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Friday, June 8, 2012

Beaches of Anguilla

North Coast

Captains Bay is lined with dramatic coral cliffs. The beach is a wide stretch of white sand cornered at both ends by rock cliffs. It is now possible to reach the beach by walking the cliff road east of Island Harbour. The waters off this beach often carry a strong under-toe and it is not recommended for swimming. It is ideal for a picnic lunch. Take along a pair of hiking boots and wander through the rock formations along the coast or take the dirt track all the way to the eastern end of the island. Watch out for Abadam hole along the way. This giant cave was exposed to the surface when the thin rock roof collapsed. 
Accommodation:Exclusivity Villa 
Restaurants: Palm Grove Grill,Hibernia, Island Harbour eastern side 
Location:Eastern end of the island not far from Windward Point. 
Directions:From The Valley take the Long Road to East End, continue through the village for about 1 mile until you reach a sign for Palm Grove Restaurant. Follow the dirt road east to Captains Bay. 
Swimming:Undertoe/no swimming or snorkeling 
Privacy:A wonderful spot for a private picnic or hiking in the hills around the beach. 
Hiking: Wear hiking boats and long pants. Many tropical bushes have thorns. 
Shade: Sea Grape trees rim the beach

Island Harbour is a fishermans village with a harbour full of small homemade fishing boats. The cresent shaped beach is lined with palm trees and the water is generally calm but quite often is lined with seaweed. The quiet relaxed atmosphere makes it worth the trip and is the place to find a local fisherman willing to take you for a boat trip to Scrub Island or fishing off shore. 
Directions:From The Valley take the road to Shoal Bay/Island Harbour. Bear right at the fork to Shoal Bay and follow the road to Canafist Juntion. Bear left and follow the road through Welches Village to Island Harbour. The beach is in the center of the village. 
Swimming:The water is generally calm but often has bits of seaweed floating on the current. Also the fishing boats often pull right up to shore. 
Snorkeling:no snorkeling opportunities on this beach but take the free boat ride to Scilly Cay and snorkel around the island. 
Restaurants:Cote Mer, Scilly Cay, Hibernia, Arawak,KoKo's and Le Bon Pain 
Beach Rentals:Smitty Shell Station has chairs and umbrellas right on the beach 
Accommodation:Jems, K's Cove, Tamarind, Terra Firma, Villa Elegante, Villa Romantica, Wesley House, 
Services: Gas Station, Fuel for boats, Island Pub for groceries. 

Shoal Bay East voted one of the ten best beaches in the Caribbean. Shoal Bay in the east is the most popular beach on Anguilla. This means that a good portion of the beach is lined with beach bars, small resorts and umbrellas. Fortunately they seem to blend into the background and actually come in handy when you are ready for lunch. The water is perfect, a giant pool of clear blue with a sprinkling of tiny fish right off shore. A short distance from the gradually sloping soft white sand is a live reef full of colorful fish and coral. For a great day on the water off Shoal Bay beach, look for Junior and his glass bottom boat. 
Directions:Take the road to Island Harbour out of The Valley. Take the left fork at the Shoal Bay sign and the main road goes straight to the beach. 
Parking within walking distance on the main road or turn right and follow the road to Elodias parking area. 
Water Sports:Rental snorkel Equipment at Shoal Bay Scuba. 
Beach Rentals:Some restaurants provide chairs and umbrellas and there are several operators that will rent chairs, umbrellas, towels, snorkel gear and water sport items. 
Accommodation:Shoal Bay Villas, Ku, Allamanda, Serenity Cottages 
Boat Access:Fishing boats and small charter boats pull up to the shore on a regular basis. 
Features:Considered to be one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. 
Local music is often provided at several beach bars. 
Sail boat races are occasionally held right off the beach. 

Limestone Bay is worth the trip. Quiet, secluded and occasionally the nesting spot for some of Anguilla's sea turtles and the island's Iguana. 
Directions:From The Valley take the road to Crocus Bay. Turn right at the old cottage hospital and follow the road up Roaches Hill and all the way down to the beach. There is parking just off the beach. 
View:Limestone Bay is a small strip of sand nestled between sea rock formations on both sides. The open Atlantic comes right to the shore and Dog Island is visible in the distance. 
Swimming:Strong swimmers only, there is usually a strong under current here. 
Snorkeling:Snorkel along the rocks on both sides. Advanced swimmers only. 
Accommodation:villa on east shore 
Privacy:This beach is a favorite among locals for family picnics and gatherings. Take along a small grill and spend the evening watching the sun go down. 
Hiking: Wear hiking boots to explore the area around the bay. Wonderful vistas from both sides of the beach.

Beaches in Albania

With one of its largest borders being against the Adriatic Sea, Albania has some of the best beaches in Europe. Albanian beaches hold some distinct advantages over beaches in other European nations. They are still quite untouched and not crowded. Some of the more popular ones do start to fill up in the high season but once August passes it is possible to get a prime spot in any Albanian beach.

Mali Robit
Mali Robit is one of the most popular beaches in the country. During the summer season it attracts quite a crowd, making the quality of the water slightly questionable. Mali Robitis a very sandy beach about a 40 minute drive from the city of Tirana. There are a few low rise constructions near the beach but also a beautiful pine forest to help add to the scenery. Mali Robit is a beach that is best visited after the high season when the crowds start to dissipate.

Shengjin lies about 50 minutes north of Tirana, near the Kosovo region. It is a beach town and one of the country's larger ports. Access to the beach has been much improved due to the construction of a new road. Ferries from Italy are scheduled to start so the area holds enormous potential for growth. Nearby Shengjin there are wetlands, pine trees and various local wild life that make up the scenery.

Vlors is a sandy beach located where the Ionian and Adriatic seas meet. It is a very touristy town that is growing due to the expanding port and thermal power plant. Although locals have their concerns about the impact development will have, currently swimming at Vlora provides some majestic mountain views.

Saranda is a shale and pebble beach in the southern part of the country. In fact it is directly opposite to the Greek island of Corfu. Saranda is known for its clean, crystal clear waters. The word is getting out about Saranda as tourist numbers increase every year from holiday makers looking to escape the higher prices in Greece and Italy. The beaches at Saranda are artificial but safe and clean.

Ksamil is a beautiful, white sandy beach that looks like it belongs in the Caribbean rather than Eastern Europe. It is located about 25 minutes south of Saranda beach, making it the closest point in Albania to the island of Corfu. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Butrinti is only a few minutes away, as well.

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