It’s all about the beaches — a whopping 33 of them — on an island that measures just 16 miles long and 3 miles across (at its widest point). That idyllic combination of sugarwhite sand and uber-blue water can be found wherever you go on Anguilla, but most visitors head to what’s considered one the world’s top beaches, Shoal Bay East. The island also takes top marks in cuisine — more than 100 restaurants offer everything from barbecue to haute dining — and boasts some of the Caribbean’s best-loved resorts.
Here’s how to spend 36 hours on this laid-back Leeward Island.
Day 1 – Hit The Beach
Pop by for a brioche and a strong espresso at Café de Paris near the West End Village.
Then continue to the famed Shoal Bay East to stake out your slice of sandy heaven. (All Anguilla beaches have public access and are free.) This is one of the busiest beaches; daytrippers come via ferry from nearby St. Martin, and people flock to the restaurants and bars that line the shore. Not to worry: On this 2-mile stretch of sand, you’re bound to find a secluded spot.
Bid the day farewell — with a potent Painkiller in hand — at the aptly named Sunset Lounge at Viceroy Anguilla. Arrive on the early side to score a primo table at the open-air bar; you’ll be rewarded with a vivid red, yellow and orange Caribbean sky as the sun sinks into Barnes Bay.
Site of Anguilla’s main harbor, Sandy Ground is an easily walkable village filled with bars, restaurants and late-night music venues. Chill out at SandBar , which serves inventive (and affordable) tapas in a casual beachfront setting, or honor the island’s British heritage at Ripples, with English pub-style fare. Live music is a must-do here, and the quirkiest spot to see it is The Pumphouse, a former salt factory with wood walls and rafters lined with funky memorabilia. Bands take the stage every night, starting around 9:30, but Thursdays, this is the place to be.