For many years, the tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla was famous for being a tax haven because of its lack of income tax. Although Anguilla imposed a three percent interim stabilization levy in 2011, more and more of the island’s tourists have come purely for pleasure instead of tax purposes. On the surface, this flat island may not appear to have much to offer compared to its Caribbean neighbors, but it’s still a beautiful beach to sip rum punch while receiving a sumptuous massage in the lap of luxury.
Anguilla lacks the all-inclusive resorts, casinos, and conspicuous consumption of nearby St Martin, but this is one of the things visitors love most about this unpretentious and unspoiled retreat. The small coastline boasts more than its fair share of beautiful beaches filled with pristine turquoise waters and powdered coral sands. Anguilla may not be the cheapest or easiest Caribbean island to get to, but it is one of the safest and most peaceful places to spend a Caribbean holiday.
Many of Anguilla’s most exciting activities lie beneath its aqua waters, from scuba diving or snorkeling around coral reefs and shipwrecks to offshore fishing in the company of friendly local captains. Anguilla’s official sport is sailing, which visitors can easily learn from the island’s own sailing association. Most visitors choose to end their day with a relaxing massage at Anguilla’s growing number of spas or dance barefoot among the locals at the island’s equally large number of friendly beach bars.
Despite Anguilla’s expensive reputation, good quality and affordable hotels aren’t hard to find for visitors who know when and where to look. Accommodation and airfare plummet by as much as 50 percent during the low season from June to October, which are also the island’s prime hurricane months. Anguilla also ranks among the Caribbean’s finest foodie havens, boasting over 70 restaurants whose cuisines range from home cooked Johnny cakes, rice, and pigeon peas to multi-course meals prepared by celebrity chefs.
The only ways to get directly to Anguilla are by ferries from Marigot on St Martin or on flights to Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport, the only air gateway to this tiny island. Many Anguilla visitors also choose St Martin‘s larger Princess Juliana International Airport as their initial Caribbean getaway before boarding charter flights or ferries to the more private Anguilla.
Travel around Anguilla is far easier than travel to the island, with taxis and rental cars both readily available at the airport and the Blowing Point ferry stop. However, visitors may prefer taking slower and more scenic routes around this 16 mile long and three mile wide island by foot or by bicycle. Many horseback rides end with a cool dip in the Anguilla beach waters.
- Come face to face with El Buen Consejo, the Spanish shipwreck submerged at Stoney Ground Marine Park since the 18th century
- Ride a horse directly through Anguilla’s turquoise waters
- Learn Anguilla’s national sport alongside the locals during Anguilla Sailing Association classes
- Sample several cuisines at over 70 restaurants in Anguilla
- Tour the ancient underground caves at Big Spring and Fountain Cavern national parks
- Swim and play with the dolphins at Meads Bay
- Dance barefoot to live reggae music at Anguilla’s beach bars
- End the day with a rum punch and a luxurious massage