Caribbean Destination Series Part 2-Anguilla


 

Anguilla sits in first class and has a first-class price tag. There are certainly more affordable ways to enjoy the sun and the sea, but for those desiring impeccable service and an exclusive atmosphere, this island is one of the premier vacation spots in the Caribbean.

Before you plunk down your money to vacation on Anguilla (and it will likely be a big plunk), know the ground rules: The rich and famous who go there do so because it is one of few places where they can be assured of a carefree, hassle-free holiday. If you happen to see, say, Janet Jackson sitting at the next table, you will not get her autograph nor ask about her next album. It just is not done.

There are no restrictions about fawning over the island’s immaculate white-sand beaches, however. There are 33 to choose from, and many offer excellent snorkeling around coral reefs. Other watersports are in abundance: scuba diving, sailing and windsurfing. When visitors have had their fill of beach and ocean, there’s a wide choice of fine restaurants to round out the evening.

Don’t expect an island that is lush, full of activity, and replete with charming architecture, however. Anguilla is very dry, and until recently, life was hardscrabble there for centuries. The benefits of this are almost-constant sun, enduring simplicity and a cohesive populace whose confident self-reliance is the basis for an attitude you might want to bottle and take home.

Although a number of day-trippers arrive from St. Martin/St. Maarten, which lies only 4 mi/7 km to the south, Anguilla (pronounced ahn-GWIL-lah) remains relatively uncrowded compared with other islands in the area. Those who have sampled its relaxed and refined atmosphere seem to like what they’ve found: They tend to adopt the island as if it were their own private hideaway, returning year after year.

Must See or Do

Sights—The historic district of The Valley, home to some of Anguilla’s oldest and most architecturally interesting dwellings and public buildings; scuba diving the reefs and wrecks along Anguilla’s north (Atlantic) coast; any of Anguilla’s 33 beaches, all free and open to the public.

Museums—Colville Petty’s quirky and fascinating collection of artifacts from the Anguillian Revolution at the Heritage Collection; learning how salt was produced from Anguilla’s ponds and became a major island industry at the Old Salt Factory and Pumphouse; discovering the island’s architectural heritage at Wallblake House.

Memorable Meals—Grilled lobster washed down with rum punch on the beach at Scilly Cay Restaurant; off-the-boat fresh seafood and cold drinks on the picnic tables at Johnno’s Beach Stop; upscale dining and great views in an eye-catching seaside dining room at Altamer.

Late Night—Johnno’s Beach Stop for reggae, calypso, soca and zouk music till the wee hours; The Pumphouse with its spicy music and atmosphere that sometimes lasts till dawn; drinks at the beach bars of Shoal’s Bay; disco dancing at the Red Dragon Dance Club.

Walks—Bird-watching hikes in the salt marshes of Sandy Ground; following the interpretive nature trail at the Cap Juluca resort; strolling along the sandy beaches of Maunday’s Bay or Rendezvous Bay.

Especially for Kids—Snorkeling the coral reefs at Junks Hole; collecting shells at Maunday’s Bay; swimming the calm waters at Sandy Ground or Shoal Bay West.

Geography

Anguilla is a dry, coral island edged with white-sand beaches. The interior contains salt ponds, scrubby bush, a couple of limestone caves once used by Amerindians and few tall trees. There are no hills to speak of—the highest point is 213 ft/65 m above sea level. Anguilla is also relatively small: 16 mi/25 km by 4 mi/6 km.

History

The island was inhabited as early as 1500 BC by Arawaks, who called it Malliouhana. The Carib Indians later drove out the Arawaks, but they were no match for the British, who arrived in 1650. Slavery and disease eliminated the Caribs, but the British needed their navy to hold on to Anguilla during several attacks by the French in the 1600s and 1700s. France quickly lost interest in Anguilla, however, and the island became another quiet outpost of the British Empire.

In 1967, the British attempted to join Anguilla with the neighboring islands of St. Kitts and Nevis to form a State in Association with the United Kingdom. Anguillans rebelled against the plan, however, fearing they would be overwhelmed by St. Kitts. After a two-year standoff, they were able to arrange a separate relationship with Great Britain, which took until 1980 to implement.

Today, Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory with an elected House of Assembly and a governor who is appointed by the Crown. The governor chooses a chief minister to lead the cabinet, someone who appears to have the support of a majority of Assembly lawmakers. Anguilla Day is celebrated as a national holiday on 30 May. It was on that date in 1967 that the St. Kitts police were removed from Anguilla.

In an effort to diversify the economy, which is heavily geared toward tourism, the British and Anguillan governments have launched aggressive programs to establish the island as a reputable and well-regulated center for offshore banking. These measures have begun to attract new revenues and diversify the economy, though tourism remains important for many islanders. The Anguilla Commercial Online Registration Network (ACORN), which originated in 1988, allows instant electronic incorporation and registration of companies and limited partnerships. Fishing also remains important, and even without a sugar cane crop the island produces a fine rum.

Snapshot

Anguilla’s main attractions are uncrowded white-sand beaches, scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing, fishing, fine restaurants and very friendly people. Spas and art galleries add variety.

Go to Anguilla if you want to get away from everything, enjoy the beach and watersports and be pampered in quiet luxury at an elegant hotel. Those who want to leave crowded streets and sprawling shopping malls behind will enjoy the quaint shops scattered amidst the picturesque island setting. Anguilla is close to St. Martin/St. Maarten in size and location but is nearly 90% less populated.

Port Information

Location

Small cruise ships call at Anguilla, anchoring in Road Bay. Passengers are then taken via smaller craft to a jetty at Sandy Ground, the main port and yacht harbor. Restaurants, watersports and hotels are within walking distance.

There is no official tourist information booth in Sandy Ground, but the staff of the Customs and Immigration Office (in the police station) is happy to help (open Monday-Friday 8 am-4 pm). The main tourist office is on Coronation Avenue in The Valley (open Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm, phone 497-2759).

Shore Excursions

Consider signing up for the excursions offered by your ship. They may not be the least expensive way to see the island, but you won’t have to waste your limited time making arrangements yourself—and you won’t have to worry about missing the ship. Shore excursions—and their prices—vary from cruise line to cruise line. Some may include lunch and drinks or additional stops.

Among the possible excursions are boat trips to Sandy Island or Prickly Pear; Anguillian beaches; or a minibus tour to the salt pond, the Back Street area, Wallblake House, the Catholic church, and The Valley and Shoal Bay.

