Anguilla is a perfect portrayal of Caribbean luxury. It's stunning beaches, best-in-class accommodations, and interesting discoveries make it the Caribbean's best kept secret. However, what really sets Anguilla apart is its culture of hospitality and friendly locals with rich heritage. Because of this, Anguilla offers so many different activities grounded in traditions and history that are great for exploring with the family or loved one. Here is our local guide on all things Anguilla!
What to Do
If you seek adventure...Wreck diving is one of the most popular activities on the island. What is wreck diving? Wreck diving is the type of recreational diving where shipwrecks are explored. Anguilla is one of the few islands that offers authentic and lively wreck dives. The Kathlee "H" Wreck is one of the few steel freighter wreck sites that was not sunk on purpose and actually sits intact and upright on the bottom of the sea floor! For a safe and tranquil dive, try out the Sea Fan and for a larger more adventurous dive check out The Sarah Wreck.
If you seek culture... "The Fountain" is something you won't be told about from your hotel's concierge. Usually scouted by veteran Anguilla goers, this historic and presumably sacred cavern is located on the western part of Shoal Bay.
Why the fuss? "The Fountain" dates back to the island's earliest settlers and is in fact the east Caribbean's most intact ceremonial site dating back from an Amerindian period dating back more than 3,300 years! Researchers have found a slew of religious and ceremonial artifacts including petroglyphs and a stalagmite carved into "Jocahu", the Supreme Deity of the native Arawak people.
If you seek tranquility...Escape to Shoal Bay. Shoal Bay is certainly the hub of Anguilla but aside from its bustling eastern coast, the western coast is where you can find true tranquility and privacy. White sands contrasting against turquoise blue waters make exploring the bay completely worth the trip! The western side of the bay is almost unknown except by those who reside in the only two Thai houses nestled in the cliffs. When walking along the coast you get a great view of Tomaree Mountain and the Yaccaba in the distance.
Where to Eat
If you want to try some rare finds... Simple "roadside" BBQs in Anguilla are actually home to some of the best culinary finds on the island. Feel like Anthony Bourdain for a day and give these beachside "shacks" a try! The most quintessential Anguilla BBQ consists of crayfish and hot Johnny Cakes with a side of crisp cole slaw. You won't have to go far to find a small place by the beach that serves up these delicacies.
Another "rare find" in Anguilla is aged Caribbean rum. Pyrat Rum is local to Anguilla but has since gained notoriety for its rare and near-perfect flavors throughout the Caribbean and most of Europe. Some even claimed that this special rum held "mystical powers", and albeit cliché, pirates did in fact fight over the rum with local merchants. Today, Pyrat rum retains its notoriety. The Pyrat Planters Gold Xo Reserve run was a gold medal winner of the American Tasting Awards in recent years.
Unfortunately the original factory is now closed; however you can still find the original Pyrat served at The Pumphouse (located in Sandy Ground village) and locals say it can be purchased it at Lake's, which is the island's new supermarket located in The Valley.
If you want dinner on the sand... SandBar is an Anguilla favorite located at Sandy Ground. The small restaurant is situated directly on the sand and is known for its impeccable sunsets and innovative food. Open for diner, you'll find a nice mix of tourists, ex-pats, and locals enjoying the tapas style menu and delicious cocktails. Make sure to order their known favorites, which are the Red Duck and Salmon Tartare!
Where to Stay
The Ani Villas are by far the most splendid private villas on the island. Situated on a stretch of coastline, this luxurious estate is made up on two villas with a total of ten bedrooms. Each villa is essentially its own estate as they each feature a private pool, hot tub, indoor and outdoor dining areas, plus private patios and decks that look out into the Caribbean. The villas are unique in that they are completely secluded on a coastal cliff, tucked away from the hub of tourism, and overlooking Anguilla's "Little Bay".
Both Villas feature stunning modern architecture with sleek furnishings and decor. With four bedrooms, a rooftop pool, and private deck, the villas are perfect for entertaining from day to night. These villas are ideal for weddings, family reunions, or even just fun yet impressive gatherings with close friends!
The villas actually feature a special "Wedding Deck", which can hold up to 40 guests. The deck peers out into Caribbean waters while the small yet airy space makes the event feel intimate and extravagant.
Besides the stunning property, the Ani Villas come complete with services and facilities to ensure a carefree stay. Guests have access to stand-up paddle boards, mountain bikes, pool tables, snorkeling equipment, and even Ani's private golf carts! Plus, fresh daily breakfasts and beverages are included and guests can enlist a private chef for other meals.
The Ani Villas are ideal for large gatherings or luxurious group vacations. They are also perfect for intimate family vacations in a style that escapes the normalcy of resorts. Plus, while the Villas offer privacy they are not far from the island's best activities and hotspots.
Anguilla is one of the Caribbean islands that has preserved its heritage yet also embraced modernity. Its quaint streets and friendly people make this an island worth exploring, and with its rich cultural history it's easy to get hooked! This is the kind of island where you can find yourself paddle boarding or wreck diving in the morning and then dining under the stars at night with sand between your toes.
What are some of your favorite types of activities to do on vacation? When visiting Anguilla would you be more of an adventure seeker or sunbather?