Low-lying Anguilla makes an interesting contrast to the mountainous island of St. Maarten/St. Martin. Charming and laid-back, the island makes for the perfect day trip from its more developed neighbor off the coast.
Board a luxury catamaran at Simpson Bay for the 12-mile (19-kilometer) sail across the channel to the flower-filled island of Anguilla. Along the way, make a snorkel stop at Prickly Pear to swim among butterfly fish, snapper, and grouper feeding off the tropical coral. Then enjoy a barbecue lunch and head out to picturesque Anguilla beaches such as Cove Bay and Meads Bay for more swimming and relaxing.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Anguilla is a must-visit for beach lovers and snorkelers.
- The per-person port fee may or may not be included in guided tours.
- Remember sun protection, swimwear, and a towel.
- Passports are required to visit Anguilla.
How to Get There
Catamaran day trips leave from Simpson Bay, on the west coast of the island next to Princess Juliana International Airport. Take a taxi or drive to Simpson Bay; parking is available. If you are traveling to Anguilla independently, take a ferry from Marigot on the north coast.
When to Get There
The best times to visit St. Martin/St. Maarten are the shoulder seasons of spring and fall, when cheaper rates are offered and rains less likely. The weather is pleasant year-round, with summer months being the hottest. Humpback whales can often be observed from February to June.
Anguilla’s Path to Independence
Many centuries after the Amerindians made the island home, English colonists arrived in 1650, establishing corn and tobacco plantations. Some 100 years later, the French took over, followed again by the English. In the 1950s, Anguilla joined neighboring St. Kitts and Nevis to become the Federation of the West Indies, only to leave the union and declare itself a separate Dependent Territory of the United Kingdom in 1980.