A 35-square-mile island in the eastern Caribbean, Anguilla is a mere dot on many world maps. It’s been a well-kept secret for many years, but the news is finally getting out about the friendly getaway’s resilience (it weathered a category five hurricane in 2017) as well as its 33 breathtaking beaches, expansive dining scene and amazing festivals.
Visit Anguilla any time throughout the year to bask in the relaxing and welcoming atmosphere and enjoy tranquility wrapped in blue.
Explore the Bountiful Beaches
While there are many excellent beaches in the Caribbean, few can compare with Anguilla for the quality of the sand, sparkling waters and serenity. Unwind on the shore or take an exhilarating dip in the crystal-clear azure waters of the highly acclaimed Shoal Bay East, Rendezvous Bay Beach, Maundays Bay Beach and Meads Bay Beach.
Feeling more adventurous? Venture off the beaten path to discover tiny, secluded and beautiful Elsie Bay on the southern coast or journey to another unspoiled hidden gem on the north coast, Katouche Bay. There are no beach chairs, restaurants or umbrellas on these tucked-away coves, so be sure to bring your own seats and eats.
Set Out Offshore
A visit to one of Anguilla’s offshore cays is a must. Sandy Island — a sliver of pure, dazzling white sand in the middle of the ocean — is a short jaunt from the village of Sandy Ground via a speedboat.
To get to Prickly Pear Cays, a longer and more leisurely boat ride is required. A highlight of this picture-perfect destination is that birds (bananaquits and yellow warblers) are plentiful and will eat sugar right out of your hand.
Both cays have tremendous snorkeling, gorgeous views of the ocean and fresh and delicious seafood. Visits to offshore cays are also available via private charters and catamarans.
Experience the Beauty of Little Bay
Little Bay is tiny cove, isolated and sheltered by a tight embrace of towering cliffs. Take a short boat ride from Crocus Bay with an experienced boatman. If you’re feeling a little more daring, climb down the cliff or kayak or paddleboard over to this oasis — rentals are available at da’Vida’s restaurant at Crocus Bay.
Worries and stress will just fade away as you journey across the ocean. Snorkel in the picturesque bay or schedule a scuba dive with friendly professionals. Don’t miss the chance to jump off the big rock (you’ll know which one) into the alluring waters below.
Try the Local Flavors
You can’t visit this tiny island without stopping for its signature street food: roadside barbecue.
Savor mouth-watering, flame-grilled fare cooked right before your eyes at Ken’s BBQ in The Valley, Anguilla’s capital. Unassuming décor, throngs of locals and the lowest prices you will find on the island will bring you back again and again.
If you’ve still got a craving for smoky bites after that, try Valley’s BBQ in South Hill or B&D’s BBQ in West End.
For a special Saturday treat, trek into The Valley to seek out local legend Mable Gumbs selling conch dumplings and corn soup from a roadside stall, as she has for the last 30-plus years.
Catch a Sunset
Some of the most spectacular sunsets are in Anguilla. Though each evening is different, you won’t be disappointed with the kaleidoscope of yellows, oranges and reds on display at day’s end. If you’re lucky, you might even see the elusive green flash as the sun dips beneath the horizon.
You’ll have your pick of vantage points along the island’s 33 lovely beaches, be it if you’re sitting at a waterfront bar sipping a passion fruit mojito or from a yacht during a sunset cruise. There are no wrong choices here.
Appreciate Local History
The island has a rich history, ranging from Arawak settlements to the Anguilla revolution in 1967. Walk through its vibrant past at the brightly colored Heritage Collection Museum.
The curator of this unique collection is Colville Petty, an authority on Anguilla’s history. If you happen to run into him on your visit, pick his brain for historical nuggets. Otherwise, grab one of his books on the island’s past at the museum.
Go on a Hike
The Caribbean island’s beauty isn’t limited to cays and bays. Head inland to explore winding paths and lush forests with the help of Anguilla National Trust. ANT offers guided tours and excursions, but you can also embark on your own adventure. Visit the stunning natural rock and limestone arch in West End for a great photo opportunity, hike the coral rock cliffs at Captain Bay or find Iguana Cave in Katouche.
Enjoy a Festival
Anguilla throws colorful festivals throughout the year. The most famous of these fetes might be August Monday, a 24-hour beach party held on the first Monday of the month that draws thousands of visitors to the island.
Sample the culinary delights and musical performances of the Welches Fest in May, or join hordes of locals and visitors during Easter, as all roads lead to Island Harbour for Festival Del Mar. This two-day celebration of the sea features scrumptious seafood, a mix of local and regional music, activities for all age groups and swimming and fishing competitions.
Listen to Live Music
There is live entertainment at many of Anguilla’s restaurants during lunch and dinner. Choose a venue for its delicious food, but also to see talented and rising local musicians perform with their own unique sound.
Check out soulful Omalie 360 at Ocean Echo, legendary Bankie Banx at the Dune Preserve (which also hosts the annual Moonsplash festival) or rock with Omari Banks at da’Vida’s.
Shop for Local Souvenirs
Take a piece of the island home with you by visiting one of the talented artisans scattered throughout Anguilla.
Stop by Devonish Art Gallery, where you will encounter high-quality local sculptures and jewelry handcrafted with passion from a variety of materials, including wood, stone, clay and beads.
Close by, driftwood, coral and stone come alive at Cheddie Richardson Carving Studio.
While driving around the island, pop into the little specialty stores, boutiques and galleries you may spot to pick up a one-of-a-kind treasure as well.