Anguilla – Winter Escapes
As with other islands in this part of the Caribbean, Anguilla enjoys fairly consistent temperatures all year round so it is a great place for that winter break when you have had enough of cold and damp weather at home. The island remains a British overseas territory and is part of the Leeward Islands. In addition to the main island of Anguilla, there are also several other smaller islands and cays although most do not have a permanent population.
At just 16 miles long the island is easy to explore but there is still plenty to see and do. It is just 3.1 miles wide at the widest point. Most people will start in The Valley, the capital of the island and the island has an international airport, making it very easy for those who want to visit. Anyone island hopping will also find plenty of travel options from Antigua to various other places in the Caribbean. Ferry connections link the island to Saint Martin.
Visitors to the island should be aware that getting around on public transport is almost impossible. The only option is a taxi as there are no buses and no railway system. Car or scooter hire would be the best choice for those who want to get around the island, although it is certainly small enough for hikers to explore on foot. Alternatively why not try horseback riding? This makes getting around even easier and there are several stables where you can hire a horse for a few hours.
Hiking is definitely one of the most popular options with tourists. Large parts of the island remain undeveloped which enables you to truly get away from it all. There are roads through many parts of the island where there are no buildings so meeting traffic is unlikely and they make great trails to follow. Mountain bikes are also available to hire and these can often be arranged by local hotels.
While tourism is increasing, the efforts to preserve the heritage of the island are also increasing. The island has its own National Trust. This trust looks after not only historic monuments, but also encourages the cultural history of the island to thrive. There are schemes aimed at local writers and artists and exhibitions of artefacts linked to the Taino Indians, the original inhabitants of the islands. The Anguilla Heritage Trail points out many of the important features of the island’s history and culture.
The local cuisine is a must for any visitor to the island and there are even places where you can take a course and learn how to prepare the dishes yourself – perfect for those who want to learn more about the culture of the island. Seafood dishes are plentiful but due to the size of the island most meat is imported. When staying on the island opt for dishes that include locally produced fruits and vegetables.
A trip to Anguilla will give you the chance to brush up on your language skills too. Most people do speak English but other languages include Creole and a variety of West African dialects. The English spoken tends to be standard English but you will notice a strong accent and a tendency to use words from other dialects too, so with some locals it can be a little hard to follow the conversation.
The national sport on Anguilla is considered to be boat racing and there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to learn and take part in some regattas if they are more experienced. Alternatively you could opt to watch cricket, an altogether more sedate pastime. Other visitors come to the island to take advantage of the great golf courses that can be found there.
The island has plenty of different accommodation options. Hotels range from basic to luxury and there are also apartments and villas to rent for those who want a self-catering winter holiday. Facilities vary at the hotels but most have swimming pools, tennis courts and good quality restaurants. Visitors are also guaranteed a warm and friendly welcome, no matter where they choose to stay.
Tourism development on Anguilla has seen costs of holidays rise in recent years but travelling there during the winter months is much cheaper than in the summer. It can be a fairly low cost holiday as there are plenty of activities on the island which cost nothing and it is a great place for families, couples and those choosing to take a well-earned break on their own.