Anguilla is everything you’d hope for from a tropical getaway and more. From clear turquoise waters, white powdery sand, and laid-back island vibes, Anguilla is a destination you’ll talk about for years.
But, perhaps due to its size, it does fly under the radar when compared to it’s more frequented Caribbean neighbors. So if you’re planning your trip to this tiny island state, we’ve got your back.
Here is the ultimate Anguilla travel guide that covers all you need to know to plan your trip.
- Where is Anguilla?
- When to Travel to Anguilla
- Things to Know Before You Visit Anguilla
- Things to Do in Anguilla
- Places to Visit in Anguilla
- Getting Around Anguilla
- Highlights of Traveling to Anguilla
Where is Anguilla?
Anguilla is in the Eastern Caribbean, about 370km (230 miles) east of Puerto Rico, and 19 km (11 miles) north of St. Martin. It’s among the most northerly islands belonging to the Leeward group of the Lesser Antilles.
The entire island is a British territory, and only 91 square kilometers (35 square miles) in size.
When to Travel to Anguilla
The best time to visit Anguilla is from December to April, during the dry season.
This is peak season, so you can expect higher prices on hotels, busier beaches, and bigger crowds. If you want to visit around the holidays, plan early, as accommodations and flights book up quickly.
May to August is also a good time of year to visit for those looking to score a deal on hotel rates and aren’t deterred by the chance of rain. These months tend to see sudden rain showers that come and go quickly.
If you want to attend Anguilla’s Carnival Festival, plan to visit during the last week of July through the first week of August.
Weather in Anguilla
Anguilla is one of the sunniest islands in the Caribbean. Even with a distinct rain season, it only gets about 35 inches of rain per year. So you’ll have high chances of clear skies and perfect beach days while here.
From December through May, daytime temperatures consistently average about 80 degrees fahrenheit (27 C). You can expect it to be mostly sunny and dry throughout your trip.
From June through August, the temperature and humidity increases, with day time temperatures between 82 - 86 degrees. You may experience random downpours.
It’s not recommended to visit Anguilla from September to November, as this is the peak of hurricane season.
Things to Know Before You Visit Anguilla
Before you book that flight and hop on a plane, here are the current travel requirements you need to know of before traveling to Anguilla.
Traveling to Anguilla
To get to Anguilla by air, you can fly to Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA). There are no direct flights from outside of the Caribbean, so you’ll have to transfer at least once if you’re flying from the US, Canada, the UK or Europe.
Flying from either New York or Miami to Anguilla takes about 6 hours, when including the layover.
Another option is to fly to St. Martin, which has more flight connections and is notoriously more affordable than flying into AXA. From there, it’s just a 20 minute ferry ride to Anguilla.
Plus, if you’re already going to be in St. Martin, it’s a great excuse to stay awhile!
Visa & Passport Requirements
As an overseas British territory, British passport holders do not need a visa to enter Anguilla.
This also applies to American, Canadian, European Union, and Australian passport holders. As a national from these countries, you can stay in Anguilla for up to 90 days.
For all other foreign nationals, you’ll need a visa. The visa to enter Anguilla costs $140 USD for single entry, and $250 USD for multiple entry. You can apply at any British embassy, or by visiting the e-visa website.
For a full list of nationalities who will need a visa in Anguilla, click here.
COVID update: According to the government webpage, Anguilla is set to re-open for tourism from May 25th, 2021. Until then, you must apply and be pre-approved to enter Anguilla by applying here. Entering Anguilla currently requires a 7 day quarantine for vaccinated travelers, and a 10 - 14 day quarantine for unvaccinated tourists. All travelers are required to present a PCR test on arrival.
Flights to Anguilla
If you’re flying from North America, most major airlines will require you to transit through San Juan, Puerto Rico. When flying from Europe, you may transit through St. Martin or Antigua.
You’ll then hop onto a regional carrier like Silver Airways, to get to your destination.
Is Anguilla Safe to Travel To?
Anguilla is one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean.
Petty and violent crimes are rare but can happen. This is especially true in the main city, The Valley. As with any travel destination, avoid carrying valuables with you, remain vigilant, and take normal safety precautions.
Keep valuables hidden when in public or kept in your hotel safe when possible. It’s also wise not to wander around alone at night, especially after drinking. But that’s true no matter where you are in the world.
What Language is Spoken in Anguilla?
The main language used in Anguilla is English, but some locals speak Spanish as well. The local dialect is Anguillan Creole, which a majority of locals still use today.
Money in Anguilla
The official currency in Anguilla is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC), but the US dollar is widely accepted.
Anguilla’s currency (EC) is permanently set at 2.70 EC to one US dollar.
Is Anguilla Expensive?
Anguilla is among the more expensive of the Eastern Caribbean islands. This is likely due to the size of the island, and the very fact that it’s a Caribbean island. Goods are difficult to import and the main industry is tourism, so you end up spending more.