Check with your ship’s shore-excursion staff or your travel agent for additional information.

Potpourri

Until the early 1980s, salt was the primary export of Anguilla. The last salt factory has been turned into a museum: The Old Salt Factory and Pumphouse in Sandy Ground.

Four of the seven endangered species of sea turtles can be found in Anguillan waters. A ban on turtle hunting has been imposed until the year 2021, and anecdotal evidence suggests that turtle populations are increasing. If you want to help protect the turtles, don’t order dishes with turtle meat and give restaurants that serve them a pass. Fortunately, very few still serve it.

Anguillian fire trucks are yellow, not red.

Depending on how you look at it, Anguilla has two or three Shoal Bays. Shoal Bay West is at the far west of the island. Shoal Bay East is near the other end and is divided by a point into upper and lower Shoal Bay.

All of Anguilla’s beaches (more than 12 mi/19 km of them) are open to the public.

There is no citizenship of Anguilla—the island’s natives are British citizens. “Belonger” is the official term for natives and people holding the hard-earned right to live there.

Anguilla’s serpentine shape seems to have inspired its names, both past and present: The island’s original settlers called it Malliouhana, which means “sea serpent.” Anguilla is the Spanish word for eel.

At the eastern end of Rendezvous Beach are the remains of a pier known as “Pirates Pier.” But it has no actual pirate history: The pier was built in the 1970s and washed out in the 1980s. Locals gave the pier its “pirate” moniker because they speculated that its remote and unlit locale would make a nice stop for smugglers.

Valentine’s Day is a huge deal in Anguilla because the island caters to couples. Be on the lookout for special deals for twosomes.

If you ask for directions, remember that “above” means to the east and “below” means to the west.

Anguilla claims to be the most technologically advanced company formation jurisdiction in the world.

See & Do

Sightseeing

It won’t take long to see Anguilla’s major sights. Authenticity is often low key, and that’s what you’ll find on this island. Go for impressive spectacles and you’ll be disappointed. Do check out what is offered, however; it will expand your horizons.

If you’re generally curious about your surroundings, or a buff of subjects such as West Indian history, Amerindians, fish or birds, you’ll find fertile ground for exploration and people who enjoy sharing their knowledge.

Historic Sites

Big Spring Cave
About 20 Amerindian petroglyphs, more than 1,000 years old, are carved on an overhanging rock. Because the drawings are worn and difficult to see, they are best viewed in the late afternoon sun. The Anguilla National Trust is in the process of restoring this site to its true beauty. Call ahead to arrange entry to the cave. Island Harbour, Anguilla. Phone 9497-5297.

Old Salt Factory and Pumphouse
Runs historic tours detailing the once-crucial salt industry on Anguilla. Salt-processing equipment is on display. Tours Thursday at 10 am by appointment; donation suggested. Sandy Ground Village, Anguilla. Phone 497-2711. http://www.pumphouse-anguilla.com.

Wallblake House
This historic house was built in 1787 and is the island’s only remaining plantation house preserved in its entirety. It now belongs to St. Gerard’s Catholic Church, which is also worth a look for its multicolored facade of pebbles, stones, cement, wood and tile. Tours touch on colonial architecture and Anguilla’s plantation history. Tours Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10 am-2 pm. Admission US$5. The Valley (on the south side of town), Anguilla. No phone. http://www.wallblake.ai.

Museums

Heritage Collection
Assembled by historian Colville Petty, exhibits at this museum include Amerindian artifacts, old-fashioned cooking implements and agricultural tools, mementos of royal visits, vintage photos, cameras and almost all of Anguilla’s rare stamps, from the first issue to the most recent. Museum visitors can also see a large exhibit on the Anguillan Revolution. Open daily 10 am-5 pm. US$5 adults, US$3 children younger than 12. East End, Anguilla. Phone 497-4092 or 497-4440.

Recreation

Anguilla tends to be laid back and physical. The absence of crowds is also part of the attraction. Recreation includes golf, tennis, diving and snorkeling, and boat trips to fantasy island settings. The island’s beaches are superlative.

Beaches

Anguilla is ringed by approximately 33 spectacular beaches, coral reefs and hidden coves that provide great opportunities for all types of watersports. The island’s white sand is particularly nice; the fine texture makes you feel like you’re walking on talcum powder. Be sure to take a hat or a parasol with you—many of the beaches lack shade. And be aware that waters on the Atlantic side are rougher and may have strong undertows.

Captains Bay—The island’s wildest and most remote beach. It’s located on the Atlantic side of the island. Surf there is beautiful but often dangerous. You’ll need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to navigate the dirt road.

Junks Hole—Hidden away on the northeastern side of the island, this beach has calm, shallow water full of coral and other marine life. It’s a great place to teach children how to snorkel, but be careful of the sandy yet rocky beach.

Little Bay—This tiny, secluded cove is backed by 70-ft/20-m cliffs whose caves are home to many birds and iguanas. Some ships have been intentionally sunk offshore for scuba divers. Little Bay is a favorite spot for night dives. The big drawback to Little Bay is getting there: The beach is only accessible by boat.

Maunday’s Bay—This long, white-sand beach is ideal for those hand-in-hand walks with a loved one. It is home to Cap Juluca, an exclusive Moorish-style resort. There is lush greenery alongside the beach’s edge, and the snorkeling and shell collecting are good.

Mimi Bay—On the eastern coast and hard to find, this narrow, short beach is well-protected by a reef and is a good spot for snorkeling.

Meads Bay—This is the island’s widest beach and another good choice for those who want seclusion. The seafloor drops off quickly, which creates some waves. The swells are usually rather small—except in winter, when bodysurfing is possible. Five hotels and seven restaurants are nicely spaced along the 1-mi-/1.6-km-long beach (the beach chairs are reserved for hotel guests). Boat races are held at Meads Bay during Carnival celebrations in August.

Rendezvous Bay—This crescent-shaped beach is the longest beach in Anguilla. It has smooth waters, and there’s an open-air bar at Anguilla Great House. Enjoy good snorkeling and windsurfing, several restaurants and a lovely view of the hills of neighboring St. Martin/St. Maarten. Breathtakingly beautiful, it is one of the least-frequented beaches, despite the presence of four hotels. Be sure to check out the Dune Preserve, a funky entertainment venue constructed from old boats and other recycled stuff.

