Spectacular Anguilla is a 35-square-mile island which comprises one small main island and several offshore islets. It’s only a mere six miles long and three miles wide, with a population of just over 15,000 inhabitants. Situated in the northernmost island of the Leeward Islands, about 150 miles east of Puerto Rico and nine miles north of St. Maarten, the small and mighty Caribbean Island is one of the most exclusive and expensive places to visit in the West Indies.
To get a better picture of what the Caribbean hot spot is all about we spoke to Nori Evoy founder of Anguilla Beaches – an online hub dedicated to Anguilla’s fine shoreline. Nori started Anguilla Beaches in 2002, when visiting the island on a family holiday. After visiting the island several times a year since, her family permanently moved to Anguilla in 2008. Later, in 2016, Nori met Louise Fayet and forged a partnership. Today, the dynamic duo both run one of Anguilla’s most comprehensive tourism websites.
Q. What makes Anguilla a great place to visit?
A. Anguilla is still an undiscovered gem. It has long been a vacation spot for people in the know. Rich in natural beauty, Anguilla is not overdeveloped, it still remains a great place for a true beach getaway.
Q. What’s Anguilla’s vibe?
A. Anguilla is the most relaxing place on Earth. The vibe is low-key and laid-back. Anguilla’s real treasures are its people – kind and welcoming, and its beaches – pristine and tranquil.
Q. How do you get to Anguilla?
A. The best way to get to Anguilla is generally via St. Maarten. It only takes 20 minutes by boat to reach Anguilla from there.
Q. Can you recommend one dish to everyone who visits Anguilla?
A. You must try BBQ lobster and crayfish!
Q. Are there any culinary hot spots in Anguilla?
A. Le Bon Pain has the best buttery croissants. Scilly Cay is famous for its rum punch and BBQ lobster. Nat’s Palm Grove is known for their crayfish and Johnnycake (cornmeal flatbread). Stop at Sunshine Shack for slide-off-the-bone ribs and if you go to Blanchards Beach Shack (do go, it’s an institution!), order their famous cheeseburger. When it comes to Italian food, nobody can do lobster ravioli better than Trattoria Tramonto. While Artisan is famous for a delicious “Quattro formaggi” pizza.
Q. Where are the best places to eat in Anguilla?
A. The list is endless because you really can be spoilt for choice when in Anguilla. Here are my absolute favourites – save this list because you won’t’ be disappointed! In no particular order: Nat’s Palm Grove, Sunshine Shack, Roy’s Bayside Grill, Elvis’, Sharky’s, Da’Vida Anguilla, Veya, Trattoria Tramonto, Blanchards, and Jacala.
Q. What is the must-have drink to try in Anguilla?
A. The number one cocktail to drink is Rum Punch. This is Anguilla’s signature drink.
Q. Where are the best places to stay in Anguilla?
A. Cuisinart Golf Resort and Spa is great for spa lovers and golf aficionados. Long Bay Villas are great for luxury villa holidays. A fantastic luxury hotel is Belmond Cap Juluca, whilst a more affordable luxury option is Bella Blu and Turtle’s Nest — a contemporary hotel on Meads Bay beach. And Beach Escape Villa is the best value rental villa in Anguilla – it’s directly on the sandy beach front.
Q. What are the top things to do in Anguilla?
A. Anguilla is a good place just to take it easy and relax. If you are looking for more active things to do, you could try beach hopping, gourmet dining, horseback riding and sailing to offshore bays. Definitely visit Scilly Cay — an isle in the middle of Island Harbour. It’s a family-owned restaurant on a private island, which they’ve been running for 35 years. It’s also available for private hire – in case you are planning something special during your stay. A ferry can speedily take you there and back, from the dock at Island Harbour.
Q. Anguilla is famous for its beaches. Name your top three favourite beaches?
A. That’s a difficult task. I’d say an iconic beach is Shoal Bay for its beauty; Meads Bay for its high-end culinary offerings, and Rendezvous for its breath-taking view of St. Martaan.
Q. Is there an art scene in Anguilla?
A. Indeed, Anguilla is home to many unique art galleries. Check out handcrafted driftwood sculptures at Cheddie’s Carving Studio and mahogany carvings at Devonish Art Gallery. Lynne Bernbaum’s gallery features paintings with amazing Caribbean landscapes and lifestyle images.
Q. Where is the place to go to in Anguilla for the best local music?
You can get to see iconic reggae star Bankie Banx at The Dune Preserve, which essentially looks like a spectacular giant tree house on an open-air beach bar, on the shores of Rendezvous Bay. There’s phenomenal live music and with luck you’ll catch Bankie performing on a Friday night, or his musician son Omari Banks.