With palm-fringed beaches, luxurious hotels and villas, and an impressive array of restaurants, the Caribbean island of Anguilla is a sun-seekers dream realised. Its posh reputation and loyal celebrity following (Beyoncé and Harry Styles are fans) may lead you to expect it to be a little formal. But you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the casual and unpretentious vibe that prevails. When you visit, take these tips for making the most of this low-key, high-end getaway.
By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon a.k.a JetSetSarah – a writer, on-screen host and self-described ‘Carivangelist’
With 33 to choose from, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to set foot on all of Anguilla’s beaches, so prioritising is the name of the game. Fancy seclusion and a bit of adventure? Head for Little Bay, a postcard-perfect cove reachable only by boat – or rappelling down the hillside above.
See and be seen on Meads Bay in the west or Shoal Bay on Anguilla’s eastern end; both are prime strands for beach bars, restaurants and people-watching, but never crowded. For views of neighbouring St. Martin, stake a claim to the sands of Rendezvous Bay, where the breezy, mile-and-a-half-long beach is lined with leaning coconut palms.
Anguilla boasts more than 100 restaurants, all of them superb. But in the capital of The Valley, Ken’s BBQ has been firing for more than 20 years, with flavourful specialities and reasonable prices (around five pounds for a rib dinner) that have made it a local go-to for years.
For drinks, no Anguilla visit is complete without at least one trip to Elvis’ Beach Bar in Sandy Ground. Sheltered by a converted class C racing sailboat, the beachfront tavern is presided over by the lanky and laidback “King,” Elvis Erin Fleming, whose rum cocktails (spiked with Amaretto and dusted with nutmeg and cinnamon) pack a real… ahem… punch.
Wherever you choose to stay, it would be a shame not to explore beyond your hotel. One of the most fun ways to do that is by renting one of Moke Anguilla’s fleet of colourful beach buggies, which come complete with removable tops, Bluetooth speakers and appropriately tropical names such as “Fruit Punch” and “Mango”.
One of three offshore islands popular with day-trippers, Sandy Island is an idyllic sandbar a few minutes’ ride from Sandy Ground. Board one of the outpost’s boat shuttles (aptly named Bliss and Happiness) and set sail for a day basking on white sands, feasting on Anguillian crayfish (a lobster-like delicacy found only here), and listening to the “wind, waves and seagulls” band.
Presiding over a sublime sweep of sand as fine and white as confectioner’s sugar, Cap Juluca on Maundays Bay is an ideal choice for those who seek sun and sea with a side order of relaxed sophistication. Don’t miss the spectacle of a fiery island sunset followed by dinner at Uchu, the al fresco seaside restaurant where Peruvian cuisine gets a Caribbean twist.
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