Everything You Need to Know Before You Travel to Anguilla
Anguilla is a small Caribbean island popular as a luxury and private getaway for the Hollywood celebrities.
St. Barts has the reputation for being the favorite of celebrities, and oftentimes, celebrities visiting the island land on Page Six. But Anguilla is the low-key alternative for St. Barts. Celebrities visit here to get away from the media.
That doesn’t mean it’s less lavish though and, it also doesn’t mean you can only travel to Anguilla if you’re ready to spend a lot of money. In fact, Anguilla is also an easy and popular day trip from St Maarten.
The island of Anguilla is also one of the least visited Caribbean islands, which makes it a more unspoilt destination, that generally caters towards more high-end and private getaways.
In this Anguilla travel guide I want to share all the information you need to plan a perfect visit to Anguilla. From things to do on the island and where to stay, to how to get here and general things to know about the island.
Let’s start with some general information that’s useful if you plan to travel to Anguilla.
Where is Anguilla?
Anguilla is part of the Leeward Islands or the group of islands in the northern part of the Lesser Antilles.
It is located nine miles (14.5 km) north of St. Maarten and one hundred and fifty miles (240 km) east of Puerto Rico which are also the closest islands that have direct connections to Anguilla.
Quick Facts About Anguilla Island
- Anguilla is a British territory, therefore the citizens are British passport holders.
- Anguilla is a Spanish word for eel because the island is eel-shaped.
- Anguilla is only 16 miles (around 26 km) long and 3.5 miles (6 km) wide.
- Like the Cayman Islands, Anguilla is a tax haven as there are no capital gains or any form of taxations for foreigners.
- There are a total of 33 public beaches in Anguilla. One of them is listed here as one of the best beaches in the world.
- Because the island is small, there are only 15,000 residents living on the island.
- Unlike the more popular luxury islands such as St. Barts and St. Lucia, there are no cruise ships in Anguilla. This is ideal for those who want to avoid the crowds that cruise ships bring to other Caribbean islands.
- The island is so laid back that it doesn’t have cinemas, shopping malls, high-rise buildings, or casinos.
- The currency in Anguilla is the Eastern Caribbean dollar but US dollars are widely accepted.
- The power plugs and sockets used on the island are of type A, which is the same as in the USA. The standard voltage is 110 V.
- Cars drive on the left, and if you want to rent a car while visiting Anguilla you’ll need a local driving license. Any car rental agency on the island will help you get this license, you simply have to pay the fee to obtain one.
Do You Need A Visa To Visit Anguilla?
Visa requirements depend on your citizenship. As a rule of thumb, check the visa requirements from Anguilla’s government website.
Traveling to Anguilla as a US or Canadian Citizen
You don’t need a visa if you’re traveling to Anguilla as a US or Canadian citizen and are staying for less than 90 days.
Make sure to bring a valid passport with you. Anguilla is not a US territory like the Bahamas so a passport is required for American citizens as well.
Traveling to Anguilla as a British Citizen or EU Citizen
As a British territory, British citizens can enter Anguilla visa-free for 3 months but accommodation must be booked prior to arrival. The same thing applies to EU citizens.
For Other Countries That Require a Visa to Visit Anguilla
You will need to get a visa from your nearest British embassy. But if you are already in the possession of a valid UK tourist visa, you don’t need to apply for an additional visa to visit Anguilla.
As an additional requirement, make sure that your passport is valid for at least another 6 months from the time you travel to Anguilla.
How To Get to Anguilla
There are no direct flights to Anguilla from any major US or European cities.
To get to Anguilla, you will have to fly to St. Maarten first or as an alternative to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
From St. Maarten you can take the ferry to Anguilla or if you prefer to travel via Puerto Rico you can take a short flight from San Juan to Anguilla.
Traveling to Anguilla By Plane
If you are flying from North America, you have an option to fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico, or to Philipsburg, St. Maarten.
