Located in the northern section of the Leeward Islands, and situated in the Lesser Antilles, Anguilla is a group of Caribbean islands. Although it has its own representative government, Anguilla is still politically linked to the United Kingdom. Anguilla is made up of several small islands with the largest island, where people live, measuring 16 by 3 miles. The total land mass of the islands consists of 35 square miles. In 2006, a little more than 13,000 people lived in Anguilla. The Valley is the territory’s capital.
History & Culture
Centuries ago, the islands were settled and cultivated by the Amerindian tribes, a group of people originating in South America. To survive, these early inhabitants utilized the resources of the sea and developed agriculture.
Since these early settlers migrated to Anguilla, numerous other groups of people have lived and developed cultures on Anguilla. For example, the Arawak tribes centered their religious customs around the moon, sun, and a couple of caves, The Fountain, located at Shoal Bay, and the Big Springs, located at Island Harbor. The Arawak believe that the human species emerged from these caves. Tourists can view petrogylphs of the Arawak’s god, Jocahu, at The Fountain.
In the mid Seventeenth Century, settlers from Great Britain began to setup colonies on Anguilla. During six peaceful years, these settlers grew tobacco and corn until their crops and homes were destroyed by nearby tribes.
A few years later, the French government claimed rights to the islands, but the government of Great Britain retook possession of Anguilla after the Treaty of Breda was signed.
At the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, plantations could be found throughout Anguilla, similar to other Caribbean islands. Products and crops such as rum, cotton, indigo, and sugar were shipped from Anguilla. However, soil erosion and droughts were obstacles for growing agriculture. Consequentially, crop yields diminished leading to fewer economic opportunities for settlers.
Nearly 50 years ago, Anguilla along with Nevis and St. Kitts joined the Federation of the West Indies. After the Federation fell apart four years later, many islands formed their own governments, but the three aforementioned islands united to form their own state. However, citizens of Anguilla revolted, leading to the Anguilla Revolution which resulted in Anguilla’s political independence.
Citizens of Anguilla celebrate their independence on May 30 known as Anguilla Day. This day is significant since police from St. Kitts were pushed back from Anguilla in 1967. The British government involved itself in stabilizing the government following the revolt. Finally, in 1980, Anguilla became an overseas territory of the United Kingdom and set up its own government relatively free of British influence.
The hospitality and friendliness of Anguillans will make a trip to Anguilla a rewarding experience. Tourists and Anguillan citizens frequently greet one another in public, eventually knowing each other on a first name basis.
Anguilla is a small and exotic group of islands. The surface is mostly flat, filled with limestone, coral, trees, and rocks. Only a small portion of the islands is used for agriculture.
Anguilla’s culture and history are reflected in the islands. Tourists will become familiar with Anguilla’s rich culture and history since its citizens take pride in them.
Anguillans celebrate British holidays but still maintain their native culture, making Anguilla a truly unique place.
Although it may seem difficult to reach Anguilla, tourists can travel to it on an aircraft or a ship. Ports and airports that provide tourists with access to Anguilla are located in St. Kitts, Puerto Rico, Antigua, and St. Martin.
To travel to Anguilla from Puerto Rico, travelers can book a flight on such carriers as American Airlines or Rainbow International Airlines, usually taking no longer than an hour to reach Anguilla. If they are traveling from St. Martin, they can book a private jet to reach Anguilla in only minutes or enjoy an ocean voyage if they desire to travel on a ship. If travelers select the ship option, they will enjoy flexible departure schedules since ships departing from the French section of St. Martin leave every 30-45 minutes during departure times. After a ship leaves St. Martin, it takes about a half hour to reach Anguilla. Travelers can also book passage via a ship to Anguilla from the Dutch section of the island as well.
To reach Anguilla from Antigua, travelers can book a flight with LIAT but only one flight from this carrier leaves the island for Anguilla per day. However, private aviation options are available for travelers as well.
- Language: English
- Government: British Overseas Territory
- Capital: The Valley
- Size: 35 sq. miles, largest island: 16 by 3 miles
- Population: 14,886 (according to latest government estimates)
- Location: Eastern Caribbean, most northerly of Leeward Islands
- Climate and Temperature: 80°F average temperatures while water usually remains between 70-80°F
- Rainfall: 35 inches annually: Most rain fall occurs between September-October with less rain fall between February-March
- Electricity: 110 Volts AC, same voltage as America
- Currency: Anguilla’s currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, but American dollars can be used in Anguilla so ATMs are located throughout the island. If tourists plan to remain on Anguilla during Saturday and Sunday, it is recommend they withdraw cash during Friday.
- Water: The water is drinkable and bottled water can be purchased throughout the island.
- Driving: To drive in Anguilla, one must have a driver’s license and stay on the left hand side of the street.
- Rentals: Tourists can rent bikes, scooters, jeeps, and other vehicles on Anguilla.
- Airport: Wallblake Airport is located on the periphery of The Valley near Anguilla’s main business and government district. The airport’s runway extends over 5,000 feet with carriers such as American Airlines operating from the airport. The airport can accommodate most private jets as well as Super ATR 72 and Dash 8 aircraft. The terminal is very basic, housing two regional carriers and other planes available to be chartered. Airplane refueling, cargo handling and transport, and complete concierge services are available at the airport.
- International Gateways: Since Wallblake Airport is not an international airport, travelers can obtain access to an international airport in either Puerto Rico or St. Martin, both short distances via an airplane from Anguilla.
- Ferry: Tourists have access to ferries traveling from St. Martin every 30-45 minutes with service running from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. However, the last ferry leaving Blowing Point in Anguilla departs at 6:15 p.m. Tourists also have access to chartered ferry services. Ferry fares differ for each company. Chartered ferries can also be booked at Blowing Point with available service to Simpson Bay and the Princess Juliana Airport.
- Entry: To travel to Anguilla, one must possess a passport and a boarding pass. Those traveling with seeing dogs or interested in bringing their pets must call the Agricultural Department at (1-264-497-2615).
- Departure Tax: Adults leaving Anguilla either by ship or plane must pay a 20 U.S. dollar tax. The tax for children between the ages of 5-12 is 10 U.S. dollars. Those departing from the Blowing Point Ferry Terminal to other islands for just the day must pay a 5 U.S. dollar tax. This same tax applies to citizens of Anguilla and St. Martin utilizing the Blowing Point Ferry Terminal.
- Dress Code: It is recommended visitors to the islands dress casually. For example, it is inadvisable to wear bikinis, halter tops, and other revealing clothing in public locations. Public nudity is not allowed in Anguilla, including all beaches, which are all publically owned. Between May-November visitors should be prepared to take precautions against mosquitoes.