This post was most recently updated on July 9th, 2019
Why choose Anguilla when there are so many eastern Caribbean choices? Anguilla is a Caribbean jewel! While being ranked as having the ‘World’s Best All-Around Beaches’, only a few small cruise ships stop here. All of Anguilla’s pristine beaches allow public access yet none of them are crowded. You could even have an entire beach to yourself.
Can you feel your heart racing already? If it sounds like an incredible dream to escape to a tropical island with beautiful white-sand beaches, turquoise water, balmy sea breezes, and serenity, Anguilla is probably the best choice for you. To top it off, you can stay in one of the many gorgeous beachfront homes in Anguilla and have complete privacy with your own pool and luxury amenities.
Be still my heart! I could really use that kind of escape right now! Couldn’t you? Would you like to know a little more about Anguilla?
Where is Anguilla, Anyway?
Anguilla is the most northern island in the Leeward Island chain, part of the West Indies, and a British overseas territory. It lies about 150 miles east of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea. Anguilla is most easily accessed by ferry or small plane from St. Martin. Because Anguilla is off the beaten path, its beauty and exclusive character have been preserved. This is a place to come when you truly need to ESCAPE!
In fact, Anguilla was recently voted the World’s Leading Luxury Island Destination from a short list of top-tier candidates such as St. Barts, Maldives and Mauritius.
Tell Me More About Anguilla
The name, Anguilla, comes from an anglicized version of anguila (the Spanish word for eel) because the island is long and thin. It is pronounced like “an-gwilla”. English is the official language, and the majority of the population are of African descent and primarily Christian. The main industries are tourism, boat-building, and offshore financial services. Residents have an above-average interest in sports and fitness, excelling in sailing, cricket, soccer, swimming, and tennis. There is no abject poverty, and there is very little crime!
How Do You Get Around?
The best way to navigate Anguilla is with a car. And by the way, please do drive on the left side of the road! Other than taxis, there is no public transportation system. Many resorts and villas offer the use of a golf cart, and bicycles and scooters are another option for shorter distances.
What Can You Do on Anguilla?
You may choose to do absolutely nothing but sit in a lounge chair on the beach and enjoy the sun, the waves, and the silence. But if you’re like me, that only lasts so long before you want to be up and exploring.
Roads are well-maintained, and the island is relatively flat, so bicycling is a wonderful pastime. There are many places from which you’ll have a great view of the island and the sea, and you may occasionally spot a goat crossing the road!
You can rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards at many beaches and resorts. Or you may prefer to go for a sailing excursion or a boat trip from one beach to another. A popular ride is from Meads Bay to Little Bay. If you go at sunset, you will be astounded by the colors and views.
EXPLORE the island and beaches
Even though Anguilla is a small island, you’ll be surprised by how much variety there is. For example, at Little Bay, you’ll find deep caves and a quiet cove, as well as several perches from which you can cliff-jump! At Shoal Bay, snorkeling is at its best with calmer water and a smorgasbord of corals and sea fans. You could spend hours spotting colorful tropical fish!
Eat amazing caribbean food
Anguillan food is island-inspired and very delicious. This is no time to be on a diet! Local specialties are popular, and fresh seafood is abundant. If you like seafood, you’ll love the lobster, crayfish, conch, snapper, and grouper. And you will see local produce, such as limes, mangoes, and coconuts included in many entrees.
On the weekends, visit The Strip, a row of restaurants and shacks in The Valley, for the best slow cooked chicken and ribs you will ever have. You’ll get plates loaded up with the meat and barbecue sauce, plus side dishes like coleslaw, peas, rice or fries.
GO BOUTIQUE SHOPPING
There is not a main downtown shopping area, but Anguilla boasts plenty of great boutique shops from which you can purchase your favorite island souvenirs. You’ll find hats, shirts, jewelry, soaps, gourmet jams and pepper jellies, and Anguillan sea salt, among many other things.
Check out a smaller island
Yes, I know — Anguilla is pretty small as it is only about 15 miles long and 3 miles wide at its widest. But there are also a few smaller cays that belong to Anguilla. So if you want to see what a really tiny island is like, check out Sandy Island, Scilly Cay, or the Prickly Pear Cays. Despite their diminutive size, each one has a restaurant, so go spend the day and see just how removed you can be from the world.
Note: Sandy Island was damaged by Hurricane Irma in September 2017, but the owners are rebuilding it. Scilly Cay is currently closed.
Visit a Museum or art Galleries
The Heritage Collection Museum is quite popular and is located in the East End Village. Here you will find a fabulous collection of island history, artifacts from different cultures, pirate tales, and information from both painful and inspirational events in Anguilla. There’s something of interest for everyone, with many hands-on exhibits.
The Devonish Art Gallery displays both traditional and modern artwork, sculpture, jewelry, African beading, and wood carvings. The Cheddie Richardson Carving Studio is also a fascinating working studio with art made of driftwood. You’ll never look at driftwood the same again!
Now You Can Plan a Visit to Anguilla!
Beauty, serenity, relaxing, sports, adventure and exploring — you can really have it all. I hope I’ve convinced you that Anguilla is a dream destination. When it comes to the Caribbean, Anguilla is truly a treasure. The memories you make here will last a lifetime. Go for a romantic getaway with your partner…or take your entire family. There’s something for everyone on Anguilla!
This article has been written in partnership with LuxuryRetreats.