Anguilla isn’t your typical Caribbean island. And it’s not just because it boasts an A-list guest list that could rival any red carpet, has a long list of luxury properties and beautiful beaches to swim at. Here you’ll find an island of warm and inviting people, delicious cuisine and a vibrant arts scene. If you’re hoping to get a bit of a taste of the local culture, be it music or food, we pick a selection of our favourite things to do in Anguilla.
1. Dine Beachside
There is no shortage of waterfront on Anguilla and thankfully there are plenty of restaurants that take full advantage of this fact. Whether you’re looking for a light bite and a cocktail or a three-course candlelight dinner with a reserve bottle of wine, you’ll find options for every palette and every budget throughout the island. One of the best things about Anguilla is that you’ll be hard pressed to find a bad meal. The food is just really good. Ask any local what they’re favourite restaurant is and they’ll probably have a hard time narrowing it down to just one. Two restaurants that kept popping up in conversation time and time again were Mango’s Seaside Grill and Tasty’s. While we didn’t have the opportunity to try those two, we did come away with a few favourites.
Best for lunch: Bayside Grill
This restaurant is tucked into quiet Crocus Bay and has a great ocean view from the patio. You’ll find plenty of seafood on the menu, including the Herb Battered Fish Sandwich, which we recommend washing down with a bottle of Ting (a grapefruit flavoured soda only found in the Caribbean).
Best for sunset cocktails: Sunset Lounge at the Viceroy Anguilla
Located at one of three hotels we love on the island, the Sunset Lounge is perfect for sipping on a cocktail while watching the sunset over Meads Bay. Sushi fan? Dig in. It’s AH-MAZ-ING.
Best for romantic dinner: Pimms at Cap Juluca
You can hear the waves crashing under the soft candlelight at Pimms where you can order fine dining dishes like homemade gnocchi, jerk mahi mahi and pan roasted island lobster. Want something extra special? You can book dinner for two in a private wine cellar off the main dining room.
Best memorable meal: Sandy Island
For those looking for the ultimate island experience or maybe something extra special (honeymoon, anyone?), then consider booking a lunch at Sandy Island. A quick shuttle from Sandy Ground Beach, you can reserve a lunch date complete with lobster and rum punch.
2. Gallery Hop
Who would have thought Anguilla had a vibrant arts scene? This tiny island is home to about 20 art galleries with works ranging from local to Caribbean artists. We popped into the Savannah Gallery, which is run by Canadian Frank Costin and fell in love with the variety of pieces we discovered. From Haitian metal sculptures to landscape paintings, it’s a great way to bring a piece of the Caribbean home.
3. Listen to Reggae Music at the Dune Preserve
It has been called one of the best beach bar’s in the world, found on beautiful Rendezvous Bay, the Dune Preserve is owed by reggae singer Bankie Banx. When he’s not on tour, Bankie calls the Dune home, hosting an annual Moonsplash Music Festival, which showcases a mixture of vintage reggae acts as well as emerging talents. The bar feels like a grown-up tree-house Robinson-Crusoe style, with hidden rooms, boat parts making up the roof, and driftwood and shells as decoration. But it’s the rustic and rickety style that makes it so charming. If you’re hoping to catch Bankie perform, head over on a Friday, but be sure to make reservations beforehand.
4. Tour CuisinArt’s Hydroponic Farm
The CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa is home to the world’s only resort hydroponic farm. This state-of-the-art facility is where the resort grows its own vegetables, herbs and flowers which they use in their restaurants and spa. Here you’ll find everything from sweet peppers, tomatoes and lettuce to cucumber and eggplant. Run by Dr. Howard M. Resh, who has written numerous books on the subject, guests and non-guests of the resort can take a free tour of the garden to learn more about the growing process and see the beautiful produce before it ends up in the kitchen!
Tour times: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 11 a.m. No reservation required. Meet at the Hydroponic Farm entrance.
5. Indulge in a Spa Treatment
A vacation isn’t complete without a little time in the spa. Whether you plan to spend an hour or an afternoon, a little indulgence goes a long way. Two fantastic spas to whittle away your stress at is the spa at CuisinArt and the spa at the Viceroy. The Venus Spa at CuisinArt is a 19,000 square-foot Mediterranean-inspired spa with 19 treatment rooms where you can enjoy everything from massage therapy to scrubs and baths. The spa at the Viceroy is a two-level luxury villa spa with treatment rooms facing the ocean. There is a large menu of treatments to choose from including their signature Black Lava exfoliating treatment and The World Traveler, perfectly suited for those who need to recover from the stress of travel.