A Caribbean British Overseas Territory, Anguilla’s white-sand beaches and crystal-blue waters provide a picture perfect backdrop for world-class hotels and spas, trending restaurant cuisine, vibrant music and art, and surf and turf recreation. Its people, though, are what makes the island truly special. Everywhere you go, you’ll find residents extending warm and welcoming smiles and friendly waves of hospitality.
The island is a popular tax haven and does not impose capital gains, inheritance, profit or other forms of direct taxes on its citizens and residents. Its small size, in both geographical area and population, has contributed to its close-knit society with a high level of courtesy and respect. Many Anguillans have been known to greet strangers, even if they don’t know them, with at least a handshake.
Anguilla’s heritage is a rich mixture of stately British traditions and a lively Caribbean spirit. The island’s poor soil prevented it from developing a large plantation system during colonial times and spared Anguillans some of the racial tensions that marred other Caribbean islands. The British influence on Anguilla’s culture is evident in its driving on the left side of the road, its many English churches and a strong focus on family and faith.
A combination of Amerindian, European and African influences have also shaped Anguillian culture. Anguillans are very proud of their island’s history and important milestones and traditions are celebrated with fervor. For example, Anguilla’s spectacular Summer Carnival, held in August, is an homage to the emancipation of African slaves and includes parades, competitions, music and dance.
In the kitchen, a variety of West Indian and African cooking techniques have combined to produce the cuisine that Anguilla is famous for. Seafood is a staple with the likes of conch ceviche, barbecued rib-eye and grilled lobster being popular options. At fine dining establishments, dishes are elevated to the next level with ingredients such as venison carpaccio and wagyu beef tartare.
Anguilla’s music scene is also booming with a number of popular reggae, calypso and soca artists including multi-instrumentalist Bankie Banx. Many of the bars along the island’s necklace of beaches feature live entertainment. The music is infectious and the vibes are fun and spirited. In addition to music, the locals enjoy many other activities that promote wellness and a sense of community. They include tennis and golf clubs, a sailing school, music programs, book clubs, dance and theatre groups, community gardens and beautification projects. A variety of sports leagues (cricket, soccer, baseball and basketball) are also in place to cater to the community’s interests.