Sandy Ground (Road Bay)—This area serves as the main port for Anguilla and has a smaller jetty for the dinghies that ply between the shore and sailboats at anchor. Several restaurants, guesthouses and a hotel are found along this long, narrow beach; Johnno’s Beach Stop bar and nightclub is the best-known. The water is clear and calm, and it’s a good area for watersports. Great sunsets, too.

Shoal Bay East—Often listed as one of the Caribbean’s best beaches, Shoal Bay is popular and more crowded than most others on the island. Still, it’s a fun spot, with six restaurants open on Lower Shoal Bay and three on Upper Shoal Bay, some with music on weekends. You can rent umbrellas and beach chairs, and there are souvenir shops nearby. Snorkeling is adequate (you can also rent gear there). If you need some solitude, a few minutes’ walk in either direction—especially around the point to Upper Shoal Bay—will lead to quieter beaches.

Shoal Bay West—Three hotels and three beachside restaurants share this wide and generally empty stretch of sand that has a fine view of neighboring St. Martin/St. Maarten. Swim and snorkel close to shore—the calm water deepens gradually as you go out.

There are also several small cays (pronounced keys) off Anguilla. These islets can be reached on small motorboats that make day trips from the main island.

Dog Island—Off Anguilla’s west coast, this island is uninhabited and without facilities. Rough seas often make landing difficult and mooring impossible. It’s good for bird-watching, snorkeling and scuba diving, and lots of big fish can be seen in the waters, including sharks, an occasional turtle, rays and pods of dolphins.

Prickly Pear Cays—A 15-minute trip by charter boat from Sandy Ground leads to these two islets, which are divided by a tricky channel. Both are fringed by a spectacular reef that attracts big fish—grouper, snapper, nurse sharks, eels, barracuda—and colorful schools of small reef fish. The snorkeling and diving are excellent. Two simple restaurants serve fresh seafood, barbecued ribs and chicken. You can also take along your own picnic lunch.

Sandy Island—This cay was severely damaged by Hurricane Luis in 1995 and is now without shade trees. It’s still a popular excursion from Sandy Ground, however. It features a reef-protected beach and lagoon, and offers a simple bar, barbecue restaurant and snorkeling. Catch the free boat from the Johnno’s pier to the island.

Scilly Cay—This private islet consists of 1 acre/0.5 hectare of white sand that can be reached via a free, two-minute boat ride from Island Harbour. It has thatch gazebos for shade, the large, open-sided Scilly Cay restaurant and lots of flowers. The cay gets crowded on Sunday: Visitors go from as far away as St. Barts (occasionally by helicopter) to enjoy live music (available on Wednesday, too) and perhaps a rub from a massage therapist. During the week, Scilly Cay reverts to a quiet oasis. The expensive restaurant serves lunch only. Snorkeling is possible, but it’s better at other spots around Anguilla.

Scrub Island—Although it’s good for bird-watching, snorkeling and scuba diving, this island to the northeast is often difficult to reach because of rough seas. The currently uninhabited island is an interesting place to hike and explore and offers a few hidden treasures such as a plane crash relic. A white-sand beach on the leeward side has calmer waters.

Bicycling

For a fun way to see the island, you can rent bicycles from most hotels. Bear in mind that the heat can present a challenge.

Bird Watching

For birders willing to go off the beaten track, the 100-acre/40-hectare salt pond at Sandy Ground is a great spot: 120 species of birds have been spotted in Anguilla’s salt ponds and mangroves, including brown pelicans, peregrine falcons, frigates, laughing gulls, brown boobies, royal terns and seven kinds of herons.

Another good bird-watching spot is Cap Juluca, where a 0.5-mi/1-km nature trail with numbered signposts snakes around Cap Juluca Pond.

The Anguilla National Trust has published a field guide to Anguilla’s wetlands as well as a book on birds.

Boating & Sailing

Boat charters can be arranged to visit offshore cays or to sail to larger islands in the area, such as St. Martin/St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Barts.

The catamaran Chocolat offers daylong excursions to the cays as well as sunset cruises (phone 497-3394). Private charters are also available.

If it’s not too busy, the Anguilla Great House on Rendezvous Bay may rent its Sunfish and AquaCats to nonguests (phone 497-6061). Several motorboats offer tours by the hour or the day.

Fishing

Tuna, wahoo, sailfish, shark, dolphin (the fish, not the mammal), marlin and kingfish are found in Anguilla’s waters. Esmeralda II
Join Captain Ed Carty aboard the Esmeralda II. Ed offers a full head and galley with air-conditioning plus all the fishing equipment you will need. Prices start at US$500 for a half-day for up to four passengers. Sandy Ground, Anguilla. Phone 497-2337 after 6 pm.

Harry’s Taxi Tours & Boat Service
Offers fishing trips on Island Pride, a 35-ft/11-m boat, for a half-day (US$400) or full day (US$600). Island Pride does not fish on Saturday. Phone 497-4336 or 476-7337.

Golf

Anguilla has added excellent golf to its roster of activities. St. Regis Temenos resort in Long Bay offers an 18-hole, Greg Norman-designed championship course. Depending on the season, fees range US$265-$415, plus US$65 for equipment rental. Phone 222-9000 or 498-7000. http://www.temenosgolfclub.com.

Another course is currently under construction at the Fairmont Anguilla Resort. It is slated to open by 2010.

Pitch-and-putt is another option. A rustic, nine-hole course on Well Road in Sandy Ground has a clubhouse (Roy’s Bayside Grill) and charges US$10 for a round, plus US$5 for club rentals. Open daily 9 am-9 pm.

If minigolf is more your speed, Play-A-Round (on the road to the CuisinArt hotel in South Hill) offers an 18-hole course along with bumper boats, a climbing wall and live music on Sunday nights. Open Tuesday-Sunday 3-10 pm. Phone 498-7529.

Hiking & Walking

Oliver Hodge offers guided hikes after 4 pm on weekdays and on Saturday. Phone 497-3696 or 772-3826.

The Anguilla National Trust leads gentle walks for bird-watching at East End Pond. Phone 497-5297.

The nature trail at Cap Juluca has interpretive signage, so you can stroll and learn on your own. Anguilla’s long beaches, particularly Maunday’s and Rendezvous bays, are also conducive to walks and offer the reward of a swim afterwards.

Horseback Riding

Anguilla Horses offers group and private rides, with Western and English saddles. Phone 729-3361 or 729-4465.