From San Juan, there are several airlines that fly directly to Anguilla. You can find flights with regional airlines such as Silver Airways, Seaborne Airlines, Cape Air, Jetblue Airways, and private air charter companies. The flight from San Juan to Anguilla takes a little over an hour.
Please note that all travelers departing Anguilla by air will need to pay a US$20 departure tax. Only cash is accepted.
Traveling to Anguilla By Ferry
There are several direct flights from Europe to St. Maarten and a lot of people wanting to travel to Anguilla therefore choose to fly to St. Maarten first.
From St. Martin (the French side of the island), it’s just a quick ferry ride to Anguilla.
The Anguilla Ferry System runs between Marigot (the capital of the French side of St. Martin) and Blowing Point (Anguilla) between 8:15 am to 7:00 pm.
There is a ferry every 45 minutes so you don’t have to worry about missing your connection. And from Anguilla to Marigot, the ferry runs from 7:30am to 6:00pm with a 45 minutes interval as well. The fare is $20 per adult (12+ years old) and $10 for children (below 12 years old) one way.
Also, as the ferry schedule is weather-dependent and changes depend on high and low season, I recommend checking the schedule for the day as soon as you arrive and expect some waiting time.
Unfortunately, you can’t make reservations for these public ferries in advance.
Everyone traveling to and from Anguilla by ferry must clear Customs & Immigration at the Blowing Point Ferry Terminal.
When you are leaving Anguilla by ferry you’ll have to pay a departure tax in the ferry terminal. The fee varies depending on the age and whether you’re leaving Anguilla permanently or not. You can pay by credit card or in cash.
Things To Do In Anguilla
1.Enjoy the White Sand Beaches
There’s nothing more quintessential in the Caribbean than enjoying its beaches.
Despite being small, Anguilla has 33 public beaches for visitors to enjoy. Relax on these palm-dotted white sand shores, enjoy the turquoise water and just appreciate life in Anguilla.
Among the top beaches in Anguilla are Shoal Bay, Meads Bay, Sandy Ground Village, Rendezvous Bay and Maundays Beach.
If you want to snorkel, Shoal Bay and Maundays Beach are good choices, and if you just want to relax at the beach, head to Rendezvous or Meads Bay.
If you want to enjoy the island’s nightlife after a full day of swimming, then head to Sandy Ground Village. This fish hook-shaped bay is a popular nightlife spot and it’s also the main port for yachts.
2. Explore the Fountain Cavern National Park
The Fountain Cavern National Park is the oldest known ceremonial cave site in the Caribbean and it’s the top archaeological site in Anguilla.
This underground cave was used by Amerindians as a place of worship based on the number of petroglyphs in the rocks. One of the most significant features in this cave is the 16-foot tall stalagmite carved in the shape of Jocahu – the supreme being of Taino Indians.
And although the cavern itself is closed to the public, the park can be explored, you can learn more about the cavern and there is a short trail.
3. Learn About History in Anguilla’s Only Museum
Anguilla only has one museum but this museum is packed with information and history of the island.
You can learn more about the history of Anguilla, its geology, the history of Arawaks, the sugar industry on the island, and also the history of slavery in the Heritage Collection Museum.
Learn about the Arawaks (or Taino) that played a big role in the Caribbean’s agriculture. They are a peaceful farming tribe whose history dates back to prehistoric times.
And you can learn more about how the sugar industry in Anguilla contributed to slavery.
4.Visit One of the Surviving Plantation Homes in Anguilla
Wallblake House is the oldest structure on the island. Built by sugar planter Will Blake in 1787, it is one of the fully intact plantation homes in the Caribbean.
A tour of this plantation home will give you a glimpse of life in Anguilla in the 1700s. The slave quarters, living room, and kitchen remained intact and they are some of the highlights of the house. The house also showcases Anguilla’s history through the exhibits.
The house is open to the public but tours must be booked in advance.
