Anguilla, a British overseas territory in the Eastern Caribbean, comprises a small main island and several offshore islets. Its beaches range from long sandy stretches like Rendezvous Bay, overlooking neighboring Saint Martin island, to secluded coves reached by boat, such as at Little Bay. Protected areas include Big Spring, known for its prehistoric petroglyphs, and East End Pond, a wildlife conservation site.
Still a bit off the beaten track, Anguilla is one of the most paradise-like islands in the Caribbean. With some of the world’s best beaches, genuinely gracious inhabitants, and accommodations to suit every budget, Anguilla is the perfect getaway for winter travelers.
The Valley is the capital of the island, and is located right in the center. Sandy Ground village on Road Bay, the main port and the center of nightlife, is located on the north coast. The luxury resorts are located on the west end of the island. Anguilla also has several smaller resorts and private guesthouses, as well as a great selection of bars and restaurant from the most casual to the star studded
The Valley Currency : Eastern Caribbean Dollar Driver's License : International license recommended. Must be 25 years old and have a credit card. A visitor's permit of US $20 must be purchased. Electricity : 110 Volts AC Entry Requirements : A passport, valid 3 months beyond intended stay, and an ongoing or return ticket are required. It is the traveller's responsibility to check with the country’s Embassy for up-to-date information. GMT Time : -4hr. Daylight savings time is not applied. Government : British Overseas Territory Land size : 91 km2 Language : English National Airlines : none Population : 14,836 approx. Religion : Anglican 29%, Methodist 23.9%, other Protestant 30.2%, Roman Catholic 5.7%, other Christian 1.7%, other 5.2%, none or unspecified 4.3% Required Vaccines : none Tourist Season : December through April Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada : Consult the "Country Travel Advice and Advisories" of Anguilla
The cuisine of Anguilla uses elements from various cooking traditions borrowed from their neighbors and developed from their own traditional yet multi-cultural dishes. Being a British territory and under its rule for so long, the English influence in the local cuisine is very much felt. Many Europeans now call Anguilla home as well so you will find Spanish, Italian and French ingredients.
Using the right amount of spices is essential in the Antiguan cuisine and the diversity of vegetables and cereals found in Anguilla is also noticed in the delicious dishes. Meats are often cured and smoked such as hams. A very traditional meal is the mahi mahi fish and it is prepared with roasted red onions, rice, tomatoes and with a sauce of mustard and capers. The meals served on special occasions also include the breast of cinnamon crusted Chicken, served with rice and mushrooms. Other local dishes include vegetable spring rolls, gazpacho, and Jamaican jerk shrimp.
Genuinely gentle and gracious, Anguillans take great pride in their island and pleasure in sharing it with visitors from around the world. Guests and natives almost always share friendly “hellos” as they encounter each other across our island.
Don’t be surprised if you hear the local speak with a dialect. Anguillan Creole is spoken by about 10,000. Anguillans but is not considered an official language.
Although there are many local celebrations, Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory therefore all English holidays such as the Queen’s birthday are celebrated as well.
The island has produced a number of popular reggae, calypso, soca and country musicians. Of these, the last is especially characteristic. Anguilla's Island Harbor, an Irish-settled village on the east side of the island, is a major center for local country music.
Anguilla is situated in the British West Indies, around 161km northwest of Antigua, 241km east of Puerto Rico and 14km north of St. Maarten. It is the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean.
The long, thin island measures a mere 26km by 5km. The terrain is ﬂat and low-lying, comprised of coral and limestone and covered mostly with rock, sparse scrub oak, few trees and some salt ponds. The lowest point of Anguilla is the sea level at 0m and the highest point is Crocus Hill at 65 m.
The Valley is the capital of Anguilla and is the center of commerce and government. Six nearby islands belong to Anguilla: Scrub Island, Sombrero, Dog Island, Sandy Island, Prickly Pear and Anguillita.
History Around 4000 years ago, the Amerindian peoples arrived on our island from South America. They sustained themselves by living off the sea and the land, and established farms and villages. Over the following three thousand years, a succession of tribes and cultures called our island home.
In 1650, English settlers arrived and colonized Anguilla. They established plantations where corn and tobacco were grown. By the 1800s Anguilla was thriving as a plantation economy like most of the Caribbean. Rum, sugar, cotton, indigo, fustic and mahogany were its chief exports. Over time eroding soil and unreliable rainfall made conditions for farming unfavorable. Many people then became private proprietorships, ﬁshermen or sailors.
Against the wishes of the inhabitants the island was incorporated into a single British dependency along with Saint Kitts and Nevis in the 1960s. Several attempts at separation failed. In 1971, two years after a revolt, Anguilla was finally allowed to secede; this arrangement was formally recognized in 1980 with Anguilla becoming a separate British Dependent Territory with some measure of autonomy in government.
Nature Established in 1993, The Anguilla National Trust serves as the custodian of Anguilla’s heritage, preserving and promoting the island’s natural environment and its archaeological, historical and cultural resources for present and future generations.
