Anguilla is situated in the British West Indies, around 150 miles east of Puerto Rico and nine miles north of St Martin. It is the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean. The name Anguilla means eel, which is a good description of a long, thin island. Anguilla has a flat landscape and its beaches are considered to be among the best in the Caribbean.
35 sq. miles (16 mi. long & 3 mi. wide at widest point)
As of the most recent census (2005), the population of Anguilla is estimated at 13,000.
English is widely spoken but with a distinct Anguillan accent.
Entry requirements vary for each destination; it is your responsibility to verify you have the correct documents prior to travel. After 31 December 2006 a valid passport is required for travel to all the Caribbean and Mexico.
Anguilla’s currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar. The exchange rate for the US dollar is fixed at $2.65 EC to $1.00 US. US currency, traveler’s checks and major credit cards are welcome and widely accepted.
110 Volts – same as that provided in the U.S.A.
Driving is done on the left-hand side of the road, as in England, and a valid license is required.
More About Anguilla
Anguilla is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean, one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. It consists of the main island of Anguilla itself, approximately 16 miles long by 3 miles wide at its widest point, together with a number of much smaller islands and cays with no permanent population.
The following list provides a brief description of several of the most beautiful beaches. Make sure to visit as many as you can on your next vacation in Anguilla.
Captains Bay is lined with dramatic coral cliffs. The beach is a wide stretch of white sand cornered at both ends by rock cliffs. It is now possible to reach the beach by walking the cliff road east of Island Harbour. The waters off this beach often carry a strong under-toe and it is not recommended for swimming. It is ideal for a picnic lunch. Take along a pair of hiking boots and wander through the rock formations along the coast or take the dirt track all the way to the eastern end of the island. Watch out for Abadam hole along the way. This giant cave was exposed to the surface when the thin rock roof collapsed.
Island Harbour is a fishermans village with a harbour full of small homemade fishing boats. The cresent shaped beach is lined with palm trees and the water is generally calm but quite often is lined with seaweed. The quiet relaxed atmosphere makes it worth the trip and is the place to find a local fisherman willing to take you for a boat trip to Scrub Island or fishing off shore.
Shoal Bay East
Shoal Bay East voted one of the ten best beaches in the Caribbean. Shoal Bay in the east is the most popular beach on Anguilla. This means that a good portion of the beach is lined with beach bars, small resorts and umbrellas. Fortunately they seem to blend into the background and actually come in handy when you are ready for lunch. The water is perfect, a giant pool of clear blue with a sprinkling of tiny fish right off shore. A short distance from the gradually sloping soft white sand is a live reef full of colorful fish and coral. For a great day on the water off Shoal Bay beach, look for Junior and his glass bottom boat.
Limestone Bay is worth the trip. Quiet, secluded and occasionally the nesting spot for some of Anguilla’s sea turtles and the island’s Iguana.
Little Bay is Anguilla’s best kept secret, a tiny quiet beach, fantastic snorkelling… You can get there by climbing down the cliff but a better way is to take Carl’s water taxi from Crocus Bay.
Crocus Bay is a short drive from The Valley,with magnificent cliffs and view of Anguilla’s off-shore cays. Often overlooked, this beach is great for swimming and snorkeling. Get in the water at Crocus Bay and swim all the way to Little Bay. The swim is easy, the water is shallow and is full of reef fish and coral. There is a small beach only accessable by water between Crocus and Little Bay. Here’s a thought…go in the morning, snorkel to Little Bay, arrange with Calvin’s Little Bay Boat Service to pick you up and carry you back.
Katouche Bay is a tiny beach is at the bottom of Anguilla’s only “rain forest”. Take the nature walk through Katouche Valley and end up at the beach. Or drive from Crocus Hill to Masara and walk down the easy way.
Road Bay and the village of Sandy Ground is Anguilla’s main port for ships and also nighttime activites. The long curved beach is lined with high cliffs and a salt pond behind. The harbour is usually filled with all types of fishing boats and pleasure boats. It is also the best place to find a boat ride to Sandy Island or Prickley Pear Cay. You have everything on Sandy Ground beach, great restaurant, entertainment and even a small grocery store.
Prickley Pear Cay
Prickley Pear Cay and Sandy Island are small cays off the north coast of Anguilla, a popular stop for sailboats and snorkel trips. Take a short boat ride to the islands from Sandy Ground. Three beachbar restaurants offer lunch and boat rides to the island.
