If you’re taking a trip to Anguilla, you should definitely make sure that a visit to Little Bay is on your list of things to do! This not-so-secret (not anymore, at least) location is located in the middle of the northern coast of the island, just northeast of Crocus Bay. As its name implies, Little Bay is a tiny beach and it’s known for being wonderfully secluded, for having beautiful views and for being a great snorkeling spot.
There are pretty much two different ways of getting to Little Bay: by boat or by rope. And when I say “rope”, I don’t mean a “rope ladder”. I mean just a rope. Down, what I would call, a mostly vertical cliff. Apparently, there are spots along this vertical wall where you can stop and stand, and maybe even walk yourself down some of the way, but there is also likely to be some rappelling involved – just without all the saftey gear of formal mountain climbing. I don’t know exactly how high this cliff is, but here’s a picture of a brave guy, who is over 6 feet (~183cm) tall, climbing down the rope, so you do the math:
So, if you’re the adventurous type, the rope option is there for you. Note that if you go down the rope to get to Little Bay, you will most likely also have to go back UP the rope when you’re ready to leave. That’s really the only choice unless you’re able to flag down a boat that happens to pass by (you shouldn’t count on that happening) or you have a cell phone to call someone who can figure out a way to send a boat out for you. You have been warned. (Yes, I know I’m making the rope seem all scary-like, but just know that your mother would appreciate me telling you what you’re getting into.)
To get to the top of the cliff to Little Bay, you should either take a taxi or, if you’re driving yourself around the island, ask someone at your hotel for directions on how to get there. I’ve been told that the driving route to the top of the cliff over Little Bay has changed recently, due to the closing of some roads, so it can be confusing at some points. Just be sure to get directions before you go and you should be able to figure it out. (It’s really kind of difficult to get lost on Anguilla, so don’t worry too much.)
Now, it has already been well established in this blog that I am, how do you say… a big fat chicken. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that I decided to take the relatively wimpy method of getting to Little Bay: by boat. If you ask someone on Anguilla how to catch a boat to Little Bay, they’ll likely tell you to “Go find Calvin under the tree at Crocus Bay.” and that’s really all the information that you need to know. When you get to Crocus Bay (where the DaVida Restaurant and its Beach Bar are located), there really can’t be any confusion as to which tree you’re looking for. It’s huge and it’s beautiful, and you’ll find that seats have been set up underneath to make it a nice spot for relaxing in the shade:
I’m not sure if Calvin is there for a certain set of hours on certain days, but we got to Crocus Bay just before 9:00 am on a Tuesday in December, and Calvin showed up shortly afterwards. You may want to find out ahead of time if your hotel concierge or office staff can find you more precise information, but if you’re already operating on laid-back island time (which I highly recommend, in general), you can always just sit around, relax and wait for him to show up. You can also try and ask someone who’s hanging out around Crocus Bay to see if they know how to contact him.
So when Calvin arrived, we waited for him to get out to his boat and bring it back to shore to get us:
The boat ride to Little Bay from Crocus Bay is not very long – somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes, one-way. Round-trip, it cost us US $25 for two people (this was in December 2009, so ask for a price before you go out so you’re aware of current rates).
Calvin is a polite and friendly gentleman who, I can tell, goes out of his way to make his customers happy. I saw him bring one group of people to Little Bay and since he saw that they didn’t have any snorkeling gear, he went back to Crocus Bay, found some masks and brought the equipment back to Little Bay so the visitors could have the best experience possible. It was clear that, by the way the group seemed surprised and thankful, they didn’t ask Calvin to do this for them – he just took it upon himself to do it. This kind of go-out-of-your-way-to-help-others attitude is very common in Anguilla and it is probably the biggest reason I fell in love with the island and the people who live there. *swoon*
Calvin did mention that he won’t take people out to Little Bay if the water is too rough and/or if it isn’t clear enough to see anything when snorkeling. He just doesn’t want people to waste their money if they aren’t going to have a good experience, and he’s up-front and honest about it when the situation isn’t optimal.
Although our interaction with him didn’t last for very long, Calvin came across as just a pleasant sort of guy. He even let me take a photo of him on our ride out:
On the ride to Little Bay, you won’t be able to help but look at the gorgeous scenery that surrounds you. I snapped a few pictures, but just know that photos can’t capture the sheer beauty of the environment:
And when you finally arrive at Little Bay, you’ll see that it lives up to its reputation: it’s small, serene and beautiful:
When he drops you off, Calvin will ask you what time he should come back to get you. He said that he prefers to have a pick-up time set because he doesn’t want to worry about missing a cell phone call and leaving you feeling stranded. Then he’ll leave you in this peaceful and stunningly beautiful place for you to relax and enjoy yourselves.
As previously mentioned, Little Bay is known to be one of Anguilla’s best snorkeling spots, so don’t forget your masks and fins. (There are places on island where you can rent gear, so I would recommend doing that to be sure you’ll have it – Calvin may not necessarily be able to find what you exactly need when you need it.)
If you don’t snorkel, you can just swim or sit back and enjoy the view:
I should say that, depending on the time of day (and maybe the time of year), you may or may not find shade at Little Bay. On this December 2009 visit, we arrived at Little Bay around 9:00 am and we left at around 11:00 am. We pretty much had comfortable shade on the beach the entire time and the water temperature was pleasant for swimming. As we were leaving, though, the sun began to shine down on us and it was starting to get downright hot. In that case, unless you bring an umbrella, there is no place to go to get out of the sun. There are also no restroom or food facilities at Little Bay, so plan ahead of time and feel free to bring a cooler with drinks and snacks. (Just be sure to take all of your trash with you when you leave.)
Another warning: Since Little Bay is so small, it can get kind of crowded if a large group shows up. On our two-hour visit, we were lucky enough to be the only two people there for most of that time. However, a larger group arrived about 20 minutes before we were scheduled to leave and this was the scene:
Calvin showed up right on time to pick us up and take us back to Crocus Bay:
I very much enjoyed my trip to Little Bay, and though it takes a bit of extra effort (and bravery if you choose to access it by rope) to get there, it’s definitely worth it! Unless you’re lucky enough to live near a unique spot like this (Lucky you! Can I come visit?), it’s not something you should pass up if you’re visiting Anguilla. When you’re there, be sure to take the time to step back and enjoy the moment and enjoy your surroundings while you’re there. Too many times we forget to stop, take in everything that’s around us, and truly appreciate where we are and what we’re experiencing. That’s not something you want to do at Little Bay, Anguilla. Trust me.