Anegada (literally “drowned island” in Spanish) is finally coming up for air.
For years, the minimally-developed, pancake-flat, and often inaccessible landmass, guarded by an impassable barrier reef–the third largest in the Caribbean–was an afterthought on British Virgin Islands itineraries, whether by land or by sea. If visitors went at all, it was usually just for a day. The lack of daily ferries meant that spending the weekend was nearly impossible.
But, that’s changed. Anegada, which all predictions said would get wiped out by Hurricane Irma, was spared, while the storm devastated neighboring Tortola and Virgin Gorda. Consequently, BVI itineraries have undergone a monumental shift. Charter boats are rejiggering their entire schedules to spend five days there instead of one. In a year of wholescale devastation, the island’s handful of boutique hotels and lodgings are reporting record seasons.
But that’s only part of the story. The island now has daily ferry service, allowing visitors to turn their one-day visits into long weekends. At last, the BVI’s murky “drowned island” is back into sharp focus–and Anegada is ready for its closeup. Here’s why you need to book a trip to Anegada before the crowds arrive.
Top Picks for You
It Was Spared by the 2018 Hurricanes
While some of the Virgin Islands lie in rubble after Hurricane Irma hit in September 2017, Anegada is still standing proud. Even though residents were told to evacuate to Tortola, those who left returned to find their island largely untouched. What damage there was, the community of 200 hardy souls rallied together to fix. Although some debris remains in isolated areas, everything that made Anegada special, such as the hotels, beach bars, and the breathtaking landscapes of the BVI, are open for business.
It’s Now Easy to Get Around
The brand-new Anegada Express ferry ($50 round trip), means you can now leave the West End of Tortola on Friday and come back on Sunday. The ferry takes about an hour each way, with a stop off at the dock in Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda. And once you get there, compared to the perilous hills elsewhere in the BVI, driving here is a no-brainer–you’ll become familiar with the island’s roads (or road, since there’s really just one) in no time. Rent a Jeep in Setting Point and you’re on your way.
INSIDER TIPInsider tip: The ferry makes it easy to make Anegada your homebase and take a day trip to Virgin Gorda.
It's Never Crowded (But That’s Starting to Change)
Long accessible only by charter boat or seaplane, Anegada was always an afterthought on BVI itineraries. Visitors used to crowded Caribbean beaches found colossal stretches of white sand beach to themselves, especially on the north side of the island where development is minimal. But after the hurricanes, it’s rocketed to the top of every traveler’s to-do list. On weekends, beach bars like Cow Wreck are now packed with charter crews who anchored at Setting Point and took taxis north. There’s still peace to be found—but find it quick.