Long Bay is usually quiet and the perfect spot for sunbathing. A villa type resort has recently been added to this beach front. Oliver’s restaurant sits on the cliff above with easy access to the beach, great views.
Meads Bay is a long stretch of sand, perfect walks in the sunset. Villa accommodation, a resort and restaurant line this beach.
Barnes Bay beach has great views and unusual rock formations. Several rental villa homes and a restaurant and hotel line this beach.
Windward Point is rugged wilderness. Wear hiking boots and explore the eastern tip of the island. Climb the rock at the end of Anguilla and get an excellent view of Scrub Island. This area is at present completely desolate…take a buddy.
Savannah Bay on the eastern end of the island is a long sweeping cresent beach backed by sand dunes. At present this beach has one beach bar and an occasional small fishing boat.
Mimi Bay is isolated rugged and not a great place for swimming,but perfect for shelling and hiking. Take a buddy.
Sandy Hill Bay
Sandy Hill Bay is a cresent of sand on a protected bay and a pleasant place to sun and swim. A favorite beach of the local population. A number of villas, some rental villas line the hills around this beach.
Forest Bay has very shallow water and a great view. Popular restaurant Straw Hat is located at the eastern end of this beach. Several rental villas are on the western end. This is one of the few beaches on Anguilla that has private rental villas right on the beach.
Elsie Bay is a tiny jewel and has some unusual snorkeling opportunities. Several rental villas are within walking distance of this beach.
Little Harbour is protected on all sides, this beach has no waves and is good for swimming and boating.
Blowing Point is the ferry port for Anguilla, this strip of beach has a very selcuded area to the west of the ferry that is wonderful for beach picnics and swimming. The area also has several rental villas and restaurant.
Rendezvous Bay is a mile long stretch of sand with calm clear water and the perfect view. Several resorts, a few rental villas and restaurants line this beach.
Cove Bay is lined with sand dunes and a gentle cresent beach. One restaurant sits on the eastern end of the beach and a public jetty.
Maunday’s Bay Beach is completely surrounded by Cap Juluca Resort. To reach this beach you must go through the resort.
Shoal Bay West
Shoal Bay West is a pleasant curve of sand with relatively calm waters for swimming. The view of St. Martin and Saba from this beach make it an enjoyable place to sunbath. The beach is dotted with upscale resorts and 2 restaurants.
Anguilla, British West Indies – the island that is ‘tranquility, wrapped in blue’ – chosen by visionaries as the destination of choice for luxurious, five-star resorts; and by all visitors for the pervasive quality found in each level of accommodations
Anguilla’s couples seeking a special, romantic getaway find a small island, gifted with 33 of the best beaches in the Caribbean – some say the world!
Tying the knot on Anguilla is as easy, relaxed and romantic as the island itself. You can marry on a cay, on a boat, at sunset, in a church, on a beach, in a restaurant or on the grounds of a luxurious resort, your own private villa, or a picturesque Caribbean hideaway hotel.
General Anguilla marriage requirements include:
- Couples wishing to marry on the island should obtain a license application from the Judicial Department, open weekdays between 8.30am and 4:00pm.
- Both parties must present proof of identity (valid passport, birth certificate etc).
- If divorced, the original decree must be presented.
- If widowed, a copy of the deceased spouse’s death certificate must be presented.
- A Marriage License must be purchased at a cost of US $284 (including stamp duty) if one partner has been on the island for less than 15 days, or US $40 if the stay is longer. At least 48 hours is required to process the license application.
- Two witnesses must be present during the wedding ceremony.
Additional requirements for a wedding in a Catholic church include:
- Confirmation papers
- Baptismal certificate
- Freedom to Marry papers
- Pre Cana course
- 3-6 months advance notice
A wide variety of dining options are available to guests of Anguilla villas, including French and Caribbean specialties. Dining here is likely to be al fresco, and many restaurants have spectacular views. Reservations are generally recommended, particularly in high season. It would be wise to check on the dress code at that time as well but generally smart casual dress is accepted across the island.
Here are a few of our favorite restaurants:
Shoal Bay West
Caribbean recipes combined with classic French cuisine for breakfast, lunch or dinner not far from the villas at the Altamer Resort.
Informal bistro with a delightful seaside terrace. Traditional French fare, good service and cheery conversation.
