Anguilla. In many ways it is Front Street in Philipsburg that captures the atmosphere of the Dutch side well; the street and its little alleyways (or steegjes as the Dutch call them) are bustling with activity and lined with colourful shops. The duty free deals are generally accepted as the best in the Caribbean on the vast array of goods (cameras, mp3 players, stereos, watches, jewellery, leather goods, computers, and phones just to name a few). Do note that H.M.Customs Anguilla reserve the right to hold duty free items for you until you eventually leave Anguilla, so don’t be perturbed if the item(s) are put in their storeroom on your return.There are a number of good restaurants and bars in walking distance of Front Street where you can cool off with a ‘Dutch Coffee’- it comes in a green bottle with the word “Heineken” written on it. There is a small museum at the end of Front Street – the Sint Maarten Museum showing the history and culture of the island in a series of changing exhibits. If you don’t get the chance to visit the museum in Marigot, you can take the opportunity to visit this one.
Visiting St.Martin/St.Maarten can be very rewarding if you are looking for a brief change of pace and a unique juxtaposition of cultures. When the day is over you can catch the ferry or your plane back to Anguilla and return once again to blissful peace.
|Front Street VideoWith over 100 jewellery shops on Front Street alone, Phillipsburg is definitely worth a visit if you want get some shopping in! This video account tells you what the place is all about, day and night.|
Day trips are available to St. Barthelemy, a small island with a unique French/Swedish influence. Despite its diminutive size it has a very cosmopolitan air and the idyllic main town of Gustavia has a number of excellent restaurants and luxury item shops. Day trips can be arranged from Anguilla. The airport must have one of the most hair-raising landings ever, but at least one doesn’t have to steer in between the trees like the first pilot did back in the 1920′s!Sandy Cay, Dog Island, Prickly Pear Luxury powerboats or catamarans offer all-inclusive cruises as well as an informal ferry servi