With picture-perfect beaches and waters teeming with lobster and turtles, this laid-back Caribbean nation is a slice of island paradise.
Anguilla is an island nation in the Lesser Antilles, a spectacular chain of Caribbean Islands that arcs from the Virgin Islands to Barbados. Pristine beaches and pure waters have made it a popular wedding destination, while low visitor numbers make it the perfect escape from the rigors of modern life.
Fly into the international airport or arrive by boat from nearby islands. Anguilla artfully blends designer resorts with quaint West Indian-style guesthouses. At just 16 miles (26 kilometers) long and 3 miles (5 kilometers) wide, the island is easy to explore.
The nation’s capital, The Valley, is home to about 2,000 residents. Take a free National Trust heritage tour and see the town’s British colonial buildings and oldest-surviving plantation home, Wallblake House. Discover local history at the Heritage Collection Museum. Walk to the peak of Anguilla’s highest point, Crocus Hill, to explore the old prison ruins and enjoy views across Crocus Bay.
Along the coast there are 33 beaches to explore. Year-round, the beaches at Shoal Bay, Barnes Bay and Rendezvous Bay look as if they’ve leapt from the covers of travel magazines. From April to November, beaches such as Maundays Bay, Meads Bay and Limestone Bay become nesting grounds for leatherback, green and hawksbill turtles.
Take a dive or snorkeling tour to spectacular coral reefs and shipwrecks at sites like Prickly Pear Cays and Grouper Bowl. Or, take a day cruise aboard a luxury catamaran and explore the waters between Anguilla and St. Maarten.
Visit in August to experience the Anguilla Summer Festival, when parades, fireworks and parties fill the streets of The Valley, and flotillas of colorful boats take to the water.
At sunset, take a romantic horseback ride along the beach, then enjoy the island’s famous lobster dishes at one of the many beachfront restaurants. Visit some of the laid-back bars then join welcoming locals on the beach as they celebrate their island home with dancing and Caribbean drumming.