Sandy Island

An Island All Your Own

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Nature has a way of carefully selecting its treasures. It is true that on Anguilla we have beautiful beaches, which are all public, un-crowded, pollution-free and un-spoiled. It is also true that we are ranked number one in the world for the best all-around beaches. Did you know that? Well, don’t take my word for it: go to TravelChannel.com, it’s all there. But did you know that we officially have 38 beaches? 33 are on the mainland and 5 are offshore cays (pronounced “keys”) and islands including Dog Island, Prickly Pear, Scrub Island, Scilly Cay and Sandy Island. Even though you have all the relaxation you need on Anguilla’s mainland, if you dare to venture off to one of the cays or islands, it’s a whole new world.

Sandy Island is a rare retreat and a true treasure. Located about a mile offshore from Sandy Ground on mainland Anguilla, it’s only 5 minutes away by boat, but that’s all it takes to feel transported from civilization to a private, deserted space. Picture yourself in the middle of nowhere with everything that you need. By my standards, that’s a rum punch in one hand, a menu of seafood, ribs and chicken in the next, a beautiful atmosphere and someone to share that moment with. This is NOT a dream, my friends. This is reality at Sandy Island. Come with me to a place that’s a classic example of the phrase, “deserted tropical island.” At Sandy Ground beach, wait at the pier by Johnno’s Beach Bar for the boat “Happiness” to ferry you across.

Approaching the island, you’ll notice that it seems like nothing more than a little island with sand and coral reefs. This tiny sandbar in the middle of the water is only about 50 by 150 yards.    What you see is what you get, but it’s more than you bargained for. A crystal clear, whitish color at the surf extends to a light blue about 30 to 40 feet out, followed by the deepest blue as you enter the waters beyond the reefs. Cruising over by boat is no easy task. It takes skill and years of experience to navigate through the dangerous coral reefs, which can be a graveyard for sailing vessels. On the other hand, the intricate reefs are a paradise for snorkeling. If one of your goals is to spend time getting up close and personal with beautiful and colorful marine life, then this is your private island.

Right on the shores of Sandy Island is a beautiful beach with shallow, calm waters for the kids to swim and enjoy themselves or for you to have quiet and peace of mind. You can’t help but let your hair down and let yourself go. It’s here that a family can have a picture-perfect island to snorkel play or do absolutely nothing. With the tropical flavor of island palm trees and the local grape trees, it’s all part of what makes Sandy Island what it is today. Also found on Sandy Island are the Coco Plum trees. This tasty pinkish fruit once flourished all over the mainland, but now it has become so rare that Sandy Island is one of the only places to find it. The island also boasts man o’ war jellyfish, pelicans, and seagulls as its frequent visitors.

The passage of many hurricanes over the years has changed the landscape. The tiny sandy outpost was fully submerged in 1995, when Hurricane Luis devastated the Caribbean Islands.  But, like all great Anguillans, it bounced back. Sandy Island still carries its paradisiac, deserted-island spirit even though it’s now a lot smaller than it was before the big storm of 1995.

As you can imagine, any place to get away and unwind would be popular, and Sandy Island is a haven for private parties and weddings. If you aren’t interested in rules and regulations on how long and hard you can party, Sandy Island has no limits. Simone, Jo-Jo, and the entire crew over at Sandy Island are in charge of making the island what it is today, and they organize events to exceed your expectations.

At the heart of the island, you’ll find a wooden shelter designed to make your day at Sandy a cool and comfortable one when you’re ready to get away from the burning sun. To add to the joy, picnic tables under the hut let your belly know it’s time for some amazing food. Don’t be surprised if, and when, Simone places a 5 lb lobster on your table. Monsters like those turn up often on Sandy Island, and they pair well with the island’s other traditional dishes and goodies.

One day at Sandy Island is never enough. Something always seems to catch your heart and call you back. Snorkeling is great, the water is fantastic, the staff is the best and they’re super friendly. This sandy isle in the middle of the water is nothing less than special.

As one of Anguilla’s finest offshore cays, beautiful Sandy Island will be one deserted island you’ll never want to be rescued from.

You can contact them at 264-476-6534, 264-476-4104 or by e-mail at mysandyisland@hotmail.com.

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About the author

Andy W. Connor was born and raised in beautiful Anguilla, British West Indies. He is best known as the owner of Andy’s Car Rentals (www.andyrentals.com), but is also a licensed seaman and author of the monthly tourist publication, Let’s Talk About Anguilla. Andy is a self-proclaimed “Beach Hunter” of Anguilla’s pristine beaches, both exposed and hidden, he is also an avid cyclist and water-lover; fishing and sailboat racing at every available opportunity.