The Anguilla Tourist Board reports that the island has taken first place in Travel & Leisure’s ranking on the best Caribbean islands.
This award comes as no surprise, considering the fact that Anguilla has some of the best Caribbean beaches in the Caribbean and worldwide. In addition, the sheer quantity of beautiful beaches– 33 to be exact– makes this island paradise well-worthy of the title.
With year-round temperatures of around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and generally calm weather, Anguilla is a favorite vacation spot for those who are looking for something unspoiled and out-of-the-ordinary for their Caribbean vacation.
What you’ll find in Anguilla:
– 33 incredible white-sand beaches
These beaches are all open to the public and feature soft white sand that you won’t be able to resist sinking your toes into. Even though these beaches are accessible for everyone, they still somehow remain free of crowds nearly all year.
-Boating opportunities: catamaran, sailing, yachting, kayaking
Imagine that you’re cruising on the open sea, over crystal-clear turquoise waves, the wind blowing through your hair.
Or perhaps the gentle rocking of a kayak as you explore the calm waters around the island is more your style. Whatever type of boating experience you’re looking for, you can find it in Anguilla.
What’s special about boating around Anguilla is the fact that other islands are within close proximity.
It lies directly north of St. Martin, and there are several tiny islands north of Anguilla, such as Dog Island.
-Deep-sea diving, snorkeling, and fishing
The coral reefs located around the island afford plenty of opportunities to take dive and see colorful fish. Or, if you prefer to catch fish instead of simply view them, you can do that as well.
-A relaxed, laid-back vibe
The Anguilla way of life is relaxed and unhurried. This is the perfect place to leave the stress of work and life behind you, and “take it easy” for a week or two.
– Luxury accommodations
Celebrities often choose Anguilla because of its ample assortment of exclusive resorts and secluded villas. Since the island has such a small population, the rich and famous are less likely to be apprehended by paparazzi and fans when they’re trying to take a break.
See some breathtaking luxury accommodations in Anguilla here.
-Secluded, private areas
The advantage of Anguilla over other Caribbean islands is that it isn’t visited as frequently as other more well-known islands such as Puerto Rico or Saint Lucia. There may even be occasions when you have the entire beach to yourself.
Here’s another reason why Anguilla is the perfect place to beat the crowds: currently there are only about 14,800 people living on the island.
-Small-town charm and friendly locals
The people of Anguilla are generally kind and hospitable. In small towns, everybody knows everybody, and don’t be surprised if the locals want to get to know you too.
-Unspoiled tropical terrain to explore
Anguilla is a great place for hiking and exploring. Or, you can simply walk along the beautiful beaches to get some exercise. Notable beaches include Shoal Bay, Meads Bay, Maundays Bay, and Rendezvous Bay Beach.
-Excellent choice of restaurants and European/Caribbean fusion cuisine
The dining on Anguilla is excellent. There are about 70 restaurants on the island, offering a wide range of cuisine, from European to Caribbean to Asian. Some international restaurants have received accolades for their fine cuisine.
Anguillan restaurants are also known for being innovative. For example, Hibernia Restaurant collect unique local ingredients for their entrees and combine them with international ones, such as wild honey from Myanmar.
Furthermore, local seafood is caught daily and served in many of these establishments. It’s pretty much guaranteed to be fresh wherever you dine.
-Seven different marine parks
Seven marine parks provide snorkeling and diving opportunities: Dog Island, Prickly Pear, Seal Island Reef System, Little Bay, Sandy Island, Shoal Bay Harbour Reef System, and Stoney Bay Marine Park.
Dog island is tiny and uninhabited, and has three small cays on its west and north coasts. It is home to many nesting seabirds, geckos, and even some feral goats.
The Prickly Pear cays are two small islands off the coast of Anguilla. Like Dog Island, they are uninhabited but frequently visited by snorkelers, divers, and other tourists.
-Several historic shipwrecks for divers to explore
Underwater wrecks in Anguilla include The Sarah, El Buen Consejo, the Oosterdiep, the Ida Maria, the Catheley H., and the Commerce. El Buen Consejo in particular is very historic and should not be missed. It belonged to a group of ships carrying Franciscan priests headed for Mexico. However, it sank in 1772. It is now a protected archeological reserve and marine park.
Anguilla after the 2017 Hurricanes
Hurricanes Irma and Maria ravaged the Caribbean in 2017, and about 30% of Anguilla was affected by the storms.
Although the island is still rebuilding, and some tourist hot-spots were destroyed, Anguilla has gotten back on its feet in record time. The country is still as beautiful as ever, and its resilient residents are determined to return Anguilla to its former glory.
That being said, your visit to Anguilla can help the island rebuild. If you’re not able to go, you can also donate toward reconstruction efforts, and help provide for residents whose homes were destroyed.
Plan your trip to Anguilla
Getting to Anguilla isn’t difficult. There are two options: fly directly to Anguilla’s airport, or fly to nearby St. Martin and take a 20 minute ferry ride to Anguilla.
Many travelers opt for the latter option due to the fact that flights to St. Martin’s SXM airport tend to be cheaper than flights to AXA (Anguilla’s airport code).
What to pack
Packing for Anguilla is the same as packing for any Caribbean vacation. You’ll need to wear light, breathable fabrics appropriate for the tropical climate. Weather in Anguilla averages around 80 degrees year round. Read all about what to wear on a Caribbean vacation here.
Anguilla uses the Eastern Caribbean dollar. However, US dollars are accepted almost anywhere. In some establishments, they are actually preferred. As far as tipping goes, most restaurants add about 15% to your bill, and hotels require a 10% service charge. According to Lonely Planet, budget meals range from $15- 20, and three-course gourmet meals start at around $110.