35 square miles of pure magic…
The British Caribbean island of Anguilla is located just a small step off the beaten path in the northernmost point of the Leeward Island chain. An easy eight-minute flight or 25-minute boat ride from our French/Dutch neighbor, St. Martin/Sint Maarten or a 50-minute flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Made of coral and limestone, this haven is only 16 miles long from end-to-end and three miles wide at its widest point, but it is wrapped in 33 all-public, white-sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters. A tropical utopia for adults and children of all ages. Explore Anguilla by car, on foot, horseback, bicycle, boat or even by paddle-board.
Anguilla hospitality is evident everywhere. “Belongers” generously share their home, while also preserving Anguilla’s natural resources and tranquility. Locals and visitors forge life-long friendships and celebrate the island’s heritage together at annual festivals honoring music, sailing and the sea. Once you’ve set foot on Anguilla, you’ll find yourself returning again and again.
Anguilla’s vibe is laid-back, but accommodations are upscale. The landscape is unmarred by chain hotels or cruise ship crowds, creating a magnet for discerning travelers, destination wedding couples and celebrities seeking a break from the spotlight.
Dubbed the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean, the island is home to over 100 proprietary eateries from beachside stalls serving up conch fritters and tangy slaws washed down by locally-brewed beer, to five-star restaurants where you’re encouraged to linger over multi-course meals that blend exotic flavors with fiery sunsets. Tasty’s, Veya, Straw Hat, Picante, and Barrel Stay are favorites. You can also chill to live island music at most establishments every night. Be sure to catch Anguilla’s Bob Dylan, Bankie Banx and his son Omari Banks perform at the legendary Dune Preserve.
Four thousand years ago, the Amerindian people first arrived from South America and the history of our island begun. Living off the sea and the land, they established farms and villages on Anguilla. Over the years, a succession of tribes called our island home, including the Arawak people whose religion centered around the sun and moon. The island’s Big Springs cave at Island Harbour, and The Fountain at Shoal Bay were considered sacred and believed to be from where all mankind originated. The Fountain cavern is one of the Caribbean’s most intact ceremonial sites and features a stalagmite carved in the likeness of Jocahu, the Supreme Deity of the Arawak people
Christopher Columbus is credited with naming the island after the Amerindian word for eel based on its serpentine shape. The island was first colonized in 1650 by English settlers. In 1666, the French briefly ruled, before returning Anguilla to the British. In the 1700 and 1800’s Anguilla, like most of the Caribbean, exported sugar, rum and mahogany. Poor soil and lack of rain made farming difficult, however, preventing Anguilla from becoming a major plantation community. Residents turned to salt mining and fishing. Men also sought jobs on other islands, which sparked the now national past-time and long tradition of racing sailboats on their return to Anguilla.
By 1958, Anguilla was part of the Federation of the West Indies. After the Federation’s collapse, Anguilla and two other islands were combined into a single associated statehood until Anguilla revolted and gained its independence. In 1980 Anguilla became a separate British Overseas/Dependent Territory. The Anguilla people are proud of their independence and celebrate each year on the first Monday in August.
On September 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma hit Barbuda and later St. Barth, St. Martin and Anguilla. The island suffered extensive damage, but the resiliency of its people has prevailed and the island is stronger than ever. Anguilla was even recently named the number one island in Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Caribbean by Travel + Leisure Magazine for the third year in a row and post hurricane. Beaches are beautiful. Businesses are bustling. Restaurants are serving. More and more flights are being added everyday, and the island is hosting travelers from around the world once again.
Anguilla’s average temperature is a perfect 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The island receives 35 inches of annual rainfall, mostly from September to November, but even then it’s usually never all day. Hurricanes are rare, but September and October are typically the most likely months for any activity.
British Overseas Territory – Capital is The Valley
Eastern Caribbean Dollar, but the US dollar is widely accepted
Eastern Caribbean Time/Atlantic Standard Time