Anegada, an island 10 miles long by 2 1/2 miles wide with extensive salt ponds, reaches its highest point at 28 feet, hence its name which means the "drowned land." Of coral reef origins, Anegada has "extruded" sixteen miles of sandy beaches with a primeval quality. Anegada is "guarded" by the famous Horseshoe Reef which, at eighteen miles long, is one of the world's largest coral reefs.
Anegada is known for miles of white sand beaches and the 18-mile-long Horseshoe Reef, the largest barrier coral reef in the Caribbean, and the third largest on earth. The reef makes navigation to Anegada difficult. While charter boats freely sail among most of the other Virgin Islands, charter companies often forbid clients to sail to Anegada to avoid running aground on the reef.
The reef has claimed hundreds of shipwrecks, including the HMS Astrea (1808).  As such, it was once an important scuba diving destination. In an effort to protect the reef, the BVI government has made anchoring on Horseshoe Reef illegal.