Earlier this year, Anguilla was ranked the #1 island in the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas for the third year in a row in the 2019 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards, honoring the top travel destinations and companies around the globe as rated by its readers. It also claimed the #6 position in the Top 15 Best Islands in the World. In 2018, the Anguilla Tourist Board launched its Beyond Extraordinary destination campaign, which aims to capture the diversity and richness of the Anguilla experience, and it’s certainly paid off. This slender length of coral and limestone fringed with green tucked away in the Northern Caribbean has managed to retain a charming character and appeal that have kept vacationers returning again and again. Here are just a few of the reasons we can’t recommend it enough.
Anguilla is surrounded by more than 12 miles of stunning, powder-white sand sparkling-clear turquoise waters for visitors to enjoy. All of the island’s 33 beautiful beaches are public, uncrowded, and unspoiled, and every cove, bay, and stretch of sand is marked by unique characteristics like rock and coral formations and picturesque tropical plants. It’s actually not uncommon to get a beach all to yourself—especially those inaccessible by land as they require some effort to reach. From the super serene secluded coves of Little Bay and the gentle shoreline and sparkling sea of Rendezvous Bay to the popular and striking white sands of Shoal Bay East and the party atmosphere of the picturesque Sandy Ground, there is truly a beach for everyone and every mood.
If Anguilla’s beaches are the most enviable feature of the island, its world-class restaurants come in at a close second. The award-winning dining scene offers discerning travelers international sophistication and elegance with creative cuisine that fuses fresh local flavors from land and sea with elegant imports. The artistry of the island’s chefs—both Anguillan and international—is unmatched anywhere in the Caribbean and provides an opportunity to savor the culture. Stop by a roadside barbecue shack for a slab of jerk chicken or book a reservation at a beachside bistro and hear the sound of lapping waves in the distance. Presenting eclectic culinary techniques complemented by a touch of local flavor, Anguilla’s culinary scene is uniquely Anguillan and authentically Caribbean.
Three Anguilla resorts are featured in the Top 25 Caribbean Resort Hotels category of Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards: Frangipani Beach Resort ranked #2, Malliouhana, Auberge Resort Collection ranked #14, and Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa ranked #24. The Frangipani Beach Resort is also the only property in Anguilla to be featured in the Top Hotels Overall category, ranked at #46. This Meads Bay hotel only has 19 rooms and suites and offers a luxury experience with a boutique feel—guaranteeing you’ll have attention and beachside access all to yourself. Our favorite hotel on Anguilla is the Four Seasons; we frequently book our clients for stays at this luxurious property. Many hotel rooms on the island provide a spectacular view of the island’s sensational sunsets where you’ll spot an elusive green flash as the sun kisses the water goodnight—but that’s just one of the many perks of Anguilla’s award-winning resorts.
Despite it being one of the smaller Caribbean islands, visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to activities. Anguilla is chock-full of limestone caves to explore, wildlife to observe (like sea turtles and native birds), and sandy beaches to tan on. Take in the island’s natural beauty on a hike or learn more about the island’s heritage on a self-led or guided tour. Many hidden treasures are tucked away on unmarked roads, so it pays to have a knowledgeable guide by your side. Explore the island by sea and hire a boat and dock on some of Anguilla’s most scenic beaches or rent a snorkel and swim around the island’s massive coral gardens, which are home to pufferfish and squid alike. The island offers a variety of popular water-based activities, with the incredible sense of tranquility undoubtedly being Anguilla’s main attraction.
Anguilla’s Ministry of Tourism credits the people of Anguilla and their longstanding tradition of warm hospitality for their recurring award win, and it’s not hard to see why. Anguillians are always willing to help if you need a hand and not because they expect anything in return. They do so out of the goodness of their hearts. True, life-long friendships have even been known to form between Anguillians and visitors. Long after vacations end and visitors return to the States, Canada, or the UK, there are many stories of people inviting Anguillian friends up north wanting to play host to them in their home. “The people here have been some of the friendliest that I’ve encountered in the Caribbean,” a Travel + Leisure reader wrote. “They’ve been hard hit by the latest hurricanes but haven’t lost track of what they consider important.”