5. Go Scuba Giving in Anguilla
Anguilla is also a popular diving destination in the Caribbean. With seven marine parks and intentionally sunken ships, it is thriving with marine life and artificial reefs. If you are a professional diver or an aspiring one, Anguilla is a paradise.
The seven marine parks in Anguilla are considered some of the best diving spots in the Caribbean and there are dive sites that cater to both novice and experienced divers.
If you’re into wreck diving, there are lots of options in Anguilla. A popular wreck dive in Anguilla is the wreck of Sarah, a sunken ship and the largest wreck in Anguilla at 232 feet long. Unlike other ships around Anguilla that were intentionally sunk, this ship was a victim of a hurricane in 1984.
Meppel and Oosterdiep are also good wreck dives. Meppel played a big role in the battle of Dunkirk in World War II before it sank while Oosterdiep was intentionally sunk by the government when it drifted ashore.
Where to Stay in Anguilla
Anguilla caters to the more discerning travelers hence the price of accommodation is higher than in other parts of the Caribbean.
But you can still find some places that won’t break the bank and visit Anguilla on a budget. Or, as I mentioned before, Anguilla is also a popular day trip from St Maarten, where accommodation is generally cheaper.
Below are the places we stayed in when we traveled to Anguilla.
1. Anguilla Great House Beach Resort
This place is not as luxurious (and rooms are dated) as the other hotels we stayed in in Anguilla but it has a nice garden, a nice beach front and a nice view of the coast.
Plus, Anguilla Great House Beach Resort is located in Rendezvous Bay which makes it easy to get around.
The staff is wonderful and if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly place to stay when visiting Anguilla, this resort is a good option.
2. Four Seasons Resort and Residences
If you have the budget to splurge, I recommend staying in Four Seasons.
Four Seasons is well known as a luxury resort chain and so far, their resort in Anguilla is my favorite.
The resort is beautifully landscaped and it’s located in one of the best spots in Anguilla. The resort has three restaurants and a sunset bar which non-hotel guests also go to for sundowners.
Book one of the rooms with an outdoor jacuzzi and enjoy a stress-free vacation.
Where to Eat in Anguilla
To finish this Anguilla travel guide I’d like to share with you some of the best places to eat.
The island might be small but it’s packed with amazing restaurants. It is said that there are over 100 restaurants here.
There is also a great variety of cuisines on the island so if you are tired of the local fare, you have other options to try out.
And, there are restaurants to fit any budget, so no worries about going bankrupt when eating out in Anguilla.
1. Blanchards Beach Shack
Blanchards Beach Shack in Meads Bay is a popular lunch spot in Anguilla. Not only because it offers a great view of the ocean but also because of its reasonably priced food and amazing meals.
This beach shack offers a wide range of comfort food from burgers to chicken platters, tacos (highly recommended!), and wraps.
Per person, expect to pay between US$10-20 for your meal.
The beach shack is open from 12pm to 8pm, which also makes it a great spot to enjoy a sundowner.
If you are looking to splurge or celebrating a special occasion, I recommend trying Pimms.
At this beautiful restaurant located right on the beach, you can’t only enjoy a great meal in a fantastic setting, but if you’re lucky you might even see a barracuda and other fish swim near your table.
I recommend trying the lobster bisque, the crawfish, and the red snapper.
Most of the dishes here cost over US$40 but it’s all worth it!
Traveling to Anguilla – Conclusion
There you have it, all of my tips to make the most of your visit to Anguilla.
I hope this article has given you an idea of what this island has to offer and why it makes a great destination away from the crowds.
- Things to Do in Sint Maarten & Saint Martin
- The Best Luxury Resorts and Villas in the Turks and Caicos
- How to Snorkel
- Why You Shouldn’t Buy Seashells or Take Them From the Beach
- The Best Dive Sites in the Caribbean
Like this Anguilla travel guide? Pin it!
This article about traveling to Anguilla contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no additional cost to you.