Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Anguilla Beach Vacation: Hotels, Attractions, Weather

Anguilla beach
Anguilla offers quiet beaches for vacationers who want to get away from commercialism. Credit: Depositphotos

The small eastern Caribbean island of Anguilla is easy to see for many people visiting the popular St. Maarten. The two islands are less than 10 miles apart.

St. Maarten is a highly popular destination in the Caribbean for cruise ships, which often dock at Philipsburg. It attracts 2 million cruise visitors every year and another half million who stay at hotels and resorts.

Vacationing on Anguilla is better than viewing it from a distance. This British overseas territory attracts about 70,000 hotel and resort visitors every year, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

An Anguilla beach vacation guarantees much more quiet than the larger and more popular islands such as St. Maarten. It also offers some great beaches and snorkeling. The quiet, white sand beaches are even better than St. Maarten. In fact, they are some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, based on our visits to both islands.

Hotel and Resort Tips

Visitors who plan to vacation on Anguilla usually reach it by flying into St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport. From there, they take a short flight over to Clayton J. Lloyd Airport and then a taxi to their hotels or resorts.

They also can take a taxi to Marigot on French St. Martin (the other half of the island, which is shared by France and the Netherlands) and cross the water via ferry. The two islands are only about seven miles apart.

Anguilla has fewer than 20 hotels and resorts along with a modest number of villas for visitors who prefer more quiet.

Most of them are concentrated along the coast of the southwest end of the island in an area known as West End Village. A handful are on the northern coast in an area called Shoal Bay Village. A modest number of villas line the coasts along much of the island.

The island has several all-inclusive resorts and some hotels that have an all-inclusive option. Prices are a bit higher than the average Caribbean destination.

St. Maarten Day Visitors

Anguilla photo
Sandy Point; © Anguilla Tourism Board

Cruise visitors or anyone staying on St. Maarten for a week can take an excursion boat over to Anguilla for the day to see its great white beaches and quiet surroundings thanks to a low number of tourists.

Philipsburg lies on the south side of St. Maarten, while Anguilla lies to the north, which means reaching it for cruise visitors may require some extra time.

Anyone already staying on St. Maarten, especially if they rent a car or stay at a hotel on the western side of the island, will have a much easier time reaching Anguilla.

They also can reach it by taking the Marigot ferry, which gives them the option of touring the quaint French village of Marigot.

Anguilla Attractions

The beaches, resorts and restaurants are the biggest draws on Anguilla, but the island has a few other things to see and do. Note that the island has no major historical or natural attractions except for the beaches.

Hotel, resort and villa visitors will find that Anguilla is small and easy to explore.

The village of Sandy Ground is quiet during the day and quite active at night thanks to the beach bars and restaurants.

The east end has the quaint fishing town of Island Harbour. Island Harbour lies within a protected cove that is often filled with colorful boats. The fishing pier is popular not only with fishermen but also children who jump from the pier.

For a little history and photo opportunities, try visiting Crocus Hill, the highest point on Anguilla at 213 feet above sea level with the best view of Crocus Bay and the surrounding area.

Crocus Bay is the location of Anguilla’s first military invasion in 1745. Six to seven hundred French soldiers landed on the beach and were fought off by the English settlers in less than 15 minutes. The attack was the first of three invasions that all ended in the defeat of the invaders.

The island has one golf course at the CuisinArt Resort.

Ferries Between Anguilla and St. Maarten

Anguilla resort
Anguilla resort. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

Although many visitors to St. Maarten take a ferry to visit Anguilla, it also is true that hotel and resort visitors to Anguilla take a ferry for day trips to St. Maarten.

Ferries run every 30 to 45 minutes between 7:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. from Margot on St. Martin (the French side of the island) to the Blowing Point ferry terminal on Anguilla. The crossing takes about 20 minutes.

The last ferry from Anguilla leaves Blowing Point at 6:15pm.  A passport and return ticket are required.

Anguilla Beaches

There are 33 of them, and some of them often have few if any visitors as we found out when we went snorkeling there. They are some of the best beaches we have seen in our many trips to the Caribbean.

Shoal Bay East in particular is known as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Visitors will find coral reef snorkeling, scuba diving and glass bottom boat tours.

Vacation Weather

Anguilla average monthly rainfall
Anguilla average monthly rainfall. © 2023 Scott S. Bateman

Average daytime temperatures range from the low 80s Fahrenheit in the winter to the high 80s in the summer.

Rainfall averages about 35 inches a year with the most rain falling in September and October and the least amount falling in February and March, according to the Anguilla Tourist Board.

April and May are especially good times to vacation on Anguilla because of warm temperatures and low risk of rain.

Other Facts

The dominant language of this British OverSeas Territory is English, which means people drive on the left side of the road. A driver’s license is required.

The official currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, but U.S. dollars are widely accepted around the island.

The island has a population of about 15,000 people.

It is the northernmost island in the Leeward Island chain, located 200 miles east of Puerto Rico. The island is 16 miles long and three miles wide. It is flat, lies low and is covered mostly with rock and a few trees.

One main road runs through its center, which makes it easy to see the entire island in a brief amount of time. Dusty roads that branch off the main road lead to villages, hotels, restaurants and beaches.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.
June 17, 2024