Exclusive and chic are two words often used to describe the Caribbean island of Anguilla, which was voted as one of the "Top 10 Caribbean Islands" by USA Today in 2014. The island is known for high-end resorts, award-winning restaurants, and pristine beaches that attract those who expect nothing but the best. If you are willing to go the extra mile to spend your next vacation relaxing in a swank tropical locale, Anguilla is the place for you
|Currency||The official currency of Anguilla is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$), although U.S. dollars are almost universally accepted. The exchange rate is permanently fixed at about EC$2.70 to each US$1 (EC$1 = US$0.37).|
|Electricity||The electrical system is 110-volt, so U.S. devices don't need adapters; other visitors should plan to bring or purchase adapters.|
|GDP Per Capita||The annual per capita income is about $8,600(USD).|
|Island Size||The island covers approximately 37 square miles.|
|Language||English is the official - and most used - language of Anguilla.|
|Population||The island is home to about 13,254 residents, and sees about 48,00 visitors annually, 63 percent of whom come from the U.S.|
|Entry Requirements||All visitors must have an onward or return ticket at the time of arrival, as well as a valid passport. For most tourists, that will be it, making the process very straightforward and easy for those who plan ahead.|
Situated between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Anguilla is the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. Not a large island by any means, Anguilla has a total area of 35 square miles, which is about half the size of Washington, D.C. The island's coastline runs about 37.9 miles, and features numerous bays and 33 beaches. Further inland, Anguilla is characterized by flat, dry land, coral, and limestone bluffs. Vegetation is minimal on this dry island.
Most of Anguilla's 13,254 residents are of African descent. Many Europeans, predominantly of Irish descent, also live on the island. Most locals work in the tourist industry or make a living fishing for lobster. The island is currently under the British government, but the population is far more politically conservative than the U.K. Despite recent advances toward independence, many islanders feel attached to the U.K. for economic security, and rely on their parent nation to make foreign affairs decisions for them.
Anguilla is located near the equator, a contributing factor to the warm, dry climate. Even in the winter temperatures rarely drop below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with an annual average temperature of 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily, northeast trade winds help to cool things down on particularly hot days. Vacationers need not worry about rain ruining their plans. Annual rainfall reaches only 35 inches, and when it does rain (usually in the summer), showers rarely last more than 15 minutes at a time.
Anguilla's beaches are said to be some of the most beautiful in the world...
Anguilla's only airport, Wallblake Airport does not see air traffic from locations outside of the Caribbean as of 2010. This means that tourists who hope to travel by air will be required to layover on another island. The most popular choices are San Juan, Puerto Rico and Sint Maarten, though connections are sometimes also available from St. Kitts, Antigua, or St. Thomas. Another option is flying into Sint Maarten and hopping on a ferry to Anguilla. Ferries run approximately every 45 minutes from Marigot Bay and Blowing Point, and cost $15(USD) plus a $5(USD) departure tax. The downside to traveling by ferry is that Margiot Bay is 20 minutes from the airport by taxi. Instead of making the trek, you can take a privately chartered boat or water shuttle from just outside the airport. The water shuttle costs $55(USD), and a private charter is significantly more expensive, costing approximately $360(USD). Click here for more information about ferries.
Regular land based taxis are another popular option for guests. Service to the Sandy Ground Area is generally less than $10(USD), and service to the West End Resorts is generally less than $22(USD). Click here to read more about your taxi options.
Most visitors take advantage of the lack of precipitation on the island by spending their days outdoors. Anguilla's beaches are said to be some of the most beautiful in the world, a fact that had this island listed at number 28 on Travel + Leisure's 2013 list of the "World's Best Islands." A day spent relaxing in the sand is not a day wasted. Water activities in the surrounding ocean, like boating, fishing, water skiing, snorkeling, and diving, are especially popular activities.
Another way to spend time outdoors is by touring some of the island's natural landmarks such as Fountain Cavern National Park and Big Spring National Park. These parks are archaeological sites believed to have been places of worship for Amerindians hundreds of years ago, allowing visitors to experience history at these locations as well. Other ways to learn about Anguilla's history is by visiting any one of several small museums, or touring the only remaining eighteenth century plantation home on the island.
The arts are alive in Anguilla...
Anguilla's travelers have the opportunity to view one of natures wonders between the months of April and November. During these months, the island's beaches become the nesting grounds for Leatherback, Green, and Hawksbill turtles, and you might just be able to watch as these turtles build their nests, or even catch their progeny hatch and make their way to the sea. To up your chances, visit Maundays Bay, Mead’s Bay, Captain’s Bay and Limestone Bay, where sightings often occur.
The arts are alive in Anguilla, and artists from around the world are drawn to the island to join the local art colony in their pursuit of creating fine art. Numerous art galleries and studios line the island's streets, dazzling passersby with handmade woodcraft, pottery, and sculpture, alongside sculptures, paintings, and photographs. Purchasing a piece of artwork from Anguilla not only helps support a local artist, but allows you to display a souvenier from your island vacation in your home for years to come.
...the “Cuisine Capital of the Caribbean”...
What Anguilla is really good at is pampering its guests. Spas and wellness centers offer visitors the ultimate in relaxation with everything from facials and massages to full on makeovers, both external and spiritual. Travelers looking to get away from it all and rejuvenate their body and mind will find that Anguilla is the perfect island for them.
Dining out isn't just a means for fueling your body in Anguilla; it is an art form. Anguilla is known as the “Cuisine Capital of the Caribbean,” and is home to over 70 delectable eateries. From high-end gourmet dining to beach side cafés, foodies from around the world are left drooling for more.
Anguilla provides visitors with world-class food, beaches, and service in a setting that can only be described as paradise. The exclusivity that comes from being on an island that is not easy to get to is the perfect destination for those who demand nothing but the best – and are willing to pay for it. Why go to Anguilla? Because you're worth every penny.
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