Anegada, the second largest and most northern of the British Virgin Islands, distinguishes itself from its sister islands by being flat and made of limestone and coral while the others are mountainous and volcanic. As even its highest point is not very much above sea level, the Spanish called it “tierra anegada,” or the “flooded land.”
Anegada has the lowest population of all the British Virgin Islands, and nearly all of its people live in a town simply called The Settlement. In 2010, its population was 285 people.
Like most of the other British Virgin Islands, Anegada’s main business is tourism. Tourists come to this lovely and hospitable island for snorkeling, scuba diving and the fishing that’s to be had off the North Drop. Excursions to wildlife areas allow glimpses of the protected population of Caribbean flamingos, tropical birds, rock iguanas and turtles. The island’s trees and plants are just as exotic and include turpentine trees, loblolly pines, wild orchids and frangipani. Much of Anegada’s wildlife lives in and around the salt ponds that are found in the west of the island. The beaches of Flash of Beauty, Windlass Bight, Loblolly Beach and Cow Wreck Beach are peaceful and secluded, perfect places watch the sun rise or set.
To arrive at Anegada from the southeast, it is necessary to fly over the Horseshoe Reef, a barrier reef that is the largest of its kind in the Caribbean and is the graveyard of hundreds of ships that sailed into the waters from the 16th century onward. These ships include the Marie L. and the Beata. More experienced divers can visit some of these fascinating wrecks, which have been gathered in a sheltered area.
One of the more unusual tourist attractions is the mountain of conch shells at the edge of The Settlement, a testament to the island’s past as a prime conch-collecting site.
Visitors can reach Anegada by ferry or chartered airplane to Auguste George Airport, which is found about a mile north of The Settlement.