What Anguilla lacks in size, it more than makes up for in that much-sought Caribbean asset: pristine, powdery beaches. Boasting 19km (12 miles) of white coral coastline, Anguilla's calm and polychromatic waters are enough to lure any potential visitor.
Comprised of several other islands and cays, Anguilla is rapidly becoming a holiday haven for the rich and famous. Brad Pitt, Robert de Niro and Robin Williams have all relaxed in the island's vivid blue ocean, no doubt sipping on expensive cocktails.
For those seeking an altogether cheaper type of cocktail, nothing can beat staring out at a Caribbean sunset while sipping an Anguillan tipple in one of the many beach bars. Those who like their food need not worry either, since restaurants on the island are excellent and offer a mixture of cuisines, with a natural emphasis on seafood and alfresco dining. Nightlife is centred on hotel nightclubs or barefoot dancing in those beach bars.
If you ever get bored of relaxing, there are loads of activity choices. Many resorts and hotels are situated on the beach and offer boating, snorkelling, fishing and scuba-diving equipment for adventurous types. For the culturally minded, Anguilla, despite its diminutive size, has around 15 art galleries to stroll around and observe Anguillan talent. Wherever you are though, those beautiful beaches are only minutes away.
Things To Do in Anguilla
• Explore scores of deliberately sunken wrecks and award-winning underwater parks that attract schools of fish by diving in one of the seven marine parks that Anguilla offers: Prickly Pear, a beautiful canyon characterised by ledges and caverns, where nurse sharks can be seen; Little Bay, a calm, sheltered site suitable for training and night dives; Shoal Bay Harbour Reef System; Stoney Bay; Dog Island; Seal Island Reef System and Sandy Island.
• Savour traditional reggae music and cocktails under a luminous full moon at Anguilla's annual music festival, Moonsplash.
• Make the most of being surrounded by water by trying any of Anguilla's numerous watersports on offer, such as parasailing, windsurfing and waterskiing, easily organised through Shoal Bay or individual hotels.
• Penetrate Anguilla's waters: do something you will never forget and swim with friendly dolphins; go shore- or deep-sea fishing and discover an abundance of marlin, tuna, swordfish and wahoo.
• Dance yourself silly at Anguilla's annual summer festival of fun, and expect to experience everything from calypso and pageants to street jams, fireworks and boat races (Anguilla's national sport).
• Stroll through any of Anguilla's 15 galleries and studios for a bit of culture, and consider buying your own watercolour painting for a permanent reminder of your holiday.
• Explore Anguilla's many idyllic, white coral beaches at a leisurely pace: some of the best beaches are Rendezvous Bay, Shoal Bay, Road Bay, Maundays Bay, Cove Bay, Meads Bay and Crocus Bay.
• Pop into the impressive Wallblake House, a restored plantation house whose foundations date back to 1787.
• Peer into Anguilla's many grotto-like rock areas and hidden coves, which are dotted all around the island's 30-odd beaches - one to definitely not miss out on is the historic landmark The Fountain, a huge underground cave with a constant supply of fresh water at Shoal Bay.
• Ponder the ruins of the Dutch Fort, built in the 1700s and located at Sandy Hill, famous as the scene of fierce fighting during the second French invasion of Anguilla in 1796, and gaze upon the well-preserved Tomb of Governor Richardson (1679-1742), also in Sandy Hill.
• Take a tour of the Old Salt Mine and Pumphouse at Sandy Ground and see the Salt Ponds at Sandy Ground and West End.
• Visit Sandy Island, 15 minutes from Sandy Ground Harbour, or Sombrero Island, 48km (30 miles) northwest of Anguilla, which has a picturesque lighthouse, for some relaxing solitude; even smaller sandy cays, such as Scrub, Dog and Prickly Pear Islands, are within reach of Anguilla by powerboat.