Fountain Cavern National Park: Anguilla
Tropical Surroundings and Zemi Beach
Anguilla is an island known the world over for its extraordinary tropical beauty. Travelers come to the island to get a taste of these natural surroundings and relax in the quiet atmosphere. An island rich with nature and seemingly endless number of beaches, Anguilla is a true island paradise.
Relatively flat with low soil quality and no overly elevated peaks, Anguilla nonetheless is home to a multitude of life. A variety of bird species (some 138 in total), exotic reptiles and rare and unique flora and fauna coexist in abundance. An adventurer’s dream, the island has a variety of routes and paths for one to hike, cycle along or horse ride. Moreover, the year round warm, clear blue waters are awash with tropical fish and stunning coral reef formations. Notable areas to visit are Rendezvous Bay, Cove Bay and Shoal Bay East; each offering fabulous diving locations.
Nestled amongst all of this natural beauty is the residential development, Zemi Beach. One of the latest developments that are currently under construction on the island, Zemi Beach has the unique privilege of being surrounded on one side by Shoal Bay East, and to other, the stunning Fountain Cavern National Park.
The National Park, a relatively new designated area, is a location rich in historical and cultural appeal. At its center is The Fountain itself; a large dome-shaped limestone cavern located on a ridge 70 feet above sea level. Fabled off the island as the ‘Fountain of Youth’ but known to generations of Anguillans as a reliable source of clean water, it was recently in 1979 that the site was formally recognized as an historically significant area.
The Fountain region has quickly become Anguilla’s top archeological destination. Underground caves abound, 50ft deep in places and it was here that the source of Zemi Beach’s name derives. Found in the caves and elsewhere, were little three-pointed religious stones named Zemi’s; used at one point in time as a good luck charm and as means to ward off evil spirits.
Also among the sights of this region are the water pools that pocket the rock floor. Amerindian petroglyphs or rock carvings have also been found in various locations. One such relief, carved onto a 5-metre stalagmite, bears the shape of a ‘Jocahu’, the supreme god of the Taino people who once inhabited the island.
These once major sites of worship and pilgrimage, now serve as a means for visitors to experience the culture and natural history of Anguilla. Unusual and unique to Anguilla, and the Caribbean as a whole, this region is one worth preserving and protecting for future generations to enjoy.
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