El Rancho del Blues in Blowing Point offers daily one-hour trail rides through the fields of Gibbons Point and two-hour beach rides at Sandy Point. Be forewarned that Anguilla is not particularly known for its stables, and Sandy Point’s beach is not one of the prettiest. The cost is about US$50 an hour. Phone 497-6164.

Seaside Stables on the west end of the island also offers shoreline riding. Phone 235-3667.

Fees may rise after 4 pm, when it’s cooler.

Scuba & Snorkeling

Popular dive sites include the shipwreck El Buen Consejo at Little Bay (to which Shoal Bay Scuba has exclusive diving rights) and some of the offshore islands—Prickly Pear, Dog Island and Sandy Island. Dive sites include wreck dives, shore dives, short wall-dives, night dives and heritage diving. Six intact ships are submerged off Sail Reef, north of the island. They were deliberately sunk at ideal scuba depth and now shelter abundant fish, lobsters and stingrays. You must be a certified diver and present your C card to rent equipment and go diving.

Dive trips usually depart from Sandy Ground, and certification courses are available through Shoal Bay Scuba (phone 497-4371 or 235-1482; http://www.shoalbayscuba.com) and Anguillan Divers (phone 497-4750 or 235-7742; http://www.anguilliandivers.com).

Snorkeling equipment is available for rent at the entrance to Shoal Bay. The Shoal Bay reef is fairly barren, but even a barren Caribbean reef is inhabited by a few small, colorful fish and soft corals. Other good snorkeling spots are Pelican Point (at one end of Crocus Bay), Little Bay, the rocks off Barnes Bay, Scilly Cay, Sandy Island and Prickly Pear Cays.

A frequent boat shuttle takes day trippers to Sandy Island, where a barbecue meal is served for US$10, US$5 for children younger than 12. Phone 476-6534 or 410-406-275.

The Banana Boat Picnic Cruise goes to Prickly Pear and includes lunch, snorkel equipment, beach chairs and umbrellas. Phone 476-5272 or 476-4856.

Little Bay Boat Service out of Crocus Bay delivers you to an otherwise inaccessible cove. Phone 72-1332 or 497-3939.

Spas and Health Clubs

Spa options in Anguilla range from luxurious and resort-based to personal and spiritually-based. Add some yoga and fitness options, and you’re bound to leave feeling good.

Cap Juluca’s spa treatments are delivered in-room. Moksha House provides yoga and healing massage in a retreat setting. Phone 729-4055. Body and Soul Beach & Fitness Club
The social environment there includes an equipped exercise room, cafe and of course the beach outside. Sandy Ground, Anguilla. Phone 497-8363.

Malliouhana Spa
The oceanfront environment invites blissing out, and its supervised fitness center gets you pumping. Meads Bay, Anguilla. Phone 497-6111. http://www.malliouhana.com.

Taino Wellness Centre
Offers a range of therapeutic and beauty treatments as well as yoga. It also delivers services to hotels and villas. South Hill, Anguilla. Phone 497-6066. http://www.tainoswellness.com.

The Venus Spa
Located at CuisinArt Resort, this spa is the largest and most varied on the island. Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla. Phone 498-2000. http://www.cuisinartresort.com.

Tennis & Racquet Sports

Major hotels have lighted tennis courts, but the best times are reserved by their guests. There are also two free lighted public courts at Ronald Webster Park and one in East End near the school. They’re available on a first-come basis.

The Anguillan Tennis Academy has a tennis complex in Blowing Point with six hard courts and a stadium court. http://www.tennis.ai.

Other Options

Anguilla’s best windsurfing locations are Rendezvous Bay, Sandy Ground, Island Harbour and The Cove (between Rendezvous Bay and Maunday’s Bay). Most hotels and resorts have Windsurfers available for their guests.

The Anguilla Great House on Rendezvous Bay sometimes rents its sailboards to nonguests if it’s not too busy. Phone 497-6061. http://www.anguillagreathouse.com.

Nightlife

Anguillans love to party late—the main crowd arrives around midnight and stays until the wee hours.

Though its nightlife is relatively quiet, Anguilla has lively calypso, reggae or soca music every night of the week. Pick up a copy of Anguilla Life or What We Do in Anguilla for listings.

Bars, Taverns & Pubs

Ferry Boat Inn
You’ll find local expats hanging out at the small bar. Blowing Point, Anguilla. Phone 497-6613. http://www.ferryboatinn.ai.

Rafe’s
Go there for a nightcap or a tasty midnight snack of ribs and barbecued chicken. Sometimes there is a band to entertain the lively, mostly local crowd. Back Street, Sandy Ground, Anguilla.

The English Rose
This mediocre restaurant offers karaoke on Friday night. The Valley, Anguilla. Phone 497-5353.

The Pumphouse
Located in a former salt factory, The Pumphouse has become the late-night hangout, a kind of rocking roadhouse where light snacks are served until 2 am and conversations are lively in the bar. The unique uneven floor may make you feel as if you’ve had too much to drink. Sandy Ground, Road Bay, Anguilla. Phone 497-5150. http://www.pumphouse-anguilla.com.

Spectator Sports

Anguilla’s national sport is boat racing, so if a race is scheduled, don’t miss it. This pastime began with races between local fishing boats and between the interisland schooners that brought workers home from the Dominican Republic’s cane fields. Today’s racers are graceful wooden sloops; they’re rebuilt every two years or so, depending on their performance.

The biggest races take place during August Week, on New Year’s Day and Anguilla Day, as well as other national holidays. You’ll have fun watching on shore, but small local boats traditionally follow the racers—you’ll have an even better time if you can get one of their captains to take you along.

Shopping

Anguilla doesn’t offer the shopping possibilities of some Caribbean islands, but visitors should be able to find some worthwhile mementos. You can find good quality local crafts such as needlework, straw items, pottery, hand-carved model ships and other wooden items. Stamp collectors will want to buy Anguillan stamps, and some liquor is cheap.

Interesting boutiques can be found both inside and outside the luxury hotels: They have a selection of attractive gifts and resort wear. If these fail to satisfy you, take the 20-minute ferry ride to Marigot, St. Martin. There, you’ll find lots of shops featuring French designer clothes for men and women, as well as china, electronics, jewelry and perfume.

Anguilla’s arts scene is growing, with more nearly two dozen art galleries and studios displaying pastels, watercolors, glass blowing, photography, sculpture and digital art. Galleries and studios feature the work of talented Anguillan artists—including Cheddie Richardson, the pride of Anguilla—as well as artists from other Caribbean islands. Also look for works by the late Lucia Butler, known as the Grandma Moses of the Caribbean, whose unusual paintings and wooden Anguillan house plaques are still for sale in a few places around the island.