Here are some prices to expect:
- 3 Star hotel room: $180- $220 USD per night
- 4 Star hotel room: $240 - $360 USD per night
- Lunch/dinner: $20 USD per person, but up to $50 USD with alcohol
- Budget Dining Options: $10 USD per meal
Watersports and Boat Tours: $50 - $120 USD
The island is comparable to other tropical hot spots that attract a more upscale type of travel.
Tipping Etiquette in Anguilla
Like many of the islands in the Caribbean, visitors are expected to tip in Anguilla. In certain restaurants, the service charge may be included onto your bill automatically, so be sure to check the receipt.
If the tip isn’t included, it’s customary to tip 5% in restaurants and 15% for taxis and boat trips. Also, when assisted with luggage it’s polite to tip the hotel staff $1 USD per suitcase.
How to Pay for Things in Anguilla
Hotels, restaurants, and tourist activities can almost always be paid for via credit card.
But smaller shops, some restaurants, and the departure tax require cash. If you’re coming from the US, most places will accept USD. Otherwise, you’ll have to visit an ATM to take out cash to have on hand.
Dress & What to Pack for Anguilla
Anguilla is always hot, so pack breathable t-shirts and tops, dresses, and shorts for day time wear.
For the beach, be sure to bring swimwear, sunglasses and a hat, since the sun here is strong. Bring your strongest, reef-safe sunscreen, but if you forget you can buy it on arrival.
Like all tropical islands, it can get breezy or start raining any time, so bring a light jacket or shawl to cover up.
It’s wise to bring both sandals for the beach, as well as a pair of covered shoes for walking on the rocky cliffs.
Hot tip: Choose sandals that can be dressed up for evening dinners and cocktail bars.
Anguilla Laws to Know
- At the time of writing, travelers are required to have medical or travel insurance, in the event they become infected by COVID-19 while in Anguilla.
- The legal drinking age is 18.
- Water is a scarce commodity, especially in the dry season. Take showers and use water conservatively.
- It’s mandatory to pay a departure tax when exiting Anguilla. This payment must be in cash, of either $5 USD or $13 EC.
- Anguilla has a no-tolerance approach to drugs. If caught with illegal substances, the consequences may be harsh.
- Nude and toppless bathing are not allowed.
- Disturbing or removing anything from the sea is not permitted.
Things to Do in Anguilla
- Hit the Beach. Anguilla is home to a staggering 33 beaches, all of which are public.
- Scuba Diving. There are seven marine parks offshore from Anguilla. Each home to diverse Caribbean marine species, and even a sunken Spanish Galleon for a good shipwreck dive.
- Snorkeling. Shoal Bay is home to thriving coral gardens, where you can find colorful and abundant marine life when snorkeling.
- Watersports. You can choose from paddleboarding, kayaking, kitesurfing, parasailing, jet skiing, or tubing.
- Boat Trip. Embark on a short boat ride to visit the nearby uninhabited islands.
- Visit a Plantation. Visitors can tour the Wallblake House, the only remaining historic sugar plantation in Anguilla.
- Hiking. Join a 1 or 2 hours guided hike to explore hidden natural landmarks on Anguilla, from tide pools, to caves, to mangrove forests.
Places to Visit in Anguilla
Most people come to Anguilla for the beaches, some of which are considered the best in the world. Among the best are Shoal Bay, Rendez-vous Bay, and Sandy Ground Beach.
Exploring nearby islands is also a highlight of Anguilla. A visit to the Prickly Pear Cays or Scrub Island will allow you access to unspoiled, natural beaches and abundant marine life, ideal for snorkeling.
The West End is home to rocky coastal cliffs, which adventurous travelers can hike. Here is where you’ll find the iconic Anguilla Arch, a natural rock bridge forming right over the sea.
Getting Around Anguilla
You can rent your own car in Anguilla, but you’ll need to get an Anguillan driver’s permit. This can be obtained on arrival for a $20 fee. You can rent a car at Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA) on Anguilla, or if flying into St. Martin, rent a car from there and bring it over by ferry.
Another option is using taxis. Roads here are usually unpaved and with little signage, so you may not be comfortable driving. Taxis can be booked by any hotel or restaurant, or by calling them directly.
There is no public transportation on Anguilla.
Highlights of Traveling to Anguilla
Fresh Seafood: Lobster, crayfish, and fish are all locally caught. Enjoy fresh, local seafood dishes such as spiny lobster bisque and salt fish.
Best Beach Bar: Half Shell Beach Bar, located in the Four Seasons Resort.
Hidden Gem: Little Bay Beach is a secluded beach of unrivalled clear blue waters. It can only be reached by boat.
I bet by now you’re feeling eager to book your next holiday to Anguilla! Now that you’ve learned all you need to know, you can start planning an amazing vacation in this heavenly paradise.