Charming open-air restaurant set in a garden on the beach. An ever changing menu that blends Caribbean, Cajun and Asian flavors is paired with a fantastic wine list. Open only for dinner, book well in advance.
A small and bright house with views of the harbour, this unique eatery blends Indochine and French tastes into a high-end dining experience (in an informal atmosphere).
“No fuss Italian cuisine” is how this recently opened trattoria is often described. Friendly service and the cliff-top terrace belnd to create a special (and cool) dining experience.
Mango’s Seaside Grill
On the island in Barnes Bay, Mango’s Seaside Grill is an open-air, candlelit eatery serving simple and tasty preparations of fish at reasonable prices.
Michel Rostang at Malliouhana
Changed seasonally, the menu at this staple of Anguilla dining combines Mediterranean classics with touches of local flare. This is the most formal of all Anguilla’s restaurants yet no jacket or tie is required.
Cars are the main means of transport, with driving on the left-hand side of the road, as in England. Although speed limits rarely exceed 30 miles per hour and traffic moves slowly, it doesn’t take long to get anywhere due to the islands smaller size.
Taxi service is available but can be costly. Taxi service is unmetered, with set rates published in tourist guides. In addition to regular transport, taxis often offer island tours lasting several hours. All fares must be paid in cash. There is no public transport, such as bus or rail systems, since there isn’t enough need. However, Anguilla’s roads are better maintained than on many Caribbean islands.
Ferries offer transport from Anguilla to other islands. The ferry from Blowing Point to Marigot, St. Martin, known to the locals as the Haddad Express, runs all day on the half hour and into the night. With no reservations required, taking the ferry is simple and inexpensive. Remember if you travel to other islands via ferry service you must bring along your passport as you will be passing through immigration.
Other means of transport include bikes, mopeds, and walking. Because off the territory’s small land mass and flatter terrain, these methods make more sense on Anguilla than on many other Caribbean islands.
After 25 years of friendly and reliable service, CaribbeanDays recommends Island Car Rentals as the premier on-island source for all of your transportation needs.
Please call CaribbeanDays for more information.
In addition to the fabulous beaches and varied water sports, Anguilla offers a variety of land activities to keep you busy – should you so desire.
All major resort properties have lighted courts that available to their guests and some have resident pros. There are two public courts in the Valley at the Ronald Webster Park. The Anguilla Tennis Academy (ATA), world class tennis facility, is located in Blowing Point.
Visitors can ride horseback along white, sandy beaches and scenic trails, and even ‘take a dip’ with their horse. Fees run about $35 per one hour, $50 for two hours. Private rides are approximately $60 for up to two hours. After 4:00 pm, fees rise slightly. English and Western saddles are available. For more information or to make reservations contact Seaside Stables (264-235-3667) or Anguilla Horses (264-729-3361).
Biking is an excellent way to see the island. Flat terrain, easily explored side roads and one main road make exploring easy. Bikes can be rented for approximately $10 per day. Mopeds are also available at about $20 per day. For reservations contact Flambayo Health Depot (264-497-5370) or Exotic Plus (264-497-8528).
Hiking is great way acquaint yourself with Anguilla’s interior. Hikes to natural and historical points of interest are available; maps are available through the Anguilla Tourist Board and many of the properties. Escorted hikes are reasonable and easily arranged. Contact Oliver Hodge (264-497-3696) for more information.
Anguilla’s salt ponds, the only wetlands on the island, serve as sanctuaries for Anguilla’s 136 different bird species ncluding white cheeked pintails and black neck stilts. Of particular note are Sandy Ground, East End, West End and Little Harbour ponds where pelicans, falcons, gulls, brown boobies, terns and herons all congregate. Bird Identification Cards (US$5) and A Field Guide To Anguilla’s Wetlands (US$10) are available from the Anguilla National Trust in The Valley.
For something a little different in Anguilla, Caribbean culture is showcased every Thursday night at La Sirena Hotel in Meads Bay. The Mayoumba Folkloric Theater puts on a spirited song-and-dance number using African drum beats and a live string band.
Open to the public in November of 2006, the Temenos Golf Club is sure to delight amateurs and professionals alike. Designed by Greg Norman, Temenos is a 7,100 yard 18-hole golf course located in Merrywing West End. The beautiful tropical scenery along the course is emphasized from the first hole featuring a spectacular view of St. Marten and the Caribbean Sea to the 18th hole which ascends 40 feet through rugged terrain to the green carved through native shrub. For information visit www.temenosgolfclub.com or call (264) 222-8200.
