The Caribbean island of Anguilla is 35 square miles of pure beauty. Its name means “Eel” and reflects the long, thin geography of the island, a shape which keeps you close to gorgeous stretches of powdery-white beach leading into clear, turquoise waters.
Because Anguilla lacks a major airport, it doesn’t get the heavy traffic of larger Caribbean islands, and maybe that’s exactly what you’re looking for. Most visitors arrive by ferry or cruise ship, though some cross the sea from Saint Martin by sailboat for an unforgettable adventure. Getting to Anguilla is part of the fun. If you’d rather fly to your destination, you’ve got better options throughout the Caribbean.
Life is Laidback and Lovely in Anguilla
The Anguillan people are relaxed and friendly. Tourism is the major industry, and this produces a welcoming environment geared toward giving you a no-hassle, pleasurable experience that really takes you away from the grind back home.
The weather is typically beautiful. High temperatures range in the 80s F, while a prevailing northeast breeze keeps it comfortable. The island averages 40 inches of rain scattered throughout the year. Hurricane season is from July through November, but major storms are not common.
While the island is a British territory, the people’s cultural roots are in West and Central Africa with dashes of mixed European heritage. Most of the islanders speak English with strong British influences and a Creole-influenced dialect of English known as Anguillan.
Here’s a taste of the local culture you’ll discover in Anguilla:
- Anguillan Cuisine: The surrounding waters provide abundant seafood including shrimp, crab, prawns, spiny lobster, mahi-mahi, red snapper and grouper. Beef, chicken, mutton, fruits and vegetables are raised or imported. Local restaurants build menus featuring Caribbean, African, English, French and Spanish cuisine with local accents.
- Sports in Anguilla: The national sport is sailboat racing, and large regattas are held on national holidays throughout the year, a pleasure for locals and tourists alike. Britain introduced cricket to the island while the Aussies brought rugby. Both sports are widely played and enjoy a loyal following among Anguillans.
- Music in Anguilla: The local bars and music venues feature Caribbean music, salsa and reggae, musical styles which are a perfect fit for the island lifestyle.
Things to Do in Anguilla
The splendid weather creates a paradise for outdoor activities, and the nightlife can be exciting too. Here are the top tourist attractions in Anguilla.
- Sink your Feet in the Sand: Beaches dominate the daytime scene with the best Anguilla beaches including Shoal Bay, Meads Bay, Little Bay and Rendezvous Bay of which one traveler commented, “the soft, beautiful sand and turquoise waters are amazing!” Think romantic walks at sunrise or sunset, warm sunbathing and family frolics in the sun, sand and surf.
- Spend Time on the Water: Experienced sailors enjoy renting a boat, while those who would rather leave the work to the pros can book their place on a vintage West Indian sloop or motorized craft for tours. Sailboarding and riding the waves on a personal watercraft are also popular activities.
- See the World Below the Surface: Both snorkeling and scuba diving are offered by outfits featuring Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) for your safety and to show you a fantastic time. Nearby coral reefs with their spectacular creatures are favorite diving destinations. A recent visitor from the UK noted, “I came to Anguilla for the scuba diving, and it surpassed my expectations!”
- Sample the Local Nightlife: Since nighttime temperatures are in the 70s throughout the year, most bars are open-air establishments where the sounds of salsa, reggae or calypso mingle delightfully with the rhythm of the surf lapping the sand. Caribbean favorites are served with a smile from the food and beverage menus.
- Sprinkle in Shopping, Sightseeing or 18 Holes: Anguilla, one of the Caribbean’s smaller destinations, doesn’t offer these activities in abundance. While the rural feel is part of the charm, there are still enough historic buildings and quaint shops on Anguilla to give you something fun to do on a rare rainy afternoon. There are two golf courses, and ratings from visitors range from average to good.
Who Should Consider Visiting Anguilla?
The Island of Anguilla is quiet, peaceful and relaxed. It provides a lower-key alternative to some of the Caribbean’s better-known hotspots such as Puerto Rico, Barbados or the Bahamas. If you want to take it slow and easy on your next getaway, Anguilla might just your speed.
Anguilla Tourism Board: http://ivisitanguilla.com/
Government of Anguilla: http://www.gov.ai/