Anguilla Unveiled: A Symphony of History, Charm, and Beauty

Nestled in the heart of the cerulean Caribbean Sea, Anguilla is a bewitching gem that beckons travellers with its pristine beaches, vibrant culture, and a history that whispers tales of resilience and triumph. This slender slice of paradise, just 16 miles long and 3 miles wide, holds within its embrace a treasure trove of experiences that captivate the soul and leave an indelible mark on the wandering heart. Join me in this special three-part feature as I share my experience of Anguilla.

Embarking on the journey from the North of England, my chosen route involved a swift flight from Manchester to Paris, followed by another to Saint Martin. The final leg included a brief but scenic boat ride to the enchanting shores of Anguilla. Stepping onto the vibrant Calypso Charters boat, the weariness of travel instantly dissolved in the face of the islands’ breathtaking beauty. The rhythmic waves, kissed by the Caribbean sun, ushered in a sense of tranquility that effortlessly banished any lingering jet lag. A sip of the invigorating rum punch, served with the warm hospitality that defines the region, further marked the beginning of a journey where refreshment met the allure of the tropics.

A Tapestry of History:

Anguilla’s history is as rich and diverse as the hues of its crystalline waters. The Arawak and Carib Indians were the first to tread upon its shores, leaving behind the echoes of their ancient civilisations. Centuries later, the island became a battleground for colonial powers, passing through the hands of the French, Spanish, and English before finding its place as a British Overseas Territory, something the islanders I spoke with are incredibly proud of.
The echoes of this tumultuous history can still be heard in the charming architecture that graces the island. The Old Valley, the historical heart of Anguilla, is a quaint testament to the island’s past, with its brightly coloured houses and cobblestone streets that seem to whisper tales of times gone by. The best way to get about is by Moke, and that we did! What a thrill it was to whip around the island in these open-side buggies.

Beaches of Dreams:

Anguilla’s beaches are nothing short of a dreamscape. Powder-soft sands stretch for miles, caressed by gentle waves that paint the shore in hues of turquoise and azure. Shoal Bay, Meads Bay, and Rendezvous Bay are but a few names that conjure images of a James Bond paradise, inviting visitors to lose themselves in the rhythm of the sea.
Each beach is a canvas painted with the strokes of a master artist, where the sunsets are a symphony of colours that linger in the memory long after leaving the island. Whether you seek solitude or vibrant social scenes, Anguilla’s beaches provide the perfect backdrop for your Caribbean dreams.

Culinary Odyssey:

The island’s culinary scene is a testament to the cultural diversity that defines Anguilla. From beachside shacks serving up grilled lobster, which I must admit I devoured, to upscale restaurants offering a fusion of Caribbean and international flavours, every meal is a culinary odyssey. The island’s signature dish, crayfish, is a must-try delicacy that embodies the essence of Anguillian cuisine.
Venture into The Valley’s culinary precinct, where aromas of spices and fresh seafood dance through the air, tempting even the most discerning palates. Anguilla doesn’t just offer a feast for the eyes and ensures every meal becomes a sensory celebration.
I know you want my recommendations, so here they are: I recommend Sandy Island for beachside grilled lobster. Getting to this tiny private island takes a boat ride, but it is worth it! Lobster to die for and a remote island to boast about – the perfect laid-back lunch spot, but be warned, the rum punch here packs an extra strong punch!

For upscale fusion, one of my favourite cuisines, you cannot get better than Veya Restaurant, at Sandy Ground!! You will be serenaded by traditional music whilst you struggle to choose just one or two things off this incredible menu! Everything is a win. Top tip – do not miss out on the Lobster Fritters; get a side extra for the table, as one of my good friends advised. For crayfish lovers, it must be Vincy’s, located on Back Street, South Hill. It’s not just the fish that will blow you away here; the views are the best I have experienced in Anguilla. It’s the perfect dining spot.

Warmth of the People:

Beyond its physical beauty, the people of Anguilla infuse the island with its unparalleled charm. Warm smiles and genuine hospitality greet visitors at every turn as we drove past on our Moke’s, creating an atmosphere where strangers quickly become friends, and you can’t help but feel at home. The island’s small size fosters a sense of community, inviting travellers to embrace the laid-back pace and immerse themselves in the local way of life.
As the sun dips below the horizon and the sky is set ablaze with pink and orange shades, it becomes evident that Anguilla is more than a destination—it’s a canvas upon which memories are painted in strokes of warmth, beauty, and everlasting charm.

Exploring Anguilla’s Hidden Gems: Unforgettable Excursions

While the hotels here offer a sanctuary of tranquillity, the allure of Anguilla extends beyond the confines of their luxurious embrace. Embark on curated excursions that promise to unveil the island’s hidden gems, creating memories as captivating as the sea breeze.

The Goat Cave Hike hosted by Quest beckons adventurers to traverse the island’s scenic trails, immersing themselves in nature while discovering the secrets of Anguilla’s captivating caves. This guided trek is a journey through landscapes and an exploration of the island’s geological wonders. Be warned, wear appropriate shoes for this trek. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but if you can reach the cave, you will feel a sense of achievement and exhilaration – it’s a real team bonding exercise and I loved every minute of it! Perfect for corporate trips and activities and one I will be recommending to my business clients.

For those with a penchant for other hands-on activities, Quest also offers the Johnny Cake Making experience. Dive into the heart of Anguilla’s culture as you learn the art of crafting these traditional delicacies, a skill passed down through generations. It was not one of my personal favourites as I like to be out and about more than in a kitchen however, it was great to learn about this island’s delicacy and see how it was made. If you would like to witness the island’s beauty from a different perspective, Sea Life Charters hosts a captivating boat ride around Anguilla, a personal favourite of mine. Sail along the coastline, where azure waters meet rugged cliffs, discovering secluded coves and pristine beaches that remain hidden to many. These excursions are not merely activities; they are gateways to the soul of Anguilla, inviting travellers to forge a deeper connection with the island’s rich tapestry.

An Exit Fit for a Bond Adventure

Having made my grand entrance to the island by boat, my departure was nothing short of a James Bond-worthy farewell—aboard the shortest international flight in the world, a mere 8-minute journey back to Saint Martin for my homeward-bound expedition. Summing up my stay is like capturing the essence of a thrilling novel. Anguilla, with its rich history, pristine beaches, culinary wonders, and the warm embrace of its locals, is not just a destination; it’s an extraordinary sanctuary where time gracefully slows down, allowing travellers to relish the sheer beauty of each fleeting moment. As I delved into the heart of this Caribbean jewel, the tales of its history enchanted me, the charm captivated me, and, inevitably, I found myself irresistibly seduced by the timeless allure of Anguilla.

Join me and continue this exploration as I unveil the unique narratives of two of the island’s exceptional hotels. The first is The Manoah Boutique Hotel, read all about my stay here. The second hotel I stayed at was The Malliouhana, read all about my stay here.

For information on Anguilla, please visit the official website:



Air France:

Flights from Manchester (MAN), via Paris, to Saint Maarten (SXM) from £436, bookable via Price is correct at time of writing and subject to change.

Calypso Charters: 

From SXM, it’s a 60 second transfer by bus from the airport to the dock. Staff guide visitors through security & customs onto a 12-person boat for the 25min trip across the water. 
Cost: $75USD per adult, each way (including complimentary beverages)

Anguilla Air Services:

SXM – AXA (or AXA – SXM) price for a one way is from USD$92.55pp

Round trip from USD$249.10pp.

The average travel time for this flight is 8 minutes.


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