The slow-paced tropical getaway of Anguilla is a haven for epicures and beach lovers.
With 33 gorgeous beaches that are open to the public (yet somehow manage to remain free of crowds) and incredible resorts, Anguilla has taken the title as the best island across the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas for this year’s World’s Best Awards.
The island, which came in third place last year, rose to the No. 1 spot for the first time in World's Best history. Readers scored islands on their activities and sights, natural attraction and beaches, food and restaurants, the friendliness of locals, and overall value. This year, Anguilla performed particularly well in the categories of natural attractions, food, and friendliness.
Nestled in the Eastern Caribbean, Anguilla is the northernmost island within the Leeward Islands chain, and offers visitors miles of unspoiled tropical terrain.
Calm winds and average temperatures of 80 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, according to the island’s tourism board, makes it a favorite amongst wind and kite surfers.
Visitors should head to Shoal Bay East for excellent snorkeling, or to admire the island's colorful marine life on a glass bottom boat tour. Divers can check out historic shipwrecks at one of the island’s seven different marine parks, or explore teeming offshore reefs at Junks Hole.
In addition to its many coves and bays, the island is also home to innovative food spots like the Hibernia Restaurant, where owners collect local ingredients ranging from Myanmar jungle honey to fresh durian for their Asian-Caribbean dishes.
Meanwhile, Hungry’s Good Food is a popular spot for sampling fresh conch and fish stews, and Scilly Cay — a private island with a restaurant — serves only chicken, lobster, crayfish, and the catch of the day.
Off of the main road, you’ll find dusty roads that lead you into quaint villages like Sandy Ground, which turns into a bustling entertainment hub at night with beach bars and restaurants hosting live music performances.
Be sure to check out the popular beach bar, Dune Preserve Beach Bar, which is the “only beach bar in the world where you are likely to run into a former president, a former pirate, and a former Wall Street bigwig all in the same day,” according to the Dune’s business manager, Olaide Banx.
And if you happen to be in Anguilla during March, take part in Moonsplash, which is the Caribbean’s oldest independent music festival, offering up three days of music from top reggae performers on Rendezvous Beach.
Need more proof that Anguilla has found its groove? Book a room at Zemi Beach House, the latest luxury property to open on Anguilla and the No. 10 hotel in the region this year. Here, you'll have a postcard-worthy view of the island from your oceanfront patio.