Shopping Hours: Monday-Saturday 8 am-5 pm. Some grocery stores are open until 9 pm, and a few are also open on Sunday.

Dining

Dining Overview

For such a small island, Anguilla offers an astounding number of restaurants (more than 70), including several that rank among the Caribbean’s finest. Grilled lobster and fresh fish are local favorites, as are fresh conch (pronounced konk) and whelk. (Be sure to ask what’s fresh and what’s flown in—much of the seafood served at restaurants is imported.)

French, Caribbean, Asian, Italian and Continental cuisines are available, along with some unusual hybrids. Many restaurants are set right at the edge of a beach and are open to soft breezes and romantic views of the nighttime skies. The better restaurants serve dinner until at least 10 pm.

Whether operating with a table and grill or from a “lunch truck,” purveyors of roadside meals are often gifted cooks. At night in Sandy Ground you’ll find excellent conch soup roadside. In The Valley, seek out Hungry’s, whose owner, a former chef, now serves lunch and dinner from a green and floral truck Monday-Saturday. Also in The Valley, across from the Anglican Church, try Ken’s Barbecue on weekends.

On the downside, Anguilla is also one of the most expensive places to eat in the region, and finding an inexpensive meal can be a challenge unless you’re willing to eat roadside. If you’re staying (and cooking) in a villa, there are several grocery stores to choose from; the IGA and Ashley’s are the best-stocked. Grocery store hours are generally Monday-Saturday 8 am-9 pm; some are open Sunday until noon.

In The Valley, right across from St. Mary’s Anglican Church, is the open-air People’s Market, where fresh fruit and vegetables are available. Geraud’s Patisserie in South Hill and Le Bon Pain in Island Harbour (mornings only) are good sources of baked goods.

Here is a sampling of restaurants on the island. Expect to pay within these guidelines for a meal for one, not including drinks, tax or tip: $ = less than US$15; $$= US$15-$20; $$$ = US$21-$50; $$$$ = more than US$50.

Local & Regional

Andy’s
You might not expect perfect texture and superb seasoning in such a casual grill, but you’ll find it there, on a deck in a downtown garden. Expect generous, home-style servings of salads, burgers, fish, chicken and lobster. Try the island’s signature dish: curried goat, also known as goat water. Open Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner. $. Carter Rey, the Valley, Anguilla. Phone 498-2639.

George’s
A casually chic beach bar and grill named after its popular award-winning executive chef, George Reid. The restaurant is famous for its contemporary Caribbean cuisine, Friday-night beach barbecue and banana daiquiris. Open daily for breakfast and lunch, nightly except Wednesday for dinner. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. Cap Juluca Resort, Maunday’s Bay, Anguilla. Phone 497-6666. http://www.capjuluca.com.

Jacquie’s Ripples
This lively, transplanted English pub includes Mexican, English, West Indian and Asian dishes on its international menu. The grilled chicken with fresh mango salad is especially tasty. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Early-bird specials Saturday 5-7 pm. Reservations recommended for dinner. $$. Most major credit cards. Sandy Ground, Anguilla. Phone 497-3380.

Johnno’s Beach Spot
If you don’t like to dress up for dinner, try this casual place. You can dine at a picnic table on the seaside terrace or inside in the dining room (which becomes a dance floor after dinner hours end). This friendly spot serves tasty, reasonably priced local dishes and fresh seafood. Most of the seafood is actually caught and cooked by the chef, so be sure to try his barbecue snapper. Daily except Monday for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended for dinner. $. Most major credit cards. Phone 497-2728.

Santorini
In the CuisinArt Resort and Spa (yes, it’s owned by the food-processor people), the menu features “cuisine de soleil,” a blend of Mediterranean and Caribbean. Most fruits, vegetables and herbs come from the resort’s hydroponic garden. Diners get the opportunity to see the chef cook their food in the restaurant’s “kitchen stadium.” Try the candied cherry tomato and leek tart with mascarpone cheese. Master classes with chef Michael Goodman also are offered. Open daily except Wednesday for dinner. Reservations recommended. $$$$. Most major credit cards. Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla. Phone 498-2000. http://www.cuisinartresort.com.

Cuisines

French

Altamer
One of Anguilla’s most spectacular restaurants has a beachside view of St. Martin’s lights, a glass-walled kitchen, bold geometric architecture and a varied menu created by acclaimed chef Maurice Leduc. Open daily except Wednesday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations required for dinner. $$$. Most major credit cards. Shoal Bay West, Anguilla. Phone 498-4040. http://www.altamer.com/restaurant.html.

Malliouhana
Elegant service, tropical atmosphere, unusual seasonings and fine French cuisine supervised by the longtime owner, Michel Rostang, and chef, Alain Laurent. The desserts are divine, and the extensive wine list will satisfy discriminating drinkers. Daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations required. $$$. Most major credit cards. In the Malliouhana Hotel, Meads Bay, Anguilla. Phone 497-6111. Toll-free 800-835-0796. http://www.malliouhana.com.

Fusion

Pimms
The island’s most romantic spot has a French-Asian menu prepared by chef George Reid. The menu features many exotic dishes such as a mint pesto-rubbed rack of lamb served with an au gratin of Tania root, artichoke, bok choi and rosemary sauce. Open daily except Wednesday for late lunch, nightly for dinner except Friday, when the resort holds its weekly beach barbecue. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. Cap Juluca Resort, Maunday’s Bay, Anguilla. Phone 497-6666. Toll-free 888-858-5822. http://www.capjuluca.com.

Veya
This relative newcomer to the Anguilla dining scene draws sophisticates and foodies with the drama of its spare but sensual setting. The daring menu draws inspiration from warm countries all over the world. Open Monday-Friday for dinner, also on Saturday November-April. Closed in August. $$$-$$$$. Sandy Ground, Anguilla. Phone 498-8392. http://www.veya-axa.com.

Italian

Ciao Restaurant and Pizzeria
If you don’t fancy a delicious, thin-crust pizza, you can also choose from soups, salads, pastas, chicken seafood and steaks. The inside ambience is humble, but the back deck has charm and you can also get food delivered or to take away. Open daily except Wednesday 11 am-11. The Valley, Anguilla. Phone 497-2056.

