Start Planning Your Anguilla Vacation
With 33 beaches spread out over 34 square miles, Anguilla’s known for being one of the top beach destinations in the Caribbean. Not that you have to spend all day in the sand and sea. There’s plenty more to do in Anguilla—you’ve got bars, music venues, restaurants and resorts lining the coast. Divers delight in the clear waters, enjoying colorful coral reefs and ancient wrecked ships while foodies love the great selection of restaurants. Other adventures include the island’s rich culture—take your pick from museums, preserved plantations, the music scene and more. Anguilla is a wonderful combination of history, exciting tourist attractions and great beaches. You’ll have to see it all for yourself.
Other Destinations in Anguilla
Mapping Out Anguilla
In Anguilla, it’s all about the coastline. Restaurants, boating services, and island nightlife all flourish near the water. In the northeast corner of the island, you’ll find Captain’s Bay and Island Harbour. The harbor is a launch point for Anguilla’s colorful fishing boats and a home for many restaurants. In the northwest, you’ll find several gorgeous beaches, including the famous and widely acclaimed Shoal Bay beach, which offers many eateries, boutique shopping, wreck dives and more. In the southwest corner, Cove Bay and Maundays Bay boast gorgeous stretches of sand and water. Once you’ve experienced the coastline, head inland to witness the island’s history in preserved plantation homes, an old jail, a church, and a museum. If the coastline is Anguilla’s face, then the interior is its soul, and the two combined make for one great vacation.
Anguilla in a Nutshell
Recently it’s been name-checked in hip-hop songs and featured on reality TV, but the tiny (16 miles long; 3 miles wide) isle of Anguilla has been on chic travelers’ radars for decades, attracting wealthy families and camera-dodging celebrities to its white-sand shores. Touch down here, however, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the casual, low-key and unpretentious vibe that prevails despite the island’s posh reputation, and delighted by the genuine warmth of the locals, who number around 16,000. Driving along rutted roads from the airstrip or ferry dock you’ll see little evidence of the capital that flows through the island. But as soon as you reach the beach and Anguilla’s multimillion-dollar villas and luxury resorts are revealed, all becomes clear. It's a country you won't soon forget.
Stay in Paradise
Contrary to popular belief, Anguilla offers accommodations for all budgets, from shoestring to stratospheric.
For travelers looking to escape the bustle of mega resorts, the Anacaona Boutique Hotel is nestled into Anguilla, right next to Mead's Bay. It's an intimate retreat that offers a no-frills escape into a beautiful paradise.
Then there are the island’s pricier “legacy resorts,” that have been drawing a well-heeled and celebrity crowd for decades.
Of course, you could always opt for the privacy, convenience and luxury of a villa. Anguilla has more than 300 of them, so you’re sure to find one to suit you.
Play in Sandy Island
On an island blessed with 33 white-sand shores – all of them outstanding – spending time on the beach is a no-brainer. And whether you’re in search of seclusion (we recommend the cozy cove at Little Bay, accessible only by rope ladder or boat!) or a buzzing scene (Shoal Bay and Meads Bay are always lively but never crowded) Anguilla’s got a “shore” thing for you.
Another of our favorite ways to spend a day is on one of Anguilla’s offshore islands. There are five, but we’re partial to Sandy Island and Scilly Cay. From Sandy Ground catch the boat (appropriately named Happiness) to Sandy Island for sun, sea, and a side of succulent, lobster-like local crayfish. Scilly Cay, just five minutes from the dock at Island Harbour, also offers huge, pricey-but-worth-it seafood platters served under beach palapas. But it is most famous for its rum punches, guaranteed to put you in an island state of mind. At only $5 each they’re a rare Anguilla bargain – but deadly!
Love the nightlife? On Thursday nights, groove to live bands at The Pumphouse in Sandy Ground, saunter across the street to Elvis’ Beach Bar for a rum punch (or three), and then stagger home.
Try the Island's Best Cuisine
With more than 50 restaurants, you’ll never go hungry on Anguilla. In fact, and you’ll probably return home few pounds heavier, but trust us, the cuisine is worth every calorie.
Start the evening with cocktails at Viceroy resort’s Sunset Lounge, where an international DJ spins the soundtrack for a jet-setting crowd of beautiful people. Then, for local eats, sample the Thursday-night buffet (and folkloric show) at Anacaona hotel, or swing by Tasty’s, where Anguillian chef Dale Carty whips up fresh-from-the sea goodies such as spicy conch ceviche with fried plantain. You’ll be hard-pressed to find more inventive cuisine than at Island Harbour’s Hibernia, which features Indonesian, Caribbean and French flavors melded to mouthwatering result.
Beachfront dining, is of course, a big thing here, and some of our favorites include Straw Hat on breathtaking Mead’s Bay; Smokey’s at The Cove for delish barbecue; and Sandbar in Sandy Ground, where absolutely amazing tapas is issued from the kitchen in no time flat!
Buy Signature Souvenirs
For such a diminutive destination, Anguilla boasts a surprisingly diverse selection of stores and souvenir-snagging opportunities.
If money is no object, hit the boutique at the Viceroy resort for designer beach and eveningwear and their signature customized James Perse T-shirts. The island’s coolest tees, however, come from Irie Life boutique in South Hill, which carries fashion-forward toppers in on-trend colors and styles; no boring boxy crew-necks here!
ZaZaa’s trio of stores (at Anacaona hotel, and in South Hill and Shoal Bay) are a must for an eclectic assortment of beachwear and jewelry sourced from all over the world. Stop by Seaspray boutique, also in South Hill, for locally produced craft items. (Look out for the whimsical “rasta head” bottle openers, which make inexpensive and useful souvenirs.) And late-night shoppers will love Bijoux boutique in Sandy Ground, which sells an impressive array of silver jewelry and stays open until 10pm.
Anguilla Quick Facts
A British-influenced English.
Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar is official, but the USD is widely accepted.
110 volt outlets, no adapter is required for American electronics
All U.S. citizens must have a valid passport when traveling to and from Anguilla.
Unless you’re at a resort that explicitly tells you that it supplies its own desalinated or chlorinated water, stick to bottled water.
Eastern Standard Time (UTC/GMT -4 hours)
mid-December – mid-April