Awarded Top 10 country to travel to in 2022About Best In Travel 2022
Fringed by shimmering white-sand beaches shaded by coconut palms and sea-grape trees, and filled with colorfully painted, open-sided beach bars serving sizzling barbecues, feisty rum punches and live reggae tunes, Anguilla is the Caribbean dream come true. Its crystal-clear waters and vibrant reefs offer spectacular snorkeling, glass-bottomed kayaking, and sailing to islets and atolls scattered offshore.
The island's rich and varied history dates back to settlement by the Amerindians and Arawaks, with extraordinary rock art still being discovered in sites such as Fountain Cavern National Park. And unlike many nearby islands, the flat terrain makes it easy to get around by car, bicycle or quad bike.
There's a catch, of course. Anguilla is no shoestring destination and authenticity comes at a premium here. Luxury hotels and private villas cater to jet-setters craving a vacation off the radar. Visit outside high season for a more affordable taste of paradise.
Anguilla: Voted Top 10 Country as Best in Travel 2022
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Anguilla.
A trip to this tiny solar-powered islet is the quintessential Anguilla dream experience. Picture pure white-sand beach fringed by palm trees, translucent waters for snorkeling amid the turtle- and grouper-filled coral. The on-site restaurant runs hourly boat shuttles from the second pier in Sandy Ground and cooks up delicious barbecued lobster, chicken, ribs and other tasties. The bar serves island-inspired cocktails including potent JoJo rum punch. Buy tickets at the office in Sandy Ground (reservations requested but not necessary).
Idyllic Shoal Bay East – a shimmering 2-mile stretch of brilliant pinkish-white sand strewn with tiny crushed shells – is still miraculously blight-free. There's a handful of small-scale resorts and villas as well as a string of laid-back beach bars along the sand, but it's surprisingly quiet, even in high season. Bring your snorkeling gear (or rent some on-site), as the glassy turquoise waters are perfect for underwater observation.
Perhaps topping even Anguilla's tiara of beaches, this twin island some 6 miles (10km) northwest of Sandy Ground seduces with its pristine white-sand beach and some of the region's best snorkeling and diving. On land, a restaurant-bar feeds hungry tummies with grilled foods, salads and sandwiches (mains US$18 to US$50) and also rents beach chairs, umbrellas, kayaks, SUP and snorkeling gear. A shuttle operated by Calypso Charters leaves Sandy Ground at 11am and 12:30pm, returning at 2pm and 4pm.
Among Anguilla's more secluded beaches, west-facing Little Bay is a sublime sliver of sand with excellent swimming, snorkeling and sunsets. It can only be reached by boat. Drop by Da'Vida Bayside in Crocus Bay and ask for Calvin or whoever else is around to take you there. The round-trip fare should be around US$15 per person.
This long majestic white-sand beach exudes sultry languor and is a lovely spot to swim or take a sunset stroll. It's bookended by the Four Seasons and Malliouhana luxury hotels and also home to great restaurants like Blanchard's and Straw Hat.
Buy tickets for the trip out to Sandy Island at this little office next to Johnno's.
Fronting bobbing yachts and a couple of small piers, this golden-sand beach is calm, shallow and free from coral, making it a good spot to splash about. Snorkeling is best at the rocky northern end – keep an eye out for sea turtles; Scuba Shack rents gear. The beach bars and restaurants here draw plenty of punters, especially on weekends, when live bands often play.
Anguilla’s lone museum is curated by island historian Colville Petty who has amassed an astonishing and eclectic assortment of artifacts to chronicle milestones in Anguillan history. A wander through the different rooms lets you experience a well-curated timeline of events, from the settling of the ancient Arawaks to Queen Elizabeth II's 1994 visit and 2018's Calypso King.
Cradled by calm, crystal-clear waters, this pearly white crescent is idyllic for an extended stroll with a rum-punch stop or live music at Bankie Banx's Dune Preserve. The sprawling CuisinArt Resort and its golf course dominate the western end of the bay. There are several restaurants here although, for local flair, drop by Sunshine Shack.