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Did You Know … ?

  • Amerindians colonized the island 4,000 years ago; artifacts date to 1300 B.C.
  • The provisional government in 1967 asked to be an administrative territory of the U.S. but was turned down.
  • In Latin, Anguilla means eel, referring to the shape of the main island.
  • The indigenous Arawak people believed that mankind originated in two sacred island caves.
  • Six nearby islands belong to Anguilla; they have names like Dog Island, Prickly Pear and Scrub Island.

No short shorts, please

Anguilla is the place for travelers who prefer a Caribbean vacation without grungy and wild partying tourists. Part of the British West Indies, Anguilla has a very different atmosphere from that of its nearby French island neighbors.

Unlike St. Barts where topless bathing is permitted on most beaches, Anguilla reflects its proper British heritage. Its official Web site and postings on its beaches warn visitors not to remove their tops. Anguilla’s Web site even tells travelers how to dress: “Casual but in good taste. Short shorts, bikinis, bra-type tops in both men and women are undesirable.”

There are no traditional tourist shops either, just authentic native crafts. Cars drive on the left, the official flag includes the Union Jack and the legal system is British.

The people and the government are friendly to tourists because tourism is the major contributor to their economy. They work hard to preserve and enhance their natural resources and the government screens and certifies individuals and companies that deal with tourists. Hotels and villas are well kept and generally upscale, and restaurants are world class.

The main island is a flat outcropping of coral and limestone. Measuring only 35 square miles, most of it can be toured by bicycle. Its beaches are considered by some to be the best in the world and all 33 are open to the public. But beach lovers have to reach some of them by boat or by climbing down rugged cliffs.

It’s a small, quiet place so don’t count on lots to do. However, Anguilla has numerous festivals throughout the year, featuring jazz, the arts, local culture and sports. Water sports are the island’s main attraction, but Anguilla boasts a Greg Norman-designed 72-par golf course.

Consider Anguilla upscale and a bit more expensive than most Caribbean islands. And for visits between May and November, mosquito repellent is advisable. As with other tiny islands, you can’t get there from here. Visitors have to fly to other islands and catch a commuter plane or ferry to Anguilla.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Rent bicycles to explore this very flat island. There will still be places where you’ll have to park the bikes and walk to beaches that don’t have well-defined trails leading to them.
  • This is one of the few places where you can shop for quality without being surrounded by touristy trinkets. Look for native art, crafts and jewelry.
  • Boat racing is Anguilla’s national sport. You’ll be able to rent a high-powered boat and cruise through calm waters.
  • Enjoy Anguilla’s most secluded beach, Dropsey Bay (also called Jobsey Bay). Get good directions to find it. You’ll have to park and walk down to the beach.
  • Another secluded beach is Long Pond Bay which has a fairly heavy surf. Great for an intimate picnic.
  • You can boat, sail and waterski at Maundays Bay and follow that up with an elegant lunch at one of Cap Juluca’s beachside restaurants.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Snorkeling and scuba diving are available at most beaches. The best snorkeling spots include Crocus Bay, Junk’s Hole, Sandy Island and Shoal Bay East.
  • Visit the island’s seven marine parks — Dog Island, Little Bay, Prickley Pear, Sandy Islands, Seal Island Reef System, Shoal Bay Harbour System and Stoney Bay Marine Park. Besides a variety of fish, these include shipwrecks.
  • Take a horse out for the day and explore the island. Anguilla is not that big and you’ll enjoy places more accessible by horse than walking.
  • Anguilla is considered to have the largest collection of five-star resorts in the Caribbean. Splurge and enjoy at least a couple of nights (and dinners) surrounded by magnificent views, available from all of these hotels.
  • Go fishing. The waters teem with marlin, swordfish, wahoo and blackfin and yellowfin tuna.
  • For the after-dark scene, visit Sandy Ground/Road Bay with its bars and nighttime hotspots.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Dine at the award-winning Koal Keel Restaurant. Its wine cellar, located 17 feet below ground, holds more than 35,000 bottles of wine.
  • Book a spa treatment, available at most luxury hotels. Well-trained staff will make you feel relaxed and like a new person..
  • If you’re a golfer, play the Greg Norman course at Temenos Golf Club. Many say it’s second in beauty only to Pebble Beach.
  • Or, a nine-hole pitch-and-putt golf course is available for the casual golfer. A miniature golf course is available for the whole family in South Hill.
  • Enjoy Island Harbour, home of colorful fishing boats. Enjoy the award-winning Hibernia Restaurant while there.
  • Charter a glass-bottom boat at Shoal Bay East to see colorful fish up close without getting wet.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the Anguilla Tourist Board at and, to find travel agents who are Anguilla experts, click on Travel Agents under the Getting Here button on the home page, or go directly to