Anguillan culture is a blend of West Indian, British and African influences. Anguilla’s local population is almost entirely descended from African slaves brought to the Caribbean several centuries ago. Since 2006, many Chinese, Mexican and Indian workers have been employed on the island to build Anguilla's surge of new resorts.
Sailboat racing is the national sport and a vital part of everyday life. Races are a common occurrence and are a great way to hang out with the community. Cricket is also popular, and a rugby team formed in 2006.
Upscale tourism drives the economy and today almost three-quarters of the island’s inhabitants work in hospitality or commerce. Anguillans take pride in maintaining the balance between tourist development and the preservation of a thriving local society.
For a small island, Anguilla has an impressive arts-and-crafts scene that mostly focuses on inventive local artists rather than a rich textile history. There are currently about two dozen resident artists on the island and several galleries displaying their work.
Landscape & Wildlife
Anguilla, an arid island shaped like an eel (its namesake), lies 5 miles north of St-Martin/Sint Maarten. Its 33 white-sand beaches have prompted countless imaginations to linger over whether one could subsist on a diet of coconuts to take an early retirement here.
Throughout the island, 159 bird species have been recorded, including the Antillean crested hummingbird, frigate, brown pelican, snow egret and black-necked stilt. Endangered sea turtles, such as the hawksbill, can be spotted offshore in seven protected marine parks: Dog Island, Little Bay, Prickly Pear, Sandy Island, Seal Island Reef System, Shoal Bay-Island Harbour Reef System and Stoney Bay. The most commonplace creatures on the island are the many roaming goats and sheep. (If you see a slightly fuzzier-looking goat with its tail down, not up, it’s actually a Caribbean sheep.)
Like many Caribbean islands, Anguilla desalinates much of its water. Be mindful of letting the water run needlessly.