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ATB Anguilla Activities Article

Article with information about things to do in Anguilla provided courtesy of the Anguilla Tourism Board.

Anguilla might be dubbed �tranquility wrapped in blue�, but for those looking for more than simply a peaceful haven in which to relax and do nothing, this Caribbean island offers a surprising array of activities, some of which are outlined below.

Bird watching - The numerous saltponds around Anguilla provide an inviting habitat for more than 136 species of birds from Great Blue Herons to Sandpipers and Snowy Egrets. The second largest pond on the island, Cauls Pond, is important for migratory shore birds, making it a particularly good area for keen ornithologists to visit. �A Field Guide to Anguilla�s Wetlands�, published by the Anguilla National Trust, is an ideal companion for birdwatchers visiting the ponds.

Boating - Captain Kasha of The Island Yacht Charter Company offers half and full-day charters of his 35ft custom-built power boat and, for those who prefer to sail in the tropical winds, a 30ft yacht. Alternatively, join Captain Rollins on Chocolate, a 35 ft catamaran, which is available for day excursions, sunset cruises and private charters. Either option is an ideal way of visiting some of the off-shore cays surrounding Anguilla, such as Scrub Island, Prickly Pear and Dog Island.

Boat Racing - Visitors to the island during carnival and other public holidays will be able to witness - and possibly to take part in - Anguilla�s national sport of boat racing. Featuring the island�s traditional, unique, hand-crafted wooden sailboats, which create an impressive spectacle when in full sail, the races have taken place around the island for fifty years and usually culminate in a huge party!

Dancing the night away! - For those with energy left at the end of the day, there are a number of night spots where live music and dancing is on the agenda. Venues include Top of the Palms alfresco restaurant at Sirena Hotel in West End, where Monday�s Caribbean night includes steel band music, Shoal Bay for Sunday afternoon musical entertainment, plus Johnno�s, Pumphouse and Sandy Ground any night of the week.

Fishing - Half- and full-day trips are available from a number of fishing charter companies, some of which allow visitors to keep their catch - should they be lucky enough to reel something in! Fishing is generally done by trawling live bait and the catch might include wahoo, dorado, kingfish, silfish, marlin, or even barracuda and grouper.

Horse Riding - is available at El Rancho Del Blues and Cliffside Riding Centre where novice riders and experienced equestrians are welcome. Daily lessons and hacks along the scenic Gibbons Trails, North Hill Ridge and the white sand beaches are just some of the options offered.

Hiking & Nature Treks - miles of powdery white sand beaches, dramatic cliff tops and tropical rainforest trails provide a variety of interesting walks for those in search of a leisurely stroll or a more energetic hike. On the north coast, in particular, there are tracts of land that remain covered in thick vegetation, providing a rich habitat for wildlife, while trails through the Katouche Valley allow visitors to see the best remaining example of a natural rainforest on Anguilla. Other places of interest include Cavannagh Cave at the end of the Katouche Valley, originally mined for phosphorous, which today is home to the likes of bats, crabs and lizards.

Historical Walking Tours - There are two organised walking tours that highlight the architecture and history of Anguilla. The first takes in the historic houses of the Lower Valley, the property now known as Koal Keel, originally a sugar and cotton plantation, as well as the remains of the old courthouse. The second guided walk highlights the history of Sandy Ground, home to the Old Salt Factory, once the island�s best source of income.

Scuba Diving - Anguilla has six marine parks and six good dive wrecks, plus a huge array of coral formations, walls ridges, canyons and tunnels for the enjoyment of both novice and experienced divers. In addition, the creation of Stoney Bay Marine Park has ensured that artifacts dating back to the 18th century will continue to be preserved for the future enjoyment of Anguillians and visitors alike. The wreck of the Spanish galleon, El Buen Consejo, together with canons, anchors and bronze medals embedded in the coral at Stoney Bay, is possibly the island�s most impressive underwater treasure.

Minimal sea currents within its waters make Anguilla an ideal site for novices and there are a number of dive centres, including Shoal Bay Scuba & Watersports, running PADI instructional courses for complete beginners up to Divemasters.

Shopping - Anguilla features a variety of gift shops offering Caribbean mementos, arts and crafts ranging from silk screen printed goods, wood carvings and handmade baskets to paintings, t-shirts and books about the island. However, for an even greater selection, hop on the ferry at Blowing Point for the seven mile journey across calm waters to neighbouring island, St Martin, where shops selling duty free jewelry, watches, precious stones, perfumes and clothes are in abundance.

Stepping back in time - Built in 1787, Wallblake House is the oldest and only surviving plantation house on the island. This National Trust property is one of only a few remaining plantation houses in the Caribbean where the entire complex - including kitchen, stables and workers� quarters - has remained just as it would have been centuries ago. The property now also houses a museum showing the history of the island�s cotton industry. Anguilla�s Heritage Collection in East End Village maps the history of the island from its discovery by Arawak-speaking Amerindians some 4,000 years ago. Visitors can learn about Anguilla�s colonisation by the English, the subsequent battles which took place among opposing nations determined to win this Caribbean jewel, and the revolution of 1967.

Swimming with Dolphins - Visitors to the newly-opened Dolphin Lagoon at Mead�s Bay have the opportunity of swimming with and feeding these fascinating creatures in the company of a specialist training instructor. Beginning in 2002, a Scuba Programme, will allow small groups of divers to swim with dolphins in the open sea off Mead�s Bay and Barnes Bay.

Tennis - Most hotels on the island have tennis courts available for use by guests from other resorts. There are also two public courts in The Valley and another in East End.

Touring Museums & Art Galleries - Anguilla has a strong and expanding community of artists and visitors are able to see a cross-section of their work on a guided tour of the island�s art galleries, organised through the Savannah Gallery. There are also a number of fascinating museums, including Sydney�s Antique Museum, which chronicles the history of Anguillian home life and where, occasionally, visitors can witness Sydney making traditional bush tea and cooking local Anguillian dishes. The Heritage Museum has a well organized collection of historical documents and photographs that trace the islands history.

Touring by Car or Bicycle - The best way for holidaymakers to ensure that they visit every corner of the island during their stay, is to hire a car/jeep or even a bicycle. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road, the speed limit is usually 30 mph or slower, and there�s only one main road with smaller branches off towards the coast, so it should be a stress-free experience!

Turtle Spotting - The Anguilla Sea Turtle Project is committed to preserving these ancient creatures which arrive on the island�s beaches every year between May and November. Visitors may have the opportunity to witness hatchling�s emerging from their shells or scrambling across the beaches towards the sea.

Watersports - Anguilla has more than 30 beaches, most of which offer a calm, safe environment in which to swim, plus water so clear that the conditions are perfect for snorkelling above the many coral reefs. Those looking to participate in more active pursuits should head for Rendezvous Bay or Shoal Bay (East), both of which offer over a mile of beach and a variety of water sports facilities, including wind surfers, sailboats and kayaks. Alternatively, Savannah Bay has the best conditions for boogie boarding and body surfing.

Relaxing - When relaxation and pampering is all that�s required, in addition to its numerous sandy beaches, restful bays and idyllic views, Anguilla also has a number of qualified massage therapists and beauticians offering a range of treatments from manicures and facials to eyelash tinting and waxing, together with clinics where alternative therapies are a specialty.

Further information on the wide range of activities available in Anguilla can be found by visiting the official website of the Anguilla Tourist Board

Anguilla Travel Guide

Caribbean Travel Guide

Central America Travel Guide

South America Travel Guide

See also:
Pictures of Pan America
Destinations in the Americas
Pan America Travel Guide

Editor Kathie Fry
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