Corner Bar Pizza
The island’s best pizza with all the usual toppings plus such tropical choices as pineapple, crab, fish, lobster and shrimp. Try the Caribbean pizza. Side orders of garlic bread, spicy wings and french fries, as well as chicken, salmon and vegetable burgers are available. Monday and Wednesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner only. $. No credit cards. North Hill, Anguilla. Phone 497-3937.

Trattoria Tramonto
A beachside bistro serving classic northern Italian specialties. Lunch is casual—customers sometimes take a swim between courses. Dinner is more formal—expect candlelight and opera music. Be sure to sample the treasured Trinidadian family recipe for rum punch. Daily except Monday for lunch and dinner. $$$. Most major credit cards. Shoal Bay West, Anguilla. Phone 497-8819.

Continental

KoalKeel
This trendy garden restaurant, set in an elegant historic building, serves some of the island’s most innovative and sophisticated cuisine. Try the chef’s signature crayfish ravioli and rice-paper snapper. Saturday-Tuesday for dinner only. Reservations required. $$$. Most major credit cards. The Valley Historic District, Anguilla. Phone 497-2930. http://www.koalkeel.com.

Seafood

Scilly Cay Restaurant
This is the best place to enjoy lobster for lunch. On a tiny, private island off Island Harbour beach, the restaurant has its own stretch of white sand and a reef that offers good snorkeling (take your own equipment). Or you can just laze on the beach enjoying a rum punch and listening to the live steel band while your lobster cooks. To get there, wave from the jetty: They’ll send the free boat. Wednesday, Friday and Sunday for lunch (till 5 pm). Closed September and October. $$$. Most major credit cards. Scilly Cay, Anguilla. Phone 497-5123 or 235-5000. http://www.scillycayanguilla.com.

Other Options

Hibernia
Chef Raoul Rodriguez travels for two months each year, gathering inspiration for a menu of French, Thai, Burmese and other international dishes. The restaurant is in a charming little house with a fabulous sea view and art gallery. Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner only. During the off-season, Wednesday-Sunday for dinner only; closed mid-August to mid-October. Reservations recommended for dinner. $$$. Most major credit cards. Island Harbour, Anguilla. Phone 497-4290. http://www.hiberniarestaurant.com.

Security

Personal Safety

Anguilla is relatively safe, but travelers need to be aware of their surroundings. For the most part, crime is limited to occasional car or hotel break-ins and some bag snatchings on the beach. Don’t wear flashy jewelry or carry large amounts of cash, and don’t leave valuables unattended in hotel rooms; use the hotel safe.

Unaccompanied women should remain alert; professional “beach boys” may try to delude them into and out of things. At large, public events, be aware of the crowd; this otherwise peaceful island does have a few gangs with agendas.

For the latest information, contact your country’s travel-advisory agency.

Health

The food and water should pose no danger, though most visitors prefer bottled water. Most tap water comes from desalinization plants or cisterns that collect rainwater—in other words, the tap water has not been purified. The sun can be quite strong, so wear plenty of sunscreen and a hat. Also take along insect repellent for the no-see-ums that appear around sunset and for mosquitoes, which sometimes carry the dengue fever virus.

Steer clear of the manchineel tree—the applelike fruit is poisonous, and sap dropping off the tree can blister your skin. If contact occurs, rinse the area well with water. The burning sensation normally won’t last longer than a couple of hours.

As in most of the Caribbean, HIV prevalence is high on Anguilla. If you fool around, use a condom.

The island has a well-equipped hospital and several clinics. The 36-bed Princess Alexandra hospital in Stoney Ground has modern facilities, including upgraded eye and emergency care, and an ambulance service (phone 497-2551).

There is a dental clinic near the library, but appointments are not taken until you’ve undergone an initial examination, which usually involves a long wait since exams are conducted on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8 am (phone 497-2343).

Be sure to take along all prescription medications needed for the trip.

In an emergency, dial 911.

For more information, contact your country’s health-advisory agency.

Dos & Don’ts

Do pronounce the name of the island correctly: ahn-GWIL-ah.

Do take the kids—though exclusive in atmosphere, the island is child-friendly. In fact, the fanciest hotel on the island, the Malliouhana, operates a children’s water park (the entrance fee includes supervision, so you can drop your kids off for a few hours).

Don’t touch or otherwise disturb coral reefs while swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving. Coral is delicate and easily damaged.

Don’t waste water: It’s a valuable commodity on Anguilla.

Do return the courtesy if someone waves and says “hi;” it is expected. Likewise, give a friendly greeting to people you meet, and honk the horn if you are driving.

Do ask politely before taking photos of residents.

Do consider “sightseeing” at some of the more exclusive resorts—Cap Jaluca, the CuisinArt and the Malliouhanna are marvels of architecture and gardening. You may have to talk your way past the guard—just say you want to check out the shops and restaurants.

Don’t wear swimsuits into town. Even though this is an informal island, it’s not that informal.

Do allow extra time when driving. The maps don’t completely correspond with reality.

Don’t expect to rent Jet Skis in Anguilla. They’re illegal.

Don’t sunbathe or swim in the nude. It’s illegal.

Do take home some unusual handcrafted souvenirs produced by local artists.

Do consider taking your pet, as pets are welcome. Contact the agriculture department for details and an import permit. Phone 497-2615.

Don’t expect full dining options August-October. Many restaurants close during these months.
Do consider a summer visit: accommodation rates are reduced up to 60%; May to November are the best months for scuba diving; and the Summer Festival takes place mid-July into early August.

Hotels

Hotel Overview

Anguilla is known for its deluxe properties, which don’t come cheap. Even basic hotels can be pricey, though inexpensive guesthouses can be found. Most of the properties are very clean and well-run. Moderate to deluxe hotels usually have watersports equipment available for guests.

Anguilla does go “on sale” during the off-season. You can get significant discounts on hotels, and you’ll feel as if you have the island to yourself. Consider May or June—it’s not as hot and humid as in midsummer.

Facts

Geostats

Passport/Visa Requirements: Passports and onward or return tickets are preferred for all travelers. Visas are not required for citizens from Australia or the U.K.

All U.S. citizens must have a passport when traveling by air to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico. Citizens of Canada, Mexico and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda also must have a passport or other designated secure document to enter the U.S.

Beginning 1 June 2009, passports are required for land crossings at the Canadian and Mexican borders with the U.S. and for cruise passengers returning to the U.S. from Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada or Bermuda.

Reconfirm travel-document requirements with your carrier prior to departure.

