The island of Anguilla has an incredible diversity in topography, and this makes the island a paradise for water sports lovers. From scuba diving to sailing, the island’s shallow waters host some of the world’s best wreck dives while the reefs at Shoal Bay and other beaches have some of the most colorful coral gardens in the Caribbean.
There are also plenty of other water activities to enjoy, like kayaking and windsurfing. For those looking for a bit more excitement, try taking a trip to an off-island cay like Scilly Cay or Sandy Island. Anguilla is also a great destination for land and sea exploration, thanks to its many limestone caves, wildlife observation (like sea turtles) and nature trails.
Guests can also take advantage of the island’s many social and sporting clubs, which provide the community with a sense of belonging. Golf and tennis facilities, music and dance groups, summer camps, continuing education programs and beautification and environmental clubs are all part of the island’s rich cultural mix.
A mixture of British and African influences, Anguillian culture is rooted in the island’s historic past. Important stages and events are commemorated with gusto, while legends and stories of the early Amerindian settlements, European settlers and African slaves remain woven into everyday life and passed on through generations.
In the seventeenth century, European settlers colonized Anguilla and set up corn and tobacco plantations on the island’s flat center. These were short-lived as the Caribs, a warrior tribe from South America, attacked and destroyed the plantations. It was not until the eighteenth century that sugar became a major crop in Anguilla, and a significant number of Africans were imported from Africa to work the sugar cane fields.
Today, tourism is Anguilla’s leading industry. The island also has a thriving fishing industry, and it is a major exporter of fish and lobster. Other traditional industries, such as shipbuilding and the raising of livestock, have also continued. The economy is diversified, and the island is highly developed and prosperous.
In recent years, the island has expanded its international connections through air service. Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (formerly Wallblake Airport) has a main runway that can handle moderately-sized aircraft, and regional scheduled passenger services connect the island with other Caribbean destinations. Private flights and cruise ships are also common.