Last fall, Hurricane Irma swept across Anguilla, devastating homes and businesses and leaving almost 90 percent of the Caribbean island without power. But Anguilla refused to be defeated by the storm. The island quickly rebounded to welcome tourists, as hotels and restaurants reopened and the beaches were cleared of debris. And T+L readers showed their support for Anguilla, voting it the No. 1 destination in the region for the second year in a row.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.
Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards
Visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to activities. The 35-square-mile island is chock-full of limestone caves to explore, wildlife to observe, and sandy beaches on which to tan. Pay $50 to the Anguilla National Trust for a private walking tour that highlights the best trails and nature on the island. Many hidden treasures are tucked away on unmarked roads, so it pays to have a knowledgeable guide by your side.
In the early fall, environmentalists should visit the secluded Blackgarden Bay at night for a chance to see turtles nest on the sands. But some of Anguilla’s most scenic beaches and coves are inaccessible by land. Hire a boat and spend the day at Little Bay. Because the beach requires some effort to reach, visitors will hardly ever find crowds.
Those who prefer to snorkel should venture out to Dog Island. It boasts a massive coral garden with puffer fish and squid swimming about.
If you think squid is best seen on a dinner plate, Anguilla has plenty of beachside restaurants and ridiculously fresh seafood. Although you shouldn’t miss the roadside barbecue shacks. Jerk chicken is famous for a reason.
On the opposite end of the dining spectrum, those with a taste for the upscale will find a fancy feast at Veya. Although the restaurant feels like it’s in a treehouse (with wooden decks and greenery everywhere), the cuisine is firmly planted on the ground. The menu includes grilled local lobster, jerk-spiced tuna and sauteed red snapper. (A five-course tasting menu with wine costs $125).
Book a stay at the World’s Best–winning Frangipani Beach Resort at Meads Bay for a luxury experience with a boutique feel. There are only 19 rooms and suites at the hotel, guaranteeing you’ll have attention and beachside access all to yourself.
The Four Seasons Resort and Zemi Beach House are two other World’s Best–winning properties, both of which are great for families. But no matter where you stay, you won’t be disappointed. Anguilla’s 33 beaches are pristine, its laid-back charms easy to discover.