In addition the Anguilla Golf Association runs a pitch-and-put course. For information call (264) 497-2470.
Although Anguilla has no coral wall dives, Anguilla scuba dives up to 130 feet can be done. A favorite spot is at Prickly Pear Cays. On Dog Island the shore dives drop from 20 to 80 feet. The reefs between Scrub Island and the island’s eastern end are also worthwhile. Tamarian Watersports (264-497-2020) offers PADI certification, a short dive course, beginner and advance open water dives, night dives, deep water dives and wreck diving.
Excellent snorkeling can also be found at Prickly Pear Cays, Scrub Island, Sandy Island, Captain’s Bay, Shoal Bay West, Mimi Bay, Little Harbour Limestone Bay. Shoal Bay is ideal for beginner snorkelers. For snorkeling equipment rentals, contact Sandy Island Enterprises (264-497-6395).
Sailing is Anguilla’s number one sport. Much of the island’s racing and leisure yachts are launched off Road Bay and Blowing Point. For larger boats, there’s Tamariain Watersports (264-497-2020) or Sandy Island Enterprises (264-497-6395). For Sunfish and Hobie Cat rentals try Tropical Watersports (264-497-6666). For excursion boats to Prickly Pear Cays & Sandy Ground contact Sandy Island Enterprises (264-497-6395).
For deep sea fishing charters, contact Tropical Watersports (264-497-6666). In addition, Tackle Box Sports Center (264-497-2896) offers equipment rentals for deep sea fishing in Anguilla.
Whether you are looking for a self-guided tour to Anguilla, where you can explore the exotic nooks of the island on your own or you want an escorted tour of the island, where a local expert can take you to the esoteric corners of the island, Anguilla has it all. There are We recommend you ask your local resort/villa concierge to book you with a fantastic local company that offer tours of the island providing local knowledge and culture.
Another unique way to travel around the island and see it from outside, is aboard a Anguilla boat tour. We recommend Garfield’s Sea Tours (www.gotcha-garfields-sea-tours-anguilla.com , 264-497-2956).
Quiet Anguilla does not lend itself to a shopping frenzy, but major hotels have upscale shops and there are interesting boutiques around the island which carry fashionable clothes as well as unusual gifts and souvenirs. The Sunshine Shop stocks cotton pareos, resort wear, baskets, curios and antiques. Caribbean Fancy carries fine clothing, books, and local paintings as well as spices, sauces, Caribbean music, crafts and gifts. Micasa Ltd. an interesting new shop, specializes in Talavera pottery and rustic furniture from Mexico. They also carry decorative items from Indonesia, France and around the world.
A real prize for shoppers is arts and crafts produced by Anguilla’ s growing colony of artists. At the Devonish Art Gallery see paintings by a variety of Caribbean artists including Lynne Bernbaum. The studio’ s owner, Courtney Devonish, is a noted potter and sculptor who has exhibited internationally. His works make wonderful gifts. Something Special is a new shop and coffee bar in the same building, carrying perfume, fine jewelry, cigars and gifts from around the world.
See the creative and memorable works of Cheddie Richardson at Cheddie’ s Carving Studio. This Anguilla born and raised, self-taught carver likes to work with wood, including mahogany and driftwood, but also uses alabaster and coral. Sandals & Such & Island Art Gallery has a wonderful selection of prints, original artwork, plus sandals, jewelry, sea glass and shells. World Art & Antiques Gallery offers art from world cultures and by local artists, as well as jewelry, textiles and antiques. Visit Alecia’ s Place to choose from ceramics and pottery, souvenirs and fine towels & linens.
Anguilla has communications systems that are up to date with modern standards, so staying in touch with the rest of the world (should you so desire) is relatively easy. Most villas have cable TVs, allowing access to local, national, and international networks.
In addition, most villas have telephones that are capable of making calls overseas (you may need to make a phone deposit); if yours does not, you can use a local pre-paid phone card. These Cable and Wireless cards are only to be used in specially-marked booths.
If you feel the need to catch up via the Internet, most properties provide access although you should bring your own laptop as computers are rarely provided.
Guests of Anguilla villas will find that the island is safe and secure. Keeping these few health and security concerns in mind, however, will help to ensure that your vacation is enjoyable and hassle-free.