Population: 14,108.

Languages: English.

Predominant Religions: (Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Pentecostal, Baptist).

Time Zone: 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-4 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is not observed.

Voltage Requirements: 110 volts.

Telephone Codes: 264, country code;

Money

Currency Exchange

The Eastern Caribbean dollar is Anguilla’s official currency, but the U.S. dollar is widely accepted. There are several banks on the island, including First Caribbean International (formerly Barclays), National Bank of Anguilla (NBA), Scotia Bank and the Caribbean Commercial Bank (CCB), which provides a handy, pocket-sized currency conversion chart. All have ATMs, which dispense both local and U.S. currencies, at their main locations.

The National Bank of Anguilla, at the corner of the airport road and the government offices road, is the American Express representative (phone 497-2101). Most restaurants and resorts accept Visa and MasterCard; some also take American Express. Changing money is cheaper at banks than at hotels.

Taxes

Anguilla has no sales tax or value-added tax (VAT). A US$20 departure tax is charged at the airport, and departure taxes also are levied on ferry passengers headed to St. Martin/St. Maarten (US$20 adults, US$10 children younger than 12). Hotel guests pay a 10% room tax and a 10% service charge.

Tipping

A 10%-15% service charge is sometimes added to restaurant bills. If it has not been added, tip 15%.

Tip taxi drivers about 10%, more if they’ve given you a guided tour. In hotels, leave US$2 daily for housekeeping.

Weather

Temperatures are fairly steady year-round, with daytime highs generally in the 80s F/27-32 C and nights in the 60s-70s F/15-22 C. Humidity is low. The hottest months are August and September (although only by a few degrees), and the hurricane season runs June-November.

Generally there’s little rain, though more falls in the autumn months than at any other time of year. When it does rain, the showers are usually sudden and intense.

What to Wear

Dress is casual but chic. Beachwear is not acceptable in town, and topless or nude sunbathing is illegal. Sun protection is essential. Breezy winter evenings may warrant a light wrap.

Business can be conducted in shirt and tie or a polo shirt (and pants, of course). Judge your dining attire by the venue. No need to overdress, but shorts will look silly in most places.

Communication

Telephone

Phone service on the island is generally good. Overseas calls from Anguilla may be made from the Cable and Wireless Office on Wallblake Road (open Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm, Saturday 9 am-1 pm, closed Sunday and holidays; phone 497-3100). Direct-dial phones are located outside that office, as well as at the airport and Blowing Point Ferry Terminal.

There also are numerous pay (both coin and card) phones around the island, but don’t count on them to work. Phone cards in EC$5, EC$10 or EC$20 denominations are available from Cable and Wireless. Cable and Wireless also rents cell phones for about US$5 a day.

Mobile phone services and accessories are available at the Digicel Office in The Valley. It’s easy to get a SIM card and go local. Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm, Saturday 8 am-1:30 pm; closed Sunday and holidays. Phone 498-7500.

World Phones accept credit cards and claim to offer lower long distance rates.

Internet Access

Internet access is available at the library for US$4 per hour (phone 497-2441).

Hotels typically offer Internet access (either ADSL or Wi-Fi), but fees vary as does in-room access, so ask when booking.

Some cafes have wireless access.

Mail & Package Services

Anguilla has some beautiful stamps.

Because mail makes at least one other stop before going outside the region, service can be slow. If speed is important, use a carrier service. The Valley’s post office is open Monday-Friday 8 am-3:30 pm. Phone 497-2528.

Newspapers & Magazines

For news, The Daily Herald, a Caribbean-wide daily, has an international section and is available at various outlets. Published in St. Maarten, it includes substantial Anguilla coverage. The island also has two local weeklies: The Anguillian, published on Thursdays, and The Light, published on Fridays.

Some hotels also provide summarized versions of U.S.-based newspapers on a daily basis.

Visitor information is available in the annual publications Anguilla Travel Planner, published by Skyviews (http://www.skyviews.com) and the Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association’s Absolutely Anguilla. Thrice-yearly Anguilla Life and the monthly What We Do in Anguilla provide useful, behind-the-scenes insight into the island.

Transportation

There is regular air service to Anguilla, and ferries and small cruise ships also deliver visitors to the island. There is no public transportation.

Rental cars are the most convenient way to get around. When buying gas, pay attention to the prices and whether they’re quoted in liters or gallons and U.S. or Eastern Caribbean dollars. The island’s main roads were resurfaced in 2008. The speed limit is 30 mph/50 kph in most areas; 40 mph/65 kph is tops.

Taxis are also available.

Air

All air transportation to the island uses the expanded Wallblake Airport (AXA), which is 1 mi/1.6 km south of The Valley. The majority of flights to Anguilla arrive from other Caribbean islands, especially Puerto Rico and St. Maarten (the flight from St. Maarten to Anguilla takes only seven minutes). Antigua, St. Thomas and St. Kitts also provide connecting flights. Customs and immigration officials are pleasant. Plans are brewing to extend the runway to accommodate larger planes, reducing the need to connect via other islands. Phone 497-2514.

Car

This is the best option if you intend to go to more than one beach or attraction. Several agencies offer cars and Jeeps for about US$35-$75 a day plus insurance. An Anguillan driver’s license is required and issued when you present a valid driver’s license from your home country; fee is US$20. You can get an Anguillian license at any rental car agency.

Driving is on the left. There is one main paved road around the island, but most tourist attractions are along the coast, accessible via other paved or dirt roads. Local drivers can be aggressive, but there aren’t too many cars around. Do watch out for free-running sheep and goats, though, and for unmarked speed bumps.

Ferry

Frequent ferry service is available between Blowing Point, Anguilla, and Marigot, St. Martin. Sailing time runs 20-30 minutes. Reservations are not required. US$12 each way, plus US$20 departure tax (US$10 for children younger than 12); price jumps to US$15 for the last ferries of the day.

Two additional boats shuttle to and from Princess Juliana Airport, St. Maarten. The MV Shauna charges US$35 one-way or US$60 round-trip (US$20 one-way or US$40 round-trip for children). Phone 772-2031, 476-6275 or 001-599-553-1820 to reserve.

Cheers offers the same services at the same price (sans the reduced price for children) four times daily, but also promises to get you under the bridge that can block higher vessels when it’s not lifted. Phone 235-6205 or 584-6205 for information or reservations.

