Anguila is an British Overseas Territory usually accessed by ferry boats and cruise ships. The territory, which is north of St. Martin, has flat, low-lying terrain. Its tallest point, Crocus Hill, is only 65 meters high. Anguilla boasts some of the most beautiful white-sand beaches in the Caribbean. People come here for glass-bottom boat rides, scuba diving, snorkeling and for simply kicking back and relaxing. In The Valley, its capital city, you’ll find art galleries, upscale restaurants and other fun things to see and do. From historic plantation houses to an abundance of limestone caves, Anguilla is bursting with surprises.
- Capital city – The Valley
- Language – English
- Population – 13 000
The Valley, capital city of Anguilla
The Valley is the capital of Anguilla, one of the few Caribbean islands that has maintained its charm in the face of rabid consumerism. It small limestone bump in the sea is a mixture of old clapboard shacks, stunning new vacation properties, a diverse array of cultures and mind-blowing beaches. There is little to explore in The Valley, but the capital’s position in the center of the island makes it a great place to stay while pursuing adventures around Anguilla.
If you close your eyes and picture the perfect beach, you likely imagine a deserted stretch of white sand, clear blue waters and gentle trade winds rustling through palm trees. The reality of Shoal Bay East is not much different. Anguilla’s best beach is surprisingly quiet and miraculously blight-free. Don’t forget to pack your snorkeling gear, as the reefs under the glassy turquoise waters are abundant with a variety of exotic marine species.
There are 33 other fine beaches from which to choose, and other favorites include Little Bay, Barnes, Road and Rendezvous. From April to November, you can often spot the green, leatherback and hawksbill turtles that nest on the beaches, especially at Limestone Bay, Maundays, Captains and Meads.
For the best diving on the island, head to Prickly Pear Cays, an underwater cavern whose rock formations play host to barracuda and nurse sharks. Several sunken shipwrecks wait to be explored nearby, and operators to the area leave daily from Sandy Ground.
There are only a handful of historic sights in Anguilla, including the island’s only surviving plantation house. The beautifully restored Wallblake House was built in 1785, and it offers a glimpse into Anguilla’s colonial heritage. For more, visit the Heritage Collection Museum, which highlights the colonial area and the days of the Arawak Indians through a good collection of documents, photographs and artifacts.
The island is relatively flat, but Crocus Hill rises 65 meters above sea level to form Anguilla’s highest point. Trek to the peak to see the remains of the Old Court House and catch incredible views of the underlying bay. Go at sunset for the most spectacular show.
Anguilla has a rich agricultural heritage, and the island is dotted with farms growing tomatoes, corn, peas and other crops. The Department of Agriculture in The Valley sponsors tours of many traditional and modern farms and also provides a host of information on the island’s natural environment.
There are a few gardens worth exploring on the island, including the Endangered Species Garden, the Hydroponic Organic Gardens and Farm and the Cap Juluca Indigenous Local Plants Gardens.
If you are looking for a more adventurous trip, you will never be bored in Anguilla. You can hike through the many trails that cross the island, horseback ride by the shore, take a tour on a glass-bottom boat, fish for exotic species, swim, snorkel and dance to live music at the many lounges and bars on the island.