Hidden away in the northern Caribbean and wrapped by sparkling seas, Anguilla is the epitome of peacefulness and relaxation. The island of Saint Martin lies to the south, the British Virgin Islands are located to the west, and stunning oceanic views can be found in any direction you turn. The island’s name was lent to it by its unique snakely shape; Spanish, French, and Italian variants of ‘Anguilla’ all translate as ‘eel’.
With the glorious Atlantic Ocean to the northeast and the famously exotic Caribbean Sea to the southwest, it’s no surprise Anguilla is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. And, without a doubt, these are this British Overseas Territory’s strongest drawcard. Turquoise water and fine white sand mix with the perpetually warm weather and even warmer local hospitality to create a destination of pure bliss.
Anguilla is something of a rarity in cruise itineraries, which makes it all the more delightful for the few passengers that do visit this Caribbean paradise. Smaller numbers of tourists and the enduring laidback atmosphere are key contributors to the special charm of Anguilla, though the island is easily accessible from Saint Martin, its more tourism-focused neighbour. Cruise lines with stops in Anguilla include Crystal Cruises, SeaDream Yacht Club, Star Clippers and Windstar Cruises.
Anguilla has no designated port for cruise ships to dock at. Typically, ships will instead make anchor in the bay of Sandy Ground, on the island’s central north shore, and tender passengers to shore.
Many cruise lines that do not stop specifically at Anguilla do call in at Saint Martin, from where passengers can choose to take a ferry to Anguilla’s Blowing Point Harbour on the south shore of the island.
Most cruises only stop briefly in Anguilla and time is sure to fly during your visit here. Therefore, it is wise to use the facilities aboard your ship before disembarking in order to make the most of your time on the island.
Facilities available in Sandy Ground include:
Restaurants, cafés and bars
A grocery store
How to Get Around
As Anguilla is quite a small and flat island, walking may be the only mode of transport you require during your time here – particularly since travelling on foot will give you ample time to take in the spectacular scenery. However, for exploring further east or west, bicycles, mopeds, motorbikes, and cars are all available to hire. Taking a taxi is also always an option.
Travel times from Sandy Ground:
It is a 49 minute journey to The Valley
It is a 61 minute journey to Crocus Bay.
It is a 10 minute journey to Little Bay
It is a 12 minute journey to Meads Bay
It is a 12 minute journey to Rendezvous Bay
It is a 14 minute journey to Maundays Bay
It is a 16 minute journey to Shoal Bay.
Currency – Officially, the currency used in Anguilla is the East Caribbean dollar (EC). However, American money is accepted just about everywhere on the island. There is a fixed exchange rate of US$1 = EC$2.72. EC coins come in 1c, 5c, 10c, 25c, and $1 denominations. Notes come in $10, $20, $50, and $100 denominations.
Time Zone – The island operates within the Atlantic Time Zone (AST), which puts it 4 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UCT).
Weather – Anguilla basically enjoys pleasant summer weather all year round. Its tropical location keep average temperatures from dropping any lower than 22 degrees Celsius, while constant trade winds ensure the heat rarely rises about 31 degrees Celsius. Though humid, the island is relatively dry compared to other Caribbean destinations.
Beautiful Bays and Beaches – The vast majority of visitors to Anguilla come here for one main reason: the beaches and the bays. The most popular spots to relax and refresh are Shoal Bay, Meads Bay, Rendezvous Bay, Maundays Bay, and Little Bay. Whichever you select, expect tranquillity and photo opportunities aplenty.
Sandy Ground – This is the perfect area for chilling out, having a drink, or even getting your groove on. Local cafés and bars give visitors the chance to cool down, let loose, and really enjoy their stunning surroundings. This thriving district comes even more alive when the sun goes down.
The Old Valley – Take a stroll through this part of town to discover some of Anguilla’s historic architecture. Buildings such as Rose Cottage and Miss Marjorie’s House offer an insight into what life was like here in decades past.