Anguilla’s salt ponds, the only wetlands on the island, serve as sanctuaries for Anguilla’s 136 different bird species including white-cheeked pintails and black-neck stilts. Of particular note are Sandy Ground, East End, West End and Little Harbor ponds where pelicans, falcons, gulls, brown boobies, terns and herons all happen to congregate.
One of Anguilla’s best-kept secrets is its small rainforest, which is located on the north side of the island. The hiking trail is accessible from the beach beyond Masara Resort, near Crocus Hill. Head left down the beach and look for the trail on your left, away from the beach.
The Anguilla Sea Turtle Project is committed to preserving four varieties of turtles: hawksbill, green, leatherback, and loggerhead. These ancient creatures arrive on the island’s beaches every year between April and November. Visitors may have the opportunity to witness the hatchlings emerging from their shells or scrambling across the beaches towards the sea.
Anguilla has six marine parks and six good dive wrecks, plus a huge array of coral formations, walls ridges, canyons and tunnels for the enjoyment of both novice and experienced divers.
Sports Boat racing has deep roots in Anguillan culture, and is the national sport. There are regular sailing regattas on national holidays, such as Carnival, which are contested by locally built and designed boats.
As in many other former British Colonies, cricket is also a popular sport. Anguilla is the home of Omari Banks, who played for the West Indies Cricket Team, while Cardigan Connor played first-class cricket for English county side Hampshire and was team manager for Anguilla's Commonwealth Games team in 2002.
Rugby union is represented in Anguilla by the Anguilla Eels RFC, who were formed in April 2006.
Banks & Money
While the Eastern Caribbean Dollar is the official currency of Anguilla, the US dollar is widely accepted across the island. Try to carry smalls bills as larger ones, even 20s, can be hard to break. ATMs can be found in many convenient locations and they dispense US and EC dollars. Credit cards are not always accepted and the transaction charge may be added to your bill.
Climate The island experiences average temperatures of around 27°C but you will always find a gentle breeze from the northeast trade winds. Water temperatures generally range between 21°C and 27°C.
The annual rainfall hovers around 900mm per year which is not much for a tropical island. This is due to the flat landscape and absence of the type of vegetation that attracts rain clouds. The wettest months are September and October. The island is subject to both sudden tropical storms and hurricanes from July to October.
For monthly average temperatures please refer to your destination of choice.
Communication The country code for Anguilla is 211.
Canada is a direct-dial call from the Anguilla and most telecommunications services, such as the internet, have been modernized. If no internet service is offered in your hotel you can find a few internet cafes on the island.
The only post office is in the Valley and is open only on weekdays.
Health Although the water is generally safe to drink, bottled water is available at most hotels and convenience stores. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat. The most common illness is the traveler's diarrhea (turista) and sunstroke.
There are no required vaccines to enter the country, unless you are arriving from a yellow fever affected destination. The following vaccines are recommended for any tropical destination: hepatitis A and B, rabies, typhoid, tetanus and yellow fever.
Official Holidays 1 January - New Year's Day March/April - Good Friday/ Easter Monday 1 May - Labor Day May - Whit Monday 30 May - Anguilla day 2nd Monday in June - Sovereign's birthday 10 August - Constitution day 19 December - Separation day 25 December - Christmas Day 26 December - Boxing Day
Safety Anguilla is considered relatively safe and enjoy a low crime rate. However as a tourist you are more likely to be a target of petty crime. Use good judgment, take advantage of the safety deposit boxes provided by the hotels, do not leave valuables unattended in public and carry your wallet and camera discreetly. Also make sure to lock your hotel room and rental car.
Shopping This island is not for the shopping enthusiast as there are no malls. What you will find however is a varied selection of pottery, sculpture, handcrafts, paintings, textiles, photography and woodcraft from local artists. Art galleries and studios can be found across the island. Pyrat Rums are a local specialty available in several local shops.
However, for an even greater selection, hop on the ferry at Blowing Point for the seven mile journey across calm waters to neighbouring island, St Martin, where shops selling duty free jewelry, watches, precious stones, perfumes and clothes are in abundance.
Taxes & Tips There is a departure tax of $20 US per adult, whether by plane or ferry. There is no charge for children under 12 years old. For day trips to surrounding islands through Blowing Point Ferry Terminal ONLY there is a departure tax of $5 US as well.
The government collects a 10% tax on rooms and a 10 percent service charge is also usually added to the final bill. Restaurants also include a 10 percent service usually charge on your final bill. Extra tipping is at your discretion. Taxi drivers usually get tipped 10%.
Transportation Wallblake Airport is situated on the immediate outskirts of the capital, The Valley. While the airport is not an international airport but it can accommodate small to medium size aircraft. The airport receives mostly inter-island flights from San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Martin, Antigua, and St. Kitts.
There are several ferry services to both the French and Dutch sides of St. Martin. Ferries leave from Blowing Point.
Car, jeep, scooter and bike rentals are available just remember that driving is on the left-hand side of the road. A $20 temporary Anguilla driver’s license is required for car rental. These temporary licenses are available through most car rental agencies.
Taxis are an option. Fairs are set but trips are unmetered, check and confirm the price before getting into the taxi. Taxi drivers will also usually be happy to give you a guided tour of the island for a set price.