Ship

Small cruise ships anchor in Road Bay and take passengers in a smaller craft to a jetty at Sandy Ground, the main port and yacht harbor. Visitors arriving by private yacht must register with the Anguillian Immigration and Customs Office at either Road Bay or Blowing Point.

Taxi

Licensed taxis operate on a fixed-rate system that is determined by zone. Each taxi driver carries a copy of the government-controlled rates, which are also printed in the annual What We Do in Anguilla tourism magazine. Zone maps are available at the Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association, Coronation Road, The Valley, and at http://www.ahta.ai or http://www.anguillaguide.com.

Most taxi drivers are also fairly knowledgeable tour guides, but they tend to steer visitors to crowded Shoal Bay or to give a standard US$40 round-the-island tour (it lasts about two hours).

Other

Mopeds are available through Boo’s Cycle Rental (phone 497-2323) in Water Swamp, and from A & S Scooter Rentals (phone 497-8803). Flambayo Bike Rental (497-5370) rents mountain bikes.

For More Information

Tourist Offices

Anguilla: Anguilla Tourist Board, P.O. Box 1388, The Valley, Anguilla, B.W.I. Phone 497-2759. Toll-free 800-553-4939. Fax 497-2710. http://www.anguilla-vacation.com.

U.S.: Anguilla Tourist Board, 246 Central Ave., White Plains, NY 10606. Phone 914-287-2400. Toll-free 877-4-ANGUILLA. Fax 914-287-2404.

U.K.: CSB Communications, 7A Crealock St., London SW18 2BS, U.K. Phone 011-44-20887-10012. Fax 011-44-20720-74323.

Canada: 33 Hazelton Ave., Suite 400, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5R 2E3. Phone 416-923-9813. Toll-free: 877-46264-84552. http://www.go-anguilla.com.

France: 745 av. Du General Leclerc, 92100 Boulgne, France. Phone 011-33-1-4608-5984. Fax 011-33-1-4609-9676.

Italy: De Paoli Associati Communications, Via del Mare 4720142, 20142 Milano, Italy. Phone 011-39-02895-34108. Fax 011-39-0284-60841.

Monaco/Spain: 20 Ave. de Fontvieille, MC 98000, Monaco. Phone 011-003-77979-84110. Fax 011-003-77979-84120.

Germany: GH Marketing, Malsenstrasse 66 D-80638 34, Munich, Germany. Phone 011-49-8954-39397. Fax 011-49-8954-39765.

Puerto Rico: 1804 Santa Eulalia St., San Juan, Puerto Rico 00926. Phone 787-466-1432. Fax 787-761-2118.

British Embassies

British Embassies represent Anguilla abroad.

Australia: British High Commission, Commonwealth Avenue, Canberra City, ACT 2601. Phone 2-6270-6666. Fax 2-6273-3236.

Canada: British High Commission, 80 Elgin St., Ottawa, ON K1P 5K7. Phone 613-237-1530. Fax 613-237-7980.

U.S.: British Embassy, 3100 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20008. Phone 202-588-7800. Fax 202-588-7870.

Foreign Embassies Serving Anguilla

Australia: Australia is represented by its high commission in Barbados: Bishop’s Court Hill, St. Michael, Bridgetown (mail address: P.O. Box 396), Barbados. Phone 246-435-2834. Fax 246-435-2896.

Canada: Canada is represented by its high commission in Barbados: Bishop’s Court Hill, St. Michael, Bridgetown (mail address: P.O. Box 404), Barbados. Phone 246-429-3550. Fax 246-429-3780.

U.K.: Government House, The Valley, Anguilla, B.W.I. Phone 497-2621. Fax 497-3314.

U.S.: The U.S. is represented by its embassy in Barbados: Wildey, St. Michael (mail address: P.O. Box 302), Barbados. Phone 246-436-4950. Fax 246-429-5246.

Recommended Guidebooks

Anguilla Beyond the Beaches by Brenda Carty.

Anguilla: Tranquil Isle of the Caribbean by Brenda Carty and Colville Petty.

Anguilla: Tranquility Wrapped in Blue. Edited by Arif Ali (Hansib Publications).

A Field Guide to Anguilla’s Wetlands by the Anguilla National Trust.

Additional Reading

Under an English Heaven by Donald Westlake. The story of the British invasion of Anguilla in 1969, a bloodless but embarrassing event for both sides.

Nuttin Bafflin: The Story of the Anguilla Racing Boat by David Carty. A detailed look at Anguilla’s favorite sport.

Dictionary of Anguillian Language by Ijanyah Christian. Explains the peculiarities you’ll hear.

Note: All three of the previous books are out of print but may be available in Anguilla.

A Trip to the Beach by Melinda and Robert Blanchard. Two restaurateurs’ personal and often hilarious account of moving to Anguilla.

Events

Calendar

The 10-day Summer Festival celebration in early August is the island’s main event. Festivities celebrate the end of slavery in the Caribbean and include nightly shows and competitions at Carnival Village, boat races, costumed parades and nonstop music. Anguillans living abroad often come home for family reunions. The Monday and Thursday of August Week are public holidays known as August Monday and August Thursday.

August is also the month for the Annual Invitational Golf Classic at Temenos Golf Club. The weekend includes cocktail parties and a gala dinner.

Another popular annual event is Bankie Banx’s reggae festival, known as The Moonsplash Music Festival, held on a weekend night during the full moon in February or March on the beach at Rendezvous Bay. Bankie and other local and international musicians perform. For more information, visit http://www.bankiebanx.net.

The Anguilla Yacht Regatta, held in May, features three days of races in and around Road Bay. Boats sail close to shore, so you can get a good view even if you’re not on a boat yourself. The unique “Mix Up” races put the yachties at the helm of the local boats and the local sailors behind the wheel of the yachts.

Other festivals of note are the Tranquility Jazz Festival in November (http://www.anguillajazz.org) and the biennial International Arts Festival, held in odd-numbered years. The Annual Flower and Garden Show is held in late February.

Anguilla celebrates all the usual Western holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, as well as several local holidays marking important events in the island’s history. Anguilla Day (30 May) celebrates the commencement of the Anguilla Revolution and secession from the Associated State of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla. An around-the-island boat race and a parade of officials in uniforms are part of the festivities.

Other national holidays include Separation Day (19 December), which marks the constitutional separation from St. Kitts and Nevis in 1969, and the Queen’s Birthday (June). Most banks and businesses are closed on national holidays.

NORTHSTAR Travel Media, LLC. ©2010 All rights reserved.

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