Anguilla Island

Anguilla is one of the loveliest islands in the Caribbean. Like the sun, they say that if you stare long enough at an Anguilla beach, you'll go blind. And while that may or may not be true, much of the sand here is so white that prolonged exposure is sure to cause some kind of temporary retinal damage at the very least. The peaceful beaches of Anguilla island are something of an anomaly in the Caribbean – beautiful beaches that are consistently deserted, even during the high season. While many flock to the more standard spots – Jamaica, the Virgin Islands, Aruba – true Caribbean aficionados know that the best place to get a beach all to yourself is on tiny Anguilla island.

One of the reasons that you find significantly less people here is that the tourist industry is still in its infancy. The Caribbean phenomenon finally breached the shores of Anguilla in the early 80s as visitors sought refuge from the many tourists to the northwest. The lack of vegetation or topographical interests did not help either – Anguilla tourism is built largely upon two pillars: beaches and food.

There are many beaches in the Caribbean that boast luminous white sands, and many that can be found with more than a little effort on neighboring isles. But on Anguilla, you can barely avoid them. There are over 30 of them here, despite the fact that the island is just over 16 miles long. But only on a few of them (for the time being anyway, Anguilla tourism is still a burgeoning industry) will you be likely to find other hints of civilization. In fact, many of the beaches do not even have roads leading up to them. But the more popular beaches, such as Captain's Bay and Rendezvous Bay, have rental areas and seaside restaurants – though they are still the exception. For now.

Usual beach activities are, of course, the main draw to any Anguilla vacation. Snorkeling, windsurfing, swimming and scuba diving are all extremely popular here. Though, unlike other islands, most of the beaches are not cluttered with rental spots, so you will have to bring your own gear along to some of the more remote spots. Also, not every Anguilla beach is safe for water sports – wild waves can be found at various points on the Atlantic side of the island, and the undertows are notoriously strong.

The other base of Anguilla tourism is the restaurants. Seafood lovers will not be disappointed – Anguilla island was traditionally a collection of fishing villages, and the fresh catch of the day is always beyond compare. French cuisine has also made it's way across the Atlantic (even though Anguilla is a British outpost) to mix with the usual Caribbean fare. The chefs of the island are known throughout the Caribbean as some of the most meticulous and talented culinary artists of the region. And there are a wide range of restaurants available, from fancy dinners on terraces overlooking the sea to exquisite homemade style meals in rustic shacks on unmarked roads.

Though the oceanside shacks are definitely charming and homey, they can be equally frustrating to locate.

Many of the restaurants and bars of the area are frequent hosts to rousing concerts that have given Anguilla island the reputation as a hotbed for musical talent. From traditional island music to jazz to classical, Anguilla has everything you could want, as is usually the background for late night parties or sunset barbecues.

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