A British Overseas Territory in the northern Caribbean Sea, Anguilla is the smallest of the Eastern Caribbean islands. The island is a sun-and-sea sanctuary that long ago outlawed cruise ships and casinos in favor of discreet, upscale hotels like the world-class Cuisinart resort. As a result, the island is a haven for the sophisticated traveler. Its beaches have whiter sand than mile markers and pristine marine life.
Anguilla’s most striking geographical feature is the double reef system that encircles the island, which is an underwater wonderland for snorkelers and divers. A variety of scuba diving sites can be found around the island, including shipwrecks that have attracted a lot of attention from the diving community.
The reefs are also home to a plethora of marine species that you can see by visiting the island’s numerous dive spots. Other activities include sailing, windsurfing and kayaking in calm, protected bays; golfing at the island’s premier course, the Valley Country Club; or soaking up the sun on one of the many gorgeous beaches. A trip to Anguilla will surely satisfy nature lovers who love bird watching as well. You can spot tropical hummingbirds, brown boobies and seagulls in their natural habitat.
As for cultural attractions, the fully intact Wallblake House Museum is a must-see for history buffs. Guests can learn about Anguilla’s West Indian culture, which is a mix of British and African influences. In the past, due to its dry and barren terrain, Anguilla’s small population relied on the sea for survival, and this influenced its culture. It is not uncommon to find a seafaring spirit in the island, and Anguillans often take pride in their racing skills and yachting prowess.
Music is also a huge part of Anguillian culture. The island is known for producing top reggae, calypso and soca artists, including Grammy-winning singer Bankie Banx, who has performed with music icons Jimmy Buffett and Bob Dylan and founded the Moonsplash festival on the island. Stop by Dune Preserve at night and you might catch a performance featuring Banx and friends.
Whether you’re a fan of fine dining or casual eateries, there are plenty of satisfying options for you in Anguilla. The island’s restaurants feature a wide range of cuisine, from classic French to Caribbean dishes made with buttery Anguillan lobster. And after dinner, you can enjoy a potent cocktail at one of Anguilla’s ubiquitous beach bars.
While Anguilla may be a playground for the rich, there are holiday villas and midrange hotels that offer budget-friendly accommodations. You can even go shopping at one of the island’s many boutiques without breaking the bank. Just remember to bring some cash as smaller shops, certain restaurants and the departure tax require it. For your daytime needs, pack breathable t-shirts and dresses, swimwear and a hat to protect yourself from the strong tropical sun. And don’t forget your strongest, reef-safe sunscreen! Anguilla’s warm, breezy climate means it can rain any time, so you should also bring a light jacket or shawl to cover up.