Petty street crime does occur, and visitors should take certain precautions. As is true for any vacation destination, we recommend keeping your villa and your rental car locked. Don’t keep any valuables in your rental car, even if it is locked. Valuables should never be left unattended at the beach. Even leaving irreplaceable items in villa is not a wise decision although safes are provided in many properties.
Do not underestimate the power of the Caribbean sun – many a traveler has had his or her vacation spoiled by painful sunburns or sunstroke. Protect yourself with sunscreen and avoid the strong midday rays. To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages.
There are limited medical facilities available on Anguilla and most serious situations require emergency evacuation, which is very expensive. However Anguilla’s Princess Alexandra Hospital is located in Sandy Ground and dialing 911 for emergencies will get you a quick response from the necessary emergency services.
Despite being out of the way, Anguilla has been inhabited, in some shape or form, for tens of thousands of years. Archaeologists recently discovered remains of the largest rodent known to have walked the earth – it was reckoned at about 3 feet (1 meters) high and weighing up to 350 pounds (160 kilos) and became extinct from Anguilla about 20,000 years ago. More recently the island was inhabited from about 2000 BC by the Arawak Indians who had gradually moved up through the Caribbean island chain from South America in their dugout canoes. 42 Amerindian archaeological sites of interest have been uncovered in Anguilla revealing many artifacts attesting to their presence and the richness of their culture. Many examples can now be seen at the National Trust Museum.
The English colonized the island in about 1650 but were themselves wiped out by the Caribs, a warrior people from South America, in 1656. The power struggle between the English and the French in the Caribbean dominated Anguilla’s history for the next 150 years and severely disrupted their basic cash crop economy. Anguillans experienced many hardships trying to eke out a living during political wrangling between these two powers.
The British Empire set up a new administrative framework for their territories in the region in 1824. In short, Anguilla was to be administered over by St. Kitts and lacked any real autonomy. Anguillans resented this as they felt those in St. Kitts were unaware and uninterested in the needs of Anguillans. These seeds of discontent were to come to a head some 145 years later.
The Emancipation Act of 1833 resulted in the end of slavery in Anguilla in 1838. Most of the white plantation owners returned to England and sold their land to former slaves. Anguilla developed into a society of independent peasants who settled all over the island to use any available fertile land. Living conditions were very hard indeed and over the next 70 years many Anguillans emigrated in order to find work in the sugar cane fields of surrounding islands. They refused, despite their poverty, to leave the island en masse and as a result Anguilla evolved as a separate and distinct society – deeply proud, resolute and industrious. Anguilla’s vital trade links to the rest of the Caribbean were maintained by boat; Anguillans became very skilful boat-builders and have a particular design style recognized throughout the Caribbean. They often built wooden trading vessels weighing up to 150 tons. These boat-building skills are still present today and Anguilla still takes custom orders for boats from surrounding islands.
Throughout the first half 20th Century Anguilla found that, despite all the political upheaval in the British West Indies, they could not shake the admininistrative noose that had collared them under the hand of St. Kitts in 1824. Despite numerous entreaties to the British government from as far back as 1872 for direct administration from Britain, Anguilla’s calls went unheeded. Anguilla did not fit the political tide, and was dealt with quite inappropriately by Britain. Tensions mounted between Anguilla and St. Kitts in the late 1950’s and throughout the 1960’s, helped along by the highly destructive nature of the threats made by the eccentric Chief Minister of St. Kitts, Robert Bradshaw.
Union with St. Kitts had done nothing for Anguilla’s infrastructure; up to 1967 there were no paved roads, no industries, no electricity, no pipe-borne water, no telephones and no proper port facilities. Anguilla decided that it must sever any constitutional links with St. Kitts and even resorted to invading St. Kitts in 1967 to show they meant business. They disarmed and sent all the St. Kitts policemen stationed in Anguilla back home. The British finally intervened in 1969 and sent 400 soldiers from the Paratroop Regiment to restore order to a population that, rather oddly, welcomed them when they arrived. This event was later dubbed the ‘Bay of Piglets’. Anguilla made sure that the political and administrative solution adopted had their interests, for once, at heart. It took until 1980 before Anguilla got what it felt it needed in order to have a reasonable chance of development: On 19th December 1980 Anguilla finally became a separate British Dependent Territory and ended a long and difficult chapter in its history.
Anguilla now has a Westminster-style system of government with a Governor, an Executive Council and a House of Assembly and enjoys peace and ever increasing prosperity.